Thursday, 29 March 2012

Breaking the myth: home schooled = social outcast!

If there was a dictionary of stereotypes, then I think looking up the term home schooled would look something like this......

Home schooled
home schooled = socially handicapped, weird, isolated, social misfit.
A child who is (un)educated by his (controlling) parents in order to limit freedom, free thinking and choice. A child who is socially abnormal, incapable of understanding human contact and lacking emotional understanding of others, always demanding to be the centre of attention.

But just how much truth is there in this negative myth which surrounds those within home education? I can't speak for all home educators, there isn't a one-size-fits-all box to put us all in. Just as you get schools on both ends of the spectrum from shockingly bad to out-there amazing, the same is the case for home school institutions. Some remain in their own four walls rarely venturing out, others enlist their children in several out of the home activities each week, meet with friends and use the whole world as their classroom!

As a parent I care very deeply about the socialisation of my children, in fact I am quite passionate about it and yes, I home educate them alhamdulillah!

Socialisation is important from so many different angles.....but not all types of social interactions are beneficial, and that is something which is so often ignored.
Here would be a good place to remind ourselves an analogy the Prophet Muhammad gave us:

The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offencive smell from him.”
(Bukhari & Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad has advised  us regarding the impact a good companion and a bad companion can have upon us. So you see, I feel it is of utmost importance to ensure that I know with whom my children are befriending and mixing with, especially before the age of adolescence when they are so impressionable.
Children are still learning what is acceptable and what is not, what is good behaviour and what should be avoided.
Children need that guidance and nurturing to help develop the important skills needed in positive socialising, especially the younger they are......and I think certainly in the society we live in today when bad manners and bad conduct is rife this nurturing becomes an even greater importance!

So does that mean I am depriving my children a social experience because I don't send them to school? I don't think so at all. In fact, I think I am enhancing it and helping it to thrive inshallah.
My children are not locked in a class room 7 hours a day made to do the same as 29 other same age kids in the class (most often in near silence)....who in reality are only able to actively "socialise" about an hour a day over lunch.
My children are able to mix with children of all ages, and speak to adults of all backgrounds. They learn and play with their friends, developing their own independent relationships whilst I am content their socialisation is beneficial and not detrimental to them inshallah.
I am able to show my children when their actions are harmful to others so that they will know not to persist in this again, and I am able to ensure no other person is harmful to my child also inshallah.
I would hate my child to become a bully just as much as I would hate my child to be bullied. Don't you think if children had more adult guidance and help in their social dealings, there would be fewer incidences of bullying today?

Some may argue that you have to "let your children be" and allow them to "make their own judgements" but in response to this I feel compelled to say, why should I? No one will deny as parents, we have a duty of care to our children in all aspects of their learning and why would I allow my child to develop their social skills completely by themselves? Why should I not help nurture their social development in the same manner I nurture how they learn to read and write or learn maths? I don't expect my child to be able to go teach themselves how to read without help and assistance, so why would I allow them to develop their social understanding alone?

My children are still very young anyway at just 5 and 3 mashAllah.....but I definitely believe they have a much healthier and more balanced social life than many of their school peers. .....maybe you should ask them?


  1. Assalaamu Alaikum
    Well said sister. Alhamdulillaah for Islaam!

  2. I do not know where you live but at the school near us, the kids get 15 minutes for lunch. 5 of those minutes are spent acting in line. 5 of those minutes are spent trying to peel the orange open, open lids, stuff in straws, and open packaged foods. They have 5 minutes to eat their food. Then a lunch lady comes to the table and, in a very loud and mean voice, with a red, angry face, tells them they must throw any what they have not finished and go outside to play. This I experienced (not kidding) at my child's school three years ago on a parent visiting day. The last 15 minutes of "lunch" was spent at recess, mostly avoiding and trying to stop, the bullies.

    1. Wow! That certainly gives me goosebumps!


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