By Hwaa Irfan
It was only a couple of years ago, when the trend reflected a growing amount of Muslims turning to homechooling. The increased Islamophobia being faced by Muslim pupils at school, and the cultural dimension brought in by Asian and S.E. Asian families not wanting their girls to experience or be influenced by American culture in puberty was another. When I heard about Fawzia Mai Tung, a Chinese-American Muslim who homeschools all her three children in Phoenix, there was some hope. Not worshipping American education, Tung, still worried about if her children would succeed until, she found out how low the local grades were. Now her oldest son is at medical college, which just goes to show how much parents over-rated the education that is provided for us. This is what homeschooling is, bringing out the untapped potential that gets crushed, neglected, or abused at school.
Now, the latest trend in U.S. homeschooling is as result of the global economic crisis. The kind of school budget cuts being made, are forcing more and more parents to think about what their children are actually getting. Nabila Hanson from Morocco, a convert to Islam sees the education system as it is after her 9-year old son, Omar demonstrated how bright he is. She said his brightness is due to not being stifled by public school, or dumb-downed.
- “The public school system,” asserted Hanson, who home-schools her two children in their spacious two-story house in this East Bay suburb, “is just a joke. It’s an embarrassment.”
The trouble with becoming a part of the system, is that one I not best placed to comment on it, and as such one is ready to destroy anything that seemingly threatens it. That has been the relationship between schooling and homeschooling in the U. S.
In California where Hansen’s home is, most homeschoolers are Hispanic or African-American, where once it was the domain of white evangelical Christians who considered rightly that schooling was not providing enough moral education. This, along with other issues mentioned is why homeschooling is moving away from the point of view as being seen as an educational alternative to being part of the mainstream according to a 2009 study done by the National Home Education Research Institute.
Because the one thing that homeschooling is in a better position to provide that schooling, is an environment that nurtures the whole individual, rather than the socially acceptable part of the individual, which leaves the rest of the individual quite unhappy. It may be the very reason why in the period 2007 – 2008, why homeschoolers scored 34 – 39% higher than the norm on standardized achievement tests. It may also be why homeschoolers enter college as self-starters, and able to get on with what needs to be done. With such results, even the Ivy League universities have become interested in taking on homeschoolers and university entry level like Stanford.
Unfortunately, if it is only about results, then some parents are following suit, and are deciding to homeschool their children because of the proven results, however there are still parents who appreciate homeschooling for what it really has to offer. As more and more parents consider taking their children out of school the reasons range from:
• “They don’t like the one-size-fits-all approach,”
• “In a public school, everyone has to learn the same thing whether they are interested in that or not,”
• One parent’s children benefit from a nontraditional style of learning.
• “She was asked to do the ABC book when she was reading at second-grade level,”
• “No flexibility in the teaching”.
• “Peer pressure”
• “Disadvantaged physically challenged children”
• “You hear of kids who’ve gone to school, but they never learned to read. And you wonder why.”
We all send our children off to school without really questioning why or looking at our expectations.
As a single mom who runs an educational academy, Hanson acknowledged it’s sometimes hard to juggle her time between her work and her children. But watching them blossom, and “moving to their own beat” makes it all worthwhile, she said.
Home School: Why Ethnic Families Are Saying Yes
Macfarquhar, N. Many Muslims in U.S. Turn to Home Schooling http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/26/world/americas/26iht-26muslim.11426053.html?_r=1