How to study at school without leaving home and getting bad marks? How to attend lessons from any place in the world? How to find a class where all the students and teachers love Allah? Such school exists! We have taken an interview from its founder and we are ready to tell you about the school of the dream.
The school year has started. Someone flips through their first diary with excitement and wraps notebooks into covers, someone sadly prepares a backpack for the umpteenth time and slowly says goodbye to summer freedom. But there are other children. They live without backpacks and diaries, without marks and calls to the principal’s “carpet”, without a loud bell for a break and crowds at the cafeteria. However, they either will go to the classes soon – to the next room, at the computer. And they are homeschoolers!
WHAT IS FE?
Homeschooling or family education (FE) is one of the forms of education permitted by the legislation of our country and, assuming that the child pursues studies outside the school walls. It should not be confused with homeschooling, which is chosen on medical grounds when the child is unable to attend classes for health reasons and is taught by teachers at home.
Family education is built without the participation of school teachers – parents and the child decide what, how and when they will study on their own. The main thing is to pass certification.
Getting up at any time, slowly having breakfast, playing and walking outside, doing favorite things, then spending a couple of hours for study – every schooler’s dream, isn’t it? Not really… Family education shifts all responsibility for mastering the curriculum from teachers to parents. This is where the difficulties begin.
HOW TO STUDY WITHOUT SCHOOL?
In FE, parents organize the educational process, engage with their child on their own or hire tutors, resolve all issues with a regular school so that in the future the child can pass intermediate certification there. This all requires enormous concentration, patience and time, which not all parents have at their disposal. When you really want to do FE, but not cope with it on your own, you can find help on the… network. Every year, more and more online resources are opening – unique virtual schools that allow you to master the curriculum remotely. And there is such school for Muslim kids called Milky School. It has already won the hearts of hundreds of parents who would never exchange it for a regular school. What are the features of Milky School, how it works, and what goals it pursues – about that and not only we talked with one of the founders – Violetta Umm Ayya.
As salamu alaikum! How did you come up with the idea of creating a family education school?
Wa aleikum as salam! By the grace of Allah, creating the school turned out to be quite spontaneous. In the beginning, I had a “Miss Muslim” academy of conversion, many Muslim sisters knew about this academy, it was very popular in the fullness of time. I was thinking about expanding this academy, I talked to my husband, and somehow the conversation turned to a branch for children. And thus, one thing leading to another, Allah gave the idea to create a family education school, because, despite the fact that there may have been such thing among Muslims, there were not exactly such specialized online schools for family education.
I wanted to make a school where children could study at home, online and precisely under Federal State educational standards so that later they could pass certification. But since we had neither accreditation nor premises, an alternative had to be found. And we decided to agree with the state school to attach our children there. I wrote to my friend Annisa, and we started to work. AlhamduliLlah, two months later we launched the project and it succeeded, by God’s will.
FE becomes more and more popular every year, also, there are more organizations offering parents maintenance in the world of FE. What is your “trick”?
There is no special “trick” in family education. But in our school, it goes through the prism of Islam. There is ‘shirk’ and other forbidden stuff going on in the usual school curriculum. In our school, all teachers are Muslims, all with aqidah ahlu sunna wal jama’ah. However, we do not teach specifically Islam, we only filter information of the secular program within our religion. That is, on our lessons, the name of Allah is mentioned, teachers are in hijab, duaa and physical exercises are made and material is presented without swearing and bad grades. All this is done to motivate children to demand knowledge, as the modern secular education system destroys the children’s desire to learn. Our teaching style, on the contrary, implies children to seek knowledge.
Many people are afraid of family education and say “But what about socialization?” “How will children communicate?” AlhamduliLlah, as the school develops and grows, by God’s grace, we want to collect kids in different cities. For example, uniting children from one city so that they can develop, befriend and play with each other. Thus, last year children have met and become friends. We want to do that in order to avoid parents being repelled from online learning, in the belief that their child will not communicate with anyone. On the contrary, the child will study in a different environment without having classmates who at their 11 years old already are about making bad things, smoking, drinking and cursing. They will be among, like them, well-behaved and virtuous people, among Muslims, among those who love Allah, and not those who hate him. Nowadays, there are many similar schools, I would not say that this is exactly the “trick”. Our “trick” is in our diligence we do for the sake of Allah and try to do everything according to the Sharia. The keyword here is “try” so that we try to keep our school on the highest level. And there is help from Allah.
What kind of classes do you have?
The classes are ordinary, as in the school curriculum – Russian language, environmental studies, mathematics, reading in elementary school. Senior classes also have physics, geography, algebra, geometry and so on. We do not have subjects such as music, labor, and physical education.
Who are your students? Sketch a rough image.
Our students are girls and boys; Muslims, loving Allah; kind and friendly.
What kind of difficulties did you encounter at the very beginning? Which is emerging now?
Speaking about difficulties…well, of course, they are always happening, especially at the beginning of the way when you have to face some organizational issues. And during our last year, there was an issue in the organization of the lessons, precisely in the beginning. For that reason, many people have made hasty conclusions, thus, negativity and dissatisfaction began to flock on us. And accordingly, it was very difficult in moral terms. But everything comes with the experience, alhamdulillah. We are improving and trying our best!
Obviously, there are difficulties with envy, as Allah told us we have to defend ourselves from the evil of envious ones, right? Slander, envy and all this is still happening. There is a problem with the plagiarism of our school. I would not say that it is bad, on the contrary, AlhamdulliLlah, that even more schools are opening. However, there are some negative aspects such as luring customers, complete copying. Those cannot even think up at least a little difference. This, surely, does not affect the work of our school, but again, it affects us morally. But we are not discouraged! Also, there were moments when teachers failed, moments with disorganization of students or parents themselves, this always happens. So there are always difficulties, but they are not so critical.
How was the teaching staff formed? Do teachers work remotely too?
Every teacher has a degree – some with a special secondary, some with higher pedagogical, there are even teachers of the highest category. Yes, we also get to know them remotely, also remotely build our work, have planned meetings, and these can cause some issues with organizing the whole process. And this year we even have got a new position – staff control manager, who monitors the work of teachers whether they arrive at the lesson on time, go out during the lesson and so on.
And how is the lesson built?
Everything takes place in a special program where a student sees the teacher and the teacher sees the student. That is, they have real contact, not just the records, where children are learning the curriculum themselves.
Where are the children from? Where is the majority from?
There are a lot of cities! Almost all regions of Russia, up to Sakhalin, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous okrug and Yakutia. In addition to Russia, there are also China, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, European countries, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh and KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). But most students are from the Caucasus. In total, the school has more than 600 students and about 40 teachers. Last year there were about 400 students, this year about 200 people go to the first class. Alhamdulillah!