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Are there any unschooling mamas who have done more "schoolish" (for lack of a better term) training for religion? We are Muslim and have a young son (3 yo) are greatly leaning toward unschooling for all of the typical reasons.

However we want to make sure we impart the knowledge about daily prayers, the stories of Islam, and importantly, how to read Arabic. In Islam the age of puberty is when people become responsible for knowing and practicing these things so I don't see us waiting until our son asks for this knowledge if he waits a long time, plus it seems easier to learn languages earlier in life. Most Muslim children have read the entire Quran in Arabic by the time they are 14-15 and it takes years of practice to read properly and then it's also a long book and it can take 1-2 years to read.

So has anyone unschooled in all aspects except religion? Other Muslim unschoolers? Maybe there are Jewish mamas who unschooled but made sure their kids learned Hebrew? Or maybe Christian unschoolers who still do Sunday school? Does that work? And if we introduce a more formal curriculum for religion, should we do it as part of "homeschooling" or as an adjunct, separate from the child-lead learning we imagine and desire? As an example of the latter, should we set aside a time for religious study and then leave the rest of the time to be strictly unschooling?

Just some thoughts, we are open to all ideas, inc. from mamas who haven't done this but can provide guidance. Thanks mamas!
 

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We are unschoolers and my 2 younger kids go to CCD on Sundays (oldest dd "graduated" the program by making her Confirmation in October). CCD is a weekly, hour-long, Catholic education class.
 

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I would imagine (guess more like it
) that MOST aspects of any religion would be learned through example and practice. Arabic would probably require a bit more formal instruction.

Sorry, no first hand experience to share, just my thoughts!!!

Hopefully there will be someone with some more first hand knowledge.
 

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My thought is to practice your religion with your kids without thinking of it as educational. More it is your way of life. But I would keep an open heart to them questioning it when/if they get to that stage.

As an unschooler I would think it would be important to be open minded if when they choose to not practice it or experiment with other religions.

All you can do as a parent is bring them up the best way you know how and from there, they will choose (and probably choose well) what direction they will go.
 

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I've posted before about how we were unschoolers (3 years) but I felt conflicted about how little Torah the kids were learning. Dh had a strong Jewish education while I had a weak one, so I always felt inferior in that area. My kids were not up to par with their peers (and now, back in school, are still behind). I don't know if their lack of motivation came from 1) their early years at school 2) my anxiety or 3) lack of dh's participation or 4) was developmentally normal.

IMO, it's not enough to "train" them, they will also need a group of children and adults who can help them "live their words".

I also think investing in tutors would be advised.

Salaam/Shalom, Lisa
 

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I don't consider myself an unschooler, although a lot of the philosophy resonates with me. I have, however, recently begun homeschooling and am considering an "unschooly" approach to secular studies. I plan to keep the religious part of my daughter's education at least semi-structured. We do live our religion and it would be impossible for our children spend their growing years in our observant and very Jewishly active household without absorbing the rudiments of Judaism.

Nonetheless, I think it would be entirely possible for a child to grow up without the textual skills necessary for true participation in Jewish life if his/her interest did not lead to some serious study in that area. It takes years to become fully comfortable with these skills (in more than one ancient language, Hebrew and Aramaic, plus Yiddish for some types of texts). So, for me, it is important to continually build the knowledge in these areas and I am most comfortable doing that in a systematic way. I think it is important for children to be truly literate in their heritage, whatever that is, regardless of one's attitude towards questioning or experimentation with other religions. In the Jewish religion, this involves regular and intensive "book" studies.

I guess I could just think of it like any other thing that halacha (Jewish Law) requires that must be done. Torah study is a mitzvah (a commandment) for us, just like eating kosher food or washing your hands when we get up. It's not something optional in our house; it's just part of being a Jew/following the Torah. Obviously, we stay positive and easygoing about these things because they are a pleasure and a privilege, not a burden, but they remain a given in our life.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by frogguruami View Post
I would imagine (guess more like it
) that MOST aspects of any religion would be learned through example and practice.

Exactly, that is our plan. I've battled with this b/c while we aren't doing anything yet (dd is only 11 months) how can I not "teach" her subjects but make her sit down to "learn" religion. To me that feels........ wrong, for lack of a better word.
It's inconsistant with how I'm "teaching" everything else, and I worry that it will lead to a rejection of my beliefs based on how they were presented not their content.

Anyhow, my plan is to read the Bible to her as part of our family reading time, ask her and future kids to do a narration back to me about it, pray before we eat, have my personal prayer and Bible study time at a time that she's awake (if I always do it when she's asleep, which would probably be easier, she'll never see me do it), keep her involved in church, personally be involved in the church so she sees how important it is to us and pray like crazy that this plan will work, for the wisdom to know when the plan needs to change and what the future plan should be!!!!


That's as far as I've thought about it but like I said, I've still got some time. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it's going. I'm very interested to see what others say.

ETA-- I think another thing is to pray for teachable moments. For me that would be praying to a situation to happen where that situation is addressed in the Bible. That way I can get out my Bible and show her what it says and help lead her. Personally, my religion (for me but unfortunately not all Christians) centers around love. I'm hoping to teach her what love looks like, what loving God looks like and what loving others looks like. For us it's not about learning routines and rituals but about your heart and your motives being in the right place.

Ask me again in ten years and we can see how my random plan is working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not as concerned about the parts which are seen everyday like the praying and the fasting during Ramadan. Other things like the avoidance of pork and alcohol fit into our day-to-day lives as well. I'm more concerned about seriously studying Arabic and the related texts, and if it's possible to have a structured philosophy in this area while remaining unschoolish in other areas. I really am an unschooler at heart, and I really don't have any timetable for my son learning any subject, except for this one. And this is not so much on a timetable as it seems easiest to start young because of the amount and type of learning involved. At the same time, I think if I really want to do child-led learning should I just read myself (I am currently re-learning and my converted husband is learning for the first time) and maybe my son will see this and ask to learn as well. So maybe the middle road is to set the example and wait for him to ask, but once he asks, begin something more formal?

I don't know why I am having a hard time with this. Thanks for the advice so far, mamas, it really helps.
 

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We are basically unschoolers and my kids are just on 5 and 3. BUT they are starting a 6-week summer school program at the Masjid in a couple of weeks for Arabic, Qu'ran, and religious instruction.

Obviously, example is the best teacher but there are definately areas where there needs to be something a bit more focused. It's easy to demonstrate particular practices, like praying and fasting, but in a religion class as the masjid, these practices will be effectively explained in the how, why, when, exceptions, etc. Sometimes these are things we might overlook or the kids might take for granted and we forget to explain the details on.

On example from our life is that we live in the middle east and when I came back here for the summer this year, it didn't occur to my DH that the kids were not aware that we don't eat pork. They don't even know what pork is because it's sold in a separate part of some specialty stores and not sold in any of the mainstream stores at all. Also, because we only eat Zabiha meat and everything over there IS, including fast food, I had to take the time to explain to the kids why we weren't going to be eating any meat at restaurants here this summer.

Of course, over time, they would have learned all this, but if it's so easy for these things to get by, I'm sure I will be missing out on some details just naturally.

I don't worry too much about having a more structured environment on these issues because over their lifetime, the kids are going to have to face structured learning in many ways if they want to be able to participate in various activities, i.e. martial arts would be a structured class, group sports, etc.
 

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I think that unschooling is incompatible with what you're talking about. Unschooling leaves room for the possibility that what you are interested in might not be the same thing that your kids are interested in.

I also think that setting up a learning scheme may actually defeat the purpose. If they have freedom in some areas, but not in others, I would think they'd gravitate away from the areas in which they do not have freedom.

When it comes to religious matters, I say, have faith. Set the example and believe that God/Allah will show your kids the way. If you believe they'll learn the things they need to succeed in life academically, then you should surely believe they will learn the things they need to succeed spiritually.
 

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I think how you feel about children and religious instruction is the key here. Our family is multi-faith, and the kids are free to practice whatever they choose or nothing at all, so I've got no experience with anything but that approach in my own family. I do, however, know of families where there is no other route for the children but the religion that their parents practice as long as they live at home. It's not a question...you just do bible study every day, and you just memorize scripture because that's what you are required to do. It's an expected part of their family life and seen as normal. I suppose you could unschool everything but that? (No one is going to come prevent you from doing so...) It's not something I could/would do and I personally see it as out of synch with the way I live unschooling, but what works for you may be entirely different.

What I have done is explain what I was doing (reading, practicing, abstaining from, etc) and why. I let the kids see my beliefs and my approach to them in action and some discussion if it comes up or is relevant. Honestly, I think it comes down to what you believe about kids, religion, and choice.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by frogguruami View Post I would imagine (guess more like it
) that MOST aspects of any religion would be learned through example and practice.
Exactly, that is our plan. I've battled with this b/c while we aren't doing anything yet (dd is only 11 months) how can I not "teach" her subjects but make her sit down to "learn" religion. To me that feels........ wrong, for lack of a better word.
It's inconsistant with how I'm "teaching" everything else, and I worry that it will lead to a rejection of my beliefs based on how they were presented not their content. Anyhow, my plan is to read the Bible to her as part of our family reading time, ask her and future kids to do a narration back to me about it, pray before we eat, have my personal prayer and Bible study time at a time that she's awake (if I always do it when she's asleep, which would probably be easier, she'll never see me do it), keep her involved in church, personally be involved in the church so she sees how important it is to us and pray like crazy that this plan will work, for the wisdom to know when the plan needs to change and what the future plan should be!!!!
That's as far as I've thought about it but like I said, I've still got some time. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it's going. I'm very interested to see what others say. ETA-- I think another thing is to pray for teachable moments. For me that would be praying to a situation to happen where that situation is addressed in the Bible. That way I can get out my Bible and show her what it says and help lead her. Personally, my religion (for me but unfortunately not all Christians) centers around love. I'm hoping to teach her what love looks like, what loving God looks like and what loving others looks like. For us it's not about learning routines and rituals but about your heart and your motives being in the right place. Ask me again in ten years and we can see how my random plan is working.
So how has your plan gone now that its been over 10 years, I believe?
 
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