By Zohra Sarwari

My kids are on track to graduate from high school at age 14, insha'Allah. And at ages eight and six, my kids have collectively authored and published five books of their own, and are asked to speak at schools around the country – TabarakAllah.

I travel around the country giving seminars and talks to college students, parents, youth, Muslim and non-Muslim. One question I get all the time is, “How are you doing it Zohra?” How are your children so advanced for their ages?”

alhamdulillah, first and foremost it's with the tawfiq of Allah. However, it's not as impossible as you may think:

You're probably wondering, “What? How?”  I will tell you a few strategies that can help you do the same.  I will start off with, how they can graduate high school early.

Plan 1: Skipping Grades.

Students taking placement tests and passing to the next class is not as hard as many parents think.  The problem is that we don't give our kids the benefit of doubt. All of our kids are geniuses; all we need to do is help them see it.

Kids are naturally motivated to excel on their own without mommy and daddy always looking behind their shoulders. This can work great when it comes to excelling in school.

For all the busy people who have to work, for the first two-to-three years of their child's education, sit with them every evening and go over homework and also have the child explain it to the parents.

I know you're probably thinking I don't have any time for that – with dinner to serve, baths and so on.  I am telling you that if you want your child to excel and not worry about nagging them later, then you need to sacrifice some time and be there for them when it counts.  What I would do to take care of this problem is:

a.)     Cook the whole week's meals on Sunday's and just heat and serve during the week.

b.)    Take the phone off of the hook and just focus on your child for 1-2 hours.  If you have more than one child, have all of them studying at the same time and spend a few minutes with each one.  Basically make rounds during that time, so they each get your full attention.

Again, this will take some training and some pushing on your part, but remember the benefits are for you.  If you can get all of your children to get scholarships to college would that alone not be worth it?  If you have two or three children, that is the equivalent of saving anywhere between $30,000- $50,000.  What's sad is that most parents don't even have that money to help their kids out with college, so everyone gets into debt for school.

Let's  just say that you really can't do it because of how your life is scheduled right now, what about hiring a tutor for just a few dollars an hour; a young teenager to help your child with what you want.  Believe me it will give your child confidence and skills that they didn't know they had.

Plan 2: Home-schooling your children.

Did you know that homeschooled children are the first to be recruited by universities such as Yale, Stanford and Harvard? They believe (and rightfully so) that homeschooled children are disciplined to learn and teach themselves.  You're probably thinking, “I am too busy, I can't home school.” That's what I was saying; I used to be a corporate mom and enjoyed it too.

After I realized that no one cared as much about my kid's education as me, I changed my lifestyle to make it happen.  However, I can hear some of you saying right now, “But I can't do it, because of my responsibilities.” I understand, and will not push you do it my way, but for all of those moms who are at home, they can home school.

Imagine spending about three hours a day with your child to learn and the rest of the time, they teach themselves.  They have to read books, do projects, explore.  Imagine if you had a curriculum that helped them graduate high school by the age of 14.  Which college would not want them?  If they are that smart, you will have schools fighting for them.  At that age, I personally recommend a university close to home, so parents can drop in  and pick them up.

Imagine raising two, three or even four great kids who are smart, talented, well-educated and loved. What can those kids do for us? Anything.  The problem with society today is we want to do everything and be great at it.  However, the tragedy is usually the first thing to suffer is our families — be it our marriage or our kids.

We need to refocus and think about our lives, if we were to be alive 15 years from now, what is most important to us?  Is it our careers, being a CEO of a company?  Is it being the best lawyer?  Or is it raising super stars and working part time with it?  I am not saying ladies don't have careers, all I am saying is that we need to focus on our families, too.

Maybe the first 15 years should be focused on teaching our kids manners, love, respect, hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) but most importantly, the Qur'an.  Every morning wake them up to pray and read Qur'an before they leave the house.

We need to build families and not just careers.  Allah (SWT) has put us on earth to test us.  One of the tests is motherhood.  Are we really doing what we should be doing, or are we just trying to keep up with the Joneses? If we don't take care of our kids, with love, knowledge and patience, why will they want to take care of us as we age?  Think about it.  Think deeply.  I will let you read this story to help better understand my point:

“A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and four-year old grandson.  The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred and his step faltered.  The family ate together at the table.

But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.  When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.  “We must do something about father,” said the son.  “I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.  There, grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.  Since grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in grandfather's direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.  Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence.  One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.  He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”  Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food in when I grow up.”  The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless.  Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.  Though no word was spoken, both knew what had to be done.

That evening the husband took grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.  For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family.  And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.” – Unknown Author

I am a woman who likes to lead by my actions and not just my words, as for my children, all 3 of them want to be authors in areas that they can help society insha'Allah.  All 3 of them have goals to memorize the Qur'an and be scholars of Islam, and pursue other careers as well.  My daughter wants to be a zoologist and get a Ph.D in Islam.  My son wants to be a haffith, scholar, and an inventor.  Remember that we must all answer to Allah (SWT) about how we took care of what He gave us.  That should be enough for all of us to want to do it, for what will our answers be to Ar-Rahman?  I leave you with words of encouragement to help your kids achieve their dreams and goals within the Islamic scope of life, they don't have to give up their deen to be successful in this life, and they can do both insha'Allah.  However, they need the support of mom and dad.

In conclusion, your child can become anything, but needs your support along the way.  Your child needs your love, compassion and patience to teach him or her.  Be the best parent you can be, so that you don't have regrets later!  I hope that you have gotten the point that your child can graduate early insha'Allah, and even have the chance of going to college early, but more than anything they have the potential to being the leaders for Ummah when you and I are gone, insha'Allah.  You must nurture the seeds you have planted, you water it, fertilize it, and give it sunshine or else it won't bloom like you want it to.

YouTube Preview Image

For anyone who wants more information on home schooling, or how to make this process happen for them, please email me at zohra@zohrasarwari.com

Zohra Sarwari is a Muslim woman speaker who has authored and published nine books. She gets invited to speak all over the country in front of Muslims, non-Muslims, college students and parents alike. She and her daughter have been featured in places like Fox News and she was Noor TV's 2009 Woman of the Year. To have her weekend seminar: “Live Forever: It's your life's dream” come to your city, please email zohra@zohrasarwari.com.

118 Responses

  1. m2ab ⓜ②ⓐⓑ

    I skipped many grades myself by doing combination of home schooling and skipping classes as I as a kid , we had to move alot . I ended up going to UNiversity at the age of 16 and graduating University at the age of 20.

    If u notice , home school is not bad at all , many of the Sripps Spelling Bee competitors are home schooled :)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Umm Abbas

      Salaam Alaikum,
      Alahmdolillah. Allah has blessed u n ur f’ly. May Allah reward u.
      Jazakallah ho khair for the info.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Clifford

         Those children are born Gifted Geniuses; if you were one they would have
        noticed it when you first entered school and tested you and helped you
        learn what is best fitted for you; to me you just sound like an honor
        roll student who wants to get out early. You can be a Miami injury lawyer by the age of 22!

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Sayf

    Mash’Allah, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.
    May Allah bless you and your family! Ameen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  3. Faraz Omar

    I was left speechless when I saw your daughter’s interview on the Deen Show. I just couldn’t imagine that there could be a child at 10 who is masha Allah so knowledgeable, mature and wise. She is way ahead of adults. Allah has immensely blessed you and your children. Baarak Allahu feek.

    And I really wondered then what kind of a mother she would be who brought up a child like Aliya… and now I get to know the mother through this article :-) I do not want to say anymore, because I certainly do not want to cut off your neck.

    Jazaak Allahu khaira for the blessed work your doing. It is a reminder for me as to what my priorities and goals should be, just as it is for mothers… Baarak Allahu feekum.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  4. Nasar

    @ Sister Zohra,

    May Allah continue to bless you and your family. you mentioned briefly about a successful home schooling curriculum, would you be able to write a post on the curriculum you used for your children as each curriculum can focus heavily on one area and leave other areas of a child’s development. I think is would be very beneficial and I know several brothers who want to take this route of schooling for their children.

    Jazkallahu Khayran from this inspiring article.

    Nasar

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  5. mofw

    As a teacher, I agree whole-heartedly with this. I often try and convince people to take advantage of the educational alternatives available but everyone thinks what I tell them is insane regardless of the MANY examples I give them.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Siraaj

      My family is always criticizing us for homeschooling, thinks we’re crazy for doing it, but alhamdulillaah, our kids our benefiting greatly from it.

      Siraaj

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • mofw

        Mashallah, may ALLAH aid you in it and make your family an excellent example.

        It’s ironic because I can’t help but think that all those parents who put their kids in “Islamic” schools or, God forbid, Public Schools are absolutely insane.

        I have worked in both public and islamic schools and can say that putting your kids into these things is tantamount to child abuse.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Amal

        I think “absolutely insane” and “tantamount to child abuse” are both serious overstatements. I’ve heard people say the same thing about homeschooling. *Both* ways have their benefits, as well as drawbacks. I’m a product of public schools and have done quite well, having pursued a career in academia. All schools are not created equal, nor are all homeschooling parents. And perhaps one should take into account that there are some parents who *know* they are unqualified to teach their children at home, thus public schools are a better option.
        PS
        I’m neither insane nor a child abuser. My developmentally disabled daughter attends a magnificent PUBLIC special education program, where she learns skills taught to her in a specialized way by people who’ve had years of training. My son also attends public school and is bright an well adjusted. So, will you now call child protective services to report this wretched abuse? ; )

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Miss

        My developmentally disabled daughter attends a magnificent PUBLIC special education program, where she learns skills taught to her in a specialized way by people who’ve had years of training. My son also attends public school and is bright an well adjusted

        Amal, you should say Mashallah or Alhamdullah when you speak about your kids.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Amal

        Miss
        You should give reminders in private, failing that, when an entire group of people have failed to TYPE something you want them to type (and there are more people here who didn’t type mashaallah or alhamdulillah when speaking of their kids, yet you directed this to me alone), then be sure to give your reminders to everyone, rather than singling out an individual. You might also keep in mind that typing on the internet is not the same as speaking, so one might very well think or say alhamdulillah, but fail to write it out simply for your satisfaction.
        I’m sure you meant well, but that comment just came off as preachy.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

        Ha! Pot, meet kettle.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Hassan

        There are two things I hate most in this world, people who are intolerant of other peoples’ culture and the Dutch

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Babar

    i’ve been reading plenty of articles on homeschooling lately and its just reinforcing my hypothesis that K-12 is a big joke.
    going through the american public school myself, all those eyes could be spent in much better ways, while learning more in a shorter amount of time.

    jazakullah khayr for the article… my younger sister is homeschooling at the moment, and perhaps this can help!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Daughter of Adam (AS)

      public high school and elem school curriculum IS a big joke. it is ridiculous the way education is watered down to where you are barely learning anything… it’s shocking.. school curriculum is not helpful because of the lack of challenge, the amount of POINTLESS, not reinforcing- homework, and the lack of personal attention to each individual student.. that is just detrimental. There’s SO MUCH time wasted.. it’s terrifying. also, the classic books assigned for reading are not only seemingly designed to make children hate reading but also reinforce immoral ideas.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  7. Bint

    Allahummah Baarik Feeha! Indeed very beneficial…JazakAllahu Khyran for sharing :)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  8. Layla

    Asalamu alaikum

    MashaAllah i adore this sister! I just got married and am pregnant and already I know that I’ll be homeschooling. I spent KG-6th in school. All I could say is that it was a waste of time in the educational sense, but I did make friends that I still have untill today. Even though I was SO upset at my parents for pulling m out of school because I wanted to be with my “friends”, I am grateful that they did the right thing. At 5th grade we were exposed to so much filth, and this is in an ISLAMIC PRIVATE SCHOOL!

    As for the sister who said school prepares you for life…that’s not exactly true. You can make some friends and learn some things, but honestly life skills come from outside the classroom, and since we were homeschool from 7th grade we learned cooking and cleaning skills way before our friends did, and we did other recreational things that my friends only did when they’re school had trips. I began baby-sitting at 7th grade as well, learned how to take care of a bunch of kids and change diapers, and even take care of some handicapped children.

    Basically you can’t rely on schools for social and life skills. Don’t worry about friends either because if you are involved in your Muslim community like I am you’ll have more friends than your friends who go to school have.

    Alhamdulillah homeschool has so many positives, and I’m determined to prove all those who don’t believe with my own child/ren inshaAllah. And besides all that I’ve mentioned above, we had a more concentrated Islamic environment at home and alhamdulillah I’m grateful for all the oppurtunities I had at Islamic knowledge throughout highschool that my other frends didn’t have time for because of homework, exams, and school hours.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Asiya

      I totally miss you! :) It was really your example that led me to confirm my beliefs about homeschooling.

      I’m not married yet but I do think that homeschooling is the way to go. To be honest I’ve just completed my first year of college and let me tell you high school was such a WASTE! I completely agree the current public school education system slows you down so much. I know for sure if I live by the permission of Allah to get married and have kids I’m homeschooling them so they can get a proper Islamic upbringing, do the “extra” things people in public school can’t do, and graduate early. Then they can go on with life and pursue whatever they wish. :) May Allah ‘azzawajal give me and all others who desire to do so the tawfeeq! AMEEN!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Faruk Ahmed Umar

        Well taught article and comments. Jakakumullahu khairan.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. elham

    Mash’Allah, you and your kids are very inspiring. To be honest, even though its not the same thing , I can understand some of the benefits of homeschooling just by looking at my experience: coming home after school and being sat down by older sibling/dad to go through homework every night. I swear,it definitely did have an impact on me later on as I turned out to be the more interested, in terms of studying and hard work, among my other siblings.

    I think its a combination of not wanting to disappoint your parents’ hard work along with the persistence on them and the consistency that drives kids who are homeschooled to excel?.

    In any case,this is a great encouragement and something I would consider if I was a mom.

    Jazakillah for sharing with us your experience.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  10. Umm Ibraheem

    I would like to humbly add that home schooling IS NOT SOMETHING NEW. In England, pre 20th century
    kids were educated at home. Broadly speaking, the upper classes and aristocrats employed a governess or tutor. The middle classes were largely educated by their parents. Whilst the working class and poor did not get and education at all.

    Schools were developed in the Victorian ages for the poor children as part of social reform to get them educated. They were mainly run by churches and the children would get a few hours of basic education and then spend the rest of the day trying to earn a living.

    The modern day schooling system is something relatively new. Even many famous people and geniuses (I cant remember…….) were home educated.

    However, it is something I personally dont have sabr to do. Although we have just relocated to Jeddah so I suppose the poor education system there will leave me no choice but to do some home schooling.

    Much of it is about broadening your mind and accepting new ideas of education outside the norm.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  11. Bushra

    It’s funny how people perceive home-schooling to be backward, because they’re under the assumption that we’re trying to protect our children from the evils of public-schooling. Whilst that may be true, if I was to inform these same people that it’s a status symbol to home-school, they’d jump at the chance! Amazing, isn’t it? And shallow, too.

    I used to be of the view that home-schooling was for freaks and would further isolate children into their own cocoon. But recently, I’ve realised that home-schooling is better because not only do YOU choose what your children are influenced by, you can also teach them ahead of their years. Public-schooling is actually detrimental to us all and slows us down, but if we were to actually sit down and think, we’d realise that most of a child’s learning is enhanced by the involvement and help they get at home.

    I’ve spoken to my own family about this, and they’re concerned about isolation. How is that a concern?? You take your children to local after-school clubs, weekend learning, volunteering on weekends, find other home-schooling mothers both Muslim and non-Muslim and teach your children to learn to interact. These children then pick up good habits from other home-schooled children, as opposed to the rubbish found in public-schools. They also form their own network.

    Another phenomenon I find is that parents prefer to send their children to private school from the age of 5…I find that all a load of rubbish. If a working parent’s entire wages go towards paying for that child’s private schooling, then what is the difference between home-schooling and private school? Really not much on the financial side of things. It’s cheaper.

    As for when children go off to university or at least secondary school…socialising shouldn’t be a problem if they’ve been taught well. Academia will come naturally. Humans are naturally social creatures, so if a child has been given enough exposure to the real world (note: not TOO much exposure), then they will already have good social skills, insha’Allah.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  12. Sarah

    MashaAllah, amazing article!

    It just hit me right now – grade 11 and 12, I was extremely bored in high school. I think most kids are ready for the next level by age 14, 15, 16 but in school, the same thing was taught over and over… and then when you get to first year uni, it’s a review of grade 12 (argh!). Maybe this is one solution – keeping things new and fresh. Also, the more you can accomplish while younger, the more you accomplish in life inshaAllah. Loving this… jazakiAllahu khayrn!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  13. SonicSoriyah

    First of all, skipping children ahead too many grades is a horrible idea. While the children are (at least theoretically) as smart as their peers, their ages and thus maturity levels will not be the same. Now of course many children are very mature for their ages, but that does not mean that they are going to be on the same level as their peers. Children are children for a reason and parents should not pressure them to become consumed with school and academics. Graduating high school at 14 misses the whole point of education and childhood and sending a 14 year old child to college throws them into a whole “Different World.” ;)

    Second, the amount of privilege needed to implement some of these ideas needs to be addressed. Not every family has the means to provide children with the educational materials needed for out of school advancement, note the advertisement for ordering books at the end of the article . Home schooling can be relatively expensive for many families and not all families have stay at home moms (or dads) that can home school their children as some wives must work to support the family. It is unfortunate that this article was presented in such a way that did not acknowledge the privilege needed implement some of these ideas.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • elham

      Well, couldn’t they spend the same money on those books in place of school tuitions? The school I used to go to,my parents had to pay for the books plus the transport plus the tuition fee. This school was crazy about money and they would come up with ways of making it,like producing their own little ”books” and then forcing us buy them.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Amal

        In the US, public schools are free; one doesn’t pay for books. Parochial/private schools are of course a different matter.
        SonicSoriyah makes a very important point about privilege and the expense of homeschooling. Ditto on pressuring children to graduate by age 14; which for most children would be absolutely counterproductive and lead to a great deal of unnecessary anxiety.
        I would also add that *most* parents are in no wise qualified to teach their children at home. What of ill-educated parents making a poor attempt to homeschool their kids (it does happen)? Again, it goes back to privilege, which assumes all parents had the benefit of university and, even assuming they didn’t get Ed degrees, that a uni degree alone qualifies anyone to provide a child with 13 years of academics.
        While there are surely some successful homeschoolers, I think it’s a mistake to promote it as the ideal education system because there are so very many flaws and variables.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • HOMESCHOOLING MOM

        Amal, there are tons/free Curriculum on the internet, all you need is a printer.The even teach you as a mom/dad what to tell the child

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Holly Garza

        Asalaamu alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu-Yes indeed I agree, you are right, not all students can, or even should graduate so early, and as far as free public schools, eh….yeah; except for the taxes….200.00 dollars and up.

        Homeschooling can be done for free though. (I am NOT priveleged)

        My list of almost ALL done for FREE stuff we use HERE

        as well as here is a WEALTH of FREE teach at home curriculum, sites, and or ideas! =)

        AlhamduliAllah for that too I love it! =)

        I think a lot of us here (not saying you or just you my sister, a lot of us here) missed the point of the article. It is NOT a matter of wrong or rght, public vs private, or even privledged or super achiving students vs non.

        MashaAllah the sister has very smart and intelligent students!!! May Allah reward her and keep them on the staright path Ameen!

        Not all students can or even should graduate by 14 or fifteen. However Inmaturity stems from the level of maturity we expect as well as developmentally appropriate age levels and behaviors do as well. It isn’t all about age. In other countries people work and marry in their mid teens and are more mature than some of us here at 30!! Also some 30 yr olds in other areas may be delayed on other areas. It isn’t a comparisson, fight or a point of which side is better. I homeschool, proudly. With my first daughter I did’nt. There is pros and cons to both. I, for one, will say I have seen more results in the pro area for my later decision AlhamduliAllah.

        If you can homeschool-you should. By that I mean we should try and provide the best we can for our children. This also includes Knowing when We can’t, when we just don’t know how or are being neglectful. There is so much that can be said on this, but all in all, EVERYONE has some pretty valid points here MashaAllah. May Allah guide us and keep us on the straight path and make it easy for us all Ameen

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Bushra

      A’ishah(ra) was able to deal with marriage even though she was quite young. Even though that was a different culture and time, some children are far more mature than their counterparts, and to deny them the opportunity to mingle with those on their mental level is also a way of holding them back.

      Homeschooling does require some form of privilege. However, there are some low-income families who do home-school. And public school does come with its costs. Living the UK, we have to wear uniform upto the age of 16 (year 11), at a minimum. So there’s the cost of the school uniform(over £100), which is specific to the school, buying shirts, trousers, other accessories. Children grow out of their clothes, so you have to buy a larger uniform as they get taller, wider, etc. Same with schoolbags, lunchboxes, stationery, etc. Oh yes, and the PE kit.

      Even if they don’t wear a uniform, there’s still a cost when kids are having to keep up with peer pressure, fashionable clothes, etc, etc. The costs are there either way.

      And the writer also mentioned that for those who can’t homeschool because they’re working and have housework, they can at least spend an hour a day with their child(ren) helping them with their homework.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  14. SA

    I am assuming most of the people commenting about the bad public school system hail from the States or Canada. Anyone from the Middle East or Asia whose had a similar experience?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • living in the ME

      Yes not only bad but in some cases worse. which ever school you put your children into check them out first, check and double check and if your child comes home and says i no longer want to go to school LISTEN to them, ask them why? try to find out whats wrong, dont assume they are being lazy or uncooperative. sometimes there are very good reasons to pull your child out of school, even if it means you lose the tution fees.

      for ex if your child came home and told you he had seen 2 boys engaging in the kind of activity the ppl of Prophet Loot (as) were destoryed for but that by the time he got the teacher there, they had gone, would you feel safe in sending him back to that school?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  15. Aliyah

    Why put a 14 year old in a place where everyone is older and at a different stage in their life from then? Surely a 14 year old would feel out of place in a university environment? Would you want your 14 year old making friends with 19-21 year olds? These older very nonmuslim students are looking for relationships and even the Muslim ones are looking for marriage… how does a 14 year old (who may not even be fully developed physically) fit into this? I would find it very awkward personally…and how to make friends? Why can’t a 14 year old still enjoy being a kid?

    It would be really great to see a relevant post about Muslim kids in the public school system since the majority of folks can’t homeschool due to both parents working and we can talk all we want about how ideal homeschooling is, but at the end of the day, Muslim kids in the public schools are not doing very well and it would be more realistic and practical to come up with a solution to try to fix that.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Layla

      Well this sister is giving you that option, and it’s called an option because you have the choice of doing it, or not doing it. I know many parents who are uneducated to homeschool their children, and that’s fine. And some women have to work to help their husbands suppor their family…that’s also fine. But homeschooling I think, for stay-at-home mom’s who are educated and have that teaching characteristic…why not? It IS the ideal education program in that case, instead of paying sometimes over 500 dollars a month to put them in an Islamic private school that sometimes isn’t very “Islamic”, and I would know since I’ve attended 3 of those schools before.

      As for going to college at 14…I agree 14 is early for a girl or boy to join other 18 or 19 year olds. He/she might feel inferior because of age even though he/she may excell further than his/her classmates, but I think the ideal option for a Muslim family, if the child graduates that early, why not give them the option to apply to an Islamic institution for 2 or 3 years, where they can memorize the entire Qur’an and learn many different Islamic topics? That, I think is the best thing to do and I WISH i graduated highschool that early so I could have done that!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Hena

      Sister Aliyah, please take a look at our post Ramadan in public School- would love feedback

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  16. Sally

    great post! Your family is a great inspiration, masha’Allah! I think homeschooling, at least during the early years is a great way to nurture creativity, curiosity..etc outside the classroom. It also takes much less time than a regular school day so there’s more freedom in terms of how you structure other activities. It’s important to know thyself though!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  17. ayesha

    plenty to think about here… i was scrolling through the comments wondering if anyone would address the issue of early graduation, and i’m glad someone did. i graduated high school at 15, college at 19, first master’s degree at 20, alhamdulillah. i didn’t have problems academically or socially, either… BUT… i was not mature enough in terms of experience and life understanding and worldview, to make decisions about my life at a time when i needed to be making decisions about my life. and i could have done much better job in college, if i had not seen it as the first step towards my freedom, instead of a path directing my future.

    i DO believe in letting a child work at his/her own pace – and from what i’ve seen, often that means, if you’re homeschooling, your child may finish many curricula earlier than a public schooler, depending on his or her proclivities. not always, but maybe. it’s worth it to note that many homeschooled-from-a-young-age kids start reading later (not all of them, by any means!) because the children are allowed to come to reading more naturally (which is, incidentally, sort of in line with the islamic tradition of beginning formal education no earlier than age 7ish).

    all that said, i’m a big proponent of homeschooling… i have a four-year-old boy at home, and have been thinking and planning about homeschooling since before he was born… and i suppose i’ve BEEN homeschooling him since then, anyway, right? :) all the things the author said above about her children’s accomplishments and development are truly impressive, and certainly admirable, and i pray that Allah blesses her and her family, and keeps the kids’ futures as bright as they are now – ameen! the only thing i take issue with is the attitude of “trying to get your kids to graduate by 14″… just my personal opinion, but i don’t feel like that’s the goal i would go forward with myself, for my kids (having been down that road myself). there’s a lot more to being (and to becoming) a well-educated, mature, responsible, civic-minded, pious, well-adjusted, happy adult person who always has his/her aakhirah in mind, than getting everything done EARLY. one of the sisters i’ve spoken to about homeschooling before says it like this: there’s no emergency in education… nothing HAS to be learned NOW before other people learn it.

    i will also say this… i really don’t like the idea of public school, for many reasons… but i’ve seen many kids turn out super awesome, mature, independent thinkers in spite of it. it really does all come down to family involvement (and being in a place where the schools aren’t so bad, too, i’d guess)…. the way i see it, though, if i’m gonna be that involved, why don’t i just do it myself in the first place :)

    i do also want to say, i’m very BLESSED to be in the position to consider homeschooling. i’m educated, and i have a husband who’s willing to take on the burden of supporting us by himself (although i have part-time freelance work too). i agree with the above commenter… not everyone can do that. alhamdulillah for our blessings.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  18. ummi homeschooler

    As salamualaykum, masha’Allaah lovely article. as for the comments i am surprised at how brain washed some of us sound.

    i homeschool, i am not a ‘qualified teacher’. i am a mother though and yes i know my chidlren better than the teacher would ever know them.

    i have seen them switch off from learning. subhanAllaah the first time i saw that i was amazed that i could actually see how they were not learning!
    the teacher in an islamic or private or publicschool would not see that.

    alhumdullilah after reading loads, john taylor gatto, john holt, monterssori method, unschooling method, well trained mind, charlotte mason etc etc etc we decided to homeschool.
    see http://www.naturalchildproject.com for articles about homeschooling and parenting.

    after discussing and thinking about homeschooling, and making lists, we finally decided to homeschool. no it is not easy, no we do not sit for hours everyday and ‘study’.

    but we did sit down and discuss, what do we want for our children? a Phd? MBBS, money? social status?
    we thought about why we are here? Allaah swt told us why we are here quite clearly. so that was the first priority for ourselves and our children. islam comes first, and an ‘islamic’ school where you chuck in islam as a topic to be taught and not lived was not somthing we wanted. islam is our life and within that we learn about the world inthe correct context. we learn about halal and haram, we learn about how the earth came into existence, how the rain falls all etc we add in the science, math geography, we have postcards from far away places all over the world. my children have friends who are babies all the way up to adults intheir 20′s, 30′s etc my children dont spend hours stuck in a room with other 5 year olds. no in school you dont get to socialize much, you get told to be quite and listen, you are here to ‘learn not socialise’!! i mean didnt your teachers ever tell you that at school ours did.

    unless the parents are illiterate, bad mannered ppl pretty much anyone can ‘teach’ their children more than what they would learn in primary / elementary school.

    if you can read you can teach yourself most things.

    my children have taught me a lot of things. i never thought i could homeschool either, till i researched it. Alhumdullilah.
    It was a mercy from Allaah swt.

    most ppl are confused as to what socialization is and what the real world is. in the ‘real’ world how often do we spend all day locked up in a room with 30 other ppl the same age as us?
    my friends are of various ages, i have friends who are years younger and friends who are decades older, alhumdullilah. from these sisters i have learnt so much,.

    Who decided/ decides that a child needs to learn to read at the age of 3? or 5 or 7? or that they have to learn division or fractions by the age of 10 or whatever? look at different countires and you find each has their own recommendations, Finland start formal education at the age of 7 and have the highest litracey rates by the age of 18. The UK/ US start younger but have worse litracey rates.

    does a 5 year old need to know how to read? (if they want to thats great, but why force them?) are they going to be working at the age of 6 or doing the shopping? that we need to force them to learn before they are ready?

    Children learn skills from their parents, not by being taught but by actions. chidlren learn to walk/ talk/ eat etc wihtout being told how to and yes they also can and do learn to read divide and do fractions. eg. give any child a bag of sweets and tell them to share it out equally, thats division rightthere.

    read and research

    wasalaam

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Amal

      I wouldn’t say “brainwashed,” simply because other parents know that homeschooling is not for them. Homeschooling is no panacea; it won’t work well for everyone. No one has objected to some parents homeschooling, but the self righteous tone in so many of the comments from homeschooling parents is misplaced. It is especially misplaced given that some commenters can’t even construct a simple sentence, yet presume to teach their children how to write. If homeschooling is the wave of the future and *all* Muslims assume they’re fit to educate their children with a few downloaded lessons from the Internet, this ummah is going to be in serious trouble because unqualified Muslims are simply going to pass on their own ignorance to their children.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • ummi homeschooler

        As salamualykum

        We now think that we are the most advanced ‘civilisation’ there ever was, the most advanced medically, socially, technologically. But if you read the quran you realise there have been much more advanced civilisations in history that were destroyed by Allaah swt.

        I dont usually tell ppl that i homeschool for the simple reason that ppl become defensive and start to attack my choice to homeschool. I am not attacking anyone, we all have a choice and yes i agree homeschooling is not for everyone, but having said that i somtimes feel that parenting is not for everyone! so if i have offended anyone with my post i am sorry, it was not intentional, rather a reaction.

        It gets a litte tiring to have ppl tell me that i am ruining my childrens chances at a phD! becuase i choose to keep them at home for the first few years of life!

        education does not = a good job, listen to the talk rich dad poor dad.

        rizq is from Allaah swt and we are told to work, but to make it the first priority in life is not healthy or correct islamically.

        i have had so many negative reactions that i do become irritated esp, when ppl who have never experienced homeschooling or dont even have children make comments that if you think about it carefully do not apply if you want to discuss it do the research first.

        here are some articles that might enlighten some ppl
        http://www.naturalchild.org/common_objections/

        this is by the teacher who won teacher of the year award twice and was teaching for 30 years in the US.
        http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto2.html

        for all those concerned that children are being taught by unqualified teachers heres some info
        http://www.naturalchild.org/common_objections/#8

        http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/marlene_bumgarner.html

        growing without schooling
        http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/susannah_sheffer2.html

        unschooling parents
        http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/evaluation.html

        http://www.amazon.com/Dumbing-Down-Curriculum-Compulsory-Schooling/dp/0865714487/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

        heres the thing, if you think that sitting down and teaching children at home means passing on our ignorance our bad grammer etc you really dont understand learning and homeschooling at all.

        you can watch ‘kids dont count’ (you might find it on you tube) it was a documentary made by dispatches in the UK, it showed how children in school being taught by ‘qualified’ teachers were failing math and when they looked at why and they tested the teachers, they found that the teachers couldnt do that math either! these are qualified teachers.

        which side of history will you be teaching the children? the one that says muslims were and are bloodthristy ignorants? or the one that shows how during the dark ages/ middle ages when Europe did not consider women to be humans the muslims were living a golden age of invention/ research and clean living! with sewage systems that are still in Spain now.

        Baghdad in 1280 had 40 libraries, ( obviously ppl were literate!) Abu dhabi capital of the UAE in 2010 has 1 public library!! but 7 malls and more being built.

        why not use the brains Allaah swt has given us? lets take the good things the halal things and leave the bad things?

        heres a nice little talk that might open some eyes too. theres some histroy there
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3X1o8O-hik

        We are so stuck in buying more, getting into debt, having to live a certain lifestyle and keeping up with the joneses. theres is so much waste and 25% of the worlds population are using up 75% of the worlds resources. think about it a bit do we want to be like that?

        Allaah swt will question us about how we lived, how we spent, lets try to be sincere, lets open our eyes and put the quran and sunnah first insha’Allaah. the first things in life that we learn should be a firm foundation in islam, so that when we do intereact with the rest of the world as we get older we know this is halal/ haram, i can do this and i know i shouldnt do that.

        lets try to live our lives in accordance with the quran and sunnah, i dont just mean this part of our life or that, i mean our whole 24 hour everyday lives, getting married, children, working, eating, learning. shopping everything.

        I learn a lot alongside the children, no one knows everything except Allaah swt, no one is infallible except Allaah swt, so yes there will be times the children ask and you dont know the answer, does that mean we give up? no, it means we tell the children, ‘well, i dont know, why dont we see if we can find out.together.’ This way children learn to use the dictionary they learn to rely on themsevles to get the info they need, they learn how to look for things instead of being spoonfed and instead of being taught to pass an exam without having any real understanding of the subject.. how many of us have fogotton what we learnt straight after the exam?

        alhumdullilah.
        May Allaah swt guide us all and help us to do the right things in life.
        I do not mean to be offensive so please forgive any errors. (especially in the spelling and grammer!)

        wasalaam

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Brandi

        It’s not for me, or anyone else, to tell you whether you are qualified to teach your chidren..and that’s not what this response is. However, I have friends, who are very intelligent…read classical literature, etc…. but cannot, and I mean cannot do algebra to save their life! Should they be teaching their children math. No. Can they learn? Well, I guess if they could, they would have learned during college.

        What I’m saying is that teaching a child during their younger years is one thing, but if you are going to teach your child throughout all years, then you (this is a general you, to anyone) should be well versed in all areas.

        If the teachers in your area, or any area, cannot add or perform math problems.. then they should not be teaching that subject, ever. I entirely agree that there are teachers that should not and are not qualified to teach, but doesn’t that mean that there are quite a few SAHMs who are also in the same boat, yes? The same with grammar. If you know that your grammar is horrible, then don’t you think it’s not an appropriate subject to teach. Yes, you can print out literature online and teach it, but it’s the other hours of the day when you are with your child and not directly teaching them grammar that they will STILL be learning grammar from you.

        Again, I am not for or against homeschooling.. I think, done correctly, and by someone who is qualified (after 5th grade or so) is equal to public schools. But let’s not forget that not all public schools are the same, that you have a right to change the school that your child attends and that the education one child receives in one school may be horrible, but yet in another wonderful. I can say this (as an attendee) of public school.. Also, parents should always be supplementing their children’s education.. whether it be history or science, and always determining exactly what their children are learning.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Abu Sulaiman

        I know some home schooling families. some have children who have gone on to college in the US on a full scholarship and another on a partial scholarship.

        One of their children at the age of 10-12 years was so advanced that neither parent could teach him physics.

        Now most people on here it seems would suggest that the parents should have put him into school. Well in school he would not have gotten any help for being so clever. Not only that but he did not learn to read till he was about 6 and a half almost 7 years old.

        So you know what the solution was. The parents found someone else to teach him and help him physics as that was his love.

        school would not have helped. having a mentor/uncle/tutor helped a great deal.

        he was happy to learn from and discuss physics with this person while his parents who are a professor and teacher with a masters couldnt teach him.

        the beauty of homeschooling is one size does not fit all and there are many solutions to the problem.

        In school time is limited, resources are limited.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • ummihomeschooler

        “Yes, you can print out literature online and teach it, but it’s the other hours of the day when you are with your child and not directly teaching them grammar that they will STILL be learning grammar from you.”

        but that would be the same situation when they are in school. who will help with homework? mum and dad OR they could get a tutor, which homeschooling families can also do!

        not only that but think about what you just said there.

        parents send their children to ‘islamic’ school, but then the children learn to lie, cheat, backbite etc all at home from parents and family members because they are allowed to have free internet access n their room, tv in their room and can chat to whoever how ever when ever. Or they see their parents doing haram so learn its ok to do it. But if they do it they get told do as i say dont do as i do.

        its not just grammar it is everything. children learn from their parents and families and whoever they hang out with.

        i wonder if anyone bothered to actually look at any of the links that were posted?

        it might help people understand. especially those who have no experience of homeschooling.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. umm m

    As salamualykum

    who decided what children should learn and when?
    each country has its own rules/ recomendations at what age school starts eg Finalnd start around 7 and have the highest litracy at 18 in the world. UK starts at 4 has lower litracy rates than Finland.

    what is socialization?

    how often do you spend the whole day as an adult at work with 20/ 30 other ppl the same age? thats not he real world!

    how often were you told at school to be quite and listen, you are here to learn not socialise!

    do some research

    http://www.naturalchildparenting.com

    it seems a lot of ppl make comments about homeschooling when they dont know anything about it.

    check out john taylor gatto, books article and videos on youtube, he was a teacher in the US for 30 years.

    john holt articles at the above site he was also a teacher

    People say they couldn’t home school becuase they are not teachers, but schools dont educate. what is education?

    A lot of times whem ppl say they cant homeschool, what they really mean is they cant stand to be around their own children for such long periods of time. they would much rather hand them over to a stranger. a few hundred years ago if a stranger came and said hand over your children i will teach them, most sane ppl would have said get lost!

    the US had a higher rate of litracey beofre they made school compulsory. after they made school compulosry the litracy rates when down! hows that for promoting schools!

    yes my spelling is appalling, i blame the british education system!!
    wasalaam

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  20. AbuAbdirRahman

    Ali (ra) accepted islam at the ripe age of 10! and he assisted the Prophet (saw) from an early age. Did he lose out on his childhood?

    Umar (ra) would make Ibn Abbas sit with the elders from a young age. Why not let him hang around the other children?

    Who killed Abu Jahl? 2 young boys! What a childhood!

    At the age of 13 with his mother’s permission Imam Shafi’ee departed Makkah arrived in Madinah at the door of Imam Malik. Was he too immature to make this decision?

    Shaykh ibn AbdulWahhab was married by age 14. Do you think he lost out of his childhood with the responsibilty of marriage life?

    We have had young leaders in the past. They were the leaders of the ummah from a young age. We need our children to become like the great scholars of the ummah. Let us not think that they are too young and immature. If the sahaba and the great scholars matured at a young age, why not want this for our children?

    What about Isa (as)? He was given this tremendous responsibility from a very very young age.

    Let them mature earlier than the age that western educational institutions say is best/ideal. Knowledge is what we want for our children…knowledge is what raises people. Why was Adam (as) prefered over even the angels? because of knowledge. Let us educate our children both in the secular and religious sciences (both from Allah and both important) from an earlier age than the non-muslims.

    There are too many examples from our history. All i am saying is let’s aim high. We sure don’t want our children to be like us! We want them to be better if not the best in from of Allah.

    I hope and pray that Allah grants our children and us tawfiq. JazakAllah khair sister zohra for the wonderful advice. May Allah increase you and your chidren and make them leaders of the ummah. ameen.

    Allah knows best.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  21. Sadaf Farooqi

    Masha’Allah what an inspiring post! May Allah bless you and your family, Zohra! Would love to meet you for the sake of Allah.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  22. Arif Kabir

    I offer something even more dramatic: let’s get the child finished with university by his/her mid-teens.

    After going through the homeschool/Islamic school/public college stages, here is the curriculum that I believe every Muslim child should follow:

    KG-5th: Homeschool/Islamic school. The fundamentals are very important at this stage, and the kids should preferably be with other peers and learn in an engaging manner.

    6th-8th: Memorize the Qur’an. For homeschool, concentrate on only Algebra and English.

    9th-12th: Skip it and go to a community college. You will only be tested on Math and English (in community colleges well as well as on the SATs). If the kid satisfactorily passes these classes, he/she will be allowed into college and will then get a well-rounded education from taking core and specialized classes.

    The child will literally be able to finish university while still in his/her mid-teens. I’ve seen this process work for many students and it seems to be the best of both worlds (learning Qur’an and gaining all of the secular studies).

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Atif

      You said what was on my mind. There are many commenters questioning the benefits/harms of someone graduating from HS at the age of 14. How about having the kid enter an Islamic studies program for 4 years? They’ll memorize the Qur’an (if they hadn’t done so already) and gain proficiency in the Islamic sciences. When they are 18, they attend college as well as giving khutbahs in the MSA and conducting halaqaat on the side. How sweet would that be!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • fozi

        excellent idea, just what I was thinking, maybe even travel to medinah and live and learn in a blessed city for those years, how beautiful would that be, go to university at 18 with such a bessed experiance in your heart.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Mombeam

    as-salaamu `alaykum

    Maa shaa Allah. A preface. I am somebody who:

    1) was a “gifted child” growing up who was not allowed to skip grades in public school. It was AWFUL. I started university courses during the summer at 15 to supplement my education. I went to a very good school, however, and I was able to take a number of classes that were very beneficial to me even in high school. I just wished I could have taken them a few years earlier.

    2) homeschools my kids, have since the beginning, for over 10 years now. Those of you who are criticising homeschooling need to learn more about it, not make assumptions based on what is considered “normal” by institutional school standards.

    That said….

    I think sister Zohra has been blessed with some highly intelligent kids. Maybe she, her husband (or both) are also highly intelligent themselves. These things tend to be genetic, although not always. Sister Zohra has the complete right (and indeed the responsibility) to homeschool her kids in a way that gives them what THEY need for THEIR developmental pattern.

    The problem I have is that this article (and others I’ve read like it) is that, although it is saying lots of nice things about homeschooling in general, there is also an assumption that her children have advanced abilities because of something she did to/for them and that all or most other kids can do the same if we also do something to/for them. This is completley untrue. Yes, you can cover more material faster in homeschooling because you’re not teaching a room full of 20-30 other kids and having to start from the lowest common denominator. No, you cannot turn just any child into an uncommonly mature, advanced, gifted child. I also often see Muslims citing examples of famous Muslims who did amazing things at young ages. Again, those people were blessed. That does NOT mean you are going to be able to raise any child to be like they were at such a young age.

    The idea that you can homeschool your kid in order to compress their education and make them “smarter” and “more advanced” is called by a derogatory term: “hothousing”. It gives all homeschoolers a bad name, and it can seriously ruin the parent-child relationship when a family sets out to “make” their child into something they are not developmentally ready for. When you introduce performance anxiety into a homeschooling relationship you are asking for disaster– by “performance anxiety” I mean the anxiety of the PARENT who thinks that the goal of the homeschool and the parent-child relationship is to produce a certain type of product by a certain time. I have felt this myself to some extent, it is a feeling I think all of us homeschoolers have to keep in check. I have also seen it almost destroy parent-child relationships (not to mention a mother’s sanity) in families when the parents tried to keep their children on a super-strict high-achievement oriented schedule that was not appropriate for their development. It often turns into a frustrated parent who wonders why their child isn’t living up to the high performance standards they have set for them. The child gets the message “I’m not good enough” their whole life.

    Indeed the beauty of homeschooling is that you can work with your child’s development, go ahead where/when they need to and hold back where/when you need to and always, ALWAYS put the relationship first as children learn through the relationship.

    Also, gifted kids need to have down time, free exploration and expresion time, contact with nature, hobbies, arts, and relationship development time too. In fact, many gifted kids are so intellectually intense that they actually need to be forced to do these things to an extent for their own health. If skipping grades had meant that I couldn’t play in the woods for hours and ride horses every day, then it probably wouldn’t have been a good thing. I am grateful for Allah’s plan that I did get to do those things and they are a big part of who I am. I hope anyone in this situation keeps in mind that rather than send them to college right away, what they may need is to take time off from academics and to explore other ways of being and thinking or even to just hang out with mom and dad and family to strengthen that relationship. In the end our children won’t be strong Muslims first and foremost because they read something about Islam in a book, our children will grow up to be strong Muslims because they saw the example of strong Muslims with whom they had deep, loving attachments.

    This article makes clear that they are not finished yet, they are “on track to graduate…” but that hasn’t happened yet. We need to have more people who have raised children into adulthood successfully writing articles and books giving us advice. I find it distasetful that many people who are still raising younger children are writing books and articles telling us that we should be doing what they are doing. Let’s see people’s methods work first. Let’s see some healthy, balanced, happy, successful and most importantly righteous children grow into adulthood. As a mom I have found that as my children age, my perspectives change and I reevaluate and change my methods. Sometimes I realize I am on the wrong track in something, sometimes I have to change as my children change and move into new types of development. To pick a particular method and say, as a parent, (homeschooling or not) “this is the one right method which I will (and you should) stick to until my children are grown” is to effectively lie to yourself, your children, and your audience.

    There is no one method or solution right for every human being or even the same human being(s) all the time. And there are blessings (often hidden) in the rougher paths too. Your child is no less blessed by Allah and no less destined to be successful and beneficial in this world and the next if they struggle with reading, can’t sit still in their chair, and graduate late. Indeed it is how the parents/teachers HANDLE such a child which is critical to determining their success.

    So while this family has been blessed maa shaa Allah with some advanced abilities, please… PLEASE do NOT start homeschooling your kids intending to try to make them live up to these kids. Every person is different, and human beings are not computers or robots you can program.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • homeschooler

      waalykumassalam, mashaAllaah sister i agree with you. i have also found this, each child is an individual and has their own style of learning.

      As they are getting older i can see that what we were doing in the beginnig (unschooling mostly!) is starting to turn into somthing a bit more formal.

      I have spoken to many parents who have homeschooled and each family has different methods, some unschool, some use charlotte mason some use The Well Trained Mind.

      i also found having spoken to these sisters that what was good for one child was not good for another and so they had to use a different approach!

      i spoke to a sister who unschooled for the primary school years and whose eldest 2 got full and partial scholarships to US colleges, as thats what they wanted to do and another went to China to study.

      basically at a certain age they sat their child down and asked them what would you like to do?

      No they did not teach them every subject under the sun, one of the children was very into physics and trhey could not teach him after a certain stage so they got someone to come and work with him from time to time.

      It doesnt matter how intelligent you are, you cant teach everything, but you can find help. insha’Allaah

      the point is there are many ways, methods and approaches, tutors, libraires, books, mentors etc

      wasalam

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • abu Rumay-s.a.

      mombeam:

      masha`Allah and jazak Allahu khairun for your insightful comments, I think there is much value in what you mentioned…

      I benefited from your comments and I encourage you to write a post about it and submit to MM…

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  24. Seema Khan

    Bravo sister!!! I am on the same path as you and am going through the exact feelings you have expressed. I also am a focused homeschooling mommy of 3.
    Keep it up and may us Muslim moms take on this path more bravely and responsibly!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  25. Saifullah

    Assalaamuwalaykum

    This is so awesome sister. May Allah SWT reward you for your hard work and commitment to your children’s education. Ameen! I never really thought much about homeschooling but after reading this… I may consider it for my kids.

    Jazakallah!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  26. Ismail Kamdar

    My kids are still too young for school, but reading this article and the comments are making me seriously consider home-schooling for my kids.

    I left school at age 13 because my mum found the ‘Islamic high school’ very bad environment.

    My mum took me out against my wish and enrolled me in an islamic institute to learn the Deen, while I continued my academic studies from home. At age 19 I graduated from my Islamic institutute, at age 20 I graduated from high school.

    Today, I’m 23, married with two (almost three) little boys, a BA in Islamic Studies and ten years of islamic studying behind me.

    Homeschooling can help a child gain an early start in life.

    Perhaps I should consider it for my kids too.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  27. Shahzad

    Don’t forget to say mashaAllah laa hawla wa laa quwwata ilaa billah when you see these kids.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  28. Zohra Sarwari

    Bismillah,

    Asalamalakium Wa Rahamtaullahe Wa Barakatahu,

    Alhamdullilah for so many great responses….My inbox has been flooded with emails, and my assistant will try to answer them as soon as possible inshAllaah.

    As for all of you who are worried about socialization, home schooled children are more socialized than other children, for they have confidence, self-esteem, and proper knowledge for different situations. In a home schooled environment kids deal with real life situations daily, verses only theory. This is just a myth, like the myth that Muslim women are oppressed for wearing hijab… :)

    Many of the greatest scholars were home schooled, and many of the president of America, and other prominent figures were home schooled.

    As for financing, there is creative ways to educate your child without spending alot of money, especially with the internet as a resource, mashAllaah….however, if you really must, invest in your children, don’t buy things that you do not need, and spend that money on your child’s education, which inshAllaah will pay off in return.

    Lastly, inshAllah by the will of Allaah I will be launching a show called Super Charge HomeSchooling, soon. within a few months…We are creating and designing our own curriculum to the highest standards, inshAllah…this TV show will be free on satellite TV inshAllaah….I pray that it helps many parents inshAllaah along the way….

    If you would like to know more about it, please sign up at http://www.ZohraSarwari.com, enter your email address in the box, and inshAllaah you will be notified…

    Jazak Allaah khairan

    Ma Salam

    Zohra

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Amad

      Sr. Zohra, good to hear from you.
      You and your children are an inspiration for many Muslims. Pls keep up the good work.

      On a side-note, one of our associates, Sr. Hebah, has been trying to contact you regarding featuring your daughter for an article. Perhaps her email is one of the many in your inbox. If there is an alternative email address that we can contact you for an important matter (and get ahead of the flood of emails), we would really appreciate that. Pls email us at info at muslimmatters dot org and let us know.

      w/s

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  29. Aliyah

    Salams Zohra :)

    If you don’t mind, could you please address my comment, I’m afraid it’s lost in the comments above but I’m genuinely curious as to what your plan is for a 14 year old in a college environment and why that is important or necessary.

    My comment was: .Why put a 14 year old in a place where everyone is older and at a different stage in their life from them? Surely a 14 year old would feel out of place in a university environment? Would you want your 14 year old making friends with 19-21 year olds? These older very nonmuslim students are looking for relationships and even the Muslim ones are looking for marriage… how does a 14 year old (who may not even be fully developed physically) fit into this? I would find it very awkward personally (actually, especially for a young girl)…and how to make friends because who would want to? Why can’t a 14 year old still enjoy being a kid?

    Looking forward to a reply!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  30. Aliyah

    Sorry, I also wanted to add, I’m a teacher and have found with the homeschooled children put in my classroom, they are indeed quite socially awkward. This is something you’ve said is a myth but it’s not (from what I’ve seen). I have taught 4 students who were homeschooled at various points in their lives, one Muslim, and the Muslim student was by far the most shy and not willing to even talk to other students (including other Muslim students). All four students were far behind in their studies for their age level (basic math and even language skills and absolutely horrible at oral presentations). I’m happy that homeschooling is working for you and your children but it isn’t always so successful and it’s important to address that because the tone of the article seems to imply that this is the only way to see real success. Perhaps the word “myth” shouldn’t be used but rather that it can go both ways? I would love to see a successful homeschooled child in my classroom but haven’t yet so for me the results of homeschooling aren’t very practical at least not in the real world (again from what I’ve seen). I’m not interested in comparing kids to the presidents of the States and other prominent leaders, but I am interested in successful methods of learning.

    Would love a response!

    Thanks :)

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  31. Siraaj

    Public schooling = worst possible way to socialize kids. 12 years of immature children compounding their immaturity by taking from one another – it’s pluralistic ignorance at its worst. Couple that with the low academic standards / requirements for graduation to accommodate the dumbest kids, and multiply that by all the time wasted waiting for other kids to catch up = time and potential well-wasted.

    What will set apart the best from the worst kids will be the attitude parents have towards education and how they inculcate that within them, and this is what really accounts for the differences between say, asian kids vs other types. Of course, their mentality towards education comes with its own limitations, often quashing creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit, but that’s another discussion.

    I think it’s appropriate to say that homeschooling has better potential for children than does public schooling because, let’s face it, you simply cannot customize for your learner’s unique needs without holding up the rest of the class.

    For those requiring statistics, please see the following articles on socialization:
    1. http://school.familyeducation.com/home-schooling/human-relations/56224.html
    2. http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000068.asp
    3. http://murphylibrary.uwlax.edu/digital/jur/2002/koehler-langness-pietig-stoffel-wyttenbach.pdf (see the results of this study)

    On academic performance:
    1. http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp
    2. http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000017.asp
    3. http://newsblaze.com/story/2007100403040200003.cc/topstory.html

    I’m sure if you wanted, you could do a better google search than I just did, digging through only the first page :D

    Siraaj

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    • Amal

      “Asian kids” vs “other types”? Seriously? Asia is a pretty big continent (the world’s largest), so I suppose you must really mean East Asian-American kids and the stereotype that they’re all scholastic overachievers because their parents are maniacal control freaks who behave like academic drill sergeants? Really, this is exactly why public school is necessary to proper socialization; so that children might learn independent of their parents’ prejudices.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  32. aisha

    I dont have time to read through all the comments right now, but I just wanted to ask:

    What is the benefit of having your child graduate by the age of 14? Just so they can start university early? I dont know about you, but I dont think I would want my 14 year old son/daughter to be attending university with a bunch of 19,20,21,22,23 and plus aged students?? Especially if they’ve been homeschooled their whole life..

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  33. Aliyah

    Salam Siraj, not really… “I think it’s appropriate to say that homeschooling has better potential for children than does public schooling because, let’s face it, you simply cannot customize for your learner’s unique needs without holding up the rest of the class.” You’re forgetting the many Muslim children that do attend public school and turn out just fine because they have teachers that do care… there are many different kinds of public schools out there that specialize in different areas and children are doing wonderful things everyday…

    You said “Couple that with the low academic standards / requirements for graduation to accommodate the dumbest kids, and multiply that by all the time wasted waiting for other kids to catch up = time and potential well-wasted” … Public school is NOT the worst possible way to socialize kids. Your comment actually puts down my profession and any other teacher out there who is reading this. I actually feel quite hurt reading your views and regret even posting any comment at all on this site. It honestly feels that anyone with a different view is made out to feel ridiculous through the wording chosen in comment replies. I remember I commented awhile ago on a different post that had to do with public education and also felt incredibly put down there. What a shame. Alhumdulillah I teach many intelligent Muslim children in addition to children of other religions and they all get along quite nicely. I said in my comment it was the 4 previously homeschooled children who had a problem and no matter what I tried they just weren’t able to retain basic information and did not want to make friends.

    You know what would be great? If Muslim parents could become more involved with their children at school just like the Christian and Jewish parents do taking part in the school council and showing up to all parent teacher interviews, that would show that they care about their child’s education and respect the teachers who teach their children instead of running away from anything “public” and thinking they can do a better job themselves.

    P.S. please don’t use stereotypes like “asian kids vs other types” that’s extremely ignorant and rude, if you’re a writer on this site and I assume you are, think about the impression little things like that give off about the validity of the articles here.

    Anyways, I won’t comment again on this site, again it seems like only responses that fit a certain view are accepted but would still love a response from Zohra addressing my questions and will keep reading this post until I see one. Zohra?

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Amal

      Mashaallah, Aliyah, there are caring teachers like you out there. I already knew that though, because my kids are in public school, I was educated in public schools, so have firsthand knowledge of the many wonderful educators in the system. Some people refuse, out of arrogance and suspicion, to believe that an excellent education is available outside the home and that public school has just as many advantages as homeschooling.
      So thank you for your efforts as a teacher, and for commenting here.
      You’re very right about the tone of comments here, but please don’t be discouraged, those with opposing views must be heard as well, lest we’re drowned out by the majority.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Aliyah

        Thanks Amal but I don’t think this is the website for me. This site is just a waste of time as everyone argues and you can’t even get decent and thoughtful comments from the majority who are all too set in their ways of thinking. No offense to the author, she seems very intelligent masha Allah but I would think that the purpose of posting something up for others to read is so that one could also engage in discussion with the people who comment, but unfortunately I don’t even see that. It’s not just with this article but many articles on this website that deal with social/current issues… isn’t this site supposed to be a place for discussion between ‘the expert’ (who is the author) and others? Or is it just ‘post the article to get comments’ ?! Yes I understand that she (and others) must be busy… I’m not trying to attack anyone, but I fail to see what’s supposed to come out of this if there’s no real intelligent discussion back and forth.

        There are thousands of Muslims in public schools in the West (nothing will change that) and I just wish instead of having such a defeatest attitude when it comes to them, there are more of those (like you Amal actually) that support and are there for these children because many are doing quite impressive things while strongly maintaining their Islamic identity at the same time. It makes me happy to hear that your own children are the same, inshAllah they will be productive members of society like the many Muslim students I’ve seen graduate, complete postsecondary, marry, and even have children of their own now.

        That’s it from me :)

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Siraaj

      Salaam alaykum Aliyah and Amal,

      Let’s get the “asian kids vs other kids” comment out of the way first – I prefaced that statement with, “What will set apart the best from the worst kids will be the attitude parents have towards education and how they inculcate that within them, and this is what really accounts for the differences between say…”

      Note that what I’ve said is that what differentiates kids is the parents attitudes towards education more than anything else – you can read Freakonimics to get the data on the exhaustive studies that were done by the University of Chicago to come to this conclusion (over I believe a 50 year period). There were other causative and correlational factors, however, this was considered among the top factors.

      Let’s further discuss the difference between a “generalization” vs a “stereotype”. In sociology, a stereotype is when a particular characteristic is attributed to one group across the board, like if I said, “All southeast and east asians are straight A students,” that would be a stereotype. “All terrorists are Muslim,” is also a stereotype.

      A generalization entails taking an observable characteristic from a set of data and drawing a conclusion about it. “The majority of days in California are sunny,” is a generalization. “Asian kids” vs other kids is simply based on the observable data that due to the emphasis on education from their families and culture, they tend to perform better than their counterparts. Bear in mind it has nothing to do with their race, it has to do with their culture. The same will be true of any racial group, but often that interest is more about the individual family rather than a cultural movement as it is with east and southeast asians. I would invite you to do a quick google search for statistics that bear it out.

      Now, about my comments regarding public schooling vs homeschooling, let me first say I’m a 100% a product of public schooling. I happened to be one of the top students in my high school, but not because I really cared about education – I was a slacker who did the bare minimum to make my mother happy. Most of the time, I was either sleeping in class, ditching class, ditching school, and after completing my chores at home, playing video games and watching TV into the night. I don’t disagree that students can achieve well academically in a traditional public school setting. I did it, and if I can, I think others can too (according to the standards they set).

      I just don’t think the potential is there for them to hit their full potential. I believe that private, personal, one-on-one instruction is generally better for a student rather than a class of 15 – 30 students per teacher. That has nothing to do with the teacher’s teaching ability, that’s simply a logistical reality. I’m sure the same public school teacher teaching one-on-one as a private tutor will do as well or even better for a student’s learning experience. What I’ve said is not a knock on teachers – it’s a knock on the system itself. I also believe a lot of time is wasted because one-on-one instruction provides a better structure for students to comprehend the material more quickly, so one can either do what sister Zohra is doing and accelerate the process to graduate at 14, or they can spend less daily time on academics since the job is done faster. I liken this to what happens in corporate america – our jobs are 9am – 5pm, but you look at what’s happening, and more often than not the results can be delivered with 1 – 2 hours of concentrated effort, the other 6 hours people are surfing the net and pretending to be important. I think the people are competent, I just think the system is broken.

      As for socialization, you’ll have to explain to me in more detail why criticizing the socialization structure in a public school setting is a knock on teachers? Beyond kindergarten, I wasn’t aware teachers were responsible for teaching the children social skills…? I believe socialization is stunted in the public school setting because the daily personal interactions are among other students who themselves are immature, and it’s simply immaturity compounded upon immaturity, or as I mentioned earlier, pluralistic ignorance. So I don’t blame teachers for this issue either – I actually blame parents, the majority of whom don’t teach their kids manners, don’t screen their viewing / pop culture habits, and themselves are lax individuals. In fact, in the Chicago-dawah mailing list a number of years ago, a prominent chicago uncle was arguing that Islamic schools were no good because they were not “Islamic” and that the teachers were doing a poor job – I argued back that it’s not the job of the school to raise Muslim kids to be pious imams, the purpose of the Islamic school was to provide an environment that doesn’t bombard them with the cultural nonsense of private school, but that still doesn’t account for other kids and what they bring inside it, which is outside the school’s control.

      To summarize, I believe how well a student does is largely a function of the parents, not the school. A good teacher can make a strong positive contribution, but I think parents more often than not are more important because they set the tone and attitude the student has towards education. Further, I believe a one-on-one relationship has better potential for a learner than a many-to-one relationship, and while I students in the latter category can and do achieve well in life, I think the one-on-one relationship in homeschooling has better potential, and just to add to that, I believe it’s easier for a parent to teach the practical, daily life skills that all people should know and don’t learn in school (keeping in good health, balancing a checkbook, manners, spirituality [if the parents are practcing], etc).

      Siraaj

      PS – My daughter is currently homeschooled, she’s really social, has friends calling our home all the time either to visit or for her to come over, and she’s on her way to a sleep over right now as we speak with both people her age and sisters who are older.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Hassan

      Although this article is perhaps related to academic acheivements only, but I would want to homeschool my kids because of other factors as well.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  34. Shahzad

    One angle that hasn’t been brought up is the Islamic position on sending our children to be taught by the kuffar. In historical Islam this was seen as an abomination, an affront to the Islamic concept of al-walaa’. Could we envision the sahabah sending their children to be taught by the mushrikeen? As minorities living in the West, we have to figure this out. The vast number of us and our children are being molded by secular values.

    Realistically, the Islamic education system in the west (in the world?) is wholly deficient to meet the needs of our young people. That’s why there is such a stress on homeschooling, not just among Muslims but among other faith groups that wish to ensure their children are not getting mixed messages. If we raise our children through their formative years based on Islamic values, tarbiyyah, community and strong academics, then they will be able to navigate the post-secondary system with a strong identity, inshaAllah.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Abu Ismaeel

      What an interesting article and some very interesting comments.

      As for what brother Shahzad has said I was also wondering about a few things.

      I have heard that each of us is a shepherd and we will all be questioned about what we did for those who were under our care and were our responsibility.

      So a husband will be questioned about those in his care, ie wife, children, even parents, a wife will be questioned about the children, her husbands wealth/ home, etc how they took care of things, how they spent, how they bought up their offspring.

      I wonder about this becuause Allaah swt guides whom He wills and protects Whom He wills, as we know there are many who have been through school and turned out fine and many who were homeschooled and turned out fine, we also have many who went through school or were homeschooled and turned out badly.

      The point it we wont be asked about the end result as it is not in our hands, we will however be questioned about what we did.

      I dont know about the different systems around the world, i do however remember being taught about fornication and drugs in school by the teachers, as it was a part of the curriculum. I have also seen that they now want to teach children from the age of 7 in the UK about sex and how it is ok to be homosexual or how it is ok to fornicate as long as you dont get pregnant or get an STD.

      In fact the impression is given that fornication is ok for young people but marriage is not ok.

      Anyway, i just wonder if anyone has a good answer to give when we are questioned about what we taught our children and who we handed them over to?

      I also wonder if anyone can give me an example of the real world whereby we spend hours and days in a room with 25 other people who are almost the same age as us, where we have to get permission to go to the toilet, where we are dictated to by the bell.

      I am sure some jobs are like that, but not most jobs surely?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Amad

      “sending our children to be taught by the kuffar”.

      Can you pls guide us how you came to the conclusion that learning general knowledge, or any knowledge, from the “kuffar” is an abomination? And your “could you imagine” doesn’t really work as proof. Is there specific evidence in Islamic texts that forbid learning from the non-Muslims?

      In fact, Br. Shazad the evidence in history is testimony to the opposite, and further points out that this black and white world of misplaced wala wal bara is full of factual holes. Consider the case of the Battle of Badr, where the Prophet (S) actually desired for the mushrikeen to teach the Muslim children:

      Another form of ransom assumed an educational dimension; most of the Makkans, unlike the Madinese, were literate and so each prisoner who could not afford the ransom was entrusted with ten children to teach them the art of writing and reading. Once the child had been proficient enough, the instructor would be set free

      I don’t disagree with you that homeschooling is a fruitful enterprise, although I think supporting Islamic schools is a priority. But we cannot paint an unjust picture for those who don’t have options of home-schooling or Islamic schooling… and there are many like that.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Shahzad

        Salaams Amad,

        I distinguish between seeking knowledge from the mushrikeen and the wholesale culturalization and securalization that occurs in our public schools today. I have no problem seeking knowledge from anyone as wisdom is our legacy.

        The Badr example you quoted is, in my view, an example of seeking specific knowledge from those who have it and not the immersion of their children into kufr environments. I don’t think that needs specific proof to defend; it’s pretty self evident from the objectives of shari’ah. Allah knows best.

        The only reason for my earlier comment was a prod to parents and Muslims in the west in general that we have to appeal to higher Islamic objectives (such as al-walaa’) when making decisions.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Shahzad

        I also fully appreciate that many Muslim families have no options. They will simply have to work extra hard to ensure their children grow up with a strong Islamic identify from home and the community.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. anonymous

    With all respect Abu Ismaeel, I don’t know whether you are being sarcastic in your last lines or truly curious in your question. No there are no jobs that run this way but attending school is not a job. You could make the same sweeping generalizations about homeschooling but school/homeschool and a job are two completely different things, why bother to compare? – the former is to prepare you for the job, it is not supposed to be the job itself, hence you don’t get paid to attend school… am I wasting my breath? I don’t see how this comparison helps solve anything.

    Be aware that children usually learn about premarital sex and homosexuality from the media (internet, tv, magazines ) and their friends too and even children who attend Islamic schools aren’t exempt from this sort of chatter so if they don’t learn about these in school, they will on their own on the internet where they will be more prone to utter confusion. Unless you don’t allow internet acces, have no tv, don’t allow friends and basically moniter their own curiosity… the best thing to do is to instill Islamic values and talk to you children yourself about these things so that they have a good understanding about what is right and wrong islamically when they find themselves encountered with the above information and don’t know what to believe. See, the blame game isn’t necessary and really isn’t productive, you just have to be a good Muslim parent.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • annie

      whats wrong with the parents teaching their children about sex etc in a halal way using the quran and hadith and ex of the prophet sws? instead of the internet school and peers etc?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  36. muslimah

    there’s nothing wrong in sending your kids to the ‘kuffar’ for education. remember the ransom of the POW was for them to teach the muslims to read and write.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  37. Sk

    OK, firstly not all Muslim children go ahead. I know a family that homeschooled their children and they fell behind and needed some remediation. So it does not always work out as it is supposed to. Also if you’re in the northeastern states it is a requirement to do 4 years of gym. That’s something one cannot get out of. Also, when you take AP courses you end up skipping years in college so it adds up to the same amount of time. By the way I have worked in many school systems and have several degrees in education. Maturity counts for a lot for a child to be able to do that.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Holly Garza

      Asalaamu alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu-

      your right not everyone tries to do a good job at it, and the education we are to provide is Very serious.

      As far as Inmaturity goes- Inmaturity also stems from the level of maturity we expect as well as developmentally appropriate age levels and behaviors do as well. It isn’t all about age. As I said previously -In other countries people work and marry in their mid teens and are more mature than some of us here at 30!! Also some 30 yr olds in other areas may be delayed on other areas. It isn’t a comparisson, fight or a point of which side is better. I homeschool, proudly. With my first daughter I did’nt. There is pros and cons to both. I, for one, will say I have seen more results in the pro area for my later decision AlhamduliAllah.

      Also as I previously stated If you can homeschool-you should. By that I mean we should try and provide the best we can for our children. This also includes Knowing when We can’t, when we just don’t know how or are being neglectful. There is so much that can be said on this, but all in all, EVERYONE has some pretty valid points here MashaAllah. May Allah guide us and keep us on the straight path and make it easy for us all Ameen

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Amal

        Shameful. This is just one more reason Muslims are growing up ignorant and poorly educated. It’s an embarrassment to our people, who used to be at the forefront of education.

        As you said yourself, “This also includes Knowing when We can’t, when we just don’t know how or are being neglectful.” (By the way, “Knowing” and “We” should not be capitalized.) Please, know when you are not equipped to educate an unsuspecting child.

        your=possessive you’re=you are
        Inmaturity=/=immaturity
        did’nt=/=didn’t
        comparisson=/=comparison
        try and=/=try to

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Holly Garza

        hahahahahahaha is that all you have? On the attack, I see didn’t even give the salaams just into keeping up fitna, well thank you, because I have many sins that can be erased. Get over yourself you are amusing.

        BTW I capitalized to prove my point and wrote this in a hurry, not that I owe YOU a reason.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Sabour Al-Kandari

        Salaamualaikum Amal,

        Don’t you think it would have been more effective, if naseeha was your goal, to kindly point out the spelling errors and advise the sister to keep an eye out for certain things.

        You’ve come off as if you’re just blowing off steam here, which is pretty uncool. It’s like when people scream “May Allah forgive you, you idiot” when being “forgiving”.

        Naseeha also correlates closely with the word “sincerity”, by the way.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Sagal

        Salaam

        I did not think sister Holly deserved that kind of attack. She was merely speaking about her experiences and her opinion.Besides, this is a forum where people just comment and interact, without expecting scrutiny in their responses for grammatical or punctuation errors. Let us not be hasty in judging our muslim brothers and sisters. Maybe sister Amal was having a bad day.

        May Allah forgive us all.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Holly Garza

        eh, Thank you, but I know that type. It would have botherd me before, but you can’t fill a broken glass without some spilling any more than you can try to fix someone who is full of anger, argumentative, and sadness in their own life. I don’t let those types bother me much I’m busy trying to learn and grow in my deen which needs much improvement.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Abu sulaiman

        As salamualykum i think it is pointless telling people they are making errors in their writing, instead if we really want to sincerely advise or have a debate or learn something new about homeschooling or schooling and what would be best for our children perhaps we could talk about the points being raised?

        Most people on the internet get quite relaxed or type fast and so don’t strictly follow the rules of grammar/spelling, but when they have a report due in or a formal letter to write use their spell checker!
        hope your all having a nice day insha’Allah.
        wasalam

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Zohra Sarwari

        Bismillah,

        Asalamalakium Wa Rahamtullahe Wa Barakathuh,

        I hope that this message finds you all in the highest of Eman and best of health.

        Sister Amal MashAllaah you seem to be educated and Alhamdullilah for that. I apologize if I have not answered your previous messages, I travel alot, and am on the road teaching, speaking, etc.. So I just wanted to apologize to you and everyone who has asked me to respond and I could not.

        You see sister while you may be correct that some people do not possess the highest education or have a tremendous amount of knowledge to teach their children, one thing you fail to look at is that they are Muslims and the most important factor for a Muslim parent is teaching their child Islam. This is what will be asked of each of us, not how much secular knowledge we obtained. How many times a day did your child pray? Does you child know how to pray? Does he or she know how to recite Quraan? Do they know they know and understand the interpretation of the Quraan? Do they understand the 5 pillars and are they living it or ignoring it? Do they know the 6 pillars of Eman? The list goes on sister.

        We also have to remember that the Prophet Muhammad (SAAW) was illiterate and that his education isn’t what made people love him, respect him, and follow him. It was his character, his submission to Allaah (SWT), and his righteousness.

        I am in no way putting education down, for mashAllaah each of my children are 3-4 years ahead in their secular studies. I believe in loving knowledge and obtaining beneficial knowledge for the sake of Allaah (SWT) and making a difference, but if I had to pick between secular knowledge and deen knowledge, then I would choose deen knowledge any day.

        Why do I say that? Because I was raised in America since the first grade and I all learned was secular studies, Alhamdullilah I learned how to pray, I would fast in Ramadan, but that was about it for me.

        Yet, mashAllaah I finished highschool, earned a BA Degree, a Master’s Degree and was working on 2 Doctorate Degrees but I had no clue what the 6 pillars of Faith was, I had never read the Quraan in English or learned to read it in Arabic.

        Everyone around me thought I was wonderful, and I had succeeded to the highest levels; having the nannies, big houses, beautiful children, education, and more. Yet I had nothing…if I died in that state I was the biggest loser sister.

        You see sister over 80% of children who attend public schools lose their deen, regardless of what their deen is. For myself and many other home schooling parents deen is before dunya. This is what I would love to leave for my kids first, so that they may grow up to be righteous individuals who have high character, who do not curse, yell, scream, or imitiate what society thinks is acceptable. I want them to grow up so that their neighbors love them, and family wants to be around them, yet for them to love knowledge and strive for the sake of Allaah (SWT).

        For our children to not believe in magic, fortune telling and witchcraft. For them to to know what ever is the Qadar of Allaah (SWT) we should accept and be happy with after we have tried our best. To not get depressed, sad, or lose hope in Allaah (SWT), and to be tolerant of all people, becuase we understand the purpose of life, and know that humblesness is the key to success inshAllaah in this life and the hereafter.

        This is why most people homeschool. To obtain all this sisters and brothers each of us must get educated in deen knowledge first and foremost then dunya knowledge. We need both to survive and to become the best inshAllaah for the sake of Allaah (SWT).

        Sister Amal there is no disrespect to you in any way, and I hope that I have not said anything to offend you for that was not my intention, I just wanted you to be aware that if it came to it and I had a choice to have a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer for a child, or a child who could barely read and write but they knew their deen, they never missed a prayer, they fasted, and they knew all about Allaah (SWT), I would choose the second option over the first option in the blink of an eye.

        I love you for the sake of Allaah (SWT), and pray that you understand my point as well as many of the other parents, and I pray that all of the home shcooling parents work harder trying to teach their children both deen and dunya studies so that homeschooling can be known for its greatness. Ameen.

        Your sister Zohra

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Amad

        Amal, if it weren’t for responses already registered, your comment would have been deleted, as it is not befitting good manners.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • chemaatah

        But comments like this one from mofw didn’t get any attention from moderators months ago.

        “It’s ironic because I can’t help but think that all those parents who put their kids in “Islamic” schools or, God forbid, Public Schools are absolutely insane.

        I have worked in both public and islamic schools and can say that putting your kids into these things is tantamount to child abuse.”


        Hurling unfounded and preposterous claims about child abuse and parental mental status is not exactly the height of good manners either. The above comment came very early on in the thread, and Amal was the only one to say anything about those comments being out of line. Why is that? Not only did it warrant moderator attention, but I find it really disappointing that even those who are adamantly pro-homeschooling did not say anything about the inappropriateness of bashing non-homeschoolers as insane child abusers.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Amal

        What Chemaatah says is quite true (and thanks for speaking up). If one’s opinions are in line with the majority here on MM, one may speak as one feels, with no fear of rebuke from the moderators (even if that means accusing non-homeschoolers of child abuse). If, however, one holds a minority position and defends it, then any statement, no matter how innocuous, will be met with derision from the regulars, as well as the censure of the moderators.
        Whether or not anyone likes my delivery, what I said is quite true. I teach introductory college courses at a large state university. My part of the state is also home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the US, so many of my students are home-schooled Muslims, as well as those who have attended Islamic “schools” in the area. With very few exceptions, my home-schooled students, taught by their unqualified parents, are barely literate and poorly socialized. Their knowledge of world events is nonexistent, as are their composition skills and reading comprehension. They are, in short, an embarrassment. Children need trained, qualified teachers, not well-intentioned parents who think they’re protecting their children, when in actuality they are simply passing on their own ignorance. Same goes for Islamic schools, few of which actually employ certified teachers.

        Homeschoolers might think they’re saving their kids from some imagined “Evil Western influence” by keeping them home, but what they’re really doing is setting us back hundreds of years, ensuring yet another generation of half-literate, superstitious adults who cannot compete with those who were properly educated.

        You can all feel self-righteous and noble about your decision to half-teach your children, but I see the consequences every single day. It sickens me.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Amal

        Walaikum salaam wr wb, Zohra,

        You wrote a lot, intending to tug at heartstrings, perhaps, but your argument is a false one. It seems that you’re saying secular education is irrelevant. If so, then why bother educating children at all? If what homeschoolers are advocating is that it’s ok for Muslims to be half-literate and unable to function in the world, they should not expect the rest of us to accommodate for the shortcomings they’ve inflicted upon their children, nor should they complain when the majority of the Ummah live in poverty and ignorance.

        Certainly, religious education is the responsibility of parents. However, this does not qualify parents to educate their children in matters outside religion. You are setting up a faulty either-or proposition, when it is actually a both-and situation. There does not have to be a choice *between* Islamic and secular education because both are possible. Educate your children in the faith (although many parents aren’t qualified to do this, either), but admit your shortcomings and allow qualified instructors to teach your children the secular knowledge necessary to the development of an EDUCATED Muslim population. Even religious scholars must be literate, if we wish to progress beyond the tyranny of illiterate and superstitious “scholars.” My children must live in this world, and they will live in this world as Good Muslims, with adequate secular AND Islamic education and I wish the same were true for ALL Muslim children..

        As for your assertion that “80% of children who attend public schools lose their deen,” that is an entirely nonsensical proposition. The number of public school attendees who “lose their deen” is not quantifiable. Nor does such an assertion take into account the very common adolescent crisis of faith wherein one might think one has “lost the deen,” only to regain it as they mature.

        Finally, your rather smug remark, “For myself and many other home schooling parents deen is before dunya,” what an unwarranted insult to all the parents who care enough to have their children educated by qualified professionals. To imply that those who are humble enough to admit that they lack the necessary skills to educate their children at home are somehow putting dunya before akhira is both arrogant and despicable. Alas, it is all too common an attitude among advocates of homeschooling.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Siraaj

        Amal, you’ve taken a strong stance against homeschooling – can you provide us with quantified data which prove your points about how badly homeschooled children do in college vs public schooled children?

        Siraaj

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Hj.Yati Elscot

    Asallamualaikum sist, MashaAllah, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for., thanks for info,I’ve been thinking to do the same for my grandson..Insya Allah.
    May Allah bless you and your family :-)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  39. Abu Sulaiman

    As salamualykum

    Learning to read and write from someone is 1 thing. Being taught that we are descended from Apes is something else entirely.

    Perhaps that is not taught as fact in the USA.

    In the UK, at school, college and university, depending on the teacher, you are taught that chimps are our cousins and we are from the Apes.
    This is what i was taught. i am not talking about evolution within 1 species, as in, the changes that take place in a moth etc but rather we were taught that there was nothing, then there was something and it all came about by it self! until we evolved. this is taught as a fact and they drop the word theory from their lectures. go to any uk library and look at the books and you will see this is spoken of as if it were a fact.

    we know it is not true.

    do we want to corrupt our children before they have had a chance? if you think this doesn’t effect people you are wrong. many people have problems and doubts and shaitaan attacks where he can. We just give him more ammo by letting our children be brainwashed by this type of educational system.

    It is a whole system, it is not just 1 little classroom where children go to learn to read and write alongside others of all ages.

    In the situation of the POW who taught the companions at the time of Badr how to read, most of them were not 5 years old and they were of all ages, they did not spend 6 or 8 hours everyday going to a school and back, sitting in a class of 20 or 30 other children of the same age.

    the situation was different.

    Take the good and leave the bad.

    wa salam

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  40. Jamila Alqarnain

    Salamualaikum,

    I am very impressed by your success with homeschooling. I am a homeschooling mom of 6 and I am expecting one more in December inshalah. I have been homeschooling for 10 years and it has been quite a learning experience mashalah. There are many things that I know now that I wish I had known from the beginning. So I have decided to write a book that will help other parents who are homeschooling or making the desision to homeschool or put their children in public school. I would like to interview you inshalah as I believe you have alot of valuable information other parents can use. If I may I can interview you over the phone or send you the interview to fill out. Let me know if you can help. Thank you.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  41. Holly Garza

    MashaAllah, I found your daughter’s site yesterday sister. I also let my 6 year watch and listen. May Allah reward you for what you have taught Ameen

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  42. Zohra Sarwari

    Bismillah, Asalamalakium Wa Rahamtullah Wa Barakatuhu,

    My dearest sisters and brothers while we may agree to disagree on many things, we still need to remember that we need to be kind with our words. The Prophet(saw) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or keep silent” (Bukhari and Muslim).

    I understand that home schooling may not be for everyone, and that is ok sisters and brothers. All I ask is that each of us as educators work hard and find creative way to teach the youth out there. They need us at public schools, private schools, and home. So no matter where we are we should do our best to teach them about their deen and secular studies so that they may be inspired, motivated and ambitious for the sake of Allaah (SWT).

    Let’s face it, no matter what happens we will always have kids in situations that may cause fitna, and as educators we need to give them a great foundation of Islaam so that they may avoid fitna no matter where it comes from. So that they may make better decisions inshAllaah when the test comes their way.

    I hope that I have not hurt any of you in any way for that was not my intentions… If I have I ask you for forgiveness.

    Lastly, I just wanted to share a Documentary that is out on the educational system…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uem73imvn9Y

    Enjoy it!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Holly Garza

      JazakAllah Khayer!! You are so right! Also what we write will be a testament against or for us on judgement day! Thanks for the reminder, comment, and link. May Allah keep and reward you.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  43. Zohra Sarwari

    Bismillah

    Asalamalakium Wa Rahamtullahe Wa Barakatuhu,

    I see that you did not understand at all what I meant in my response. So inshAllaah I will agree to disagree with you, and will leave it at that.

    The Prophet Muhmmad (SAAW) said : “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or keep silent” (Bukhari and Muslim).

    Jazak Allaah Khiaran and may Allaah (SWT) guide US ALL to become righteous, pious, and productive individuals. ameen

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  44. Abu sulaiman

    As salamualykum

    Having read through the comments i wanted to point out a few things that i was thinking about and please i dont mean any offence to anyone i was just wondering about it.

    I wonder how many of us assume that a good secular education = good money/ job etc ? Because it really doesn’t work like that.

    For people who think that the majority of the muslim ummah is illiterate and thats why they are poor, you have fallen for a simplified colonialist western attitude and we all need to get away from that kind of thinking.
    ‘we are superior, we are more advanced, we are more civilized, because we have more of everything.’ BUT we also generate more rubbish, more toxic rubbish (which we then kindly send to those ‘poorer’ countries) and we use up more of the worlds resources no matter where we get them from, as if we have some superior right to it.

    http://www.thestoryofstuff.com (if the link doesnt work google it, a short little movie, very informative).

    The second thing i wonder is how many of us have ever been out of the western countries we live in and actually seen how the rest of the world and people really are?
    Have we ever lived for any length of time in any country other than the western ones we occupy?

    I only wonder this as I have been to a few different places not just on short holidays but also for long periods of time and the garbage we are fed about how the ‘poor’ people live in the ‘developing’ countries, is just that, garbage.

    We seem to be under the impression that the best life is the one with the two cars/ hoilidays/ 2 incomes/ large house/ holiday home/ nanny/ cleaner capitalist consumer society, where babys go to lovely day care so mom can earn money as she, the mother is seen as a freeloader who just sits at home all day doing nothing.

    When you travel throughout Allaah swt’s earth you learn a lot and it really opens your eyes. Alhumdullilah.

    I also wonder if anyone else on here has ever read or listened to John Taylor Gatto? He is very informative and has done so much research about education. He was a teacher for 30 years before he retired and he won teacher of the year twice, so I think he is pretty qualified to talk about education.

    wa salamualykum

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • chemaatah

      Salam. Global literacy rates, especially those of females in many Muslim countries, are appalling. How is the recognition of this sad fact falling “for a simplified colonialist western attitude”? Boys and girls need to be taught to read. Not so they can have two cars and holidays and send toxic waste abroad, but so they can overcome poverty that’s killing them. 24,000 people die every day of hunger. Millions of children die every year for lack of clean water. Millions die of vaccine preventable illnesses. And women continue to die at horrific rates during childbirth, or be horribly maimed in the process because they don’t have access to trained medical personnel. Recognizing these facts is not asserting superiority. Sacrifices need to be made in the first world to give those in the third world a fair chance in life.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  45. UmmSamah

    Asslamaleikum

    Mashallah to Sr Zohra and her family! Jzkllh for not only excellet article, but having attracted all the homeschoolers to this blog like a swarm of flies:)

    I am now at a one-stop shop to get excellent ideas and links – Jzkllh!

    I am a medical doctor and run breastfeeding and parenting workshops in South Africa with 3 Alhamdulillah (7,3 and 2mo). I decided to homeschool for A few reasons:

    1. I breastfeed my children for 2 whole years (becomes a battle to drop and fetch with nurselings).
    2. I never worked (consulted with patients) more than 3hrs per day and weekednds were free.
    3. South Africa has high HIV and TB rate. even cleaners and educators are not disease free.
    4. My normally alhamdulillah healthy children turned permanentky snotty when i tried schooling samah age 4yrs. The ENT specialist said, stop school and I wont need to put in grommets – I was happy – My husband needed to hear that as he felt that all childeren need main stream school and it muts start at 3yrs.

    I mean really, waking a 4 yr old child so early to make it in time for school so that working moms dont get late for their work. because after all its all about women wanting to work isnt it? what is our ultimate intention?

    5. My children brought aboyt the change that i needed. Allah guided me alhamdulillah. My purpose in life became more clear. I am not the breadwinner. My qualification is not wasted. My purpose to consult with ill patinets is not to earn money. You learn to TRIAGE as a doctor and you learn the real meaning of TRIAGE as mother, its also called PRIOROTISING.

    6. We only have 1 chance at parenting. I dont want to experiment on my kids when others have done it. Why trial and error when the Quran is full proof?

    Quran says: Breastfeed 2 whole years. Allah says “Men are the protectors and guardian of women and devout women take care of his assests in his absence” …his assets are HIS CHILDREN…

    The prophet said: advice prayer at 7years and punish only after age 10 if necessary. The average child is punished severly before the age of 10yrs in schools.

    He also said :education is fardh on every man and woman. for if i was not educated, i wouldnt be able to educate my kids.

    7. We would have never needed vaccines for diseases if it werent for creches and kindergartens, the ultimate breeding ground for germs and poorly developed personalities.

    i am constantly criticised re homesxhooling too. after my baby 3, people are asking when am i starting work! for some reason everyone else is concerned about when i will work and least of all me:)

    As for high school, majority of studnets need additional coaching. the time at school is wasted time. either the kids are too fast or too slow for you. majority of substance is learmt in private tuitions. I, myslef was tutored in high school. we had to attend school as that was law. we used to finish the syllabus in 4MONTHS flat for Maths, Physics and Chemistry!! The remainder of the year we passed time doing past papers and editing our math teachers study guides. My dad taught us the english, mom taught us madrassa.

    Life is short. We only have 1 chance at it. We have to learn to priorotise our choices. This life is a test for the next.

    MAy Allah grant sister Zohra strength to go strong. By doing her seminars, she is doing da’wah. The correct advice is always that one that doesnt cost a buck. If you are paying for it, you are being deceived.

    Jazakallah sister Zohra.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  46. Mischa

    I think it’s wonderful that your children are so academically gifted and I full-heartededly agree that it’s important to do many of the things you outlined in this article with your children, but think about this, do you really want your 14 year old daughter going to classes with 18+ year old men? Public school is not only for academic education but it allows for maturity and socialization to occur, both things take time and cannot be “skipped ahead”. The journey is sometimes more important than the destination.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  47. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    There are so many after-school programs you can enroll them in (even at some masâjid), having to do with sports, arts and crafts, language acquisition, etc. In fact, if kids get homeschooled, they would have more time to engage in those extracurricular activities since they learn faster (given that the focus is entirely on their specific needs rather than divided over a class of 15+ kids who each have unique learning capacities and needs).

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  48. Zainab

    Read “The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling” by Rachel Gathercole…

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  49. homeschooler

    If you have time and have children, when you see how they learn to walk and talk without your formal instruction, you realise they learn how to communicate from mum and dad and anyother family member adult or child around them.

    so if you speak the truth, they will learn to, but if you teach them to lie and backbite then they will learn that.

    2 examples i am sure you have heard before;

    1- parents tell their children always speak the truth, but if someone phones and they dont want to speak to that person they tell the children to lie to the person on the phone and say mums asleep, etc so encouraging lieing.

    2- anger, we tell our children the prophet sws taught us that we should say auothobillah when we are angry, that we should sit down if we are standing etc etc yet when we get angry we let it rip and dig into those who have the most rights over us.

    had a bad day at work? school? college? dont take it out on your collegues, wait till you get home then take it out on your parents/ spouse/ children etc

    we take ppl for granted.

    Children LEARN from watching what others around them are doing, they imitate, so it is no good telling a child do as i say dont do as i do.

    shaitaan wants to destroy us, he is our number one enemy, from day 1 till the day we die he will try all he can to cause our destruction, remember we are brothers and sisters and should want good for each other, shaitaan wants us to be divided and it is easy to misunderstand or be offeneded on the internet.

    we all have our own choices to make and learn what we need to do to make those choices, MAsha’Allaah the sister has helped hightlight this topic, so those interested can delve further into it and those not interested can leave it.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  50. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    As someone who went to public school from kindergarten to grade 12, I can tell you that University is a very different experience which public school doesn’t prepare you for. I really don’t think there is a significant difference between public-schooled and home-schooled kids in that regard. In fact, my University unofficially gives first-year students the option to wipe their first year transcript clean if they plead that they were overwhelmed by the University experience (and as far as I know, the vast majority of students are the product of public school).

    I think in order to be prepared for University, kids, whether home-schooled or public-schooled, need to be taught to be independent and self-reliant when it comes to education. They should also make use of the many avenues and pieces of information Universities provide for getting used to the University experience. Other than that, general life skills that kids can learn from engaging in extracurricular activities and I think they should be good to go.

    In the past, I found the idea of homeschooling to be strange, mostly because public schooling seemed so “natural”, but after looking into homeschooling and giving it some thought, I’m now a big believer in home schooling and it’s something that I personally require any prospective wife to be cool with.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  51. Sayf

    As someone who goes to the same uni as Abu Musa, I can tell you he’s got a point. = O}

    I’ve also been TA’ing gr.11 chemistry in public school and I’m telling you, the system is so inefficient, you could really teach it to the average 13 year old in half the time if there is more 1 on 1 time and some ingenuity. Imagine all the epic worldy experiences a kid could have with all that extra time NOT spent bored in the classroom making spitballs.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  52. naeem

    Sayf,

    Excellent point. In fact, I suggest those interested in homeschooling to look into the Robinson Curriculum. Dr. Robinson makes a similar point to Sayf’s, that
    HS science is a joke and basically is re-taught at the university level.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  53. SA

    Mind telling me the university’s name.From what Sayf wrote I am assuming you went to York U as well.Didn’t know they were that bad.A whole year’s transcript sounds a bit fishy.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  54. Brandi

    I went through the public school system, and although I admit some of it is redundant, I dare say that children need that.

    Also, due to the excellent teaching of my high school (this is a very average HS, public, state-support in the US) I, and many others, took placement exams and placed out of entry level foreign lang., science and math. This is common here, but obviously depends upon the student and the course of work they plan on taking in college… but here in the US, if you’re not going to a really poor HS, if you are taking college prepatory classes and/or advanced levels courses, then 11 and 12th grades are not a joke and do not need to be re-taught.

    Many pass through the first one or two years of college, graduating college early (which is great), but yet not actually attending college early. Maybe this is a better idea than having a 14 y/o in college.

    Just my opinion… For the record, I have extensive undergrad and grad. school education, all public as well… and I am neither for or against homeschooling.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

Leave a Reply