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A Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families

by Eaman Elhadri

~ Bismillah ~

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    Alhemdulilah, we are blessed to live at a time where we have options as to how we educate our children. This wasn’t always the case!

    Not only is homeschooling a wonderful option for Muslim families, it is one of the best options. We want our children to be in loving, Islamic environments, yet some of us don’t have access to private Islamic schools.

    Some of us can’t afford Islamic Schools. Some of us only have access to private Islamic schools that are young and haven’t been well established.

    And, unfortunately, some Islamic schools are a business instead of a school, because they don’t have the best interest of the child in mind.

    Alhemdulilah for a solution! – Homeschooling

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. Please read my disclosure for more information.

    Your Muslim homeschool guide to help you enjoy the journey.
    Homeschooling – Enjoy the Journey!

    Many of us have been homeschooling since the beginning, with some of us even deciding that homeschooling was right for our family prior to our children even being born!

    Many of us have been through the public school system and know very well what it entails. Some of us have taught in private and public schools, allowing us to gain insight as to what really takes place there.

    Some of us have graduated our children from homeschool. Many of us have experienced all seasons of homeschooling – from caring for an infant, to surviving the toddler years, to dealing with high school credits.

    No matter our circumstance is, we are stronger together.

    Homeschooling is a journey that is a blessing from Allah (AWJ), Alhemdulilah!

    What is homeschooling?

    This is a Muslim Beginner's Guide to homeschooling.

    According to Oxford Dictionary, homeschooling is a verb that is defined as

    educating (one’s child) at home instead of sending them to a school.

    Common Misconceptions

    There are various homeschooling philosophies and methods. Every family is as different as the fingerprint Allah (AWJ) has created us with! Let’s chat a bit about common misconceptions.

    Homeschooling doesn’t always mean virtual schooling

    Usually when people think of homeschooling, they envision a child in cyber school, working behind a screen. Cyber school, or virtual school, is an educational process that allows children to take all, or most of, the required courses for a degree, diploma or certificate online.

    Essentially, cyber school is public school at home, as the same state standards and curriculum are commonly utilized. The children are communicating with a teacher and other students in the virtual classroom.

    Although this is an option that some families choose, virtual school isn’t the only way to homeschool.

    Homeshooling looks a lot like living life.

    Parents make decisions for their children concerning curriculum, schedules, procedures, etc. They will then set a ‘beautiful feast’ before their child. This entails, but isn’t limited to, providing living books, open-ended materials, and quality resources.

    You won’t always find a virtual aspect in this equation.

    Homeschooling is not school at home

    Don’t try to mimic a classroom environment by setting up desks and a chalk board. Next thing you know mama is the teacher, dad is a principal, and the child is a ‘student’. This setup is not going to work in a home environment.

    No, the homeschooled child isn't sitting behind a desk. Yes, he is still learning.
    No, the child is not sitting behind a desk. Yes, he is still learning.

    We strive to blur the lines of learning and living

    During a child’s free ‘play’ time, they may choose a toy or they may choose a handwriting book, without distinguishing this experience as play vs. work. If you were to take a peek into our daily lives you’d observe what may seem to be “regular life” or “just play”, but trust us, the children are learning more than you think!

    Homeschooling is not all about formal lessons

    You may be wondering, “What about more formal work such as math or writing?” This is best described as a tutor style situation.

    For example, the parent explains the concept of multiplication, presents the child with manipulatives for concrete representation, and then assigns multiplication problems for independent work.

    Although formal lessons are part of an older child’s homeschool day, it doesn’t take up the bulk of our time.

    Homeschooling will not resemble the school you went to when you were a kid

    Your homeschool environment shouldn't look like a classroom.
    Your homeschool should NOT look like this

    Homeschooling will not look like you think it will . It will not, and should not resemble the school you went to when you were a child.

    Go in with that mentality and you will be successful, inshAllah.

    How to get started with homeschooling

    Step 1: Pray to Allah (AWJ)

    First and foremost, as with all other decisions, pray to Allah (AWJ). Istikhara, or asking Allah SWT for help in making a decision, is your first step.

    Istikhra- {Al-Bukhaari, 6841}

    Step 2: Speak with your spouse

    Speak with your spouse about your desire to homeschool and pray about it together. Make sure you are on the same page.

    We don’t recommend homeschooling if your husband disagrees with the concept. However, you don’t have to give up on the idea completely.

    As time passes, your husband may agree to try it, inshAllah. May Allah (AWJ) guide us all, and all the Muslims. Ameen.

    Step 3: De-school

    If your child has previously attended school, they may have preconceptions regarding what school is supposed to look like, and so do you. Parental de-schooling will help you get out of the school mindset and adjust to homeschooling, inshAllah.

    Make comfort a priority at this time. Change is hard. Take it slow.

    Allow your child to drive the change by giving them as much ownership as possible. Don’t introduce formal work quite yet.

    The de-schooling process may take a few weeks to a few months. Be patient!

    May Allah (AWJ) make it easy for you. Wa Jameal Muslimeen. Ameen.

    Read 15 Tips to Deschooling!

    Step 4: Understand your country/state laws

    Research and understand your country and state laws. Alhemdulilah, homeschooling is legal in most countries around the world.

    If you live in the U.S., most states are pretty lax about homeschooling, Alhdemdulilah.

    Step 5: Do some research

    Research all things homeschooling to gain an understanding of homeschooling methods, resources, curriculum, schedules,etc. And, most importantly, try to gain an understanding as to how children learn.

    Spend some time watching YouTube videos about homeschooling. They’re fun and can give you insight as to how a homeschooling day can ‘look’.

    Click here to watch our YouTube Videos!

    Keep in mind that your homeschool will never be exactly the same as the You-tuber you just watched or the neighbor down the street. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Step 6: Resist the urge to buy everything!

    Muslim homeschool parents need to resist the urge of purchasing everything!
    Keep your wallet in your purse!

    Here is some fair warning. There are a tonsssss of options out there with respect to products, curriculum, resources, etc.

    Resist the urge to purchase everything! You don’t want to go broke (May Allah protect us all. Ameen)!

    Step 7: Gain an understanding of various homeschooling philosophies and methods

    Make sure you understand various homeschooling philosophies and methods, but don’t get hung up on them! Many of us start off strictly adhering to one homeschooling method, and then finally realize that we are eclectic so that we can meet the diverse needs of our children. ๐Ÿ™‚

    What’s more important is understanding how YOUR children learn and providing a ‘beautiful feast’ before them.

    Step 8: Find your local tribe

    We are here to support you virtually. That fulfills your needs mama, however your children need good companions too!

    Go on field trips or even plan for a weekly mom days out! Some groups have even decided to start co-ops. The ideas are endless.

    Search your local Masjid for Muslim homeschoolers in your area. Create a local group on Yahoo or Facebook so that people can find you on a google search.

    Read here for more tips on finding your local homeschooling tribe!

    Step 9: Implement a daily rhythm

    Don’t create a schedule, create a rhythm. If you don’t already have one, start a daily rhythm with your family.

    Keep it simple!

    Click here for a No School Schedule for Muslim Families!

    Want to have your children create a rhythm? Click here for a free DIY Watercolor Rhythm/Schedule!

    Sample Daily Rhythm:

    • Fajr
    • Quran
    • Breakfast
    • Outdoor play
    • Lunch (kids prep and clean up)
    • Dhuhr
    • Read-aloud time
    • Asr
    • Dinner
    • Chores (entire family)
    • Maghrib
    • Family time
    • Isha
    • Bedtime

    Work this out to suit the needs of your family, just remember to schedule all things around salaat.

    Formal lessons aren’t included in the ‘rhythm’ example above because you don’t want to jump into formal lessons until a regular, natural rhythm is established for your family first.

    Not a homeschooling family and need a schedule for help with kids at home due to pandemic? Get it here!

    Step 10: Read aloud to your child

    Muslim homeschool parents should read aloud to their child.

    Read aloud to your children often. Ease into homeschooling by reading aloud at least ten minutes every other day.

    You will see immediate benefits inshAllah!

    Grab some books from your local library and enjoy! For more information about reading aloud, I recommend this awesome book.

    The best thing about homeschooling is reading aloud to your children.
    This book will help you understand the many benefits of reading aloud.

    You can purchase the Read-Aloud Handbook here or by clicking on the image below.

    Step 11: Create a homeschool vision statement

    Begin by asking yourself what you want the day- to-day atmosphere of your homeschool to look like. Write that down.

    You should also know your “why” for homeschooling and be able to articulate it. Write it down and hang it up on a wall or fridge!

    InshAllah, doing this will help you become better equipped to face tough times and the critic that lives in your head. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Step 12: Set goals for your children

    The same way we, as Muslims, make goals for here and the hereafter, we should also make goals for homeschooling. Goals provide a direction and a framework for our lives and for our homeschooling year.

    InshAllah, setting goals will help you decide on subjects to study and purchases to make. Be sure to make your goals as specific and measurable as possible.

    When setting goals, don’t forget to focus on behaviors and not outcomes. For example: Bad goal – Khadija will become better at Math by May 2020. ๐Ÿ™ Good goal – Khadija will spend 15 minutes a day, four days a week using resources to practice her addition and subtraction facts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lastly, JUMP IN!

    You can do all the research in the world, and still not truly understand homeschooling until you actually start. You’ll learn as you live.

    You, my dear sister, are the student after all, not the child!

    We live and we learn and we make changes as needed.

    Muslim homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint.
    Homeschooling is a marathon not a sprint.

    Tips for success in homeschooling

    As with all circumstances, first put your trust in Allah (AWJ). {Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 7/146} Then move forward with the following tips:

    Tip 1: Stop the comparison trap

    Your children aren’t going to become someone. They are already someone right now.

    Don’t make decisions based around homeschoolers on social media or little Johnny down the street.

    We all learn at a different pace and we aren’t computers! One of the perks of homeschooling is that you can gauge what each child needs and move forward from there.

    Your family is unique and beautiful, mashAllah. So should be your homeschool!

    Tip 2: Be consistent

    Ah consistency. We hear and read about it often.

    There are books upon books about it. And for good reason. It leads to success, bee-ithnilah ta8la!

    After all, we know that the best of deeds are those that are consistent, even if they are small {al-Bukhaari, 43; Muslim, 782}.

    Being consistent is something we all struggle with, but it’s one of the most powerful tools in life. Research basic tips on how to be consistent and try one today!

    After a while, this act will benefit you and your family, inshAllah.

    Tip 3: Find Support

    When homeschooling, it can often feel like you’re an island.

    We’ve all been there and some of us are still suffering from loneliness. Some of us are even facing critics (or the critic in our own heads).

    Find your tribe and meet often. When times get tough, you’ll need your tribe to lean on.

    Although you can homeshool without support from family, we don’t recommend homeschooling if your husband is against the idea. Make sure the both of you see eye to eye.

    If your husband doesn’t agree to homeschooling, don’t give up. Keep making dua and in time he will agree, inshAllah.

    Read Sister Eaman’s Story about loneliness and how to find your local homeschool tribe! Watch Sister Eaman’s LIVE VIDEO as well!

    Tip 4: Manage your time

    Homeschooling mamas need to learn to manage their time wisely.

    Who has hours upon hours of free time? Not anyone that I know of!

    We all have the same 24 hours in a day and need to be wise about what we do with it.

    Time is a great blessing {al-Bukhaari, 6412} and to manage our time wisely, we must first understand where it goes!

    Try this – start off documenting your time for an entire week. After each half hour or so, write down what you’ve been doing.

    You will be amazed!

    Many of us are surprised that we haven’t been busy with cooking and laundry after-all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Do some research on time management skills and apply each strategy gradually. It will make all the difference, inshAllah!

    May Allah (SWT) help us all. Ameen.

    As homeschoolers, the world is our classroom.
    The world is our classroom!

    Read the best homeschooling tips from seasoned Muslim homeschooling mamas from around the globe!

    The best homeschooling tips from seasoned homeschooling mothers from around the world.

    Common questions/FAQ about homeschooling

    Do I need a degree to homeschool?

    No. You don’t need a degree of any sort to homeschool. You don’t need a teaching certificate. You don’t need classes in Education.

    Mama, you are bright. You are smart. And you are more than capable of homeschooling your children, inshAllah, degree or not!

    Homeschooling is not the parent as teacher, rather the parent as an awakener. Present a ‘beautiful feast’ and let the children do the rest.

    Many of us with a degree in Education testify that the bulk of our education focused on classroom management. Can a degree teach truth? love? patience? beauty?

    You can do this, mama!

    How will I socialize the kids?

    We find this question…uh, silly. After-all, we socialize by moving our mouths and talking to humans. ๐Ÿ™‚

    To find Muslim homeschoolers in your area, search your local masjid. One quick way to spot homeschooling families is to pray Dhuhr at the masjid.

    See any children? They’re probably homeschooled!

    You can also create flyers so that other Muslim homeschooling families can find you.

    Another great idea would be to create a Muslim Homeschool Facebook or Yahoo group for your city/region. That way you’ll be found on a google search, inshAllah.

    May Allah (AWJ) bless our children with righteous friends. And all the Muslims, Ameen.

    Click here to read more tips about finding your local homeschool tribe!

    Are there any laws about homeschooling?

    Homeschooling is legal in most countries, Alhemdulilah. Research your country and states laws before you begin homeschooling.

    How will I know what to teach?

    It’s not about what to ‘teach’, as much as it’s about how to set up a loving, Islamic environment. It’s about providing a feast and allowing children to get out into the world.

    Research more to gain an understanding, however the goal is self-lead learning. You can read more about homeschooling in the following books:

    Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie

    For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

    Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola

    Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay & Sally Clarkson

    What should our schedule look like?

    Create a rhythm, not a schedule, and make sure it suits YOUR family.

    Some of us have newborns. Some of us have chronic illnesses or husbands that are ill (May Allah AWJ heal us, wa jameal Muslimeen, Ameen).

    Some of us have husbands that work abroad. Some of us move often.

    Some of us have toddlers (aka a blender without a lid). It’s YOUR homeschool. Make it yours ๐Ÿ™‚

    No matter what your rhythm may look like, schedule everything around salaat. This is yet another benefit of homeschooling! Alhemdulilah!

    How do I grade my kids?

    You don’t need to grade your child. However, this is more of a personal decision so do some research and pray about it.

    Most homeschooling parents prefer to work to mastery, which means they donโ€™t move on until their child has mastered the skill, topic, or concept.

    There are a few valid reasons why some may choose to grade their high schooler’s work. One common reason is that many homeschooling parents feel more comfortable having grades listed on their child’s high school transcripts.

    Or some families intend on putting their child in Islamic school in the future.

    You don’t always have to grade to show work, you can set up a simple binder or container system to save important work for each child. (Email us if you want more information on that!)

    Lastly, make sure to research your country and state laws to see if they require you to turn in grades.

    What products should I buy?

    Purchase only one thing – what you need! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here’s the thing. What you have at home already is probably sufficient for now!

    Go shopping around the 300,000 items at your house and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of pencils, pens, and paper!

    You may want to invest in a color printer however. Because, you know, all.of.the.downloads out there. ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t forget your printer paper!

    Read more about Minimalist homeschooling and watch the LIVE VIDEO!

    What homeschool curriculum should I use for Kindergarten?

    The short answer – none.

    Kindergartners don’t need school. They don’t need curriculum. They don’t need formal lessons.

    Kindergartners still need your lap, fresh air, read-aloud time, and an Islamic environment.

    However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be intentional on how you spend time with your kindergartner. If your kindergartner is developmentally ready and interested in formal lessons, you may choose from a variety of options out there.

    No matter what you decide on, use a gentle approach.

    Read our post on Kindergarten Curriculum/Resources here and watch this video! – Gentle Homeschooling Resources for Kindergarten

    Want you kindergartner to learn about Hajj? This may be exactly what you need!

    How much does homeschool cost ?

    However much you can afford to spend! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) estimates that the average parent spends about $300 to $600 per year, per child, on homeschooling curriculum, games, and books. However, there are plenty of ways to save money on this expense

    moneycrashers.com

    The best tactic is to first shop in your home because you have about 300,000 items! Then only purchase what you need.

    The last thing you need to know about homeschooling

    Homeschooling is a privilege that Muslims should take advantage of!

    Homeschooling is a natural extension of parenting and a blessing from Allah (AWJ).

    Allah (AWJ) decreed for you to be their mother, therefore you are already their ‘teacher’. You ARE enough, and you can do this, mama!

    May Allah (AWJ) make it easy for you wa jameal Muslimeen. Ameen.

    Helpful Links

    Get the best homeschooling tips from Muslim homeschooling mamas around the globe!

    Read Sister Eaman’s 2019-2020 Homeschool Curriculum Review!

    You need these deschooling tips!

    Read about why I homeschool and watch my LIVE VIDEO with tips and AMA’s here!

    Want to know what products you need for your homeschool? Watch the LIVE – You Don’t Need Much and read the Muslim Minimalist Guide!

    The question is not,โ€”how much does the youth know? when he has finished his educationโ€”but how much does he care?
    And about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? And, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?

    ~ Charlotte Mason ~

    We’d love to know why YOU homeschool! Shoot us an email, or tell us all about it in the comment section below!

    support@muslimhomescholersunite.com

    4 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim Families”

    1. Loay K. Abukwedar

      Asking for friends: โ€œIf we live in Dubai and we are USA citizens, when we return to the USA, probably Maryland, what documents will they require to show that our children have been enrolled in homeschooling, and proof of academic accomplishment?
      Thank you,
      Loay K. Abukwedar

      1. eaman.elahdri@muslimhomeschoolersunite.com

        They should contact the State Department of Education in Maryland and ask for details. I know someone who homeschools in Maryland that stated she is required to show a scope and sequence of what they’ve been doing all year. So it is important for the homeschooling parent to contact the state department to find out all of their legalities. Hope this helps.

        You’re welcome.
        Regards,
        Eaman

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