Bismillah arRahman arRaheem Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah and welcome to The Muslim Academy.
This is a project I have been working on for some time. Tweaking, adding, subtracting, researching, and finally, by the Will of Allah, producing what it is today. As an educator, I worked in private Islamic institutions. Being a teacher, a curriculum consultant, an assistant principal, and of course a parent that had her own children in those very institutions I ended up overseeing a lot of issues. The unique perspective these roles afforded me was priceless. I could see the success stories and achievements as well as the potholes and failings of such a system with my own eyes. And at the same time see the effect it had upon the students within the system. Needless to say, the achievements and success of the school was the success of everyone involved. The failings should likewise hurt. I know that it hurt me. A great deal. Not only because my children, among others, were being affected, albeit unknowingly (how could they know? They are fresh into the world expecting only good and are trusting of adults), but also because it was a trust - an amanah. Parents were giving their love, joy, pride, and future to the schools and expecting and hoping a safe environment and solid education. I would see some parents so trusting of the institution they enrolled their children in only to turn around to see the administration covering gaping holes in performance that they just promised. Of course not every institution is the same, but it made me wonder. And many times, the problems occurred to no fault of the administration of a school except that they did not have enough funds or were handicapped by short staff. That also made me believe that there had to be a better way to educate our children. And then there were the environmental issues. Because of the lack of funding and the need for money, many Islamic schools would overlook the records and behaviors of a child to accept their enrollment. This would in turn affect the classroom setting quite negatively. I recall working in one school in which I was reading the records of the children that would be in my class as I normally do. I found one student who was known to be physically violent with classmates and teachers, who was expelled from that very school the year before, and then taken to other schools. Those other schools eventually expelled him as well until finally he was taken to public school. He was suspended from there. He was now enrolled in our school for the upcoming year. I had to ask, why? The response I received was shocking to me at the time; they needed enrollment. Another year, there was a student in my class who had special needs. Mishi (named changed to protect identity) was otherwise a happy and good behaved child. However, her comprehension was low and she needed a small and slower pace class. When I realized this, and though the administration never brought it to my attention as they should have, I brought it to their attention. I was told to keep her in my class and to treat her the same as the other students. Of course, this was impossible and detrimental to her emotional well being! She would constantly be given the message that there was something wrong with her and that she was not like the others. When I reached out to her previous grade teacher, she told me that the student had failed her exams and had not met the requirements to move beyond that grade. So, why was she in my class? How did she pass the previous grade? This must have been overlooked by accident. Back to the administration. This time the frustration was greater on their end. Soon I was called in to a board meeting. Board members I had never seen before arrived. I could not understand what was going on. I remember being told by one of the board members who never set foot in the school prior, and was by profession a dentist, that I had to give this student as much time as it was needed for her to understand the material. I replied, hoping to make him realize, that if I did that, all the other students in the class would be neglected and we would never finish the lesson. He didn't care and had no qualms saying so. "You must." I left the meeting perplexed and in the depths of confusion. As I walked to my classroom, the faces of the parents of the other students came one by one in my head. Every time I had met one of them, they always had a concerned yet hopeful expression. And rightly so. They had handed over one of the most precious belongings in their lives. Their legacy and future. The child who may become proficient in their field of interest and provide for them in their old age. The child who may become a source of ease and a helping hand. The child who may become an elevation in status for them. The child who may one day stand at their grave and pray for them while they are being questioned. Or maybe not. But they were trying their best to make all of these and more a possibility for themselves and their child and paid the school good, hard earned, money to help them to it. As I opened the door, I saw Mishi smiling with such sweet innocence, she tugged at my heart. How can I help her in a way that was needed for her? How can I do for the other students what is right for them if I were to focus solely on her? It was either abandonment of the other students or abandonment of her. I felt anger. Anger because the administration was failing everyone in this regard. And without good reason or even an explanation. Then a parent made the connection for me. The moment of clarity and finally understanding the missing piece was upon me. The special needs student was the daughter of the parents who had great financial and societal influence with the people on the board. The parents did not want her "labeled." Every one knew she needed help but doors were shut and blinds were pulled down. Money talked. These are true stories. And there are more stories. This is a reality that most parents are clueless about. Many wrongs happen in the institution titled "Islamic School," from staff politics to under performing and more, yet it gets covered up because as teachers and administrators we are taught how to appear in front of parents. We literally have meetings in which board members and administration will tell you how to act and what to say should a parent bring up certain concerns or questions. It was our "duty," for the sake of Allah, for the greater good as they would make us believe and perhaps believed themselves. And should a parent get a whiff of what was going on, they would be told their perception was incorrect and that reality was indeed different. I would see the frustration on the parents' faces, yet they had no other recourse. Many felt stuck in having to continue sending their kids to the same institution they were suspicious of. What was the other option? Public school? Many considered homeschooling their children but felt they did not have the time, nor the ability, or the qualification, or the right home setting and the list goes on. Years of working with traditional schools has taught me that nothing is best for my children except my care, my attention, my supervision, and my home. Thus, I began my path of homeschooling my sons. And today, I wish to help many parents homeschool their children as well. If a parent wants the peace of mind of having their child at home, having an accreditation approved curriculum, the support of certified teachers, have Qu'ran, Arabic, Islamic Studies from qualified teachers then here is my dedication to you: The Muslim Academy. The Muslim Academy is the solution to homeschooling your children if you don't have the time, don't believe you have the qualification (which really is just being a parent -- that qualifies you, period), or the ability or even if you are a seasoned homeschooling parent but want accreditation approved education. Our online academy will, in-sha'Allah, teach, re-teach, quiz, assess, report, keep track, provide accreditation approved education and keep you part of the process without the stress while allowing you the safety of having your children in your own home, under your supervision, in your care and under our attention. I found this academy to say, in-sha'Allah you can do it and I can help. May Allah grant success to all institutions, traditional and non-traditional, that operate for the betterment of the children of our Ummah for the sake of Allah. Ameen. Wa assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah