As salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Over the past 100 years, we have become accustomed to handing the education of our children to the process of schooling. It has become the accepted way of educating our children, regardless of the consequences. In fact, because it is considered to be almost the natural way of learning, we do not see the negative effects, in fact the negative effects are also perceived to be as normal depending on the level of impact. The most subtle of negative of impacts is simply the act of not learning. Far too many children enter school and leave school not being able to read, even in Western countries. Another negative reaction to schooling is being hyperactive.

The reason why your son’s reaction to being schooled is natural, is because the learning process is actually experiential. When we learn from books without putting to test what we have absorbed, it simply becomes information. Knowledge is what Islam emphasizes on and that is because knowledge is experiential. A child learns best through experience, and the imagination, reasoning, and the creative aspects of a child is removed by “absorbing” not “learning” from books. This is what the Waldorf and Montessori Method is based on, because as humans, we need to process incoming information.

There are three basic levels of the learning process:

  1. Absorption (where book/classroom learning stops)
  2. Integration – (a personal stage where there is a conscious application to what is newly taken in, hence one is more able to integrate with what one already knows).
  3. Expression – (where one demonstrates the ability to use what one has learned)

A child may be very fortunate to have a mother who is receptive to his needs. It has already been established that children learn best in small groups, and the smaller the group, the greater the ability to work through the three basic aspects of learning. Your child may react to a learning environment that is not suitable to his needs, and being on the cusp of pubescent, a young boy needs to be physically active about what they learn. Some children have a greater thirst for true learning whereby their cognition is a part of the process. He is not prepared to be treated as a parrot and simply be an empty vessel waiting to be filled with information that he has no comprehension of by someone who has no emotional investment in the child.

What most children are probably ready for is socializing with their own peers, this would help to increased their confidence in general. Being completely unaware if what facilities are available in the country in which you live, it is worth exploring how best to take advantage of the school system so that your fear of your children falling behind can be abated. Use the environment around you to help integrate what they are learning. Allow them to freely ask questions, and to explore together the answers. Once you can do this, you will have more confidence about what is best for your kids insha-Allah.