A little homeschooling advice and hopefully encouragement (and a reminder for myself)
To the New Homeschooler:
Sit back, relax, take a deep breath and believe that you can do this because with Allah’s help, you can. It will not always be easy or fun, but the rewards are immeasurable; the feeling you get when your child learns to read by your instruction; when your child gets a math concept that you have taught him, when you sit side by side with your child and learn together, when your child correctly applies an Islamic or other concept that you have taught him; when you look back and realize all the special moments you shared during the day when you were together in the home….and the list goes on.
You will probably feel that at times you are making a mistake or that you just can’t do it. Don’t give up at the first bump…or the second or the third or the……… Hang in there, ask Allah for guidance, get support from your spouse, a homeschooling group, a fellow homeschooler. There will be rough days and there will be good days. The rough days don’t mean that you should throw in the towel, even when there are more rough days than good days. Think of them as challenges that you must overcome like any other challenge in your life.
To the Frazzled Veteran about to give up
After some time, if you’ve given it a fair shot (and you know whether you have or not) and you feel that you can’t do it, and decide to send your kids outside of the home for school, don’t feel like a failure; homeschooling is a difficult undertaking. May Allah reward you for your effort. But please before you stop, do make sure that you have given it a fair shot and be patient and turn to Allah and remember why you started homeschooling in the first place. Most likely there will be gaps in learning (compared to public schools) but remember the large gaps (or non existence) of Islamic Studies in traditional schools, remember that your child will be exposed to more non Islamic influences, remember that it will be more difficult for your child to get individualized instruction, remember that homeschooling gives you precious time with your child that you will lose when he’s at school all day outside of the home, remember whatever other reasons you decided to homeschool for.
General Advice for “newbies” and veterans (and a reminder to myself)
Homeschooling requires organization, commitment, self control, patience, and trust in Allah. If you find that your experience is/was difficult, did you focus on improving these areas? I find that my homeschooling goes better (beyond belief) if I just take the time to get myself organized; organize my household, organize our day. Maybe you need to stop and take the time to get reorganized. Have a place for everything, do a better job at maintaining a homeschool binder(s) so you have the important stuff right where you need it; make sure that the kids have all their supplies before beginning (and you too). Exercise self control and limit your computer/internet time. Make a list of the things you want to search for/make and then allot time for that at another time during the day or on an off day. Plan ahead, but learn to be flexible, use your plans as guides but don’t beat yourself up if it wasn’t followed to a T. But do plan. Remember the adage, “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.”
Realize that your child learns a lot outside of school time and take advantage of those moments and enjoy them….but don’t go overboard, make it natural, refrain from “overacademisizing.” Let your child know that you don’t have the answers to everything and that’s ok. Show him/her that you have to look things up for answers (in the Quraan, ahadith, a dictionary, etc)
Relax, have fun, enjoy each other. Take a break (an hour, a day, a week) WHEN you need it regardless of whether or not it’s scheduled. You get rest when you are sick, take a break when your homeschooling is sick.
Give homeschooling the effort that you gave your job before you quit working, give it the effort it deserves. Ask for help when you need (from Allah, your spouse, a friend). You don’t need a degree to teach your children, as Islam teaches us, “teach what you know.” With libraries, internet, books you can give yourself on the job training and teach subjects you never would have thought you could teach, insha Allah.
Be confident of your choice to homeschool, of yourself and of your children. Islamically, remember, the things that are easy lead to where? The things that are more difficult lead to where?
Now stop reading this and go homeschool!