(20:114) ربِّ زِدْنِي عِلْماً

Friday, April 2, 2010

Socialization Question

Umm Fatima said...
Assalaamu alaykum I'm a mother of one living in the US and I am seriously considering homeschooling... my girl is still an infant but every time I remember my public school experiences I cringe and swear I could never subject my daughter to that. I am concerned about socialization, though. How do you get your kids to play and learn with other children their ages when you live in a non-Muslim country and are so selective about their playmates (they have to be Muslim, good adab, etc)? I have no question that the quality of education would be better, but what about the socialization factor? jazaku Allah khayr

Wa 'alaikum as salaam, Sis.
May ALLAH make things easy for you and your family, AMEEN.

For me, socialization is really not an issue. Because we get out and about in the world, my children understand how to converse with their elders, they feel comfortable around various ages and they are more inclined to play with any aged child, (they love babies and sometimes don't realize that they are not as old as the older kids, lol.

One of the things that I hear often is how well behaved my children are, AlhamduLILLAH. That is because they are learning how to socialize from me, other family members, friends and their children, etc. I've heard this from Muslims and non-Muslims alike - even at the Islamic school.

We recently went to the doctor's office and they quietly waited for me. A woman in the waiting room remarked that they were extremely well-behaved.

One of the things that public school children learn is socialization... from their peers. They learn to socialize from each other. They learn what is proper behavior, language and values from their friends, e.g. swearing, bullying, fighting. They learn to value clothing labels and choose pop icons as their role models. What about when they get older? Will they retain their fitrah in a non-segregated environment? Will they go to school dances, date or feel that you've cheated them at their chance at happiness and social acceptance when you won't let them go? They will learn to socialize from their peers, five days a week for eight hours a day, ten months of the year.

If you're concerned about socializing, find a play group, a preschool group, a small program through the zoo, local park, library, homeschool co-op, take them to the houses of like-minded friends, relatives, etc. 

As far as being in a non-Muslim country, I understand your concerns but it does not mean that you have to cut off all interaction with non-Muslims. For example, our kids do go to the playground (supervised) and I will let them play with non-Muslim children. My side of the family is non-Muslim and their cousin comes to visit in the summer. If he does or says something that they know is naughty, they gently correct him ;)

He goes to public school and I can tell. He's an intelligent, straight A kid but his mother is dealing with some behavior issues. He likes to be the center of attention and he likes to please the crowd.

He knows the consequences and yet it is his peers that he is trying to please, not his family.

MashaALLAH that you are willing to pursue homeschooling and I hope that ALLAH makes things easy for you, AMEEN.


zawjna said...

salaam alaikum sister

I homeschool during the week and he will go to Iqraa School (islamic school) on Sundays inshaAllah... there are 103 other students there mashaAllah so that helps... also, here we have a family night every jummah in the islamic center and that helps... all our friends are muslim so we try as much as possible to get together with them alhamdulillah. We go tobaganning in winter and to the beach as families in the summers.... (the women dont swim obviously lol and we stake out a section of the beah that no one is at alhamdulillah, though this sometimes requires moving all our things if half naked women show up lol), the zoo and library are good ideas because they will spend time with the kids in the families that came with you. Also, if you with your child, you dont need to worry as much about them being exposed to things you would rather not i.e.. haram food, kufar holidays, etc...

InshaAllah you will find something. At the islamic center here, they have tae kwon do classes, sewing classes, arabic and islamic classes, youth group for the older girl and boys (seperate of course)... they have a rec facility in the islamic center and soccer and basketball clubs... organized sports at your islamic center if you have one maybe the way to go inshaAllah....

fi aman Allah

Sr.Yoanna Umm Muhamamd

Nakia said...

As salaamu 'alaikum Sr.Yoanna Umm Muhamamd,

Nice to hear from you and May ALLAH make things easy for you and your family, AMEEN. Those are some excellent suggestions and JazakILLAH Khairin for participating!

Keep the ideas coming Sisters!

Take care,
wa salaam,

Umm Tafari said...

As salaam alaikum, Wonderful explanation, sister. Couln't have said it better myself.

Nakia said...

Wa 'alaikum as salaam, Umm Tafari,

good to hear from you! JazakILLAH Khairin, Sis. I think if anyone knows about socializing and getting out there to take part in enriching activities it's you ;)

Take care,
wa salaam,

Nakia said...

Muslim Family has left a new comment on your post "Giveaway!":

asallamu alaikum!

Hey sis, how are you and the children doing? We would love to get one of these books! Thanks so much for the wonderful giveaway. May Allah reward you. ameen

Edit* Sis, I moved your comment to this post to keep track of it.

Sarah Plain And Short said...

As salam aleikom sis,

What you have said is so true from what I've observed of homeschooled children mashAllah. They are closer to their parents and siblings, mature, and polite to everyone. They are better at adjusting to adult life than many children who have been babied too much in public schools. I find society places too much of an emphasis on 'being a kid' w/ no responsibilities being taught...however in Islam when we look at some of the Sahabas (May Allah be please with them) they were just children (or what we consider children) and they did their best to serve Islam mashAllah. Like Ali, and Zaid..and Aisha May Allah be pleased with them.

Umm Ibraheem said...

Assalaam-u-Alaikum Sisters,

When I tell family and friends that I plan to homeschool my child (children), I always get asked the same question. I think people don't realize the nightmarish socialization that goes on in public system. Given a choice between send them there to learn social skills verses risking them becoming anti-social...I'll choose anti-social anytime!
Insha'Allah, once we settle down in Canada (concept of homeschooling doesn't really exist in SA, I don't think the government even allows it), I plan to get connected with other homeschooling families (like yourself Sr.Nakia :D) and organize weekly play/learn dates. I am a complete dunce when it comes to math, we can trade off on subject teaching. One mom may excel in French or Arabic or Spanish (sign me up!) and the other may be good at Calligraphy (sign me up here too!) and so you can have trade off. This is just an idea, I've heard that the homeschooling networks do arrange for these type of things.

If you are unable to tap into a network, then as Sr.Nakia said, socialize with friends and family. I appreciate the idea of socializing with non-Muslims, it's a great oppurtunity for dawah. You can even tap into a network that is not Muslim, it will be so awesome to teach their children about the Islam through various activities or not...call them back to the deen when they are young!

Anywho, I didn't just post this for the books, however it's a great incentive. May Allah reward you for motivating me :D!
Take Care,
Umm Ibraheem

Lubna said...

Asalamu Alaikum Sister Nakia,

i'm a regular reader of your blog and enjoy reading it. my name is Luban and residing currently in Abu Dhabi. i would love have this great book. So please include my name name as well :)

Take care

Umm Omar said...

Great answer, sister! Makes me feel all the more better about homeschooling.

ummee said...

Assalam alaikum.

Jazakumullahu khairan for such a nice article. I've been homeschooling my children for about 2 years now, but I get nervous from time to time.

That's because, homeschooling is still really rare in this country, and we can't even find other muslim homeschoolong families around.

Now, I'm homeschooling two girls, but I have two little boys(still too young for schooling), too. My husband insists on sending them to school, because they're boys.

Do you find any differences between homeschooling girls and boys? I guess my husband is worried about their socialization(he believes that boys need to get out a lot). I'd like to hear something about homeschooling boys, inshaAllah.


Nakia said...

Wa 'alaikum as salaam, Sis and Wa iyyaki.

May ALLAH make things easy for you and your family, AMEEN.

My son is the only boy out of my four children and I especially make an effort to get him out and about among other boys. I've seen lots of programs for boys at the local mosques, so I'm not worried about finding activities for him, i.e. weekend stay overs, summer camp, sports, etc. For me, I've always struggled with finding something for the girls to do.

One common ground are the maths and sciences. Boy or girl, there seem to be lots of programs for these subjects so I especially focus on them to develop their strengths and keep their options open.

Take care,
wa salaam,