Muslim homeschooling continues to grow in popularity in the United States as more and more parents, concerned by poor test scores, lack of educational quality, and conflicts with traditional values choose to educate their children themselves.
The Muslim Homeschooling Movement
While still small, the number of Muslim families choosing to homeschool their children is growing. Why parents choose to homeschool their children is a deeply personal matter.
As test scores decline, parents are reacting by taking charge of the quality of their children's education. Other parents find that public education, with its one-size-fits-all approach to learning, kills their child's innate curiosity and love of learning. Because homeschooling enables parents to control the curriculum and pace of education, they can focus the curriculum on strong basics, such as reading, writing, mathematics, history, science and language. Parents can tailor the curriculum to their child's interests and instill a zeal for learning that will serve the child well throughout his or her lifetime. Home schooled students routinely outperform traditionally educated peers on standardized tests and do well in college too, proving that parents can and do educate their children well and prepare them academically for college and careers.
Muslim families want to instill strong Islamic values in their children. That's often difficult to do when kids leave home and attend public schools. Although children may have received excellent guidance at home, it's difficult for youngsters of any faith to withstand peer pressure. A consumer-driven culture instills greed and competition among children for the latest electronic gadget, toy, or designer clothing. Educators who mean well may discuss sexual issues in class that are absolutely against a family's values, or assign literature or texts that conflict with Islamic beliefs. Classmates may make fun at a Muslim girl's hijab, or headscarf. Drugs, alcohol, movies and television shows with anti-Muslim values - all of these things expose children to forces outside of a parent's control that can lead children away from their faith. To preserve their values, many Muslim parents are choosing homeschooling.
Still other parents wish to avoid conflicts with well-meaning school authorities. For example, Mission Islam reports that educators in some areas of the country view the Ramadan fast as "child abuse" and demand that children break their fast. The fear among parents that they will get a call from Social Services over their religious practices is very real. Other issues arise when families remove children from school on Fridays for prayers. Muslim homeschooling parents can create a schedule harmonious with Muslim life for their children and avoid such conflicts with well-meaning, but uninformed bureaucrats.
Incorporating Islam into Daily Life
Homeschooling also gives Muslim parents the chance to connect Islam intimately with their children's daily lives. Many Muslim homeschooling families begin and end the school day by memorizing the Quran. Arabic language lessons may also be incorporated into the school day so that children learn the essentials early on, along with mathematics, science, history and more.
Resources for Parents
If you are Muslim and would like more information on homeschooling your children, many of the links to general homeschooling information can help you get started. Don't be put off by the Christian homeschooling links. Many of these groups seek to protect every parent's right to educate children at home, not just Christian children. They share your concerns about educational quality and religious freedoms.
For Muslim parents, however, there are some specific groups online that can help you get started.
- Dallas Muslim Home School group focuses on connecting families in the Dallas, Texas area. It's a Yahoo group where members post messages and respond to one another. The New England Muslim Education Network is a similar resource. There are many more Yahoo groups for Muslim homeschooling families; many are locally based. Another Yahoo group to check out is Muslim Education, which connects all Muslims concerned with both homeschooling and traditional education.
- Homeschooling provides a group of links to many resources, blogs and websites for Muslim parents. You'll need to wade through a sea of ads to get to the specific links, but it's worth the wait.
- Our Seeds provides many links specific to Muslim homeschooling. There is also general advice about how to get started homeschooling your child.
- Talibiddeen Jr provides a wealth of resources for Muslim homeschooling families, including lessons on everything from Arabic to Typing.
General links to homeschooling information that may be helpful to you include: