Thursday, January 5, 2012

Where are the Fathers?

One of the reasons I see our homeschooling experience as being a success, is that I work as part of a team with my wife.  I find it sad that often times if I meet someone whose children are homeschooled and ask the father about it he says; “I don’t know much about it…. My wife takes care of that.” 

This post is not specific to the men whose children are homeschooled but to every man that has a child, regardless of the educational path they have chosen for them.  You’re children are a blessing from God, and as the Prophet peace be upon him said: “You are all shepherds… and a man is a shepherd over his family, and he will be asked about them.”   The educational and spiritual development of a child is not to be taken lightly.  There are many fathers out there who contribute to their childs education and we commend them and pray that more people follow in their footsteps.  This post is not directed towards them, but rather towards those fathers who have not given the idea of engaging their child's educational development much thought, or don't know where to start.  It doesn’t take a genius, and the resources are available in abundance.  The question is; will you put in the time, effort, and commitment? 
In regards to time, there is no reason you should not have time for your children, even if you are working two jobs.   On my best days I wake up at 4:00 AM and I am out the door to a private class in Usuul al Fiqh.  I come back briefly for breakfast only to rush out again to go to University.  I have classes from 7:30 until 12:15 and then I drive to work.  I don’t get home until 5:15 and then I eat.   I usually have about 30 min before I leave again for a private class in Arabic grammar.  When I finish my class I drive to the mosque to pray the night prayer, after which I have classes in Fiqh and Hadeeth.  I normally arrive home between 9:15 and 9:30 PM.  So When do I homeschool?

My trick is in four parts:

1.      I am part of a team with my wife. We split the responsibilities, and sometimes we cover for each other when someone is sick, or caught up with other responsibilities.

2.      A little consistency is better than a whole lot of randomness.  Many of my lessons can be knocked out in 20 minutes or less.  The rest is just about being consistent.  The prophet peace be upon him said “The best of deeds are those which are the most consistent, even if they were to be small”. 

3.      I use the weekends.  Sometimes I use it to fit in a project or lesson that takes up more time, sometimes I use it to catch up on sleep, or my other activities that I’ve fallen behind in.  The important thing is that your time is managed and maximized.

4.      Sacrifice.  Sometimes it hurts my studies, takes away my free time, my social life, or exercise, but if the education of my children is more important, then that is a sacrifice that I am willing to make.

This is if everything goes well.  Sometimes the car breaks down, the fridge is empty and needs to be filled, I get sick, the wife gets sick, final exams, a light needs to be replaced, and a whole slew of other unpredictable events that happen, and that is life.  So when do I rest? When do I prepare for exams? When do I have time to write for this blog?  The answer is that most often times I don’t.  Like a waiter carrying too many plates in a crowded restaurant, frequently things get dropped, but I have to prioritize and there is nothing more important than the development of my children.  My point here is not to flaunt my schedule or show off, but to show you that yes it is difficult, and that it takes sacrifice, and that it can be done, even from the busiest of dads.

Maybe you’re the dad that does work two jobs and when you do see your children you just want to have a little fun.  Well it’s not all about math, writing, and reading.  Education can be as fun as teaching your child how to track animals, recognize tree types and their uses, teaching them to build a tree house, first aid, outdoor safety and many more things.  Understanding the sciences that are involved in these activities and helping your children to make the connection and learn practical skills. 

I want people to get more involved, be more self-reliant, make an impact in their child’s life, and build a positive relationship with them while spending quality time.   I hope that more fathers will get involved with their children’s education, and use this site and others to help give them ideas on how to do so.   This is not a call for you to pull your children out of the public or private school systems.   If the word homeschooling scares you just replace it with “being involved in my child’s educational development”.   Regardless of whether your children are in public or private schools, or homeschooling, I hope all fathers will play an active role in the development and education of their children.

Speaking of a problem without presenting a solution is useless so in the future we will be posting articles for fathers with activities and lessons that you can use to get involved with your child under the title of “Just for Dad”.  We hope you’ll comment, share your experiences, and even send us artilces, plans, and suggestions of things you do with your son or daughter so that we can repost them for everyone to benefit.  Please help us in this effort by getting involved, and sharing these post with others so that we can spread the message that it’s not just mom, but Abi homeschools too.