It was 2015, ten years into our marriage and parenting, we realized we want to change our set up. No one in our immediate family had done this before. We had heard of distant cousins trying and applying the kind of lifestyle we were going to adopt. So we said our prayers and jumped in.
We became homeschoolers
Yes homeschoolers. Not an unheard concept anymore specially during the pandemic situation where the entire world was confined to computers and online education. "Homeschooling is the best option for our family" I had concluded my long convincing pitch to my husband.
Ok. Let's pause. Allow me walk you through both our educational backgrounds, My husband, may Allah have mercy on him, is from a cadet school upbringing. He lived in different parts of the world during his college education and completed his masters after we had our first born. It's safe to say , he studied in three different continents over a span of three decades. It is also essential to understand that he is an over achiever, very driven and a focused inducudal thanks to his army schooling. Discipline , punctuality , accountability, logic , reason and loyalty, all of his personality traits are worth commending, Alhamdulilallah.
He was always at the top of his class, an honors student throughout his learning career and a very typical dream child for any parent. I must say.
I am the opposite. I was a good student up until grade 8, then physics, math and chemistry changed my academic trajectory. I openly appologize to my poor mother who took me to tuitions so that I would just pass in the board exams. I did , Alhamdulilallah. If 35 was the passing mark I got 36, I hope you get the picture now.
I was not a lazy student. I was just a very nervous exam taker. We both ( my husband and I) were on leadership posts in our schooling years. I was into debates , writing and drama classes and he was an athlete, playing every sport under the roof.
Now I see ourselves as a perfect match!
We have three homeschooled children today. I have a bachelors in computer science which went to total waste due to lack of interest and have completed my bachelors in education.Alhamdulilallah.
So what brought me to homeschooling?
To raise God conscious children: I felt like a hamster stuck in a wheel. Mindlessly copying a routine from morning to evening with zero positive effects in any of our lives.We would teach children about God, Islam , Prophets, but they needed more than stories, they needed to understand what it meant to have a God conscious life. Understanding our deen through practice and not just verbal and minimal physical practices.
To become intentional parents : I am a parent by choice, but am I using my parental right to choose how to raise my children? What did I choose for my children? Is it going to lead them to a better life ? These and many similar questions kept me thinking and seeking for answers.
Bringing up empathetic individuals:It was heartbreaking to hear stories about children leaving their religion, getting into bullying episodes, becoming victims to different addictions, not realizing the value of life and honoring humanity. I realized these hard truths require a different kind of upbringing.
Break them to make them or make them so that they don't break? That was the question I constantly kept asking myself. As a parent I have a duty to teach my children, not just subjects to pass from one school to another but to be positive role models. What platforms had I provided as a parent for my children to learn the tools of compassion, honesty, courage, resiliance?
How much does my child know me? They see me packing lunches, dropping them to school , picking them up , do the house chores, yell when tired and using screen time as my escape when clueless. Do they know me? The real me? The one who strives to be a better Muslim, the one who thinks about their Dunya and Akhirah , the one that makes dua for their success in both the worlds? Do they know what I aspire to become? Apart from my identity as a parent do they know me as a human? Do they know of any positive impact I bring into the world?
Do I really know my children? Have I worked hard enough to raise them as good individuals? Have I set examples of altruism, compassion and forgiveness towards others, for them to follow. Will they be able to stand against injustice and speak the truth? Can they stand against false pretenses of social media and many such vices?
What happened next
My husband and I agreed to homeschool the children and so our journey began. We have been doing this for almost 6 years now. Many good days have come and many doubtful ones have passed, Alhamdulilallah. Our families were supportive of this decision. We found like minded people, online and in our social circles and started the journey.
As a human being I have learned so much about myself, my parenting style and am constantly learning about my children and from them too.Their personalities, their social emotional abilities, their strengths and weaknesses and above all their bonding as siblings is a beautiful blessing to witness.
What we learned throughout the years
Do it for yourself and your family with faith and conviction.
Not everyone is cut out for this kind of a life-style but you will not know unless you try.
Ask for help, there are so many homeschoolers ready to give tips and tricks to successful homeschooling, search and experiment to see what suits your family best.
Homeschooling is for all ages.
You do not have to be an expert in all subjects to be able to homeschool.
There is online schooling, tutors, free syllabus etc. to choose from.
It will take at least a year to realize what time schedules, study routines suit you and your family
No one is saying it is easy but it is not impossible either.
Read about homeschooling, find your options.
Every success story emerges only after many failure stories, own your story and have faith in Allah Subhanahu Wa Tala's plan.
Every soul has their journey. Don't judge, be kind, listen and lend a helping hand if you can. There are paths and passages no one has treaded before, that doesn't mean you are not allowed to walk that path. It only means your footsteps will be followed forever if you have the courage to lead.