It’s amazing how learning can occur in such a simple act as watching Afasy on Youtube. N is crazy over Dawud Wharnsby’s anaasheed. Z is closest to her and would follow her every act. At one point, I saw N at the computer, and Z by her side, standing, with the headphones on and I guessed what he was listening to.
“N, let him listen to Afasy. Not too much nasheed.”
Z used to watch a lot of Afasy on Youtube. At one point he was just fixed to it watching it again and again.
I reminded him of this.
“Z, you used to watch Afasy a lot remember? ”
Last night, he asked to watch Afasy, but he especially likes the one where people are praying on the street. When we looked for it, I clicked on the Fussilat video, but apparently I got the wrong one. He pointed to the correct one:
He started asking question as we watched it:
“Why is he crying?”
When he asked this question, I told him about the ayah he was crying about, that it talks about hellfire and how one’s face will be burned and that he is afraid of that happening to him, that’s why he’s crying. I balanced this with telling him that Allah loves us so much that He has prepared Jannah for us, but we have to work for it, and then we can see Allah. We have to listen to Allah.
“Why are they praying on the street?”
Because it’s Ramadan and they go for taraweeh, and there is no space in the masjid because so many people want to go.
“Why do men and women pray?”
Everyone has to pray.
“Why do they go to the masjid?”
Because Allah likes it. The masjid is Allah’s house. So we need to keep it clean, don’t fight in it, don’t say bad stuff in it. We should pray and read Quran in the masjid.
I also started telling him about the crowd at hajj. As we were watching this, I told him that at hajj there are more people than this.
I also pointed out at the straight rows and how everyone moved together and how it looks so organized and neat.
As I’m typing this, he’s asking me
“Why does Allah put the people in the fire?”
Because the people didn’t listen to Allah. These people did bad things, they hurt other people, they even killed some people, and Allah already told them not to do this, but they didn’t listen, they still did it. Allah already told them that if they don’t listen, He will put them in the fire, and they still didn’t listen. So it’s their fault, not Allah’s because Allah already warned them.
At one point before this, he had declared that he wants to see Allah. He had been talking to the girls about Jannah and he asked to see Allah. They told him he will see Allah in Jannah.
Subhanallah. This is learning in context. This is a teaching moment. Sometimes, you don’t need worksheets, activities to teach something. You just need to live life. Allah has created children with innate curiosity that makes them avid observers and question-askers. Sometimes, the best learning comes from unplanned activities/teaching moments. Especially in teaching Islam, which is not just a religion, but a way of life, learning comes from living it. That was how the prophet saw taught the companions, though they would also have formal learning sessions. It’s always about balance. Not being extreme.
In education, there are many schools of thoughts. In homeschooling, there are also many methods and schools of thoughts. Sometimes, we waste our energy debating with each other over why our method is the most correct, when there may be more than one way, or there may be a middle, balanced way.
When we started homeschooling, we started with the school-at-home with OHVA. Then I tried unschooling. Finally, we ended up eclectic. I have leaned to one side too much at one time or another, but it always felt somewhat wrong, and so I would pull myself back up to the middle. At times it’s a constant yo-yo, at times, the pendulum remains still.
Alhamdulillah. Sometimes you really just have to pay attention to things. Allah talks to you through the Quran and in other ways. He is Al Lateef (subtle, gentle, caring) and He is al Aleem (all knowing) and He is al Hakeem(All wise). You just need to use the intellect you’ve been blessed with and reflect, take note of even little things, and you will realize this precious connection subhaanallah.
Sometimes you know something, but in the course of life, you forget that you know this, or you start to worry. Allah reminds you what you know. The Quran is also called zhikr, a reminder. That is why there is a lot of repetition in it, because human beings forget a lot. The root of the word for human means to forget. Go figure.