I’ve always loved the idea of homeschooling, but never been able to conquer my fears and doubts even after countless searches and researches on how to get started. In my renewed quest, after making a final and brave decision, on how to get started on the right foot and never look back, I encountered a wonderfully resourceful homeschooling mum, Umm Abdullah who shares her gems in 5 straightforward and practical tips below.
The Creed and the Intention
The first thing I would like to mention is teaching kids the correct aqeedah (creed). Regardless of whether we are homeschooling or not. I feel we need to be very firm and serious with this.
There are very simple and practical ways of doing this. Our kids should be told the reason they are here on earth and know with certainty the answers to questions such as, who is your Lord? Who is the prophet? What is the book Allah revealed? Was the book created? Can it change? What is Paradise and what is Hell?
Inform them of the reason they are memorising the Qur’an and learning the Arabic language. They need to know and understand the wisdom behind it, lest they find it boring or as “one of those things” and so that they might work towards doing the best. These I believe are little ways we can make a great change from the regular walls of the school where children are taught many times without giving them any reasons as to why they do what they do.
Parental Knowledge— What You Don’t Have, You Can’t Give.
Endeavour to seek for knowledge as much as you can. What I mean by knowledge are the Islamic principles, knowledge of the Qur’an, how to read with appropriate tajweed, as well as Islamic jurisprudence issues on simple day to day affairs. If your child asks questions, you should be able to respond appropriately. I will give you a practical example.
When I started teaching my child, it was then I realised I needed to know more— you can’t give what you don’t have. I made use of the resources I have to learn some very crucial aspects of the deen, and now praise is to Allaah, I’m able to give to the kids what I learnt and am still learning. For those who have an interest in homeschooling but haven’t started, you have a very good opportunity of learning now. You can learn how to read the Qur’an properly with tajweed, some little fiqh rulings, adhkaar, Arabic language etc.
Even if you intend to send your child to school, you need to learn, because they will come home with assignments and questions which you will have to answer. So how is it going to be when your child comes home with an information and you can neither affirm it nor refute it?
Let us teach our kids simple manners and adhkaar. In shaa Allah, we pray they will grow up with it. Nowadays, we find our kids eating with the left, begging from others etc. If we are not careful, some of the things we may regard as little may eventually escalate to something else. Allah’s aid is sought.
Alhamdulillah that we are in the age of easy distance learning. You can learn Arabic and how to read and memorize the Qur’an online. You don’t have to stress much, as long as you can manage your time, bi idhnillah, you can do it! A day at a time and before you know it, you are making real progress, in shaa Allah. Even for Maths, English, Physics, there are so many YouTube videos that can assist to brush up whatever difficulty both you and the kids have.
Use of Internet
Please, caution your excessive use of the internet. If you want to homeschool and your greatest companion is the internet, I’m sorry to tell you this, you are heading for failure!
Yes, you are heading for failure. The time you ought to give your home, the kids and yourself will be taken away right in front of you!
Stay a bit away from so many groups. Only you on Twitter, Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, IMO. Haba!
And on these media, you are on different groups? It will rob you of quality time. Pick the ones that will benefit you and please exit the rest. Remember, you will account for your time.
For Online Entrepreneurs
Well, I study online and equally talk to my clients online too. But I try not to make it an ‘every hour’ thing. First, I have placed all apps on mute, hence any message comes in without my notification. I read later, except I’m online at the time it comes in. This way, I have been able to get rid of the anxiety of wanting to check my phone every time. I only check when I’m free.
And that means my clients as well understanding that there is life outside of social media and that they will be attended to in due course, in shaa Allah.
Take The Kids Out
I realised that the more they go out, the more they become confident. Plus, they are able to see practical approaches to so many things you might have taught them or some things they might have read in books.
Visit places such as,
- Shopping malls
- Learning circles- halaqaat
- Beach, during week days to avoid fitnah when it’s crowded
- Friends and family
- Wedding feasts and naming (aqeeqah) parties
- Science & Sports club where they can learn karate, tennis and so on.
When you go to these places, give them simple tasks like paying for what you purchase or for services rendered, making them interact with receptionists while you stand by.
I realised these little things boost their morale and kill the inferiority complex that may be hanging somewhere in them.
Also, it makes them understand what free mixing is, that it is something they will face when they eventually go out and you can teach them how to manage the situations before that time, in shaa Allah.
And of course, they see the music everywhere, dressed but naked people, men dressed like women and vice versa. It makes them know and appreciate the comfort of the home, knowing it is the best and ideal place for them, but knowing fully well that they have to be aware of what the outside world is like.
I took my kids to a couple’s nikaah and about a year later, their baby’s aqeeqah. It was an excellent opportunity to explain the way a family begins. The right way Allah ﷻ wants people to take if they want to have children. I chipped it in that very soon they may hear of situations where a man will claim he wants a man to be his wife, explaining according to their age that it is so abnormal and goes against the teachings of Islam.
From a very young age, I have been telling them that it is only because they are siblings, that is why they can shake, sit with each other, hug and mix freely
But I made it known that whenever they go out, they should bear it in mind that boys to boys and vice versa. Hence, they go out and come back to inform me of whoever was playing with the other sex.
I also told them that they will definitely see the people free-mixing and hugging, holding and shaking the opposite sex. This I told them is totally wrong. And that the various nikaah we attend is the only way a man will be able to hold, shake, play freely with the woman he marries. Explaining a step at a time, according to the understanding and age.
In sha Allah, I believe that with this approach, they will understand the concept and gradually adjust.
Seek Allah’s Help
Lastly and importantly, always ask Allah ﷻ to grant you steadfastness, enrich you with everything you will need to pull through, for there are times when you might feel lonely on the journey. Ask Him ﷻ for guidance and for the kids’ too, and for retentive memory.
Always remind the kids that the life of this world is short and the only thing that will benefit them is living and dying as Muslims upon Islam. Let us teach them humility, truthfulness, loyalty, perhaps it will benefit them and they will grow with it.
I ask Allah ﷻ to grant my children and yours the best in the two worlds and make them coolness for our eyes. Aamiin. May He ﷻ forgive us and you, grant us steadfastness, prolong our lives upon goodness, in health and upon Islam and make our final abode Al-jannah Firdaus. Aamiin.
Umm Abdullah, Ruqayyah Olaniyan is a super busy mum of five, an experienced homeschooler and a work-from-home mum. When she isn’t catching fun teaching her kids, she is with her clients online retailing kids’ and ladies’ wears.