Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where is the Islam?

What’s the problem?
Have you ever looked for a curriculum, and found the material questionable?  Or maybe you feel like the Islam is missing from the text?  I’ve recently come across a similar issue while looking for a science curriculum.  When I look for material, I often find myself sifting through Christian websites, and rightly so, for they as a group have done a lot more ground work in the homeschooling arena.  This causes me to choose between either secular, Christian “new earth”, or Christian “old earth” curriculums.  Which leads to my question for us all, where are the Muslim curriculums? 
Many homeschooling parents get along just fine with the do it yourself method of searching and pasting together lessons, but not all of us have the abilities to sift through all of this material, and determine what’s good and what’s useless.  I know through experience how relieving it is to find a well-structured curriculum that I can use as a guide while adding and subtracting where I see fit, or completely rely upon it and saving myself the time. 
When choosing a curriculum why do I have to be sifting through new Earth, Old Earth, Secular, Darwinism, yet nothing with an Islamic approach to science, math, or social sciences?  Singapore Math seems great, but where’s Medina Math?!  One might say “but you can just incorporate the Islamic information and benefits alongside the lessons”, well not everybody has this type of knowledge or has the resources to do so.  Can you teach math without Islam?  For sure, the question is do you want to?  Muslims often claim that we were the groundbreakers of mathematics and science.  Where is this to be found in our curriculums?  Also what effect does this have on our children, to study a subject and have it completely vacant of Islam?  Does it subliminally send the message to them that worship and practical knowledge are two separate entities?
Why we need an Islamic Perspective?
This isn’t just about how the Earth was created, and did Darwin derive from a monkey or is he just a human like the rest of us.  It’s that knowledge is much deeper than one plus one equals two. We want our children to see that Islam has influenced every aspect of life.  You want to teach mathematics?  Teach them through problems of inheritance and zakat.  It is practical, and closes the door to “when am I ever going to use this?”  You want to teach the solar system, the sun and the earth, teach them how to recognize when to pray Asr by the angle of the sun, the length of the shadow, how it changes throughout the year due to and the rotation of the Earth on its axis, and the revolution of the earth around the Sun.  We can teach how this all relates back to Islam, and that Allah is the one who created it all and gave us this knowledge.  If we don’t know where we came from we’ll never know where we’re going.  Islam made an impact on this earth and that history must be taught to our children.   There is not a facet of life which it has not made an impact on so there is no subject which we should not relate it back to Islam.
What we should do?

We need a collective of experienced homeschooling parents along with the cooperation of professionals in all fields who are grounded in Islamic sciences.  We need to take a look at what’s worked for the non-muslim communities, and improve it. Be critical about what has not worked and loose it.  We need to bring in our own creativity. At the end, if it doesn’t exist and it’s needed it’s the perfect opportunity to the get reward for taking the first step.  We need to struggle in every way shape and form to change ourselves, change our communities, and one of the ways we can do that is focusing on our children.  We have to realize that we may not be the ones to see the light at the end of the tunnel of darkness we are walking through right now, but that our children may, but only if we give them the tools to do so, and we’re not going to get new results, by trying the same old broken methods. 
Could you imagine what could be accomplished if we all worked together, if we had a place where we could submit lesson plans to committees that will collect and organize these plans into a series of books and curricula , overseen by people specific to each  field and were well grounded in Islamic sciences.  Such an accomplishment requires a great deal of time, research, initiative and teamwork.  Such a great responsibility would take more than just one parent.  I have hope that something like this could come into fruition in the near future from homeschooling parents more so than Islamic schools. Why? Because homeschooling parents are generally far more involved and concerned with the direct education of their children. There are no weekends, or summer vacations, we realize the world is our classroom and with it comes new lessons each day.  The reward for doing such a thing would be immense.   An example of an ongoing charity, as It could be used for generations to come, adopted by Islamic schools across the English speaking world, even translated into different languages.  The question is, are we willing to put in the effort?  I would like to start.  Would you?