As-salamu `alaykum sister,
The question my sister is why do you want to homeschool your child? There are many considerations when it comes to teaching your own child. In the birthplace of distance learning, Australia, there was a Times magazine feature on homeschooling. The focus was on the growing number of parents who have given up on schooling.
Looking at one parent, a school teacher of 10 years experience, who decided that schools were not the best place to learn. She had noticed that infants accomplish great feats without instruction.
“I wondered what would happen if you applied that same philosophy – just letting them be…
“Would they continue to do their job as children?”
“Anyone can teach one-to-one… And my main method wasn’t teaching, anyway. It was just being there”.
From the age of five, her daughter thrived at home. When her daughter became curious about school and eager to develop certain skills, her mother enrolled her into a Rudolf Steiner school aged 10 years of age. Her daughter “immediately excelled at everything”, but after two weeks her daughter returned home one day and asked to stop going to school because she found it embarrassing to be top ate everything! Her daughter is now aged 27 (at the time of the feature, and a concert manager at the Victorian College of Arts.
That was before homeschooling became popular again, but her reasons were based on a thought, which in turn was based on observation, that train teachers are trained to teach large groups and not to give an individual child the support and guidance they need.
Parents can have different reasons for wanting to homeschool their children, but what has to be born in mind is what is the best for the child given the resources (human and otherwise) that are available.
A child at home needs to be stimulated, their capabilities acknowledged and the educational method needs to be proactive, like Islam, knowledge is action, and is futile when it is simply an endless package of information that has to be ‘consumed’ in some manner.
Also, the socialization and recreational aspects are an important aspect to learning.
Another parent shared with us her experiences:
“We are in the beginning stages of home-schooling our two daughters ages 3 and almost 5. Since we decided about a month ago, for sure, to home-school, I’ve been saying that we won’t “really” start until next month. I’ve been telling others that we are currently just dabbling, dipping our toes to check the water. Then this happened. Two days ago I made an offhand comment to my girls about the planets and how I had learned their names in order. My oldest had just learned from television that we live on the planet Earth. I told her that the way I remember them is by using this sentence: “My very early mother just served us noodle pizza”.
The first letter of each word is the same as the first letter of the names of the planets in order of how far they are from the sun. At my daughter’s request, I rattled off the names of the planets, knowing that she was too young to really learn them. She nodded and that was the end of the conversation. Then today, TWO days later, she came rushing into my bedroom and said, “Mommy! You forgot the sun!” I looked at her blankly.
“What about the sun?”, I asked. She told me that I should have said, “Sometimes my very early mother just served us noodle pizza.” Then it clicked. I realized that she had not only picked up what I had said in just one comment, but that she’d thought about it for two whole days, found a problem with it, and came up with a solution. So I told her that she was very smart to think of that.
Then I and the girls spent ten fun-filled minutes practicing and saying the names of the planets until they had them memorized. When they left to play it suddenly hit me. My 3 and 4 1/2-year-old daughters had just learned the planets without any preparation and planning on my part. I didn’t have to study like mad or prepare worksheets and unit studies, and I’m certainly not a certified teacher, but somehow I had taught! So from here on out, I plan to relax, and remember that even if I don’t do everything the way I think I should, my two wonderful little girls will still manage to learn, and will think that I’m the smartest, best mommy ever”.
So my dear sister, besides the different approaches to learning, depending on your intention, home-schooling does not have to be tiring, in fact, it can be fun! The process of learning and teaching becomes tiring and boring when the process is only one way!
Once you sort out the legalities of teaching at home in your country of residence, then you have to decide what do you want your child to become? This might sound like a strange question, but education is not simply about grades, because what one learns determines what one becomes. Do you want your child to:
- Grow up as happy and responsible members of the community who share our values and outlook on the world?
- Learn skills that will help them to have fulfilling personal and work lives as adults?
- That they have happy and fulfilling lives as children, learning the necessary skills in a safe, fun environment?
Whatever the reason, this should shape the choice you make as to what you want your child to learn. For instance, if any of the above questions from your intentions, then maybe you might need to re-think the choice of the National Curriculum.
The National Curriculum is heavily under debate in certain sectors, because of its failure rate is considered too high. In addition to that an increasing number of young people are leaving the education system lacking the basic literacy and math skills.
In other words, they are leaving school for employment as unemployable (see Pupil Attainment: Time for a Three R’s Guarantee by Richard Brooks and Sara Tough published by the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research which you can find on the Internet).
Any national curriculum is based on the idea of ‘schooling’, which is teaching large groups of children in a factory mode. The out fall of this for many children is that they learn to fear learning, fear failing, forced to become competitive rather than enjoy a stimulating learning experience and if they succeed, they generally learn to think and live through the left brain mode and not a balanced left-brain-right-brain mode. This happens because, they are test fatigued, deprived of utilizing their imagination and creativity, the learning process is not proactive and in synchronicity with their environment.
A lot to think about? Well, do not feel overwhelmed, because there are support services in your country that can help you:
–Home Education UK Contains links to UK, US, European and Australian home education organizations
–HSLDA UK Webpage Legal information and links to UK home education organizations.
–Education Otherwise A home education charity with around 16,000 members in the UK
As for your tiredness, you do not always need to be in the driving seat as indicated by above experiences, and maybe you do need to check your diet!
Whatever you decide, what is most important is what you want for your child. As a parent who homeschooled my child within her environment, I have found it more demanding to oversee her education within the education system, when she would have preferred to be return to ‘mother-the-teacher’, which by all intent and purposes, parents are fundamental in the learning process of their children, at a time when many parents have relinquished that responsibility.
As a Muslim parent, there are many institutions in your country that can play a supportive role in terms of Islamic education, so once you have looked at all the options, make Istikhara, and realize that you have all that you need, if the decision should be to home-school.
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