Homeschooling: The Holistic Approach to Education

By In Featured Guests, Wholesome101 — January 01, 2017

Did you know, there are about 2.3 million home-educated students in the United States? This is up from one estimate that there were about 2 million children (in grades K to 12) home educated. It appears the homeschool population is continuing to grow (at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years).(www.nheri.org)

Last year, Khadija and I decided to homeschool our children. It was a decision each one of us made separately. My local public schools were high performing and diverse. I decided to homeschool because I wanted to be able to choose a curriculum that best meets my children’s learning styles. I also wanted to give them an upbringing that will focus on the purpose of life and the principles and traditions of our religion and our way of life. The decision allowed me to monitor my children’s spiritual and growth and academic performance.

Please help us welcome Dr. Gemma, a homeschooling advocate, who will be sharing a holistic approach to homeschooling.

Homeschooling: The Holistic Approach to Education

By: Gemma Elizabeth

“A father gives his child nothing better than a good education.”

Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) collected by Tirmidhi and Al-Bayhaqi

Education is not merely the training of the mind. The best of education is one that nurtures the mind, body and heart of a child, allowing him to achieve his God-given potential.

School v.s. Homeschool

Unfortunately, the modern education system is fragmented and is falling short in so many areas of education. Increasingly aspects relating to the “body” are neglected as children spend less time outdoors or involved in organized sport. This education system in the U.K. unashamedly ignores anything to do with the “soul” or heart.

Instead, for eight hours a day, the focus is entirely on training the child’s mind. However, the focus of this training is almost entirely on the memorization of facts. Children are not taught how to think, or formulate their own opinions; they are not permitted to pursue their own passions during school hours. Rather the school dictates what they believe as “experts” is important for the child to know; i.e. what facts he or she needs must memorise.

As teachers are put under increasing pressure to meet targets, the focus of what a good education is has become warped. Instead of looking at that child and assessing if he is engaged, articulate, interested in learning; children are tested on how much they have been able to commit to memory. Good character and manners have minimal importance in the education, and faith none. As a result, children are leaving school with their potential-selves stunted, and their God-given individuality destroyed.

This is why so many parents, seeking a holistic approach to education, are choosing to homeschool their children. When parents are responsible for the education of their kids, and given the freedom to create curriculum and learning experiences that suit the needs of their child, the children have the potential to flourish in all aspects of themselves; mind, body and heart.

Holistic Homeschooling

One of the many joys of home-education is seeing these three aspects constantly at play during the “school-day”. There is not a time when we are focusing only on the mind, or only on the body; rather this holistic approach to education means that these different dimensions are continually being addressed.

For example; when during the study of butterflies in science, the mind is engaged with great books, and looking a beautiful photos; the body and mind are engaged in writing, drawing, and with observations in nature; and the heart is awakened when we bring it all back to Allah (S.W.T.), and recall how he created everything. We may discuss what lessons can be learnt from the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly, or even talk about death and the afterlife during out study of the lifecycle. We may talk about how the Prophet (S.A.W.) treated animals, and this could lead onto Prophet Suleiman (A.S.). The possibilities for exploration of this one subject are endless; with the mind, body and heart engaged throughout and effortlessly intertwined.

We know from the teaching of the Prophet (S.A.W.) that the heart, mind and body are all linked in a metaphysical way. In one such hadith the Messenger of God is reported to have said,

“Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be sound, all the body is sound and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart.”

There are many homeschooling methodologies that claim to be holistic in their approach. These include: Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, amongst others. If you intend to home-educate, it would be worth researching some of these homeschooling method for inspiration.

Mainstream education is fragmented and does not educate the whole child; It only addresses a small part of his mind, in a very restricted and controlled manner. Rather than allowing the child to flourish, it actually becomes a barrier and hindrance for the child reaching his potential. When he leaves school he must to rediscover his spiritual-self, re-ignite his creativity and rebuild his individuality. The only option for parents seeking a holistic education for their children, is to stop trusting the “experts” and take charge of their education themselves.

“There is no school equal to a decent home, and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” Mahatma Gandhi

Do you think the school-system is failing us? Or do you think it is possible to give your child a holistic education whilst they are at school?

Maybe you don’t think holistic education is that important?

How do you educate your children?

We would love to hear your opinion of this topic. Please let us know in the comments below!

 

Author Bio:

Dr Gemma Elizabeth is a homeschooling mother of three from the U.K. As a passionate advocate for home education, she writes widely on the subject for various publications and speaks to mothers across the country about the benefits of homeschooling. In between the science experiments, read-alouds and math drills, she finds time to film videos for Youtube and writes on her blog OurMuslimHomeschool.com.

You can find her here:

Web: http://www.OurMuslimHomeschool.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCasrAhic7AwRbjAcIde5XiA 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ourmuslimhomeschool

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OurMHomeschool

Instagram:https://instagram.com/ourmuslimhomeschool/

13 Comments

  • Reply

    Aicha

    February 6, 2017

    Well written, and so true the educational system in the USA is in shambles so I an my husband have chooses to education our children in Morocco where they will learn Quran in schools as well as French the school days here are way different than USA school days and the children come home for lunch then return back to school .
    https://diaryofarevertmuslimah.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/nice-saying/

  • Reply

    Christal Joan

    February 6, 2017

    I really do think the schooling system is failing children in the UK atleast, even more so if your child is a boy. Schools will never be able to give children the individual care and attention they need and I don’t expect then to.
    InshaAllah I’d love to homeschooling but finances are a concern for me

    • Reply

      Wholesome101

      February 7, 2017

      May Allah provide you what’s best for you and your family.

  • Reply

    Rayeesa Tabassum

    February 6, 2017

    I am a new mother. My baby is only 8 months old but I have already started researching about homeschooling. Thank you for this post for enlightening me. I learnt about “holistic” learning. I do have many complaints against Indian schooling system. Though I reside in Saudi, a Muslim country, I am still apprehensive about sending my baby to school for the fear of bullying, abuse and “fitna”.

  • Reply

    Haya Newleaf

    February 7, 2017

    Home schooling sounds interesting. Yep! We can save our child to a great extend from external influences. In a Western society I might prefer it over conventional school.

    But, won’t they get frustrated learning from same person? Will their social skills be affected? How would the child face the world?

    Ever system has its pros and cons.

    • Reply

      Wholesome101

      February 7, 2017

      Alhamdulilah. We appreciate Dr.Gemma’s input, may Allah reward her. BarakaAllah feeki for your feedback.

      Children will show frustration of some sort, that’s part of life. My children show frustration when they don’t understand a concept, when they don’t want to do work, when they are in a bad mood, etc. If we provide our kids with a good homeschooling curriculum that addresses the many needs of the learner and provide them with a rich learning environment to their varied interests, I believe the child would perform to the best of his abilities and we can’t ask for more.

      As for socialization, that’s a myth that originated from the homeschooling system of 50 years ago. Shy, socially awkward parents insulating their children from the woes of public school which created children that only interacted with family members. That’s definitely not the reality of today’s homescholing parents and their children/ students. Far from it

  • Reply

    Yousra Naeem

    February 7, 2017

    People prefer homeschooling now adays & I guess it’s good & by this interview I come to know that how important homeschooling is❤
    I guess school education is just giving mental breakdown & extra loaded studies to the students,yes they get to learn how to read & write but with that education of other things is also important as mentioned in this post.
    There are many benefits of homeschooling but I guess it depends on parents specially mothers because it requires alot of patience,time,energy etc

  • Reply

    Lubna

    February 8, 2017

    I never knew the number of home schoolers is such a big in US….I have few friends in Australia…who do home schooling…but never knew about US…never knew they are so many methodologies to teach too…this is one informative post…

  • Reply

    Aishah

    February 8, 2017

    I totally agree with the points made above and in the comments. Many students are being failed by the system. I think a lot of people go into teaching thinking it will be an easy job but it requires dedication and passion – this i think plays a big role at the schooling kids recieve.

    Aishah
    http://Www.grainsandgains.com

  • Reply

    Ayesha

    February 10, 2017

    I totally agree with what you said about the importance of holistic education and how the current education systems around the world are failing at that. I work part time as a teacher and inadvertently I find myself linking through topics, as you beautifully described in the butterfly example, whenever appropriate (I teach high school and university students) and I have seen effect in how it piques the interest, engages the student and makes them love what they are learning. As for my own children, Alhamdulillah I am trying a different approach to raise them bilingual. My eldest just started an Arabic kindergarten with focus on Quran education while I am trying to homeschool her in the english school syllabus which I intend to switch back to in a few years. InshaAllah I hope and pray that this will be successful and beneficial for them. Would love to know what you would think of this approach

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