While I am definitely not an expert in child rearing or homeschooling, I do have some experiences to share that will hopefully benefit those who are beginning their journey on this path that I am still traveling myself. I am a stay at home Muslim mother of 5 beautiful blessings from Allah(SWT).
My oldest child is Jamilah, who is 20 and in her 2nd year of college Masha Allah. I began homeschooling her in 4th grade. I had no idea what I was doing so she was my guinea pig. We’ve been through Independant Study, and Charter schools. When I brought her home I was so paranoid that I was going to mess everything up that I stuck strictly to the book. We did school just like she was still there. I don’t think she really was too fond of homeschooling. She was a bit of a challenge, because she would sometimes resist my teaching her.
When we moved to PA in her highschool years I put her in a cyberschool. I really didn’t like it because I had no control over what she was learning & since I couldn’t check her answers it was difficult for me to keep up with. At this time I had 2 more children that I was homeschooling as well. Needless to say Jamilah graduated from the cyberschool by the skin of her teeth!!
She began school that following Spring at Penn State. She struggled very hard the first semester, she was taking 3 busses to get there and 3 back everyday. It was very exhausting for her, but she pulled through it. She has really blossomed into an active, intelligent, resourceful young lady. She knows how to get things accomplished and she is very determined to get her education. Since we are a family of 7 with one income, we obviously can’t afford college. Next semester she plans to attend the University of Pitt, insha Allah. The things I have learned through my oldest is that you don’t have to worry about messing up your childs education, as long as you have good intentions and give them the right keys and the right environment, they will grow when they are ready.
As I said before she is very intelligent masha Allah. I am a high school graduate with some college. She has far surpassed me in education. The other day she was telling me something about Calculus and I told her that she sounded like the adults on Charlie Brown. I had no idea what she was talking about. This is an interview she did with a dear sister’s husband on his radio show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nur-uz-zamaan-radio/2011/04/06/seerah-other-subjects-with-imam-naeem-abdullah I am proud of my daughter, but everything I have I give full credit to my Creator. Nothing is of my own doing it is all from Allah The Most High. Another lesson I have learned on my homeschooling journey is to put all your trust in Allah.
My son Luqman is 11 and he is a very kind, compassionate, mature young man. I started officially homeschooling him around 5 yrs old. He was a very wiggly, active young man and to get him to sit still for 5 minutes was a HUGE challenge. Over the years as he matured into a more mild 8 year old version, he was able to sit still longer and stay more focused. Before that a lot of his learning took place by listening & watching. At 8 he was more into doing and at 11 he will not waste a moment in getting it done. His Father keeps him very active in sports as well. He plays football, baseball, wrestling, & runs track. Alhamdulillah for him.
My daughter Khadijah is 9 and a very mature, yet innocent young lady. I’m going to switch gears a minute here and say that this is one of the beauties of homeschooling. Their maturity is acting like young respectful adults in conversation & appearance, where as their public school counterparts are usually trying to look like the newest celebrity and gain the attention of the cutest guy at school. Now as for Khadijah, she has always been competitive with Luqman and wants to learn whatever he learns. Unlike her brother she loves to read and write. She looks up to her older sister as an example and a role model. I would say her and Luqman are best friends, but they do appreciate having friendships of their own gender now a days.
One thing I will say about both of them is they have truly been my little helpers. Over the past 3 years I have had 2 pregnancies very close together and was extremely exhausted & burnt out. For awhile our homeschooling was limited. We have picked back up on it since the end of last year. Even now we are blessed if we are able to get in Math, Reading and Writing.
I do worry at times, but I just have to remind myself that they will eventually surpass, insha Allah. I look to my oldest as a reminder when I feel like this. I also remind myself that my children are in the best situation even if they don’t get all the stuff now they are learning how to be loving, caring, compassionate humanbeings, in a somewhat relaxing, always safe & loving environment.
My 2 youngest children are Zakariyaa (3) and Asiyah (2). They are my biggest challenges. They are competitive for my attention. They are always taking things from each other and screaming at the top of their lungs when they do. Asiyah is always hitting Zakariyaa too. She is my feisty girl. Masha Allah.
Our days are very hectic with these 2. I usually try to combine all subjects for Luqman & Khadijah except Math. So whenever I get ready to introduce a lesson. The games begin. Zakariyaa takes a toy from Asiyah or she is trying to get into whatever he is doing, screeeeeaaaaaam, hit, more screeeeeeeeaaaaaaming then we all have to referee. Also someone has to go potty or needs a diaper change, something gets spilled, the baby is climbing on something she shouldn’t. To top it of I am the type of person that can not tolerate interruptions or distractions when I am teaching. It becomes very frustrating and I become very irritable which in turns makes me exhausted mentally and usually I have to stop so I don’t start losing my cool. So this is my biggest homeschooling challenge at the moment.
It’s hard for me to get everyone to stay up after Fajr, because we stay up late to spend time with Daddy and also my son’s practices are until 8:30pm. So everyone usually goes to bed at 11:00pm. So I let them sleep in after prayer. Otherwise they will be grumpy and won’t be able to focus or retain anything. I just have to remind myself that soon this phase will pass and things will insha Allah go back to normal. I have to trust that eventually the children’s education will balance out. So what if they don’t know who all the presidents were at the moment or the locations of the all 50 U.S. states. I still don’t know all of this and I went to public school all my life.
I truly believe through my experience & my children’s that you will not learn something if it isn’t interesting enough for you to learn, or if you just aren’t ready to learn it yet. My plans with the younger 2 are to not push the education until they are old enough to sit still and focus. I will insha Allah try to let them focus on their interests as they come along. I just take the moments as they come. If Zakariyaa asks to do “homework” I give him a game like Candy Land or stuff to count or we might do some flashcards. I am not going to worry too much until they show more ability to focus. So I guess I will basically unschool them until they are ready for more formal education. I try to make it fun at times even for my older 2. As long as they are learning is what matters to me. I have also learned and am still reminding myself of this constantly, that our children’s destiny lies with Allah and everything that will happen, everything that our children will learn and become is already written and will happen if it is meant to be.
Sorry for such a long article. I pray Allah gives us all success with our children, in raising them to be intelligent, righteous Muslims, who love and fear their Creator Allah. Ameen. Again I give all credit to Allah nothing is from my doing. I thank Allah for my Family and I ask him to make us all grateful for what he has given us. Ameen