In our previous posts, we talked about the goal of memorizing the Qur’an, ways to present the Qur’an to our kids, and finally, what surahs should someone start memorizing. In this post, we analyze the technical side of it: “Balance.” Perhaps the hardest question I get from parents is, “What kind of schedule do I maintain for them?” I also get questions like, “How much should they memorize?” or, “How can they have school and memorize?” All of these questions fall under the category of finding that right balance for your kids. Maintaining balance will ensure sustainability. Here are a few tips on how you can maintain balance.
- Scheduling – Every child is different and unique. There is no such thing as “one size fits all.” I sometimes find myself excelling at memorizing or reviewing in the evening. Some people will swear by how effective it is to memorize in the morning. Try to gauge your child’s abilities and know their routines. Strike a balance between nurturing good life skills while allowing their personal strengths to lend to their memorizing goals. If it helps, make a planner or schedule.
- School vs. Homeschooling – The age old debate of whether you should have your kids memorize in a full time Qur’an school and have them homeschool on the side, or, have them go to school and memorize on the side with a teacher is but a dead horse that people still beat. The premise of this question is wrong because there is no right answer. Some parents don’t have such an option of homeschooling because they have demanding jobs. Perhaps their child needs structured learning, or, the parents don’t have the skills or knowledge to homeschool. I have seen some kids excel or struggle in either scenario. But one thing for sure is that kids are the victims of any situation when decisions are made haphazardly on their behalf.If you plan on homeschooling, find out the details of such programs in your school district. Consult with education counselors on how to homeschool. Don’t just dump the books on your kids and expect them to learn! Perhaps the most important aspect of homeschooling is that parents must be dedicated to homeschooling. Homeschooling is not about self-learning. It’s a lifestyle. If you’re not informed, ready to tutor, or provide tutors, it is more than likely that you’re not informed about their Qur’an memorization program either. The American school system, be it homeschooling or public schools, is uniquely different from schools overseas. We cannot expect our kids to be able to manage their school, suddenly incorporate Qur’an on a mass scale, manage social life and excel at all three areas! We must take it slow. Any big decisions require study, analysis and gradual implementation. On the other hand, if you plan for your kids to be in school all day, don’t expect them to have so much energy to come home and memorize for another 2 hours and complete homework. Perhaps you can set a weekly goal. They need to memorize such and such by the end of the week. This works well for teenagers. Therefore, for either case, a balance must be achieved. Study, plan, slowly implement, and adjust as you go along.
- Quantity – Parents should not take too seriously what other parents tell them about how much Qur’an their kids memorize. Some people are amazing at memorizing. Some kids have strengths in other areas. I remember when I was starting Qur’an school, I had such trouble memorizing. It took me almost a month to memorize a few lines! This is because I didn’t know how to memorize. In other words, I didn’t know techniques in memorizing nor retaining my memorization after I accumulated a few pages. I strongly believe that there should be no rush for one to finish within a certain time frame. Memorization of the Qur’an is not an “achievement unlocked” endeavor. Even if a child has finished memorizing, the question is, “What’s next?” Hence, there shouldn’t be a specific time limit of when the Qur’an must be completed. Should it take 10 happy years, I’ll take that over 2 years of stressful cramming. Remember that it’s okay if your kids are not huffadth. It’s okay if you kids don’t finish one juz per month. What’s more important is that they learn the lesson of excellence, putting in the hard work for all things in their life, and maintaining a connection with the Qur’an for their whole lives – not for a certain duration.