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Monthly Archives: August 2012

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Homeschooling: We are now.

I’m worried about Khalid.  He hasn’t been feeling well these past few days, and his tolerance for things has been reduced to almost zero. Can’t find train? Sob. Don’t like color of cereal? Sob. Don’t want to greet guest? Sob. Thomas the Tank engine dubbed in Arabic? MELTDOWN.

When we ask him questions, he doesn’t respond- he seems zoned out and lost somewhere out in outer space.  There are times when his eyes seem almost empty.  I don’t mean to be melodramatic- there are plenty of times when Khalid is mentally present and accounted for, it’s just that we’ve been so blessed to have Khalid doing so well for so long that it’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely worried about his development.  

But I am now- and I am coming to realize that although Khalid’s funny soliloquies about trains delight me, they are almost unintelligible to anyone who doesn’t speak Khalidese. So, he really needs to start Speech Therapy.  And I love watching him run, but his running is more of a flapping bounce with a vague windmilling action of the left arm.  His fine motor skills are lacking too- he hates writing or even holding a pen- his handwriting is worse than Iman’s, and she’s four.  So yes- I am worried about Khalid more so than usual, and trust me- mothers worry a LOT.

The really great thing about worry though is that you make such awesome dua after salah.  There’s nothing like fear and desperation to give you sincerity in your prayer.  Try it- next time you’re about to make dua, think about something that you are afraid of.  Think of something that gnaws away at your mental peace- of a situation whose realization is a worst-case scenario in your mind- and then pray. You’d be surprised at how much more so your prayer is actually a prayer as compared to a verbatim rehearsal of Hisnul Muslim.

School will be starting soon.  Rather- school will NOT be starting soon.  Khalid and Iman will, InshaAllah, be homeschooled this year.  HF and I came to this decision after lots and research, soul-searching, and being rejected from other schools. :p  

For the second year in a row, Khalid has been guaranteed placement in the less-than-mediocre private school that he has been biding his time in but denied admission into every other school we’ve applied to.  As usual, he scored perfectly on the assessments, impressed the teachers and unintentionally charmed the heads of primary, but was then rejected after weeks of meetings by administration staff who have never met him.  So for the second year in a row, we’re being told- “So sorry, better luck next year?”

We could take Khalid back to the school he just finished 1st grade in, but the education quality was awful, the kids were without teachers for weeks at a time due to staff quitting, the Arabic program was ATROCIOUS and there was severely limited opportunities for social engagement.  Our top priority for Khalid in school was actually socializing, but due to the old world educational philosophy of good old education through intimidation, there was very little of that happening for any of the students.  BE QUIET! NO TALKING! GET IN LINE! EYES IN FRONT! HANDS TO YOURSELF!

I may be expecting too much, but I was blessed to have had the opportunity to be in a school program where we were given problems and then sent to work on them in teams independently.  Once we had worked out a solution, we presented it to the class.  We didn’t just solve, we thought.  We learned how to research, to think critically, and to develop social skills through meaningful interaction.  None of these things are happening in the current school.  Not a single one.  The desks face forward.  The kids stay silent out of fear of being yelled at.  The teacher writes something down.  You copy it. Then you go home. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Because Khalid is academically advanced, mainstream school is a waste of time unless he’s being socially and verbally challenged.  And since he’s not, he’ll be doing his academics at his own pace at home, and then we’re adding soccer and other extra-curriculars to give him some quality socialization afterwards.  Iman will be getting the same- she’s a bright sparkly pink star (Alhamdulillah) who has wasted a year in KG learning her alphabets when she can already sight read.

I am, to be perfectly frank- petrified.  Homeschooling? With work? And aaaaaaargh I don’t even want to start on work- there’s not a post window big enough to contain all of my anxiety about work.  I have twelve staff, over 25 kids, and no accountant, no admin- only me to handle everything related to administration, operations, finance- it makes my head spin.  

And on top of this, I’m homeschooling?

Yes, I’ll be hiring a teacher to go over the academic material with the kids, but I’m going to be taxiing the kids to and from their extracurriculars as well as overseeing everything, and I’m nervous.

But you know what? AllahuAkbar.  Allah is the Greatest, and if we bent over backwards trying to get the kids into a school but found we were left with no choice but homeschooling, then there is good in it, InshaAllah.  Allah is the best of planners, and perhaps- like having a child with autism- homeschooling Khalid and Iman will be an enriching and life-changing experience that takes my patience, time-management, and parenting skills to the next level. InshaAllah.

Please remember us in your duas, that we’ve made the decision that is best for Khalid and Iman’s education and development as little humans and little Muslims, and that Allah blesses me with the time, patience, and ability to manage home, work, and homeschool without compromising the quality of any of the above.

Ameen, Ameen, Ameen.