While homeschooling is growing in popularity and becoming a great alternative to public, private, and charter schools, many families who are planning to homeschool their children are often intimidated and sometimes scared to actually take the leap. Can I wear the mommy hat and the teacher hat simultaneously? Will my child be social? Which curriculum should I use? Can I afford to homeschool? How do I plan and teach my child?
With so many questions that need answering, often times the fear of failing overwhelms many parents who want to stay home to teach their children. If you are one of those parents who are planning to homeschool, we have pulled together this simple guide to help you find the resources you need to get started on this exciting journey.
1: Pray Istikhaarah and then make Dua: Istikhara means to ask Allah to guide one to the right choice, when one is having to decide between the better of two alternatives.
“The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to teach his companions to make istikhaarah in all things, just as he used to teach them soorahs from the Qur’aan. He said: ‘If any one of you is concerned about a decision he has to make, then let him pray two rak’ahs of non-obligatory prayer, then say: Allaahumma inni astakheeruka bi ‘ilmika wa astaqdiruka bi qudratika wa as’aluka min fadlika, fa innaka taqdiru wa laa aqdir, wa ta’lamu wa laa a’lam, wa anta ‘allaam al-ghuyoob. Allaahumma fa in kunta ta’lamu haadha’l-amra (then the matter should be mentioned by name) khayran li fi ‘aajil amri wa aajilihi (or: fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri) faqdurhu li wa yassirhu li thumma baarik li fihi. Allaahumma wa in kunta ta’lamu annahu sharrun li fi deeni wa ma’aashi wa ‘aaqibati amri (or: fi ‘aajili amri wa aajilihi) fasrifni ‘anhu [wasrafhu ‘anni] waqdur li al-khayr haythu kaana thumma radini bihi (O Allaah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allaah, if in Your knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or: in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs), then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge it is bad for me and for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or: for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it.”
(Reported by al-Bukhaari, 6841; similar reports are also recorded by al-Tirmidhi, al-Nisaa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad).
2: Family support: If your husband or older children don’t agree with the decision to homeschool, it’s best to wait until you convince them otherwise. Find out what concerns they may have and address those concerns. Homeschooling does not have to be a ‘done deal’ as you can always start a “trial” year and re-evaluate the situation at the end of the year. Having your spouse’s support is especially important for homeschooling moms. You will need to be on the same page, so that you can find solutions together, if there are ever any problems you may have.
3: Join support groups: Homeschool can often times be a little isolating for both parents and children therefore, the most obvious benefit to joining a group would be the opportunities for interaction with fellow homeschool parents and children. Search online for homeschool groups in your city or area but also join online homeschool communities like (Facebook groups) Muslim homeschool/unschool, attachment parenting, natural living support and Homeschooling Muslimah’s that are dedicated to like minded Muslims who are homeschooling, and also search for Yahoo Groups.
4: Subscribe to Fitra journal or other Muslim homeschool magazines: I mention Fitra journal because as far as I know it is the only magazine dedicated to Islamic homeschooling. Fitra journal is a quarterly journal that shares the experiences of the diverse Muslim homeschoolers from all over the world. The journal publishes personal accounts, methodology explanations, resource reviews and a bounty of general homeschooling information and ideas, always from a deen-centered perspective. For those curious about homeschooling or just beginning their homeschool journey I will suggest Issue 1 which is dedicated to ‘Getting Started’. The issue has several articles that are especially helpful for beginning and organizing your homeschooling lifestyle, such as budget planning, curriculum breakdowns, advice for reluctant parents and solid self-care tips to avoid burnout. We also hear from children who are home-schooled, a single-parent, homeschoolers in Pakistan and Morocco, and a mother of a child with Dyslexia.
I have really enjoyed reading the 1st issue and would like to see them rolling out a subscription based option like magazines, so that I don’t have to order on Amazon every time a new edition comes out. Although it is not a major hassle, I would have to admit that I am a bit forgetful (qadarallah).
5: Organize your home: One of the questions I always hear is “Do I need alot of space?” to which I respond, ” Do what you can with what you have.” It’s not impossible to homeschool in a small space (check out a day in the life of a Muslim homeschooler), as creating different learning stations in different parts of the home can really be a great way to use all the space you do have. Get creative, check out other homeschool blogs to get some inspiration on how they set up their homeschool space.
6: Notify your child’s school: Different places have different laws, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the law and know your rights as a homeschooler. When notifying your child’s school, stay respectful without blaming anyone for your decision to homeschool your child. Have a plan in place for the first year, consisting of the curriculum you might want to use and lesson plans. There are many great online school options like K12 that make it a lot easier.
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