Recently, I was seriously feeling guilty about my daughter’s education, homeschooling and socialisation etc. I was really thinking of putting her into school and emailed the yahoo groups I belong to, to ask for advice from those that are also homeschooling. Alhamdulillah, it was the best thing I did because not only am I back to the ‘never-will-I-put-my-daughter-into-school’ frame of mind but also I have seen where I have gone wrong and I will re-evaluate EVERYTHING and work on what is best for my daughter. Alhamdulillah, I am grateful firstly to Allah for showing me where I was going wrong and also to all the sisters (and one brother) who sent me the burnout advice that has changed my perception of certain things and reminded me why I undertook the journey of homeschooling in the first place. So, my dear fellow readers and homeschoolers…this advice is for you…make way for the burnout advice (it is long – but definitely worth reading!):
assalaamu alaykum ukhti,
i am sure you got into homeschooling with the best of intentions of protecting yourself and your family from a fire whose fuel is men and stones, as Allah warns us in the Quran.
So ask yourself does this Islamic school fulfill this criteria or do you teaching your daughter?
Is it truly an Islamic school?
Many places of education are labelled islamic but in reality they are teaching secular style education, with students sat in ranks and rows, taught by rote learning, with a little Quran and arabic, also taught by rote thrown in as well. Is this islamic?
This is better than secular education as done by the kuffar but is it really better than muslims can manage as home educators?
Alhamdulillah may Allah swt reward those who setup and run Islamic schools, the good and the not so good but i have yet to hear of one which doesnt use this style of education in one form or another with little understanding of where it comes from.
this style of education comes from Frederick ‘the great’ of Brandenburg-Prussia who wanted to make his society uniform and in order like his uber disciplined military, so he set his thinkers to thinking and the style of education we see today, with the rows and the ranks and teaching everything by rote so to get a uniform and conformist society was the result of that thinking and that style of education.
Remember not only do we need to teach our little ones to read Quran and pray salaah but also tell them WHY. Subhanallah i have met the sons of imams and even muftis who have had the best of what such islamic schools can offer and yet still went astray.
Those who have come back to the correct path and i have spoken to say it was because they were never taught why, only taught how.
It is perhaps this issue of why that home schoolers with their dedicated time for educating young minds can instill and which large or even small classroom teaching fails with in many ways.
There are other ways than school your daughter can get socialisation, Muslim scouts and guides, sending her to a good masjid where they teach more than just the Quran with a big stick, moving to another area with a better and more friendly muslim community if that is the problem.
So ask yourself, is homeschooling or this local Islamic school going to be the best thing for guarding yourself and your family from the fire?
Is it truly an Islamic school, teaching the manners and character of Rasoolullah (saws), the Quran, the sunnah, not just the rulings but also the why?
Wa’alaykum assalaam- sister
First thing I can think to say to you is stop- sit down – and DON’T PANIC.
Yes, you do seem to be going through a crisis. We have all done this- more than once, I’m sure. You need to be reassured and to reassure yourself. Well, here are some ‘facts’
Home schooling doesn’t suit everyone.
It obviously suited you and your dtr for a while. Now something has changed. Is it something in you? Is it something or someone else in your environment that has made it seem more difficult?
Home-schooling has to be done with the willingness of all involved. If you feel you can’t cope and just don’t want to anymore, then you can’t carry on. That is not a failure (As sister Fizz so recently pointed out) it is simply a lifestyle change.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be permanent. What you and your dtr have experienced together can only have been of a beneficial nature to your relationship. It’s worth remembering that you have made huge sacrifices and reaped huge rewards the like of which you only appreciate if you step out of it for a while…..
If you choose to send your dtr ‘back’ to school (although it seems as though she has always been home-edding?) then do it for the right reasons: ‘Excellence’ comes in many forms – what are you aiming for? What sort of child is she already? How should she excel? In being a Muslim? In that case, I can assure you that many Islamic Schools can do just the opposite of inspiring good behaviour and strengthening imaan (not intentionally, of course, but through other pressures and restrictions).
What works for one family won’t necessarily work for you. Don’t be swayed by what everyone else is doing. You know your child best and if things are going well don’t try to change them for the sake of it. I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Finally: You seem worn out, confused, isolated, perhaps having pressures put on you by others to ‘perform’ better? If you are fasting then your resilience, mentally and physically, are being tested. You imaan is being tried this month already, don’t put extra pressure on yourself.
Don’t do anything hasty. Think things through. If it’s of any help: my two kids, who are now 8 and 4 are both Autistic. One is coping really well in pre-school, with limited speech but lots of support and a fantastic big sister to help him through his therapies, Mash’Allah. The big sister has been home-educated for about 9 – 10 months now after a very tough time in school for nearly 4 years. I took the decision to take her out of school, despite her being so bright that she has been labelled ‘gifted’ . I had no qualms about her being ‘left behind’ or ‘missing out’ because she needed a different kind of educational support. Now, having been home for several months, she has absolutely flourished, our relationship has improved tremendously and we are happily establishing flexi-teaching in a local school, starting after Ramadan, Insha’Allah.
There is no one way to educate your child. Take the time to find out who she is and then do your best to nurture her talents. Don’t have any expectations that she should do/ must do/ ought to by now / everybody else, etc; this will only set you and her up for failure.
If you had the stamina to read to the end of this. There is a hug and much du’as for you and your daughter from me and my daughter. I know how you must be feeling because only a month ago, I felt the same. Talk to the sisters here and share, share, share your experiences. I know that just knowing someone was willing to call and hear me out was enough to give me confidence to make some important decisions and carry them through.
Alhamdulillah, May Allah SWT, in this Blessed Month, give you clear guidance, grant you peace and comfort. Ameen.
Always ready to help out, if I can. Please do let me know how you get on!
Incidentally- you really have to establish a Shouting Time (or if you’re rich- a Shouting Room)!!! We’ve got one- it’s great- let the kids shout, shout, shout, especially if they’re cooped up indoors. I shouted ‘on the inside’ so much I ended up with a permanent headache and had to be rushed off to hospital for a head scan so, take it from me, let it out and let them do it, too- it’s so healthy. Also, try saying Takbeer really LOUDLY!!!
(By the way, remember, a class of 30 kids and a grown up who hasn’t been with your child from the start, how can they nurture that essential talent? If you’re going to do it, take your time, find the right place and establish a really good rapport). Most schools who have taken on kids from hom-edding backgrounds have attested that home-school kids are more charming, confident, worldly-wise in an unprecocious way and independent thinkers. They don’t have to be a genius…….
Remember, kids need to see their parent’s having fun, too. Enjoy your time with your dtr; enjoy your Ramadan. Keep writing and keep praying.
I have only been homeschooling for a few weeks myself; so perhaps
cannot offer the best advice. I did consider for a long time, sending
my son to one of the local Islamic schools; however I had my severe
reservations about the general standards of behaviour in both state
and private schools (including Islamic ones). I myself reverted when I
was really young (15 years old) and attended an Islamic school for a
few months but left because I was miserable; bullying was rife and the
administration were themselves following a lot of very liberal
interpretations on certain issues in some matters; and overly strict
ones; again without sound evidence; in others. I was almost an adult
then so could not imagine how confusing it would be for a young child.
The majority of the girls came from families where they were not
really practicing; all Islamic schools have criteria but it is very
easy to ‘fake’ this if you want to get your child into that school and
a lot of parents with terrible home lives seem to think sending their
child to an Islamic school; will ‘fix’ all of that. So a lot of the
children were very destructive or even disturbed. I have heard similar
about the primary school level as well; and racist bullying is a
particular problem in some Islamic schools (i.e. only those of Indian
subcontinent origin are seen as ‘really’ Muslim).
Also of concern for me was the sectarian nature of many Islamic
schools; whether this is overtly promoted by the school to parents of
potential pupils, or not. I have come across many schools where the
parents found out through innocent things their child said; that very
odd things were being taught to them; or despite the parents
requesting strongly otherwise; that the child was exposed to nasheeds
and other things the parents were not happy with. In some cases it
appeared the school were deliberately trying to lead astray children
whom they knew did not come from the same sect as their school ethos
was based upon. I am not trying to alarm you but just trying to let
you know that the seemingly happy atmosphere and high standard of
teaching in Islamic schools are not always what it is cracked up to be.
I can fully relate to the difficulties of homeschooling with a young
baby in the house (and I have a very strong-willed just turned 3 year
old who has no interest in learning; as well); I am not sure whether
your husband is supportive (of course, working hours etc make offering
‘physical’ support during school hours understandably difficult) but
this can make a massive difference even if it is only emotional
support if he cannot be there while you are teaching. Unfortunately
my husband is not being supportive as he said he would be when we
agreed to start homeschooling, and he has been leaving everything
completely up to me; on top of this I find fasting extremely difficult
as it is and it puts an extreme mental and physical strain upon me; I
have in the past been advised by doctors not to fast but my husband
does not understand this (I have shown him fatwahs etc) and I feel
pressured into fasting. This has led to me being unable to
concentrate at all; and also I have a much shorter fuse than usual.
He is blaming me putting too much pressure on myself with the
homeschooling when this is not the case at all. It is a big trial
subhanAllaah but I am determined to continue InshaAllaah.
I don’t know if you are fasting or not; but if you are, perhaps do as
is done in Muslim countries and have the second half of Ramadan off
completely, as a ‘holiday’. This will give you time to re-evaulate
whether you want to continue; and if you do continue, whether you wish
to do as you have been doing; or perhaps rejig things, or take a
different approach altogether. Already I have changed the start time
from 8 to 9am; while the children are well awake by 8 most mornings
they don’t seem as ready to learn as with a 9am start. I also
arranged it so that from breaktime until the end of lessons; the baby
is sleeping at that time and thus unable to cause a ruckus! Also I
re-jigged some of the lessons I originally planned so there is a good
balance of formal teaching and fun activities; I think if very young
children have too much formality in big blocks; they switch off and
can become very difficult to deal with. If you feel that your
daughter feels pressured; perhaps look into why you think this is the
case. Under-5s no matter how gifted they are mashaAllaah, do have less
of an attention span and sometimes a more relaxed approach can be more
beneficial in the long term for both teacher and student; even though
it may appear they are taking longer to learn certain things. I am
not trying to be critical or harsh and InshaAllaah I hope I am not
coming across as such; but perhaps just re-evaluate things; if you
gave up homeschooling completely because of something that could be
changed or re-evaluated; that would be a great shame SubhanAllaah
Assalaamu alaikum sis,
I read your message and it is just what I was planning on posting
just a couple of weeks ago when I went through a homeschooling crisis.
I have 3 girls 7, 4 and 2 and I do the homeschooling on my own, my
husband plays no part in it (except to let us know his expectaions!!)
so I have to just manage on my own. We have many days where it just
seems chaotic in the house,the girls get on each others nerves and I
get tired and frustrated and yell at everyone and we all feel
miserable and nothing gets done!
I just try and keep it simple otherwise I would go mad trying to
stick to a formal routine. Just a few workbooks, lots of drawing and
colouring and especially reading. We dont even do craft unless I feel
I have the energy to clear up the mess.
Its really difficult with young children, my toddler is getting
better but she still really interferes (I know that sounds
terrible!!) so I have had to leave out maths until I feel I can get
in to a routine without her messing our things up. I know it will be
just too stressful.
The point I am really trying to get at here is that we just have to
take it at our own pace otherwise we would get stressed out and
frustrated. I know my 7yo could be doing a lot more and I too feel
bad when I think about what she may be missing out on but I know that
it is better for her to be at home and that makes me feel much better!
There are times that we dont do anything formal for a few weeks and I
find that it doesn’t have a negative effect on the girls (except the
lack of routine makes things a little crazy). They don’t miss out on
the ‘learning’ side of things because there is always something to
At least once a day the girls will use bbc iplayer or cbeebies etc
to watch educational stuff, it gives me a break and calms them down a
As one of the other sisters mentioned, the shouting thing is a good
idea, I just send mine upstairs and they make as much noise as they
want!! When we all need to vocalise we put on some nasheeds and sing
along at the tops of our voices!!
With the school thing, my daughter recently started telling me that
she really wanted to go back to school (she has always expressed her
dislike of school since leaving so I figured that something must have
changed her mind). After chatting to her it turned out that she
wanted to go to the same school as her cousin (best friends)as they
had been spending a lot of time together in the holidays. I explained
to her that she wouldn’t be able to go to the same school because of
the distance and even if she did they wouldn’t be in the same year
group let alone the same class. That changed her mind.
More recently she read a book about a mole who starts school and she
kept pestering me that she wanted to go to school again. I told her
that ‘school’ would not be as mole had experienced and now that she
is 7 she wont be doing the fun stuff that she did in reception, she
would be expected to sit quietly at her desk and do lots of writing
and if she got bored she would still have to sit and do the work…oh
yes, and I also reminded her that ‘playtime’ would no longer be
dressing up in mummy’s clothes and helping herself to kitchen
utensils and filling up her backpacks with random bits from around
the house to go on an adventure with her sister, rescuing baby sister
from a monster’s clutches while trying to escape from falling rocks
and hanging off the edge of a mountain (the stairs)…..but 15
minutes out in the cold concrete playground whether she is in the
mood or not!
So the school thing might just be something she has seen or heard
other children talking about and has just created a fantasy idea in
her head about what school will be like. Kids often think of the
positive things about school such as making friends and doing fun
stuff, they don’t think about the negative stuff like teasing and
bullying, peer pressure (“how come she gets to have a birthday party
and she is muslim and we don’t??..that goes on at islamic schools
too!!) and worst of all that feeling of being totally confused and
lost when everyone else seems to know what they are doing…..and not
having the confidence to put up their hand and ask teacher for help.
Inshallah, I’m sure that it will all work out for you. Give it some
time and you will know in your heart what is best for your child!!
i have not contributed much at all to this group over months…so you wont know me.
i have three kids (5, 3 and 1yrs old).
i have been home EDUCATING for past year (i will explain capitals use later inshallah).
my daughter previously went to a muslim school for class reception (a school i helped set up)- yes, i still chose to pull her out and home educate instead.
My own background – i am medical doctor (went to school and univ in england).
My whole family are well educated (all 6 bros and sis!) to degree level.
(I am not boasting…i am merely telling you all this so you know that education and doing well, qualifications, degree etc are all very important to me…i know what education and qualifications can bring to a persons life and i want my children to also have the necessary skills in life in succeed) – i think this is more than possible with home education (my youngest sis, left school half way through her secondary school cos they wouldnt let her wear jilbab…she then spent her two years of GCSEs at home studying herself, admitted herself for the exams as a private candidate at colleges and mashallah got pretty much all A*, A’s or B’s. She went onto college (no uniform policy) sat her alevels and is starting her third year at a london univ studying optometry! mashallah!
HOWEVER, success in the hereafter is the most important thing for us as muslims.
Allah (swt) says in Surah Tahreem verse 6: Save yourselves and your families from the fire whose fuel is men and stones.
I prefer to say HOME EDUCATION and not HOME SCHOOLING…because i dont think education is islam is about schooling.
Education in islam is about learning skills necessary to live life…so thats your reading, writing, maths concepts, science etc qualifications to get a job if you need to work etc…and BUILDING THE ISLAMIC PERSONALITY.
At school the necessary skills are learnt…but the islamic personality is constantly attacked and destroyed (inevitable in a society that is not islamic).
Parents who send their kids to school have a lot to reconcile every day after school to make sure their child has not been confused about anything unislamic and hasnt taken on any unislamic concepts…parents who want to do this well should consider becoming parent governors and studying the curriculums in detail to know what will be kuffar concepts there (then exclude their child from those lessons etc)…i think this is a mammoth task and should not be taken lightly.
I think also there is a lot to be said for the hadith:
play till 7yrs, teach from 7-14yrs, then they will be your friend after 14yrs.
So formal schooling (non muslim or muslim schools i think) is not an option for me.
(maybe if someone really wanted to they could consider this for a 7yr old at muslim school-though i have yet to hear of a muslim school that i think has learnt what or how to teach or organise itself…its a learning curve and muslim schools are still very new in this country…maybe in another 20 yrs time…though i can imagine by then the govt has introduced new laws to enforce even independent muslim schools to adopt certain aspects of national curriculum: PHSE-alternative family structures, sex education etc)
I too am a very organised person in my life…but have learnt that home education is not about timetabled, sit down, table and chair lessons, day in day out…i have found that educating your child at home is an extension of parenting…and needs to be flexible.
We have to let certain things go (clean tidy house all the time…has to go!)
Heres some things that i have found helped me:
For literacy and numeracy i follow a scheme of work (pre-prepared, so less headache for me – they are ready for me whenever i want to do formal workbook lessons)…i go through the workbooks with my daughter…but not every day…days that we dont we do still do numeracy and literacy but in a different way (not workbooks)…i recommend the Ruth Miskin Scheme for literacy and New Heinemann Mathematics for numeracy.
i follow a reading tree (oxford – kipper, biff, chip, floppy books, though Ruth Miskin does have her reading scheme also)…we read every day…she loves it.
i will also be following a scheme of work for science…schemes of work are good cos i dont have to do any resource hunting, dont have to do any lesson planning and dont have to worry if my daughter is covering everything she needs to be).
But i dont do formal lessons everyday and keep any lessons very short…15mins max…so she doesnt get bored.
She has quran class and arabic three days a week, one hour each time (one teacher to my two daughters…expensive but worth it)…and once a week they join a class of ten kids for two hours with same teacher (i did this purely for the social aspect of being with other kids).
I take her to a non muslim gymnastics class once a week (again so she has social aspect with other kids and non muslim experiences…but i stay the whole time…i watch from a parents viewing gallery…so know what my daughter is saying and doing the whole time…we then discuss these things later – parental supervision i think is important when they are so young in non-muslim environments)
I also take her swimming once a week (huge fun, and again some social aspect though minimal cos only half an hour lesson).
I have joined two muslim home education groups, a great one in Reading (SEEN, meeting fortnightly 10am to 2pm – loads to do and great group experiences: presentations, team sports etc) and another one in Slough (also meeting fortnightly, recently set up, a parks group – team sports organised for each time, and library for group reading if weather too wet)…so lots of social interaction and getting out of the house!
I also let her play LOADS (probably too much!)…and lots of garden time (they have their own patch in the garden to plant and maintain).
I take them with me shopping etc (lots to learn there with very little planning at all…all very natural, practical learning)
I love home educating…yet i also still have panic attacks and wonder if i am doing the best thing for my kids…its only natural for us to feel like this.
My advice to you is to put your organisation skills to use in planning a varied timetable of stuff for her…i am sure you will be able to put together a great program of different things for her.
As home educating mums we need to be organised in different ways to what we probably initially thought (i know i learnt the hard way…i tried the timetabled lessons approach and fell flat on my face…didnt work for us at all…also i realised i was wasting alot of time putting lessons together when the schemes of work have already done that hard work for us!!!…i do very little resource hunting on websites!!!…some schemes are expensive but they are worth every penny i think…and an investment for siblings!)
ok i think i have said enough…cant stop once i start on this topic…
hope it helps someone somewhere, as well as you sis.
if anyone has any advice for me then much appreciated…please email me!
First, I would just like to ask that Allah make the way clear for
you and for us and to ease your heart and ours in knowing what is
best for our children! I am sure that you are turning to Him for
the best of advice. After Allah’s guidance (or maybe with it), you
are stuck with us. 🙂
I believe your daughter is young, right? And that you’ve, in a way,
just begun this journey. I wanted to share with you that even those
who have been on this journey longer (i.e. I have been on this
journey for 5 years now… plus the first years of life
before “official school”…) and we all still have our times of
doubt. What I have learned is that this is usually a signal to just
What do I mean by that? Well, really it means to be asking myself
some questions as well as reminding myself of the benefits of
homeschooling for my children and our family. Some examples:
Why do I think I am pushing my child too much? Is he/she getting
frustrated? Why do I think school would be better? What are the
specific doubts I am having?
Perhaps it’s time to back off a bit – at least in the areas that are
frustrating. Among our “baggage” from the way we were schooled and
those around us who are still teaching/schooling in public or
Islamic schools, is the worry of a “child being on track”. YES, I
include our Islamic schools in there. I have taught in Islamic
schools and essentially they teach the same way with the same
methods as public schools – just with more values. But the methods
of teaching, in my opinion, are the same dismal ways public schools
teach – teach so the students can regurgitate the information..
If we can let go of the “should-be-doing this or thats” then we can
get on to real learning. HOW? WHEN? is my child happy and excited
about learning? How can I get them excited about something new?
Should I just let this go for awhile and come back to it in 6 months
or whenever? NEITHER US OR NOR A SCHOOL can make a child learn.
Only a child can choose to learn. RATHER it is our job to INSPIRE
them to learn, to WANT to learn, etc…
Included in this line, I would like to ask you questions about
something you said. Namely, “I want my daughter to excel and I feel
that she may do that better in school.” Does this statement fall in
line with the baggage of “what she can/should be doing at this age?”
thingy? By whose standards do you think she should be/could be
doing more? Yours? Other kids? The teacher friend you talked to? I
would like to ask: At the younger ages (say about 8 and under), what
does ALLAH deem most important? I am guessing that the answer might
be different. I believe that the Prophet (pbuh) has taught us about
this age and that very often we are not listening to the advice.
A child this age needs to know about Allah, to love Allah and his
prophet, to learn the values necessary for living a righteous life,
to start reflecting on and be amazed about Allah’s creation around
us, to be close to his/her family, etc. Let me give you an example
of something my son was asked to learn in his little Arabic
preschool. (He was 5. He goes twice a week for 3 hours – for fun
and to have a chance to meet some other Muslims his age. NOT as his
main schooling…) The students were asked to memorize the
tashahud. I did NOT work on this with him. Why? 2 Reasons.. He
was not excited about it. But, more importantly, I did not see it
as relevant to his life. He is not required or even recommended yet
to pray as a matter of habit. Of course he can join us, but if he
does not – no biggie. Why not? Because he is too young to have any
sort of complete understanding of why we pray – the importance of
it. I feel the same about Quran memorization at this age. We do
some – BUT with a very relaxed pace focusing on the MEANING of it.
(We do as much time as he WILLINGLY does, because I want him to LOVE
the Quran. Honestly that is my most important goal of Quran with
him right now – to love it. In that way, I know he will pursue it
his whole life, insha Allah. I can already see the fruits of that
ideology with my older son. He is still a slower memorizer, but he
does it willingly. We talk about which soora he would like to do
next and then just keep doing it.)
SOCIAL STUFF and wanting to go to school
“I want her to socialise with other little muslimahs. She has
expressed her wish to go to school.” (And perhaps if she is a
social learner then this is what you meant above by maybe she could
do better in school???)
I can totally relate to wanting those social ties. I believe they
are important. Both of my kids have at one point or another said
that they wished they could go to school. One thing to remember is
that this is from a CHILD’s mind who has no idea of what school is
truly like – how much sit down time there is, how some kids (yes,
even in Islamic schools) might not be the nicest, how much homework
they will have (ESPECIALLY in Islamic schools), or what kids even
really do in schools! They generally want to go to school to “be
with their friends”. NOT for some reason that school is a better
place they can learn.
So I look at what the child is REALLY looking for (and perhaps even
yourself by your own statement above) – wanting to be with other
kids! This can take a little more effort, but it most certainly can
be arranged. It can be playdates, or making a small group for a
variety of reasons: Islamic story/craft, science club, etc…,
field trips, forming a Muslim scouting troop, and so on. BUT it can
be done. And I do think it IS necessary. Each child will have
varying needs, but this should be balanced by the overall picture.
I have found that a little “regular time” with other friends goes a
LASTLY, I re-examine and look at all of the positive things about
homeschooling (Some of those I share with the kids, so they can see
the special things they get being homeschooled.) The longer I’ve
homeschooled, the MORE reasons I have to continue. Here are some of
*FAMILY truly being first – our children’s bonds with us and each
other being the strongest ones…
*increased QUALITY family time (i.e. If my child were in Islamic
school, most of my evenings would be spent on homework – instead of
*a better understanding/relationship with my children
*increased opportunity to explore the world through hikes, field
trips, museums, travel
*increased opportunity for exploring MY children’s interests – not
those dictated by others.
*being able to focus on what WE think is important (i.e. teaching
about Allah, stories of the prophets, etc – vs. the tashahud or any
other “imposed”) AND being able to discuss the MEANINGS/LESSONS in
those stories (vs. just reciting them back without understanding
what we should learn from those stories…)
*freedom to speed up or slow down in learning as needed – or even to
completely change course when something isn’t working…
*increased funds to spend as WE would like (i.e. karate, swim
lessons, small trips, zoo/science museum memberships)
Please forgive me for going on and on… I really hope this
helps… And may Allah make your decision easy and clear to you…