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Many Muslims living in the West choose to homeschool their children as a means of preserving religious and cultural values and of minimizing any negative influences that the prevailing culture around them may have upon their childrens' lives. Provided that certain guidelines are followed, homeschooling is perfectly legal in the US and would not prevent a child from entering the university.

The first thing you should know about homeschooling is that one need not be a genius in order to do it. Many parents worry about their own educational backrounds and ability to teach while also wondering where they would find an extra six hours each day to devote to their childrens' educational needs. This is because they believe that the classroom setting must be strictly duplicated in the home in order for homeschooling to be effective.

The fact is, however, that homeschooling can be much more flexible than conventional schooling with regards to time and structure, and parents need not act like "teachers" in the traditional sense, but more like guides who can direct their children to the proper resources when questions come up. In this method of homeschooling, children are generally responsible for teaching themselves while parents stimulate them to do so in a manner which cultivates a genuine love of learning, resulting in a solid foundation for a lifetime of confidence and broad-mindedness.

Learning is an intuitive ability with which all human beings are equipped, and it is especially keen in young people. If you have children, you have been teaching them since they were born (to talk, to eat, to clean themselves, etc.), but did you also notice how much they really teach themselves, doing endless experiments until they finally achieve the results they desire? Children are masters of learning through observation and pick up many of their habits and skills simply by living life and being attuned to the people and world around them.

Teaching is also an intuitive process. Perhaps you've taught your child to plant a flower or to ride a bike. You did this quite naturally without the assistance of books, schools or professional educators. You did not stand at a blackboard drawing diagrams while your child sat at a desk. Instead, you interacted with him on a personal level and simply showed him what needed to be done. And he will likely never forget what you have taught him.

It may be difficult to believe at first, but the hard-core academic subjects can be taught and learned in the same easy-going manner. And the Internet abounds with advice and resources related to this concept.

What About Socialization?
School in the US is mostly about socialization, and academics are often short-changed as students begin boy-girl relationships and strive to fit in with the "in" crowd. This has become such a cultural norm that teachers have become powerless to change it, if they even recognize it as a problem in the first place.

There are, however, many opportunities for socializing outside of the school environment, and parents who homeschool their children are responsible for making sure that their kids are getting enough human interaction outside of their studies. This is important for any human being, both so he will learn to deal with society, and also so that he will be well-rounded on a personal level.

I believe that most young people would find that friendships made outside of the high-pressure environment of school could actually be more genuine and long-lasting than those made within the school. One could be friends with almost anybody really. Cousins, neighbors and family acquaintances can all make excellent friends as they probably share similar values and interests. One could also find many friends in his religious community, or in the other places where he likes to spend his time. Not only that, but these friends need not be his same age as generally happens in school. By having a wide variety of friends in the outside world, one could greatly expand his mind and intelligence.

And these kinds of friendships will bring beautiful memories, too...I think of all the kids who go to school and never do make friends because they don't fit in with the other students...this kind of student may be brilliant in his studies but come to withdraw from people if he is treated in a cruel manner by other students...a child like this (regardless of cultural or religious backround) would likely thrive as a homeschooler.

Originally published at Suite101.com. Reprinted with permission.

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