Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
My sister and I are high school students and we’re planning to stop going to public school so we can go to home school. I’m taking care of money for the home school but my parents want us to stay in the public school. In the home school I have a Muslim teacher I learn my Islam and academics from and I can be away from all the fitnah in school. Do I have to listen to them and go to a kaffir school with kaffir teachers or can I have a Muslim teacher? He said we can study at his house, masjid, and my house, anywhere. Location does not make a difference.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah descend upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, companions, and those who follow them with sincerity to the Day of Account.
I can sympathize with your desire to escape the negative influences of a non-Muslim public school, but there are several issues that I must bring to your attention.
First, you and your sister are obligated to obey your parents. If they won’t permit you to leave public school, they must have their reasons. You are only allowed to disobey your parents if they tell you do something that’s haram (prohibited) or they prevent you from obeying Allah in your obligations, such as praying and fasting. Putting you and your sister in public school is undesirable, not haram. Therefore, if they ask you to stay, you should.
Second, they may have concerns about the quality of home-schooling and the instructor himself. You mentioned that the instructor is a man. I was home-schooled, so I know that home schooling requires lots of one-on-one contact with the teacher. If the instructor is teaching a group in a supervised environment, like the masjid, then it might be okay. But if he’s talking about just teaching you and your sister in his house or your house, I don’t think that’s appropriate. It would be much better to have a female instructor.
Third, if you feel very strongly about this, have a family circle. You and your sister sit down with your parents and explain to them exactly how the public-school environment is adversely affecting you. Tell them what’s going on that bothers you. Tell them how home-schooling might be a valid option. I was home-schooled and I had a good experience, probably because my mother was the teacher! Tell them how you can focus on topics of importance to you, such as Islamic Studies. You can develop a level of self-motivation not seen in many public-school students. If they’re worried about academics, home schoolers often have higher SAT and ACT scores than public-school students. They also perform much better on other standardized tests. With today’s internet revolution, you’ve got a lot of resources for home schooling that weren’t available when I was growing up. Why don’t you and your parents explore alternatives like Citizens’ High School at http://www.citizenschool.com/. I earned my high school diploma through their distance learning program. From the comfort of your home, you can take the college preparatory curriculum and take subjects like chemistry and physics. They have instructors available to help you via phone or email. You can earn a fully accredited high school diploma. Accreditation is important if you want to go to college. Many home schoolers end up taking the GED to get into college, because their home-school credits aren’t always recognized by the university. While you do your academics, you can also plan your own Islamic Studies curriculum with the help of a Muslim home-school teacher. As far as teachers go, do try to find someone who is certified to teach, or at least has a background in education. Your parents are right if they’re concerned about the qualifications of home-school teachers. Public-school teachers have to meet rigorous standards of training and certification before they go into the classroom. Unfortunately, this is not the case for home-school teachers.
Finally, here are some online home-schooling resources you can look up. The last two are run by Christians, but they still have some good information for those considering home schooling.
May Allah give you and your family success.
And Allah knows best.