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
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.
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?