Homeschooling is a progressive movement around the world, in which parents choose to educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private school. Families choose to homeschool for a variety of reasons, including dissatisfaction with the educational options available, different religious beliefs or educational philosophies, and the belief that children are not progressing within the traditional school structure.
Bringing this much needed concept to Sri Lanka is ‘Targeeb Young Momins Online Homeschooling’. The initiative is the brainchild of Rageeba Bary, Founder and Director Administration.
With much emphasis on Islamic education, according to Rageeba the idea of online homeschooling came about having done a plethora of research, the desire to learn and disburse knowledge that would be beneficial to others.
Our vision is to offer an online place of academic excellence for children who are memorizing the Quran. We aim to achieve the highest standards of knowledge spiritually, morally, and intellectually based upon the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), said Rageeba to Halal World.
A website was launched in 2007 to have in place a basic platform for information sharing. This then gradually grew with Rageeba introducing external resources and links to benefit parents to kick-start the online homeschool. Soon after, a virtual classroom was procured and the program was launched.
“During the research period I developed the curriculum and wrote the lesson plans. We have now completed six years and have produced a lot of resources of our own and developed the curriculum further,” shares Rageeba.
The school, now licensed, was launched in Ramadan 2011 for children who memorize Quran and who don’t have the financial means to elementary education. The school commenced with four students and three teachers; one for Quran, Arabic and the other for elementary subjects.
Areas of focus
The primary objective is to develop and implement a well-balanced and integrated Islamic elementary curriculum in English.
Targeeb Young Momins Online Homeschooling offer a memorization programme with Tajweed tailored to individual students along with Tafseer, which is the understanding of the Noble Quran. They provide Arabic and Islamic Studies as core subjects alongside English Language, Maths, Science and Social Studies.
While ensuring high standards of teaching by employing qualified and experienced teachers and administrators, the homeschool program aims to impart Islamic family and moral values and promote positive role models through studying Islamic history and culture/heritage.
How it works?
Technology; internet is available everywhere and in every house, if not for a data package, everyone has a mobile phone and mobile data can be used to access the internet. Having said that, children need to have access to a computer. Working with young children and teaching them through interactive methods via the computer, they (parents and children) adopt very quickly. They can learn at home without having to go out to a tutor, or pay a fee for transport and they can learn at their own convenience and comfort at home.
The format of the class ensures the students are well engaged despite it being an online program. For
instance, after instructional time or the lesson is introduced, at least 30 – 40 minutes is allocated to complete the activities in class. Q & A is also carried out depending on the subject and level.
Funding the way forward
A common way towards funding is to advocate for it but Rageeba did not follow that route. She accepts funds from those willing to support, who are mostly her friends and family. She invested in the program gradually, stage by stage, on a need basis taking one step at a time.
Whenever someone asks me this question I remember a friend who told me once that when you work with Allah (SWT) he will provide you the means. These words have given me a greater level of comfort and confidence in what I am doing and I don’t worry too much, I do what I can within my capabilities. I have helped parents and children whenever possible, expresses Rageeba.
Pillars of success
Rageeba opines a key attribute to her success are her human resources. Over the last 10 years or so, she has been surrounded by friends who are either from the university she attended in the UAE, workplace or community such as the Dawah centres in the UAE. Dr. Ahmad Abdulkareem, was her professor for Arabic. He was her very first teacher who volunteered to teach and stayed with the school for a few years, rendering his services for free. However, not everyone is a volunteer. All of the talents of the school are paid with the exception of someone who comes forward to do a lesson free.
Targeeb Young Momins Online Homeschooling also has checks in place to ensure teachers deliver varied content. For that in place are lesson plans with teaching strategies and lesson objectives for both teacher and students for each lesson. At the end of each class teachers will use the feedback form which highlights the manner in which the class was delivered and what has to be taken into consideration for the next class. Each lesson plan is reviewed before and after the class.
Obstacles in the path of success
The YMOH Curriculum introduced an Islamic Elementary curriculum. It is a dual curriculum which includes both the American Common Core and British National Curriculum. In the free-program, the core subjects available are Quran with Tajweed, Arabic and Islamic Studies since the aim was to educate children who were memorizing the Holy Quran and didn’t go to regular school.
Rageeba shares with confidence that she will continue to develop the existing curriculum through research. While producing their own workbooks for the elementary levels, the aim is to offer a complete secondary education and offer teacher/parent educational programs on homeschooling. Sharing further plans Rageeba, stated that plans are underway to launch a Pre-K program for thee and four year olds online. This will be done with an ICT program for their age before commencing the syllabus. The school also aims to take more students from Sri Lanka in an effort to make the service more popular in the island nation.
I would like more Sri Lankans to benefit and expand the operation provided I have organizations or corporates who are willing to sponsor the program as a community project, Rageeba shares.