by Iram Shaukat | Edited by Eaman Elhadri
I was having a meltdown. Lost in emotion, it was difficult for me to realize why this was happening.
The anguish. The pain…and yet I couldn’t understand it all.
Alhemdulilah, my mother was present and standing nearby. After my episode she walked up to me gently and kindly stated, “Iram, you are a wonderful human being. You’re nice to everyone around you, except your own children,” and walked away.
Ouch. That was hard to hear. But I knew it was true.
I began to pray and make dua. I began to reflect and try to understand my circumstance…
…and then finally, Alhemdulilah, by Allah’s SWT Great Mercy, it was as if I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
That moment I had an epiphany.
I was a preschool teacher at the time. I enjoyed my job. It was wonderful working with young children on a daily basis, alhemdulilah, but…
I did NOT enjoy my first ‘job’ as much – motherhood.
That moment on, I promised to be with my children in a way that they always felt my kindness and love. I realized that in the past, I was hurting because of this truth. Alhemdulilah for Allah’s (SWT) Guidance.
I began to ponder and pray about how I could be there for my children.
I decided to stay home and quit my job as a preschool teacher.
And then a light bulb went off. I came to the realization that not only would it be best if I stayed home, but that my children should stay home as well!
Thus began our homeschool journey.
Our decision to homeschool wasn’t about a broken public educational system or a broken private school, it was about compassion and a service to Allah (SWT) and to my family.
Our First Year
Our first year was an experiment. None of my friends and family at the time were homeschooling, therefore going to them for advice didn’t seem feasible.
I read different books on homeschooling methods and scheduling. One book in particular helped me change my mindset. The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life by Julie Bogart.
I didn’t have the guidance of seasoned Muslim homeschooling mothers, but Alhemdulilah I remained strong.
Tip 1: Remain strong, even when alone
Although I was alone, Alhemdulilah, Allah (SWT) kept me strong and I thought to myself, “I can do this”.
Alhemdulilah, I had a great resource just down my street. I scoured the library in search of books about homeschooling.
I had an immense feeling of, “This is my calling and I’m going to follow my guidance.” Alhemdulilah.
Tip 2: Make dua and do your research
I wanted to begin with dua and research to satisfy my concerns, fears, and doubts.
Therefore, my first tip to anyone starting off homeschooling would be to first turn to Allah (SWT). Next would be to do your research.
Exhaust your inquisitiveness. Like any investment, you need to prepare yourself and understand the path you are about to embark on.
When fear strikes
The beginning of homeschooling all seems a blur now. I don’t remember much about what happened those days, but I remember how I felt. I felt confident, because they were my children, but I was also a bit fearful.
I understood my children. I knew their likes and dislikes in food, color, toys, and books. I knew that when they fidget they needed to go to the bathroom (Akramakum Allah 🙂 ).
I thought to myself, “I got this!” But I did have something in the back of my mind. Something that struck fear in me.
When children are used to going to school
At the time, I had a fourth grader, second grader, and kindergartner in school. Our days looked like this:
- Scramming to pack lunch
- Early morning car rides
- Getting stuck in traffic
- Mama’s road rage 🙂
- Rushing back to school for pick-ups
- Rushing to complete homework
- Rushing to take a bath
- Rushing to bed
My children were used to going to school. The thought of me homeschooling soon became this thought: Do I need to act like a teacher? And will my children listen to me as their ‘teacher’?
I assumed that my children wouldn’t understand the mama that wanted them to do ‘work’. The mother they knew had: good days, melt downs, clean the house days, today we do nothing and eat brownies and ice cream days.
But would they understand a mama that tells them to do ‘work’?
I wish someone would have told me that this is something normal – That all new homeschooling mamas have the similar thoughts.
I should’ve known that this was just a whisper from shaytaan and sought refuge with Allah (SWT).
And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah.(al-A’raf 7:200 – interpretation of the meaning)
Tip 3: Do it scared
Although I was confident, I was a bit scared. But it didn’t stop me from homeschooling. Why?
Let me relate it to other instances of my life. I’m not bothered by fashion styles I will never adopt. I don’t care for food that I will never try.
Similarly, the slightest inclination to be a homeschooling parent didn’t cross my mind until I ‘allowed’ myself to take a peek into the world of homeschooling, by just doing it. I guess Nike was right all this time!
I jumped in. Sometimes you have to do it scared.
Tip 4: Feel the fear, but act anyway
I looked at fear right in the face without turning away. I had the courage to be vulnerable. This was a blessing from Allah (SWT).
I faced my fear and this is what happened. Everything was ok!
Not only were we surviving; we were thriving. Alhemdulilah!
Not to say that everything was ‘perfect’ (there is no such thing as perfect!). My eldest children missed their friends. They enjoyed not having homework, (silly now that they do all their work at home 🙂 ) but they missed playing with friends they had known since preschool.
But then, Alhemdulilah, something amazing happened. I observed my children laughing and enjoying each other.
And it hit me that my children were actually here together. Together. In our home. Not separated anymore while at school. Alhemdulilah!
When my children became friends
I punched fear in the face and this is what happened – My children became friends. Alhemdulilah!
They read books together. They went to the library together. They were together at museums. They conducted science experiments together.
Alhemdulilah, my kids were together!
Learning together through awe, wonder, and amazement became a norm and soon after, two wonderful homeschooling families joined us on field trips. Alhemdulilah for Allah’s (SWT) Blessings!
Tip 5: Know your ‘why’ for homeschooling
Perhaps a conversation, podcast, book, or crossing paths with another homeschooling family may have brought you on this beautiful path of homeschooling. Perhaps that’s why you’re here today, reading this post.
Alhemdulilah for Allah’s (SWT) Guidance!
You must also know your ‘why’ for homeschooling and write it down. It may be that you homeschool because you want to make time for Quran.
Your ‘why’ may be that the public and private schools in your area are permanently broken. It could be that you need to focus on family and need the time to do that.
Whatever your ‘why’ may be, write it down so that you can look at it when times get tough. I hate to say this, but they will get tough and you will need to know the reason why you’re homeschooling to keep chugging through.
Your story will sing a different tune
While this is my story, your story will sing a different song. And so will the stories of all the Muslim homeschooling mamas before and after us.
No matter what your story is, we are in this together.
Whether it’s an experiment or a lifelong learning process, welcome to the homeschool journey dear sister!
Let us know YOUR story down below, or email us! firstname.lastname@example.org
Many years from now, I pray that our children will know the value of truth and family. May Allah (SWT) open the way for our children to develop a love for learning. Ameen.
My Allah (SWT) open the way for my children to see that I took this path, for them, for the sake of Allah (SWT). May Allah bless them to see that life is a gift. Ameen.
May Allah (SWT) open the way for our children to recognize their Lord, love Him, and have the best of both worlds, Ameen. And all the Muslims. Ameen.
What are good reasons to be homeschooled?
May Allah SWT prevent this from happening to all Muslim children, but one common reason why parents decide to homeschool their children is that their children were severely bullied in school.
Another common reason is that their children were exposed to peer pressure on a daily basis.
May Allah SWT help them and protect us all. Ameen.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Why We Homeschool
Pray to Allah SWT about homeschooling and HE SWT will Guide you through. InshAllah!
Sometimes you just have to do it afraid. Doing something scary will make you a stronger person, inshAllah!
You can do this, mama! You were made for this!
Do you speak Urdu? Watch the Urdu livestream about my story!
If you’re new to homeschooling, read our Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling for Muslim families and watch Sister Eaman’s LIVE VIDEO – Hey new Muslim homeschooling mama, I can see you from a mile away!
Do you have a kindergartner in tow this year? Read about our Kindergarten Curriculum and Resources here and watch Sister Eaman’s LIVE VIDEO where she shows her resources and gives a ton of tips!
Are you homeschooling a middle schooler? Read 20 Tips to Homeschooling Your Muslim Middle School Child here and watch my Urdu LIVE VIDEO where I discuss homeschooling middle school and give tips!