I frequently hear moms asking “How do I get my husband to agree to homeschool?” and, well, I have great empathy for their plight. I’ve heard that if it’s not dad’s idea to begin with, it can be very difficult to convince him to homeschool. This week when someone asked me about this common dilemma I thought back some ten+ years to the beginning of my family’s journey and tried to remember- how did I get my husband to agree to homeschool our kids?
Initially the husband seemed to agree with my homeschooling idea. Perhaps he saw my enthusiasm- pouring over hsing books, joining hsing groups, taking parent and child courses at our local Waldorf school- and he thought something like, She’s going to be great at this! I just asked him how he was so easily convinced in those early days and he says it has to do with him being “weird” by which he means “unconventional” and he says that he’s quick on his feet and “just got it right away that homeschooling was a good thing to do.” I may try again to jog his memory about that time because…
… and then about a year later we moved to Morocco and the man buckled. He began pressuring me to put our four year old into preschool. Now he says “that was only about the language.” Yes, of course. Muslim homeschoolers who move overseas often cite language acquisition as a reason for indoctrinating putting their children in schools once they are in Muslim majority countries. The other main reason is so that the children will learn Quran and Islamic values.
The first two neighbourhood schools I begrudgingly toured with my husband were taught primarily in French. And they happily informed us that the children learn all about Papa Noel and wear costumes for Halloween. Did this appeal to the Western Mom? No. Their curriculum was also cra substandard and they did not have an outdoor play area for the children. Well they had cement driveways. Nice. The third school we toured was a 40 minute drive (not during commute hours) from our home. It was an “Islamic school” located within the compound of a lovely mosque. There was a plush lawn covering the grounds and a slide. One of those detached slides you might buy from a toy store for your own kids.
We arrived at Option #3 just in time for Thuhr prayer and got to witness all the little kids (remember- preschool) pulling on their hijabs and thobes, rolling out the enormous plastic rugs, and lining up to pray. Truly adorable. Then we learned about the curriculum. Yes, we were proudly informed, these three and four year olds were learning not only Classic Arabic (as opposed to the Derija or Tshilhit they speak at home) but they were also learning English. Argh. I was hoping to follow the Better Late Than Early model. The husband was impressed. He decided the son would go. He decided my little four year-old would-be-homeschooler should commute to school six days a week for several many hours every day. I remember there was an option for him to come home for two hours every day for lunch, but obviously that would be futile with the more than an hour’s worth of driving back and forth, so he would be there all day. Full-time.
I decided to opt out. “You want him to go, you have to get him up, get him ready, make his breakfast, get his lunch ready, drop him off, pick him up. I’m not doing anything to help,” I said (and meant). My husband did not get up and get my son ready and make his breakfast and make his lunch and drive him in Casa traffic (similar to LA or NY) to school and then drive back to our side of town and then go back hours later to get him. My husband didn’t put our son in school after all. This solution didn’t come to me immediately or easily, but it came to me and it worked. That was the end of that and the beginning our homeschooling journey.
I hear that dads are more inclined to listen to professional advice regarding these matters of making choices that very much go against the current grain, especially the advice of other males. So you may want to do another thing I did, which was to load the coffee table down with books and printed out data about the success rates of homeschoolers. But then again, that didn’t seem to entirely work for us. Otherwise, some Muslims appreciate a good fatwa, so here’s one if it helps at all- though I’m sure you could find support out there for an opposite view…
If a woman wants to home school her children, to protect them from evil influences, can she do so against her husband’s wishes? Can you provide any articles about educating our children, especially in this secular liberal society?
The danger in the non-Muslim schools is definite, and sending our children there when there is a good alternative available is an act of disobedience to Allaah. If you know that you can properly home-school your children, and you know that you can get by it despite your husband’s opposition, then do it by all means, because, “No obedience may be granted to any creature that involves disobeying the Creator.”
Shaikh Muhammad al-Jibaly
Note: You do not have to be a teacher or have a university degree to teach your children at home. Studies have proven that home educated children are approximately five years ahead of children that attend public school, regardless of their parent’s level of education.
More and more Imams are encouraging homeschooling and some are stating it is a requirement, alhamdulillah.