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Education: Public School
Making the Most of
Public School Education

As long as our children are in the public school, Islamic education will take a back seat. However, we must do everything we can to minimize the harm of the public schools and to maximize the opportunities for Islamic education.

Here are a few suggestions for making the most of our children's public school education:

Some Reasons
why Parents Send Children to Public Schools

Many Muslims --- because of lack of money, lack of available Islamic schools, lack of time, or lack of teaching ability --- find it necessary to send our children to the American public schools. This may not be our first choice for our children's education, but we may feel that we have no alternatives.

There, at least, our children are taught English, mathematics, social studies, history, science, sports, and other important subjects. Many of these subjects pose no problem. As far as our religion is concerned, they are relatively neutral. A few, such as history and social studies, however, may be quite harmful. None of the classes are really positive in the sense that they teach our children to be better Muslims. Therefore, if we send our children to the public school, it is essential that we provide some kind of Islamic education in addition to their public school classes.

Weekend Schools are Not Enough
Some Muslim communities try to do this by establishing
Islamic Sunday schools, Islamic weekend schools, or part-time Islamic schools, and these are all good ways to supplement our children's education. However, in many cases, they are not enough. We cannot send our kids to the American public schools from 30-to-40 hours per week and expect to give them an Islamic education in a 2-hour Sunday school. We really need more time for our children to learn about Islam and to be under the influence of Muslims.

• Be aware of what they are learning at school.

When they learn something wrong in school, we must be there to correct misinformation and re-educate them.

• Provide them with
additional Islamic education
Provide the children with extra Islamic education either at home, in the mosque, at a part-time Islamic school, or with a Muslim tutor where they can learn the Quran, hadith, the history of the Prophets and the Companions, the system of Islam, current events in the Muslim world, and Arabic.

• Take them to the masjid often
so that they will be immersed in Islamic life and be influenced by Muslims at least for a short time. This, too, is education. In the masjid, they will see the example of Muslims and hear people quoting the Quran and the hadith and discussing Islamic issues.

• Be careful about their friends.
Some parents may not be as concerned as we are about what their children say and do. If our children are in the public school, they will probably have non-Muslim friends. This is not necessarily a problem, but if our children start coming home saying curse words or acting like Snoop Doggy Dog, we will probably need to try to supplement or replace their friendships as well. We should encourage them to make Muslim friends as much as possible, and going to the masjid regularly is an excellent way to provide this opportunity. In an article I read recently in The Message, Sadia Afzal, a young Muslim girl, told how she had begun to lose her Islamic identity by being involved in the wrong peer group and how she returned to an Islamic way of life after being exposed to dedicated Muslims. "Muslim parents must provide their kids maximum opportunities to interact with other Muslims, if they want us to grow as Muslims," she wrote (The Message, Nov. 1994, 39).

Bottom Line:
All of this will be difficult, and we must be careful not to overwhelm our children with too much. We cannot expect them to spend 30-to-40 hours a week in public school and 30-to-40 hours a week getting additional Islamic education. However, we should do whatever is necessary to insure their proper upbringing. We cannot just drop them off at school in the morning, pick them up in the afternoon, and expect them to become the kind of children and Muslims we want them to be.

By Ibrahim Bowers

Please share your experiences, ideas, questions and answers. [DISCUSS PUBLIC SCHOOLS]

Here is something
available now for you to read:
6 Step Guide to Get Religious Accomodation in the Public School System
Getting Involved in the Public School System is a Religious Obligation!
4 Tips for Parents on Dealing with Misinformation in Public School
Raising Muslim Children in the Public Schools : What Parents Need to Know
7 Tips for Muslim Students: How to Deal With Misinformation in the Classroom
Recent Experience with Urban School Choice Plans
Council on Islamic Education: A Profile
Religious Freedom in Public Schools : Laws You Need to Know About
A Sample Letter to the Teacher of your child for religious accomodation
A sample Thank You Letter to teacher on Religious Accomodation


How to work with Public School Teachers
Dawa in Public School: Some Guidelines

Getting the Most Out of Public School Education

Monitoring Public School Education
A 5th Grad Girl's Dawa Experience in School
Muslim School Vs Public School

Prom: Not Just One Night of Haram
Why I boycotted the Senior Prom? Dawud Wharnsby Ali
5 Prom Tips for Teens
8 Prom Tips for Parents
A Father-Daughter Tipsheet on Dealing with the Prom
[PROM TALK: DISCUSS SOLUTIONS]

WEEKEND ISLAMIC SCHOOLS
Why Send Your Child to a Weekend School
Getting the Most Out of a Weekend School
Challenges of Weekend Islamic Schools

Do you have any experience or an idea regarding this matter? Share it with others:

[DISCUSS PUBLIC SCHOOLS]

[DISCUSS: TEACHER TO TEACHER]

[PARENT TO PARENT]

 

 

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