9 – 12 years
We have been having a lot of conversations about my decision to homeschool my son. People are skeptical and most think that I should just leave my trust in the education system, because that’s what they are there for right?
What is educating our children about? Sure, we want them to learn to read, write, spell, do Mathematics, Science and all that other fun stuff, but knowledge itself is not a useful thing unless you know how to apply it and make it useful. I want my child to learn to think for himself. I don’t want information just poured into his head and he just pours it out during an examination then forgets about it.
What’s the point of education if not to be able to think for yourself?
Our children need to be able to understand new topics and information that they encounter. They need to be able to make sense of it and mesh it into their own mental models to understand the world and how it works. This requires a skill – the skill of thinking about things.
Most children these days have long lost the skill of thinking – and of having conversations. Talking about things also helps them makes sense of things and understand it better themselves. They just do things on auto-pilot, buzzing from one screen to the next, they rush to finish one activity so that they can be entertained by another. Very rarely do they ever stop and think, question and just admire and ponder over things around them. Sit them down and ask them WHY they are doing what they are doing, and they will look at you confused.
They do not know the meaning of why. They are so brainwashed into just doing, just moving, just being occupied that they are unaware of how to question things or how to think about them.
It was great to sit and watch Mini Reflections. Mini Reflections is about kids sharing their thoughts and experience on a given topic that they know something about. The series mainly focuses on encouraging kids to open up their thoughts and observations, to interact with other people, and to learn. It’s something we can definitely learn from and help our kids become more mindful Muslims.
The episodes feature children around the age of ten and from many different backgrounds. Each video has a different question that is posed to various children. The children take turns talking about what they think and feel about the topic. It gives us insight into how children think and gives us a new perspective on things.
I thought it was a refreshing change to just watch other children sit and talk about topics from their perspective for a change. If our kids see others like themselves able to articulate their thoughts and ideas, it will be something they are more likely to engage in.
The episodes are short and are great conversation starters. Use it to start talking more with your kids and asking their opinions. Make them think and ponder about WHY they do certain things. Encourage your kids to think for themselves because critical thinking is a dying art. This is a great tool that you can use to find out what your own kids think about things and also influence them in a positive direction.
Tips for helping your kids to think and reflect
- It is important that we don’t lose sight of the goal of education, and instead of scheduling our children’s lives to death with all kinds of extra-curricular classes to cover every single moment of free time, make sure you give them enough thinking space.
- Make sure you set aside time each day to help them think about topics they have to deal with in their lives.
- Make time for conversations and make them a part of it.
- Watch the show to get some great ideas and hear kids talking about why they say Bismillah, what Islam is about, why they do good deeds, why they should help parents, what prayer is about and all sorts of interesting topics.
- Make your child feel valued and help them express their feelings and thoughts on topics that affect them.
- Stretch their minds with things they never thought about and help them to find their inner voices.