Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Schooling The Brood

For those that asked i have been meaning to put out a post for some weeks. i didn't want to earlier as i wanted something to tell you so i let time lapse a little.

The way i see it in life you have 3 choices to educate your kids
1. Home Schooling
2.Islamic School
3.State school in your respective land of abode

I will tell you now not one is the perfect choice, again another reminder to myself there is no perfection in this world. i have to take the best of my choice and leave out the bits i don't like and do my best to raise my children inshaAllah. Also i want to point ot iwhat i do is my choice in relation to my life and whats shapes it. Any of you that know me i am quite the rebel and following others and the norm often is bottom of my list. So what ever others feel they need to judge me by, may Allah guide you and me ameen.
I have tried all three choices and more here in the UK and abroad. Really State school was not an option i had much experience with apart from my own British Education. Which was not a good one, experience that is. As dear sister said to me recently in an email, Are they going to a Muslim school or a state one? Either way, please, please remember that you are still the biggest influence on their lives, and everything they learn at home, sitting around the table at meal times, travelling in the car, coming in the door dying to tell you about their days, is all home education.

My decision to send my kids to school came about after another personal matter arose within the family putting tremendous strain on my mental and physical well being that in turn started to effect my children and the signs were visible. No more i said to myself , no more, my kids need to get a life and its unfair that they are not getting an adequate education at present. I looked into Islamic Schools, the cost was crippling , there was no way i could do it money wise. with the eldest already in a secondary Islamic Girls School, that is not cheep. Sending the other two well it would have been an impossible struggle, i even seriously considered going out into the work force after 15yrs of being a housewife and mum to meet the cost. That in itself was very frightening for me. The other obstacle i faced from the Islamic schools was as my children were behind their peers in their English level as they have been taught mainly in Arabic through their lives. The Islamic schools were rejecting to take them on, i knew given the right environment , work load and consistent of work they could catch up easily. As i still endeavoured to help them on a daily basis.
Ellen's Watercolor Sketch Pictures, Images and Photos
My choices were running out thick and fast, also the school run is something i didn't want to get into , sitting in the car daily in traffic , ferring the kids twice a day to and throw from school. I don't like this idea of constraints i guess and i wanted to avoid it at all cost.

My DH was adamant from way back in 1995 when my eldest was about 1yr old, there was no way his kids would go to state school in the UK. That is when i started to think about other options, coupled with my own poor experience in the UK Education system it was time to think outside the norm.

It was one morning after continues bickering between myself and the younger two on the way to the laundry way back in October 2008. Feeling fed up and at a point of this needs to change, i U-turned to the local Primary School and my children just stood there with their jaws hanging down speechless. I enquired about applying and i was given application forms. The forms sat in my drawer for about 2 weeks , while i discussed this with my DH , i made istikarah, the prayer of guidance. Until one day i felt ok i am going to fill these out and send them off.

I waited and waited, nothing the schools were over flowing and the places were full. This went on for another 6 weeks before finally i was offered a placement for both at my first choice local school. It was another 2 weeks before we was given an admissions interview. The process seemed to drag 8 weeks seemed to long.

They finally started the week before the Christmas break. Straight away to change i saw in my children's mental well being made me realise this was the right thing to do.

I was expecting the worse but it has so far and good willing will continue to be a positive experience for them. There have been some challenges, like the adapting of this slang version of the English language but this has been so with the 14yr old who attends a Private Islamic girls School.

My kids are now flourishing mashaAllah, i am helping them daily with their studies, involving myself with the school when the opportunity rises. They are coming home enlightening me about things.

I noted that the relationship between the siblings has improved as well,i see them discussing int resting facts rather than bickering mashaAllah.

The school has been most accommodating when i have requested different ways form the norm due to religious need, they have met my every wish. The school is very informative, keeping parents aware of what is being taught how and why. Giving us the choice to with draw children from lesions and activities that conflict with our values. Like the Sex Education classes, it has and will be my absolute right to with draw them from it any time i see fit. The kitchen has a halal and vegetarian menu so school meals are catered for alhamduilah.

I find myself having to work harder in respect of making sure the children know about their own belief and value system and making sure that they are not picking up the negative traits of their peers. I have to work hard to ensure the kids are not feeling the need or slipping into the norm to fit into a duel character, one person at school at home another. Islamic, they attend an Arabic school on Saturdays to help with this , sadly the Arabic level has slipped but we are trying hard to maintain it. Qur'aan has actually improved mashaAllah so iam pleased with that, alhamduilah that has to do with my completion of my first level of Tajweed. You see i won't be able to have it all , i can damm well try.............it's not going to be a smooth ride, life often is not but alhamduilah for each day and each blessing. All praise is due to Allah. Overall i am happy the kids are happy and i don't regret my decision for now mashaAllah , i make daily duas for my children and ask Allah to aid me.
There are aspects i am not happy about but then again nothing is perfect in this earth is it?


Adventurous Ammena said...

masha'allah glad to hear everything is still working well for the younger 2.. how abouts R? she still up there masha'allah ;P

princessines said...

I'm so happy to hear that everything is working out for you and your family. I always say that being a mum is one of the hardest jobs if not the hardest. You are doing great sis and remember that only Allah knows what exactly is in your heart and what your intention is. People will always talk but you are their mum alhamdulilah :)

Haniyya said...

Ameen ! Inshallah, May he keep them in his protection always.

UmmAbdurRahman said...

MashaAllah thanks sis for sharing that update on your children. I was hoping that they are adjusting well and alhamdulillah it seems like they are. Just make duaa for Allah to protect your children and keep them on the straight path.

My son is in public school as well. I find it easier to explain things to him because most of the children in his class aren't muslim. If he asks a question, I explain that we don't do such and such because we are muslim and why. It's much more difficult to explain why other muslims are doing things that are forbidden in our religion. At his young age, he is satisfied with the answers he is given and I pray that Allah will protect him as well.

About working, that is a tough decision especially since you have not worked in so long. I love the interaction and socialization that I get from work. I work nights with one other woman. Her sister is muslim so she is VERY understanding. MashaAllah we get along great. I also appreciate the paycheck :) I enjoyed it much more when it was extra than now when we need it to live without my husband. InshaALlah I wish you success in whatever decision you make.

BTW the food is looking great!

muslimah trying to home edu said...

Assalamu alaykum sis,
may Allah protect your kids and make them strong Muslims.Amin
Homeschooling is a not a easy choice and it comes with all the hard works, commintment and kids on tow 24/7.Hamdulillah it has so mnay rewards and things to look forward. But if you are facing hardships it would be a burden rather than a pleasure. You take the decision that suits you and family best and Allah knows what's in your heart. We cannot be judged by anyone except Allah, it can be that today you have the kids at school but tomorrow you can home educate again, insh'Allah. Also I see that many sisters have to give up home education because of financial circumstances and need to go back to work. So it's not all easy. May Allah ease off your hardships.Amin
waa alaykum assalam x

IftikharA said...

The demand for Muslim schools comes from parents who want their children a safe environment with an Islamic ethos.Parents see Muslim schools where children can develop their Islamic Identity where they won't feel stigmatised for being Muslims and they can feel confident about their faith.
Muslim schools are working to try to create a bridge between communities. There is a belief among ethnic minority parens that the British schooling does not adequatly address their cultural needs. Failing to meet this need could result in feeling resentment among a group who already feel excluded. Setting up Muslim school is a defensive response.

State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

Bilingual Muslim children need state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods. Muslims have the right to educate their children in an environment that suits their culture. This notion of "integration", actually means "assimilation", by which people generally really mean "be more like me". That is not multiculturalism. In Sydney, Muslims were refused to build a Muslim school, because of a protest by the residents. Yet a year later, permission was given for the building of a Catholic school and no protests from the residents. This clrearly shows the blatant hypocrisy, double standards and racism. Christians oppose Muslim schools in western countries yet build their own religious schools.

British schooling and the British society is the home of institutional racism. The result is that Muslim children are unable to develop
self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore, majority of them leave schools with low grades. Racism is deeply rooted in British society. Every native child is born with a gene or virus of racism, therefore, no law could change the attitudes of racism towards those who are different. It is not only the common man, even member of the royal family is involved in racism. The father of a Pakistani office cadet who was called a "Paki" by Prince Harry
has profoundly condemned his actions. He had felt proud when he met the Queen and the Prince of Wales at his son's passing out parade at Sandhurst in 2006 but now felt upset after learning about the Prince's comments. Queen Victoria invited an Imam from India to teach her Urdu language. He was highly respected by the Queen but other members of the royal family had no respect for him. He was forced to go back to India. His protrait is still in one of the royal places.

There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
Iftikhar Ahmad

Umm Salihah said...

Assalam-alaikam Sis,
sounds like they are doing fine mash'Allah. It is a dilemma I have had to think about too and in the end I decided on public school supplemented by what I can do at home - this is why I keep a close eye on what Muslim home-schooling mothers are doing.

As for working, have you htought about working from home or self-employment. My aunty had two of her four in Islamic school and used to sell hijabs, pins and jewellery at bazaars and events. She made some money and her kids also got to attend lots of Islamic events. She also made lots of friends and widened her social circle.

Rainbow In The Grey Sky said...

Aslamu alakum and thank you for all your kind comments and encouragements.
I didn't agree with this oint made
IftikharA said...

State schools with monolingual teachers are not capable to teach English to bilingual Muslim children. Bilingual teachers are needed to teach English to such children along with their mother tongue. According to a number of of studies, a child will not learn a second language if his first language is ignored.

From my own expiernce as a speaker of another language, going to school and being taugh by only English speaking teachers , did not effect my languages in one bit alhamduillah. Infact they flourished as i knew i had to work harder to maintain them.

Prayers for Peace

Prayers for Peace