assalmaou alaikom ya’ll! Ok, now i sound like an ignorant boob.
May Allah guide you all who enter here, and may you find what you seek
I started this site as a general resource but especially a guide for Muslims who want to homeschool their children using The Well Trained Mind method. I have specific ideas of implementing this method in balance and blend with Quran and Sunnah.
This introduction was written about six years ago as of 2013. My views on homeschooling and education have changed dramatically. I love the Well Trained Mind book, it is a wonderful guide. I appreciate the WTM method, as well as other teaching aids by SWB like Writing With Ease, With Skill, and History of the World; however, I still believe all children are unique and learn differently, what works for one may not for another. For example, my son(8) thrives on the k12 curricula through our local online public school and anything else i teach him one-on-one, my daughter(13) does not.
I hope to post my changing attitude on our learning soon, inshAllah. It has greatly helped my kids and made them love learning again. The more i discover about natural learning, the more i realize it’s like how learning happened in Rasulullah’s, salla lahu alahi wa salam, time and how he taught people and children.
Perhaps I will add another page, called update and new books, because for sure the thought-provoking, motivating, highly informative book, The Teenage Liberation Handbook is worth mentioning! I tried several times to add it to my books page, but the formatting is off, and erases the descriptions.
Written around 2007:
This is the story of our journey through homeschooling but you may also find here and there stories about my quest for the truth ever since my earliest memories, my childhood and adolescence, thoughts on education, teaching and tutoring children, love of reading and books, and current events but perhaps the most compelling event is since I withdrew my daughter from second grade to now full blown homeschooling. I say full blown because I homeschooled her before when I pulled her out of kindergarten, and recently while she was in public and then private school, I was still helping her finish her homework and trying to follow the course laid down in the book The Well Trained Mind. I was very unhappy with her lack of what I feel should be core knowledge as an American child in her grade level. I decided now is the time she is almost age ten when children are supposed to pray and they already know right from wrong ( except in few circumstances) I hope to also provide a complete list of awesome links including a description for each. InshaAllah, only with the permission of my Lord.
I hope to add many things, and benefit many people as well as myself with this site In the meantime, check out Dr Laura Shlessinger’s site it’s REALLY good and her book Parenthood by Proxy is good. I am sure I am spelling it wrong, but’s it’s very late, early, and i am too tired to go look.
My longtime goal is to write and compile a comprehensive curriculum for the English speaking Muslim child from Kindergarten and phonics to preparation for college with little reliance on outside sources. I have had it planned out in my head for the last three years, subhanna Allah. I wanted to provide a curriculum for two main reasons: One, so that parents will have a complete source for educating their child without having to spend a lot of time researching, planning or buying and ordering a lot of materials such as worksheets, workbooks and textbooks; ie to save time and money . Two and perhaps more importantly, an all inclusive course from K-12 for those who have no English education or curriculum AVAILABLE to them due to difficulty with transportation or those that live in desolate areas like Alaska or overseas where English education is not available, too expensive or not an option and ordering educational materials through the mail is practically impossible .
Finally, I am embarrisingly aware I have run on sentences, fragments, wordswithoutspaces, misspellings and other mistakes in grammar. I am busy and cannot possible perfect every post even though I wish to because how can i be trusted to give good educational advice when there are mistakes on my site? Please overlook them, see my other page of amazing links and upcoming posts with detail on exactly what we are learning, what books and sources we are using and specifically step by step, how we are implementing the Classical method, it’s lessons and books Islamically. Insha Allah you and your children will benefit! I know I am still learning and have so much in the last couple years but I’m especially excited since we started homeschooling again how much more my daughter and I have learned and grown together.
I must start in the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful. There is no God worthy of worship except Allah, in truth; the Creator of the Universe and of Adam, the Lord of Abraham and all prophets till Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah and mercy to mankind.
i. The Nubie. To blogging.
OK! Well, i have no idea how to work this blog but i have been tutoring other children for years and “unschooling” my own (using every opportunity to fill their heads with information and insight) and now that I have officially, wholeheartedly, albeit laboriously began homeschooling my 8 yr old daughter again, ‘for real’ I have, like seen the light, man!J/K Seriously, I have been wanting to write a comprehensive curriculum for the Muslim family and their children for quite a while now and even though I had a firm idea of what it would include, I only made some lessons here and there for my children and those I was tutoring. Now that my daughter is over the ‘kindergarten” age, I realized that despite first an award winning public school and then an academically superior (with the scores to prove it) Islamic school, my child still does not have the knowledge as an English speaking child for her grade level that she should AND a more complete understanding of Islaam, our deen. This was not just the fault of the first school who gave her A’s and B’s when she really didn’t have the grasp of grammar and memorization of arithmetic, nor her academically demanding Islamic school. This was partially, my fault. I spent just as much time sometimes helping her with her homework after school as I had when I homeschooled her in kindergarten but I had a younger child, a home, a husband and well, life as well. The fact is, all those hours at school just served as “childcare” because she was not reaching the all the educationalgoalsfor her grade level. I was shocked to realize this because she is a very bright child, with a good vocabulary, always possessing an advanced reading level since I pulled her out of K and taught her to read in two weeks, and everyone comments on how smart she is. However, I was memorizing my multiplication tables in second grade and with good penmanship and writing paragraphs. I am sure she is smarter than me as well so why the discrepancy? One: her needs were not being realized or met at school and TWO: My mother was mostly home with me till I was ten. Even when she worked, I remember her drilling me after school, so i could meet my assignments. The difference with my daughter now is that she is older and can grasp concepts better, but perhaps more importantly my DETERMINATION to give her the tools she needs to to be successful in this life and the hereafter, know her responsibility to our Creator and as a human being in this society, posses a love of learning, have the ability to think and make logical decisions, and be able to get along well with others and make dawah.
There is a need among the English speaking Muslims in particular for a designed course of study. Of course the goal of any gaining of knowledge is to please Allah, preparing for this life and the next, (Jannah- Paridise/Heaven) not just to be able to make a living.
Know, may Allah have mercy upon you, that it is obligatory upon you to have knowledge of four matters:
- Knowledge (al-‘Ilm) which is knowledge and awareness of Allah and knowledge of His prophet, and knowledge of Islaam with the proofs.
- Action upon that.
- Calling to that.
- Patiently persevering and bearing any harm encountered upon that way. ~ The English Translation of Thalathul-Usool(Three Fundamental Principles by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen)
me: Without knowledge and understanding of one’s Lord and Master, His prescriptions and prohibitions, His wisdom, His prophets, His books, His angels, the Day of Judgment and Qadr (divine decree/or destiny) and last but not least our greatest enemy, Iblis and shaytaan, one will flail through life without understanding or direction, he will not be guided except only by the will of ALlah and he will not have any success without the permission of ALlah. There are hadeeth about the poor who suffer all though this life on earth and the excellence of their station on the day of Judgement. But we cannot necessarily equate the poor with the ignorant they are not one and the same. There are those who are ignorant because they know there is a God but turn away from Him. May Allah save us from that! There are those that are ignorant because they are arrogant. A person with a mustard seed of arrogance will not enter the Jannah. Then there are the ignorant who cannot read and can only follow what their forefathers have been doing and I speak of non-Muslim and Muslim alike. I have met Muslims- Kurds and others from “overseas” who could not read and were very ignorant of the world and the correct Aqeedah and practice of our deen. May Allah guide them and all of us Muslims to the straight path and may ALlah have mercy on us, for if we do not gain the pleasure of Allah or his forgiveness we will surely be of the Losers. I am sure there are many other categories of people according to Quran and Sunnah but I am not a scholar and I do not know even a sesame seed of what they know. May Allah reward them all.
This beautiful deen is so complex and complete I was drawn to it and the fact that I could learn the rest of my life but still not know everything. Theology was a major study back when languages like Greek and Latin were still in use. Man has always searched for meaning and for truth. Our Rabb is Great and we may seek knowledge but despite other cultures attempts at ‘theology’ mankind will never fully know until our deaths and then the day of Judgment. Allah tells us in his book of the ‘unseen’. The unseen are angels and jinns and other things that exist, we see the results of, but we cannot see with our eyes. Such as gravity, and Allah knows best. In regards to the ‘unseen’ mentioned in Allah’s book there are things we have never seen and will never see on this earth and complete knowledge is with Allah while we only understand what he commands and by His permission.
For now, dear reader forgive me that I don’t provide all the evidence (daleel) for my statements. I need time to look it all up, inshaAllah. May Allah forgive me if I said anything wrong. Perfection is with Him and any mistakes are from me.
Getting back to my original point: There exists a void. First there is the American or European Muslim child whose parents are reverts to Islam-the true fitrah, and lack a consistent, comprehensive course of study available to himin regards to his “English” education as well as his spiritual education, the learning our language (Arabic) from our book for understanding our deen. The combining of an “English” education and a spiritual one IS POSSIBLE to those parents with the intention and drive. Why not just teach our child Arabic and the deenand not ‘English” subjects? Simply, because the Muslim male does have to live in this world and will have to grow up and support his family in whatever land he lives in but I believe, more importantly, is the ability to internalize, rationalize, and act upon correct knowledge for serving our Lord and making DAWAH. As far as the female Muslim child, we are obligated to educate her just as much, there is nothing in Islam that differentiates the seeking and gaining on knowledge between genders. However, there is a line. A young lady should not travel to another country without a family member or far away from her family alone just to gain a degree.
There is a method amongst homeschoolers called unschooling. Basically it is not an “assigned” course of study. The parents are always teaching the children, when they ask questions, in a situation, everything is connected and we can take advantage of almost every moment to relate what we witness, watch, sense, hear, taste to some type of information stored in our head already from what our parents told us, grandparents, family, we saw in the news, read on the internet, Biology, Arithmetic, History, Science, Physical Education/Health/Fitness and finally citizenship. I like this word. This is a course that is required in school, even though they don’t “name” it. I know because I have read state requirements for those who teach their children at home or in combination with tutors. I bought SO many books when I intended to homeschoolmy daughter and one I found at the localHalf-Price bookstore was a cute bright royal blue textbook with a gingerbread man and a circle. Upon opening it, I saw that it looked like “social studies” but it was more. It spoke about consideration and respect and other good characteristics-being part of a “community.” Yes, it used big words like this, I found out it was a kindergarten book. Continuing on, the beginning of the textbook stated some of the good traits for a child to have and then spoke of the community the child lived in and the next chapter was about the city, then the state, and finally the United States. These characteristics it spoke of is basically Islam. Islam is the Muslim’s deen, translated way of life, most often translated as “religion” Islam is a complete system of how to life your life. It is an instruction manual with insight, wisdom, healing, beauty, psychology, sociology, science and finally an overall history of the past and the Prophets from Adam, the first man, to Muhammad, the last of the Prophets. It even predicted when the Romans would be defeated. It tells of the future; signs of the day of Judgment of many that have come to pass already. In regards to the “citizenship” taught in schools, in the Quran and the example of our prophet are simiar teachings. As I said before, Islam is a complete way of life that as well teaches respect, honesty, consideration, responsibility, honor and many other ideals-in other words, citizenship. The requirement of teaching “citizenship” in a homeschool is not only compatible with the Muslim teacher, child and family, but it is practically identical and easy to incorporate. Adaab, akhlaq and tazkiyyah, arabic words that mean: manners, character and morality, spiritual development and purification of the soul. Tarbiyyah is related to the child’s learning; it means to make, let grow, raise, educate, teach and instruct. All this is in Islam and the idea of citizenship as a seperate subject or taught with social studies in the early grades in schools are already all incorporated in learning our religion and practicing it.
Before I found Islam I always had unanswered questions and just ideas of what should be “common sense”. It never made sense to me that indigenous tribes who had never met Jesus , peace be upon him, nor known the outside world would go to Hell because they didn’t believe Jesus died for their sins. Allah tells us in his book that we will only be asked about what we know. He, glory be to Him, also says that “We have not created you in nations and tribes but to know one another” And ” the only difference between two men is their righteousness” (Race is unimportant it is the nature of a man, his deeds and his character that matter in the sight of God) The Quran accomplished not only answering all my questions, agreed with my intellect and science, but it was a miracle in that it rhymed. The whole book is a linguistic miracle and in his book, Allah puts forth a challenge for the people to gather together and try to come up with just ONE VERSE equal to it. No one has ever been able to. Each prophet was given a miracle for their time. With Moses, it was magic, scorcery and he will able to bet the best magicians the King called upon, because ALlah gave him the power. With David, it was song, the Psalms and with Eysa, alahi salam (the J was added because of Latin, when the Bible was translated to Latin) in his time, it was healing. That was the miracle Allah gave him and in the Quran it relates the miracles Jesus peace be upon him, preformed, by the permission of God.
Getting back to “unchooling” our children, the simple fact is, IS that if there is truth (haqq) than nothing else should negate it whether through theory (which is still unproven) rationalization (working it out) or science (seeing the effects of something or being able to prove it exists or it is real) This being so, the subjects, interests, and hobbies we teach our children should coincide with not just our belief (aqeedah) but THIS IS THE POINT, be all connected, interlocking (like a puzzle) non-contradicting, sound and in complete agreement-harmony. This is achieved because we are in truth and the final revelation we have been given contains the instructions to life, of living on earth. I was not “born” muslim as we Americans would say. Allah tells us in his book that we are all born in the true “fitrah”- in submission and knowing our Lord. We are in submission in the womb and as an infant when we come out. It is our parents who make us Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian (fire worshipper) Hindu or Buddhist. When I was a child, growing up in the hill country, I knew there was a God. I wanted to know the meaning of life, and which religion was right. (hey, im a poet and i didnt knowit)
Anyhow, I met a few Muslims before I read the Quran. The first one was shia and didnt pray. I didnt know Muslims were supposed to pray five times a day. Later, I ran into a couple brothers at work from Egypt, they were the coolest people…they did things for me without expecting ANYTHING in return. I could tell even if I didnt become Muslim, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to them. This was a revelation to me because Christians, on the other hand, thought it WAS the end of the world if I didnt SAY that Jesus (peace be upon him) died for my sins and join their church.
Muslims believe that is is Almighty God (Allah) who guides and that everything is the will of Allah. You know in the old days, here and in Europe people used to say “God willing” Muslims say inshaAllah daily-the Quan tells us if we have the intention to do something always say, InshaAllah.
As a child, I even sent for anything that was about God that was free to receive. I am not going to go into the whole path of all the churches I attended or even the synagoge i visited. Suffice to say that the man called Salman al Farsi (Salman the Persian’s)(‘s) life perfectly illustrates my own search for truth and path towards Islam.
The reason for this introduction is that when I finally did read the Quran at the age of nineteen, it was so different than what I had read-yet familiar. It had all the stories of the prophets but it didnt have a never-ending stream of contradictions. It was revealed over a twenty two year period and about 500 years after Eysa (Jesus, peace be upon him) and not a word has ever been changed to this date. This is a promise stated in the Quran and there are still Quran’s in museums over a century old that, when compared to the simple small Quran in every Muslims home, only differs in decoration.
God gave me a brain. He gave us all a brain. I loved reading the Bible-there was much beauty in it and some wisdom but it bothered me that there were so many contradictions. Allah tells us in His book (Quran) that the Jews changed the verses from there right places and that the Christians went to extremes( in worshipping Jesus, alahi salam). I learned from research even before becoming Muslim that the council of Nicea was responsible for chosing which books went into the Bible, thats why there are many more books in the Catholic Bible and less in the “Christian” Bible. Because they knew the way in which people wrote back then, revelations was NOT accepted till even as little as 200 years ago and it was the last book to “make it in”
The beauty of the Quran is that not only does it not contradict itself but it agrees with Science and everything around us. Even psychology is in the Quran. I only read the first nine chapters and immediately became Muslim. It took me two more years to finish it, till chapter 114. No worries, it was in order from longest chapter to shortest so, it wasnt so “grand” an undertaking! Over the years, I saw the true wisdom and understanding, in the Quraan, it even included an overview of History and the Prophets from Adam to Muhammad that ALlah sent to mankind. Most importantly, not only did it not contradict Science, IT the Quran, proved it. There were verses we didn’t understand until, with recent scientific discovery, made sense.
“Verily We are expanding the Heavens” (Al-Quran) Astronomy tells us that this is true, from analysis of data and mathmatical calculation of the distance of others planets and stars in relation to each other—it’s growing. The Quran, in Surah Al Alaq (the clot) and other verses states the phases of the conception, (a seed) then a chewed like form, and on to the embryo and the fetus. Modern science didnt know the the phases of the embryo and fetus until very recently. The Quran also talks about the water cycle, the planets being in fixed orbits, the milk formation in the cow, and many other “discoveries” that scientists have made in the last couple hundred years, sometimes in only the last fifty-and this revelation was written down about 500 years after Jesus, alahi salam. When I first read the Quran, the only other conclusion i could make is that is was from the devil and immediately I thought to myself that that wasn’t logical…..because it was telling me and humankind to obey Allah and surrender to him. Allah is the best of Planners, the rectifier of our affairs and our Creator and Lord. He is the Omnipotent.
Knowledge (ilm) is to comprehend the reality of something, as it truly is, with certainty. There are six levels of comprehension:
- Knowledge (al-‘ilm): which is to comprehend the reality of something as it truly is, with certainty.
- Slight ignorance (al-Jahlul-Baseet): which is absence of full comprehension.
- Aggravated/compunded ignorance (al-Jahlul-Murakkab): which is to comprehend something in a way that is contrary to its true reality.
- Delusion (al-Wahm): which is to think that one comprehends something despite the presence of that which should cause you to realize that you are incorrrect
- Doubt (ash-Shakk): which is to think you comprehend something, yet you are aware of something contrary to it which you think has the same possibility of being the truth
- Preponderant belief (Dhann): which is comprehension of something, despite the presence which is contrary to it, but which is less likely to be true.
And Knowledge is of two categories: Inevitable (durooree) and speculative (nadharee). ~From Explanation of the three fundamental principles of Islaam by Shaykh ‘Uthaymeen, with explanation by Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab.
Getting back to my point again there is also the ‘foreign’ Muslim child or even considered “American” or “British” because he was born was on that land’s soil. Different people have different goals for our children. But if we are Muslim we are supposed to be the BEST of people. (These aren’t my words, but Allah’s) Are we raising our children to be that way, in the place and society we currently live in?
The last group of Muslims wishing to educate their children are those that have either made hijjra permanently or who are in places like Yemen, Saudi, or Mauritania gaining knowledge from the scholars or learning Arabic. This group as well, is in need of a comprehensive curriculum for their children. There are no schools for American or English speaking children in Yemen and other countries and if there are, they are very expensive. Families who have make hijjrah simply for the goal of taking classes with the scholars have found themselves in a simple, beautiful place where they can live happy, healthy lives and grow intellectually and spiritually but one that it is hard to order curricula or even have ongoing internet access. Some areas do not even have electricity available all day and night but I know that is improving. It is turned on specific times of day. In Yemen, for instance there are little internet cafes opening up which is good, but also a sign of the living conditions there. On the one hand, fathers and mothers can teach what they learn to their children and sometimes mothers can even bring their children to classes, but when it comes to phonics, learning to read English the language spoken at home or the child will use in the future and the many other subjects he will have to know if he wants to obtain a degree or go on to an institute of higher learning in the United States or Europe…the tools and materials are just not available. And Allah knows best.
Anyone who has had to send or receive something from overseas knows how difficult and expensive it can be with going through customs and all that. There are many people living overseas in countries like Yemen and Saudi Arabia that do not even have a house address!
As I got older I was surprised to find out even Saudis are expected to go overseas for their education, becoming more proficient in English (they are taught some in school) if they hope to get a good job ‘back home’ . Asians (Indonesians, Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Pakistanis) the ‘gold standard’ for some reason is to get their education ‘overseas’ which to them is any English speaking country especially “America” (i use quotes because America denotes freedom and we are not free and ours is no longer a ‘democracy’) and the United Kingdom. I will agree in some ways our universities are better, but it is more about name and status of the school on your degree than anything. It also has to do with a more “global economy” that more people need to speak English. Hey! Dont blame me, its always been all about the money…money makes the world go ’round. (oh, and well also, it says in the Quran that each body (planet) has its on orbit in a fixed manner) Yes we are the superpower, (sarcasm) *Make dua for me that when (iA) I complete this site with everything I want to add, first as a record of my children’s education; second incorporating an all inclusive plan of studies with links, tools, printouts, everything you need to raise your child to be successful in this life and the next, I will move to my dream place overseas to study with those whose ink is more sacred than the blood of the martr and be able to access my own site at the cafe…..to continue teaching MY kids…..cause i WANT to live simplistically, no running water and electricity! Oh, wait I NEED AC. Oh, well Allah does not give a soul more than it can bear. To our Lord is the return.
~ Originally, my idea for a curricula for the English speaking child was all-inclusive from early English phonics, including reading of children’s and classic literature, vocabulary and etymology, with memorization in Arithmetic, all the way to History, Science, including “Citizenship” (which is really Islam if you think about it) all with an Islamic basis and knowing the deen but by age 14 -18 complete proficiency for acceptance to any institute of higher learning such as community college or even universities. Many do not know homeschooled and even public schooled children can take courses through college, with credit even at an early age, such as middle school.
It was not only with an understanding of the Well Trained Mind book but IMPLEMENTING it I saw where excellence can be achieved, inshaAllah. I started altering and substituting, blending the lessons from the books recommended by The Well Trained Mind. The Well Trained just helped me focus, decipher more and fine tune the details. So, that was my reason for starting this site- to develop, step by step a ‘classical’ plan of study in all subjects, with an emphasis on Arabic and of course Quraan/Islaam. Believe me when I tell you that inshaAllah you will see how this can be done. INshaALlah. With the right intention and motivation any Muslim child who uses English on a daily basis and plans to in his future will benefit : materially, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, but most importantly, have a sound foundation for his living, the meaning of his life, perfecting his worship of Allah his Creator, perfecting his character, making dawah and being successful in this life (dunya) and the hereafter (akhirah) The goal for our children on earth is not happiness; but peace, understanding and submission to Allah and remembrance of their Lord and to be respectful of our duty to our Rabb in regards to the education of our children and in hope that they will pray for us after we die. For the du’a of our righteous children for us is one of the few good deeds that will continue on our scale after we are placed in our graves to await Yawm-ul Qiyamah (The Day of Judgment) when there will be no shade. I had hoped to benefit my own children anyone wanting outstanding education of their children but i find even more so, that I hope to benefit myself with this undertaking of teaching my children, developing an Islamic classical curriculum, my own understanding and knowledge, the gaining of wisdom, and the perfecting of my Ibadah and deen. May Allah make it easy for me. Saying this, i remembered one of my favorite sites : www.raisingsmallsouls.comI love it especially the ‘animal school’ video however, most of the advise is islamic in regards to the upbringing and teaching of children. May Allah guide you and me and grant us sabr for Allah is with the patient.
P.S. I added stuff here and there, finally editing and figuring out this blog i will come back later and revise the ‘about’ inshaAllah. So, i promise my other blogs wont go off on such tangents, there will be order! Organization is so important in everything.
Lately I was completely surprised when my daughter’s father OF ALL PEOPLE made some unresearched, broad generalizations and incorrect statements about me homeschooling Sakina. Or rather she and I homeschooling. He seemed so agreeable to it before why the change? Well I have my own suspicions but I’ll keep them to myself. I saw this doing a search and thought it was funny.I have finally found my calling…now if I only had the patience!Teach (tech) v. 1. To give instruction to: or in;
2. To train by example, practice, or exercise.
3. To act as a teacher; impart knowledge or skill.Good teachers guide, inform, enlighten, instruct, and train The Next Generation. I shall post some articles on homeschooling as well, one in particular that was really good about Public school.