When i’m interested in anything, i research by reading a book on it or reading online. Usually, I read MANY books, other people’s opinions, experiences and reviews, and anything i can get my hands on, so to speak.
I have always been interested in homeschooling. However, what drove me to do it full-time in the beginning was not teaching my own children at home, but a friend’s. She had three boys whose father did not want them in school but she herself could not teach them. I read many books on home education, on many topics. I joined homeschool organizations, online groups, went to seminars on teaching reading and spelling, as well as attending homeschool book fairs and conferences. However, one of the most helpful pieces of advice I got was from a book on homeschooling. It seemed so simple and obvious, yet i had never really clarified it myself: What were my personal goals for home educating?
I think everyone knows the reasons why they don’t want their children in public or private school, or DO want them home educated, most even have a list of all the benefits of homeschooling in their mind. But i had yet to really write down the goals for my children’s education. While these are different for everyone, you cannot really work toward anything without a mission plan and a final goal in mind. In Islam, this is known as our niyyat, or intention.
These are the goals for my children’s education:
1. To develop a love of ilm (knowledge) and become lifelong learners.
2. To be literate and able to communicate well through speech and writing, in Arabic and English with knowledge of Latin and Greek roots. To memorize part if not all of the Quran in Arabic, as well as du’a and hadeeth.
3. To learn life skills, such as computer literacy, cooking, nutrition, health, transportation, hobbies and Arithmetic.
4. To discover their interests, passions, and abilities using them to better themselves and be contributions to society.
5. To know their Creator, Allah, to know the correct Aqeedah, to learn and practice their deen Islam, and all that it requires from manners and good character to fiqh and the prayer.
The goal for our education as an adult or teaching our children is an education that enables us to live in this world (dunya) while preparing us for the hereafter(akhirah). We ask Allah to give us beneficial ilm and protect us from that which does not benefit and give us success in this life and the next, Ameen.
Now, while the goals for raising and educating children are different for everyone, for Muslims who follow the Quran and Sunnah, it should all have the same basic fundamentals. It could be summed up in one statement, a verse from our Lord:
And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship me (Alone).(Al Quran 51:56)
If I were to teach anyone the essence of our belief, I would use these two hadeeth, which every Muslim should know.
Both of these are collected in the famous An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadeeth, hadeeth number 2 and 3:
On the authority of Omar, who said, ” One day while we were sitting with the messenger of Allah there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said: “O Muhammad, tell me about Islam”. The messenger of Allah said: “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.” He said:”You have spoken rightly”, and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly. He said: “Then tell me about Imaan “He said:”It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof.” He said:”You have spoken rightly”. He said: ” Then tell me about Ihsan” He said: “It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you”. He said: “Then tell me about the Hour”. He said: “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.” He said: “Then tell me about its signs.” He said: “That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsman competing in constructing lofty buildings.” Then he took himself off and I stayed for a time. Then he said: “O Omar, do you know who the questioner was?” I said: “Allah and His messenger know best”. He said: “He was (the angel) Jebreel (Gabriel), who came to you to teach you your religion” related by Muslim
On the authority of Ibn Omar, the son of Omar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with both, who said : I heard the messenger of Allah say :
“Islam has been built on five [pillars]: testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, performing the prayers, paying the zakat, making the pilgrimage to the House, and fasting in Ramadan.” related by Bukhari and Muslim
The first hadeeth actually includes the second, however, the first statement after, “Tell me about Islam” is considered the five pillars of Islam and the second, “Tell me about Imaan” is our Aqeedah. These are the six articles of faith.
In addition to memorizing Quran, these two hadeeth should be a top priority for teaching your child because these are the fundamentals of our Belief.
For my children, I asked them, “What is Imaan?” The response : To believe in Allah, His books, His Angels, His messengers, the Day of Judgement and Qadr. Then i asked them, “What is Islam?” and they answered accordingly.
In addition to the Shahada, these two hadeeth were the very first pieces of ilm I taught my children. I remember having dd memorize this when she was three, she easily memorized it. This is why we take advantage of the parrot stage, when they memorize everything easily and soak it up. When they are older, they will start to understand and put it together.
What is most important in teaching my children are not my feelings or ideas but that which Allah, subhanna wa ta’ala holds me responsible for Himself, and this is stated in His Book. As a Muslim, it is my responsibility to teach my children about their Lord and the responsibilities to Him as His servant. All other knowledge is secondary. There are many things I wish my children to learn but knowledge of our Creator is the priority and I will be asked if I fulfilled my task on the day of Judgement. May Allah increase me in knowledge and grant me patience.
Lastly, actions are by intention so it is important to purify your intentions in regards to the education you hope to give to your child. Do you want your child to excel because you didn’t, or to show him off? Do you want him to memorize the Quran so people will know he is Hafeez? Do you want your child to become a doctor because of pressure from your family or because it’s common? What are your personal reasons for what you want him to learn and do with his life? Evaluate your goals and reasons and make sure they are purely for the pleasure of Allah. This is advice to myself as well!
Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds. He hath no partner. This am I commanded, and I am first of those who surrender (unto Him). (Al Quran 6:162-3)
May Allah forgive me if i said anything wrong He is perfect and the mistakes are from me.
Please correct any mistakes by me with comments. Added ideas or suggestions are welcome. May Allah guide us to the straight path.