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Finding the Courage to Homeschool

My biggest deterrent to homeschooling was financing it.  When I first was inspired to educate my child at home, I was a single mother.  Working at private Islamic Schools was not exactly lucrative, but it was something. To go from the little I had to no income at all was scary, to say the least.  So I kept teaching year after year and regretting it year after year.

It is not that I did not enjoy teaching. In fact, the job I was at is still to this day, the closest to my heart of all of my work experiences.  The problem is that my daughter, while she was passing her classes was a hesitant reader.  I was filled with guilt.  A teacher, whose child is struggling with reading.  How was this even possible?  I am an avid reader.  By default, my daughter should be one too. She owned over 200 books before she was born.  (I am an avid shopper as well.  A teacher, mom, book lover with an Amazon Card is a dangerous thing) I know they say that the children of teachers are often the worst students.  But wasn't that sentiment directed towards behavior?  Allhumdullilah (Praise God), behavior was not our challenge.  The challenge was academics.

Confidence
I was a failure.  How could I be successful in teaching other children and not my own?  I spent God knows how much money on intervention programs. I even had my daughter assessed numerous times for early intervention. I couldn't get ahead of this.  Not only was my self-esteem starting to spiral down, my daughter's self-esteem became depleted as well.  She started to notice where she was in comparison to other students.  This was a new problem.  The loss of confidence is a  big deal.  Lack of confidence impedes learning.  If you do not believe you can do it, you won't even attempt to.

I guess that applied to us both.  I did not have the confidence to commit. I had heard of sisters who were single that homeschooled.  I reached out to two on facebook.  I followed one on YouTube. I started preparing myself by joining homeschool groups and purchasing curriculum. I, however, did not believe that I could. Where were these writing jobs these sisters said they had?  How could I be sure that these job posts were legitimate? I didn't know what to trust. I was looking to myself, forgetting that Allah tells us,
"There isn't a creature that moves on the earth without being dependent upon God for its provisions." [8:6]
Tawakkul (Trust in Allah)
Finally, I got to a point where I decided to trust in Allah (SWT). I know that should have gone without saying.  Trust in your creator, shouldn't be a big aha moment.  But that is the flaw in us humans.  We try to depend on ourselves, on other people, on everything and anyone but the One who has control over all.  I made istakara (prayed for guidance) and made a move.

I left my job.  Well, I almost did.  First I felt guilty for working and not homeschooling.  Now I felt guilty for leaving an Islamic School without a teacher.  Dammed if you do, damned if you don't.  I worked another year at my beloved job.  My desire to homeschool persisted.  I talked it over with my mother, whom I was living with at the time and she decided to be in support of my plan to homeschool.  I was READY! We got started on our journey.
"When you have come to a mutural decision, then put your trust in God, for He loves those who trust in Him." [3:159]
Well, we almost got started.  A friend of mine called me and informed me of a school in need of a teacher in Philadelphia.  Long story short, I packed my bags and moved.  This was a chance for me to be on my own.  I mean I was a thirty-something-year-old living with my family.  I felt like I needed this for my sense of self.

Making a Move
So we moved.  It was hard.  I missed Brooklyn.  My daughter missed Brooklyn.  I loved my apartment.  I taught at the school.  I met a brother at the school.  He liked me.  I liked him.  We got married. I quit, again.

It was going to work this time.  I was married.  Most of my homeschooling friends were married and blessed to have husbands to support them.  I could finally join the crew. Well, yea you guessed it.  Within a few weeks, it became apparent again that bills don't pay themselves.  Yes, my husband worked, but the debt to income ratio did not balance.  More than that, my husband was not a fan of the idea of homeschool. So off to work I went.  This time for the first time since I had my daughter I worked in a charter school.

My bills and some were paid.  But my guilt lingered.  It was worse than before.  Now for the first time, I was not teaching at the same school my daughter attended.  I had to travel pretty far.  So I had less time with her.  I was more stressed than ever.  I felt like I barely had time to work on her required school work, let alone on her weak areas. I was trapped between a rock and a hard place.

What Will Be, Will Be
The school year ended.  It ended with a bang. During the year the principal at my school quit.  New leadership was hired and 85% of the school was fired.  I was one of them.  While many of my co-workers were crying.  I was elated! I took this as a sign.  I had prayed about homeschooling.  I kept attempting to do so, and never completely followed through.  I didn't completely trust in myself and Allah (Astaghfirullah, may Allah forgive me). Now I had no choice.  I had no job. I took this as a sign to do what had been nagging at my heart.
"What has reached you was never meant to miss you and what has missed you was never meant to reach you." Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
The First Step
 Wanting to swim but not knowing how; I kept putting my foot in the ocean of homeschooling. Finally, I found the courage to jump in.  We are now in the middle of our first year of homeschooling and so much has happened.  My daughter's reading level has gone up one year.  Oh, yea!  Her confidence and independence is on a steady incline.  My husband recognizes my daughter's growth.  I am happy. I no longer feel guilty.
Rasulullah said "If you had all relied Allah (SWT) as you sould rely on Him, then He would have provided for you as He provides for birds, who wake up hungry in the morning and return with full stomachs at dusk." [At-Tirmidhi]  
Now finances.....eh.  They certainly are not what they were the year before.  However, all of those elusive work from home jobs are coming out of hiding.  I will share a few with you in an upcoming post.

Have you ever felt called to do something?  Do you homeschool? Did you hesitate to get started? What gave you pause?  Please Comment below.

Comments

  1. This amazing! I am so proud of you and your boobala. I'm impressed that in only a few months her reading has improved so greatly. When we teach to inspire so much more is possible than when we teach to inform. Having a positive experience can push a child to keep going and thereby the chances of improving are much higher.

    I am also happy you took a chance on yourself and moved out of your comfort zone (Brooklyn). It may be where you go back to but at least you too a chance.

    I love the way you weave in the messages of Tawwakul. Incredible signs of God's bounty are all around us but when we surrender ourselves to the Sustainer, sometimes we are able to perceive them and are in awe, even though this mercy was in our life all along.

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