Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thoughts on Schooling

Lately, I've been thinking A LOT about Y's future schooling possibilities, and just his general growing-up here in America, in general. I've come face to face with this daunting question: how hard will it be to build my children's MUSLIM IDENTITY here in this country?

I've considered sending Y to public school for a 4-year-old kindergarten program. At one point, I was thinking that would be fine. Now I'm leaning more towards sending him to the Islamic school, if he can get it, and if not, just keeping him home. {Note: This was a few days ago, and now I'm leaning back - thinking public 4 yr old kindergarten will not be harmful inshaAllah for 1 more year....and now thinking more seriously about the benefits of moving to Egypt.....}

I don't have any problem with the program at public school itself; the problem is that he would probably start to build friendships with non-muslim children, who simply have different beliefs, values, and ways of doing things.

My mom said, "Well, he has to learn how to function in the world, which is filled with EVERYBODY. You can't shelter him all his life." Which is true - but isn't this the fragile, developing period of self-definition, to which my children should learn that Islam is the fundament of their soul? How can they do this when they're surrounded by all the nice, well-meaning - but non-muslim people? Wouldn't that be confusing for him?

And then there's the day-to-day things that would make living in a muslim country easier: all meat is halal. Men, women & children are more modest, with more hayaa'. All share an immediate understanding of what your core beliefs are, regardless of the extent to which various people practice them. The opposite is true here in the U.S., where most people are simply ignorant of the pride, respect and greatness that is Islam.

The logical decision seems fairly obvious - barring the fact that true, Egypt, like some other muslim countries, has less resources than America. There won't be nice playgrounds or librairies or the ease of English at my fingertips, or even reliable internet access.

The problem is more of an emotional dilemma.

What sustains me and motivates me are thoughts of the afterlife, and reward for our intentions and the good we have done in this life, inshaAllah. And the one who makes hijrah for the sake of Allah has all his or her previous sins forgiven, inshaAllah.

So what to do?


  1. Asalaam alaikum sis,

    The choice is yours and his father's to make, of course. I just want to share my experience with my daughter's regarding Islamic school vs. no-Islamic school.

    My oldest is now 5, the younger almost 3 inshaAllah. They were both attending a non-muslim child care facility, in which the oldest was in their pre-K program. Especially with my oldest, the kids quickly adopted Kafir lifestyles - learning their music, wanting me to have all the pretty makeup and hairstyles that the other mum's had, and wanting to be a part of Christmas and Halloween. It is rough on a child to be around a group where the majority is indulging in things that look fun, but not being able to fully take part. Anyway, I switched my oldest to an Islamic Kindergarten program, and the youngest goes to the same school's pre-school program now. BIG changes. They are much more excited and proud of Islamic celebrations, and are building bonds with other Muslim youth. And I must say that the Teacher's are much better than the others I have had experience with. The non-Muslim ones GENERALLY just did what they had to, but the Muslim teachers go above and beyond, I think, and really try to accomodate each parent's needs. My oldest knows more Ayah's and Surah's than me! But I really think it builds a foundation that will remain with them as they grow, inshaAllah. Allahu alim.

  2. May be , you can think about home schooling.

    Please check this yahoo group.

  3. Asalaam alaikum - I just wanted to tell you that your comment on my entry titled "turning point" on my blog was very sweet and I believe it was from your heart, completely sincere. I was touched deeply by your words, and I wanted you to know that uhkti. Your comments have been among those that have stuck with me and comforted me, wallahi. I also love YOU for the sake of Allah, and I appreciate your kindess, which is a sadaqah that I hope Allah rewards you for.

    You can delete this comment if you want because it totally doesnt relate to your post, but I wanted to tell you directly, so I hope you don't mind!

  4. Assalamu alaykum,
    I have been reading your blog for a while and decided to came out from lurking land!!
    The schooling choice needs to come out from what you think is best for your child.
    At times it's easier to just look at your child. Islam teaches us that knowledge is of paramount importance and we should always educate ourselves and our children.
    I am currecntly homeschooling my kids and love this option so much that I like to recommend it to everyone. It gives you the freedom to educate your child the best you think and also in the environment that is best for you and the child.
    Insh'Allah this helps.
    Wa alaykum assalam

  5. Assalaamu alaikum and jazakallahkhair to the sisters who have mentioned homeschooling.

    (first off, i want to mention that i'm absolutely amazed that anyone reads this thing - subhanAllah! heh heh. jazakallahkhair for posting, Commenters! :) )

    Okay. Homeschooling. I LOVE the idea of homeschooling. I greatly respect it, and think it's just generally awesome. About a year and a half ago, I got very interested in homeschooling, and "unschooling," and bought a bunch of books and read a bunch of stuff online. I was very jazzed about it.

    That was when Yehiya was about ages 1.5 - 2.5 yrs old. It lasted for quite awhile. And in that time, Yehiya grew up, and I saw how life gets more complicated and, most difficult for me, requires more energy.

    So my daydreams of homeschooling (which was INITIALLY my husband's idea) faded. Since that time, my husband has gone from convinced that I could do it, to thoroughly unconvinced, mostly due to my highly inconsistent a) organization b) energy and c)motivation.

    He thinks that I would start off with great gusto and intentions - which has always been my pattern - and then eventually slack off. :( I hate to say it, but that is my fear, too.

    I have also experienced how much Yehiya enjoys the 2 preschool-ish classes he attends. 1 class is once a week - first hour, we're together, 2nd hour, we separate and moms go into the parent room to discuss parent things.

    the other class is twice a week, for 2 hours at a time. i work in the classroom too (just started this last fall; it was great for my first little bit of self-owned, self-earned cash for the first time in 4 yrs, alhamdulileh, mashaAllah), so i'm right there in the hub of everything.

    He really does enjoy these classes. They are bustling with activities and new experiences...stuff I may fall short in at home.

    I do believe though that homeschooling, or even unschooling, has many, many beneficial factors. The bustling centers of classrooms are interesting and fun - but they are not NECESSARY for a good education and development of the self.

    Both can work (school or home), but for beautiful results, inshaAllah, they both require the care, consideration and participation of the family.

  6. Salaamu alaikum - just an update. :)

    My husband and I have changed our minds again; we are now seriously thinking of homeschooling, which I love. MashaAllah.

    I have already started a bit, and switched tracks in my mind, to thinking this is what we're gonna work on, inshaAllah khair.