Regarding More Islamic Alternatives to State School Education
All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon the Prophet.
Over the last few years, I have received many inquiries from parents seeking advice regarding the schooling of their children in a Western context. The first thing to point out is that Salafis are active and positive participants in the society around us. We wish to be excellent examples to those around us. We look after our neighbors and we care about those less fortunate than ourselves, both Muslims and non-Muslims. We have shown over the years how Salafis can live in any society, whilst maintaining their faith (imaan and aqeedah) and practice of orthodox Islaam.
As for education, then many parents are turning to alternatives other than state-school education. These parents want their children to be educated in a faith-based environment. In my my view, and in the view of many scholars whom we have asked over the years: they advise parents to educate their children from the early years into early adulthood in Islamic environments so that they may maintain their Islamic heritage. In this regard I encourage all parents in this predicament with the following:
1. Enroll your children into Salafi Islamic Schools in your area. In Birmingham, UK, we have a primary school for children aged between 6 and 11 years of age. It is called the Salafi Independent School, telephone 0121-772-4567. There is also a secondary school for children aged between 11 and 16 years of age. That one is called The Redstone Academy, telephone 0121-448-7933.
However, this solution is not open to every Salafi family living in the West, in which case, we need to consider the next option:
2. Distance learning from your home through a reputable provider. This method is combined with home schooling and is open for all ages. It is an excellent alternative for those parents who wish to keep their children close and truly nurture the parent-child relationship before adulthood. It is a safety-net for our children, that will (inshaa’Allaah) prevent them from falling into immoral and bad behaviour, whether it be crime, fornication, drugs and gangs.
Here are just some of the benefits in home education that many parents and children have experienced:
• Parents have more quality time to train and influence their children.
• There is opportunity for each child to receive individualized attention and instruction.
• Parents are able to give guidance in areas of religion and morality.
• Children develop respect for parents as teachers.
• Spending more time together increases family unity and closeness.
• It provides a good environment for development of confidence and independent thinking.
• There is enhanced communication between all age groups due to the diversified learning environment.
• Home-schooled students demonstrate excellent academic progress.
• School hours are flexible to accommodate family schedules and vacations.
• More control over outside influences such as drugs and gangs etc.
• A curriculum that complies with your belief.
[These are just a few benefits that I myself have experienced and gathered from parents who have posted comments online on home schooling forums]
I truly believe that Muslim parents should not be afraid of home-schooling, especially if it is accompanied with distance learning. It is really not as daunting as it may initially seem! Did you know that there are thousands of children who are home schooled, Muslims and non-Muslims, because they see it as a better alternative to state education?
The key is to be organized and set a timetable – it requires only a few hours a day. Some people have mentioned concerns about lack of socializing with other children, and whether this may affect the children in a negative manner. The reality is that in the home environment the parents can decide who their children socialize with from friends, neighbors and relatives – so parents are able to monitor and guide their children in an appropriate manner from an early age – so by the permission and blessings of Allaah, our children grow up to be balanced knowledgeable Salafis, highly educated with high moral character! Additionally the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) informed his Ummah that the one who has the greatest right of companionship is one’s mother, and he repeated that three times, and then he mentioned the father and the siblings. Quite often we take the companionship of those less deserving than our parents, then we pass that on to our children – whereas in the Islamic context it is one’s parents who are most worthy of kind treatment and close companionship, and then others. So make your children your close companions and they will accompany you in good in later years!
Home School and Distance Learning with Wolsey Hall Oxford
http://www.wolseyhalloxford.org.uk is a very good distance learning school for all ages. Indeed I have enrolled two of my own children with Wolsey Hall Oxford on IGCSE and KS3 and hope to enroll two more in September, one into their A Level program. Please note that KS3 (grades 7-9) is not yet advertised on their website as it officially begins in August, but you can register now. The costs are reasonable and when considering that the courses last anything up to three years, it makes sense.
Furthermore, they allow you to spread the payments over the year by monthly payments. They post out to you all the study books and guides your children will need to get through the course. There is an online login website for your child that is specific to him (or her); there is constant monitoring of your child’s progress; homework is set and marked regularly; tutors are at hand whenever needed by phone, email or Skype!
You can make enquiries and apply online at http://www.wolseyhalloxford.org.uk – They will give an immediate 10% discount to anyone who quotes the promotional code “CARDINAL” when enrolling your child. You can call them on 01865-721-215 or from outside the UK +(44)-1865-721-215 and they’ll talk you through everything you need to know with no obligation – very friendly and helpful! Let me quote here what they state on their website:
Why Homeschooling with Wolsey Hall?
At Wolsey Hall our sole business is supporting parents and children who wish to study GCSEs/IGCSEs and A-Levels from home. Children who study with Wolsey Hall work at home through a carefully balanced mix of study texts supplied by the college and our online learning management system WHOLE (Wolsey Hall Online Learning Environment).
Unlike most other distance learning organisations who offer a wide range of different types of courses, our only focus is GCSE’s/IGCSEs and A-level through home study.
And that focus means that your child will get the best possible help with their GCSE/IGCSE and A-Level studies.
Here are four good reasons to choose Wolsey Hall Oxford to support your child’s education:
1. We offer next generation technologies, including an award winning learning management system, so that your child can expect rapid feedback and first class support.
2. We offer the same level of one to one support that you can expect from an Oxford tutorial college, but at a fraction of the price!
3. All our tutors are qualified and experienced teachers who are not only experts in their fields, but are also passionate about passing on their learning to others.
4. We recognize the critical importance of learner support and so, in addition to our tutors, we have members of the team who are qualified learning support specialists who can offer advice and support in such areas as dyslexia, ADHD and other learning and processing disabilities.
Distance Learning Courses for GCSE, IGCSE and A Level
Wolsey Hall Oxford has been helping students across the globe achieve qualifications through home study since 1894. Well over 750,000 people have gained qualifications with Wolsey Hall through distance learning…
Today we focus exclusively on providing the best possible tuition for Distance Learning GCSE/IGCSE and Distance Learning A-Levels for both mature students and young adults being schooled at home. Using a cutting edge learning management and delivery platform, we’re providing distance learning courses to students from Beijing to Buenos Aires!”
So they can teach your children regardless of where you live: UK, Europe, India, Canada, Caribbean or the USA! There are no doubt other good providers out there, so search thoroughly. I found this one to be good and that’s I have mentioned it here.
For those of you living in places where Islamic Schools upon the Sunnah are not available, consider this option as an alternative to state schools, which may not give your children the Islamic environment that you seek. We want the best for our children, and what better place to receive the best cultivation than in the home of one’s parents.
We want the best for our children, beginning of course with the most important affair of understanding the Islamic religion in accordance to the Qur’aan and Sunnah upon the way of the Salaf. We also wish our children to be competent and strong in worldly affairs, so they can in turn support their families and support the community positively and not be in a position where they are need of handouts. Also having daughters who are well-educated means they can in turn pass that knowledge on to their children, so that the next generation is also strengthened in terms of both religious and worldly knowledge.
In conclusion, I ask that you consider your options carefully and do not allow the precious abilities of your children to be squandered in their important early years!
May Allaah bless our families both in this life and in the Herafter.
Abu Khadeejah ‘Abdul-Waahid