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  • Writer's pictureUmmu Nuraddeen M.A. Ed

So You Want To Homeschool


As Salaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatu:

Over the years, I have come in contact with many parents, Muslim and non-Muslim parents who are not aware of homeschooling as an alternative educational option for their children. Just like you, they have loads of questions or misconceptions about homeschooling that need to be addressed. So, in this week's blog, we are going to focus on the challenges and advantages you may come across as a homeschooler and the many resources available to homeschool successfully. Knowing this information in advance will help you to decide if homeschooling is right for you, and Allah knows best.

 Key Aspects to Keep in Mind Before Your Homeschool Journey

1. Research: If you are sure that homeschool is what you want to pursue for your child(ren), do your research. Ask other homeschool parents about their challenges and advantages. Seeking the guidance of Allah(swt) is the foundation of all future success. This method of asking for guidance should be implemented as part of your daily routine. Continue making the du’ah, made by the parent for his/her child, are those that are answered by Allah. 

2. Planning/Organizing: Homeschooling requires a significant time commitment by at least one parent. Plan on setting aside time week for lesson planning, prepping, and teaching. This process will take a minimum of 30 minutes a day for children in elementary levels (actual teaching time should take no more than 2-2.5 hours a day for core subjects). For children in middle and high school, lessons are typically completed independently, however, planning the weekly lessons, materials, and activities could take 1-2.  

3. You Time: Trust me, as a homeschool parent of 20 years, usually means you have little or no personal time since the kids are with you 24/7. Although I and most parents find that can be one of the most rewarding parts of homeschooling, everyone needs downtime in order to avoid burnout. So, it is crucial that you arrange with your spouse, homeschool coops, or other family members, time to relax and take a break from your chaotic schedule. This can be as simple as watching the kids so the home teacher has time to take a relaxing bath or go do a little shopping. 

4. Financial Costs: Homeschooling can be accomplished in a variety of ways to fit your individual budget. The cost all depends on the choices you make regarding the resources and accessories needed for the school year. Curriculum guides, online subscriptions, tutoring, private & group lessons, books, kits, educational games, magazines, school supplies, etc, thankfully, because so many parents are turning to homeschool there are several online and offline resources that are available at little to no cost.

5. Socialization: Attention will need to be given to getting your children together with others. The beauty of homeschooling is being able to have more control over the social contacts your child makes. On average, homeschooled students tend to have a broader age and ethnic diversity of friends than their public or privately schooled peers, which encourages maturity. Homeschoolers meet and socialize with peers in their neighborhood and at community classes and activities. Most homeschoolers find avenues for social and intellectual interaction that provide a much better quality of socialization than that found in the group schooling environment. 

6. Household Organization: Organization and scheduling are often the keys to greater efficiency and productivity around the house and in the home school. Housework and laundry still have to be done, but it probably won't get done first thing in the morning. Talk to other homeschoolers about their schedule, look at your personal preferences (i.e. like to have a clean house in the morning or don’t mind waiting till the afternoon to do the chores) and then work out a schedule that works for you. Once you actually start homeschooling you may find that the schedule needs to be adjusted. This is a natural part of the adjustment process and should be seen as positive feedback rather than a failure to plan properly. The first year will be the hardest but once you find your rhythm, homeschooling will be a breeze.

Getting Started Tips:

For young children, starting from the beginning stops any resistance. Parents may believe that it is better for the child to attend a traditional school setting in their primary years so that they learn all the basics. However, the reality is that students who have been schooled in a group setting from the beginning and then are pulled out for homeschooling often have the most difficult time adjusting. They have never known anything other than group schooling, and the change to homeschool can be extremely frustrating and lonely for them. 

For older students, they may fear that they will lose friends or not be able to engage in the activities they are used to. However, they can be eventually see the benefits of homeschooling by focusing on significant benefits such as:

• creating their own schedule 

• work at their own pace (intermediate/ advanced)

• become more independent and self-motivated 

• more time to pursue interests/hobbies/sports 

• less peer pressure 

• no exposure to drugs, alcohol, dating, and school violence 

• time to study/memorize the Qur'an 

• ability to travel without falling behind ( my children have traveled to Egypt, Saudi, Morocco and across the U.S. during the school year) 

• possibly finish high school ahead of their peers ( my son completed H.S. at 15 years old and my daughter is 13 in the 11th grade Alhamdulilah)

• better preparation for college ( My son just completed his degree in psychology at 19 years old Mashaa Allah)

Every Mom Is A Teacher

Don't be intimidated by Teaching, if you can read, write and speak in English fluently, You should be able to teach your child(ren). As long as you do your research and obtain quality curriculum and teacher materials that guide you through lesson planning and teaching methods, you should do great. Get help from others if you need to and feel free to hire tutors for subjects that you are not comfortable teaching. There are many methods of homeschooling; no single method is best. Success often comes through experience, confidence, dedication, and willingness to experiment. Many parents prefer the structure of a purchased curriculum and switch to their own tailored program once they feel more confident. Some parents opt to teach all subject areas to their children; others seek out classes or tutorials for some or all of the subjects. There are plenty of curricula and distance learning programs available to homeschoolers. You will need to have a very good idea of your child’s abilities and your own educational philosophy in order to successfully integrate your chosen curriculum into your home school. There are several styles or methodologies homeschooling families embrace, these are just a few: pre-approved Curriculum (time4learning.com), Un-schooling, Eclectic, Classical, Montessori, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason and more. Research as many methodologies as possible to find the one that best meets your needs. Also keep in mind that some children will go through the materials quicker than others; this is normal and as you work with your child you will learn to adjust the program to their needs. 

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Don't Neglect The Marriage

Marital Stress is bound to occur when, mom is home all day trying to keep up with babies, toddlers, and teens. Dad is out working one, even two jobs. Grumpy husbands, exhausted moms - home education can be stressful on a marriage. Both dad and mom will have to find some peace amidst the struggles and challenges. You will need to set aside time in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed or on weekends to spend quality time with each other (this is crucial!). It can be just half an hour of tea and conversation, listening to a brief lecture together after Isha, or a special night to go out to dinner alone. The point is to keep your marriage healthily while meeting the demands of home, work, and homeschooling. 

HomeSchool Potluck

Why Others Began: It is always beneficial to hear why other families chose to homeschool. Put together a potluck for other homeschool moms, and share your stories, hardships, and helpful resources and activities in homeschooling. You never know, something someone shares may click for you or you may help someone else with a challenging dilemma. There is always a personal family story of why the family chose to homeschool - and it is not always for the same reasons - yet the majority of the time, the ultimate goals are the same. 

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