I am often asked why I don’t send my children to a private religious school instead of a public elementary school. Frankly it’s because I have been perpetually pregnant for the past 10 years. Every time I would resolve to make the hour-long drive each way in LA traffic, I start seeing Babies r Us in my dreams. No seriously, if I had my way and I have suffered great angst over this issue, I would send my kids to an Islamic school in a heartbeat. But my pregnancies aren’t easy, I tend to ‘how do I say this in a ladylike way’ throw up? til third trimester. Aah Jannah InshaAllah.
I hear well Islamic schools kids aren’t any better than public school- it all about environment at home. Yes it is about environment we teach them completely opposite things at home and at school , they steep in ‘haram’ & fitnah for 7 hours and then they come home and we try to brainwash them back. At least in an Islamic school environment we only have to work on their manners, we don’t have to deal with the ‘ we do not do this celebration’, surrounded by God’s name, they develop a Muslim identity and they come home having read Zuhur in Jamaat. I could come up with a million reasons to send my kids to a Islamic school but until one opens up in my valley or I get up the gumption to homeschool my kiddos, they go to the elementary school in our development.
The first day I went to enroll my daughter, LF#1, for Kindergarten, I sat in my car and cried- I didn’t want to send my innocent baby somewhere where 10 years old boys cussed their mom out in the school office for not bringing him a ‘ f—– cheeseburger for lunch.’ I held my head and wailed but I knew I could barely make the drive to school, there was no way I could make it to XYZ Islamic School with a 2-year-old and pregnant with LF #3.
Everyone at the school was the same color. That really got to me. I grew up in a very multicultural environment, attending an international school in the Sudan. East Africans, Dutch, Coptic, Pakistani, Indians, Koreans & Americans were just a sample of the nationalities/ethnicities represented in my 4th grade class. So I prayed.
Lf#1’s KG class was the most diverse they have ever had in the history of the school. Alhamdulillah. It was a microcosm of the USA and seeing that made me realize I can use this unfortunate circumstance and use it to teach my kids that they can be Muslim in this country and be proud of it regardless of what the kid on the next desk is doing, saying, wearing or celebrating.
So 5 years later, I have some tips and tricks that I want to share here and in future posts-
Tip #1- Be involved in your child’s education. By this I don’t mean just checking their homework. I mean getting involved in the school.
#2-Volunteer, if not every week, then when ever you can.
#3-Know the principal, vice- principal, school secretary by name, make sure they know you by name. One way to do this to write an introduction letter about your child to the principal and ask her to forward it to your LF’s teacher.
more to follow iA.