I want you to think for a minute about how you teach Islamic studies. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do you approach it, and how does that compare to your secular studies?
- Are they integrated at all?
- Does your study of Islam stretch beyond the pillars and articles of faith?
- How soon do you start formal lessons?
I know I fall into the trap of just finding school-at-home type curriculum because it’s easy to plan and easy for me to implement. What that type of curriculum is often lacking is building a sense of awe and feeding their curiosity. In our secular studies, we talk about what we know: how things look, what animals eat, how one thing reacts to another. As humans we like to feel smart, and to focus on what we do know. What we sometimes miss out on is looking at all the unknown.
Some homeschool methods put great importance into exploring the world around us; really learning how to look at nature and see the miracles in every day life. We can learn from people like Charlotte Mason how to implement such a program, and draw on books like Emma Apple’s Children’s First Questions series to point out specific areas of creation that deserve our attention. Like I talked about in my review of How Big is Allah?, Emma gives references at the end of her book to dive into scientific aspects further. In How Does Allah Look?, Emma illustrates how much of Earth humans have discovered, explored (hint: it’s tiny!), and even how much we can see and hear within the entire spectrum of light and sound.
Knowing our limits
What I love about Emma’s books is that she takes something kids are bound to ask, and explains within our human limits without the easy, lazy answer, “It’s a mystery.” Sure, we don’t know how Allah looks with our earthly eyes, but as How Does Allah Look? so masterfully and concisely says:
Even though it seems like we can imagine anything, we cannot imaging everything.
Our eyes were not designed to see every light…
Islamic living books
In our eclectic homeschool, I like to draw from various philosophies. I love the logic study of the classical method, the prepared environment in montessori, and living books from Charlotte Mason. Emma Apple’s Children’s First Questions series are Islamic living books, possibly the first of their kind. Through the years I’ve known Emma, I know that the blend of science and Islam is a personal passion of hers. This comes out beautifully in her books, and even sparks up the dormant awe within myself. Through her written words on the page, her passion comes through, which I understand to be the definition of a living book.
Tying it all together
We build our Islamic home library to build strong, proud Muslims. We want kids to have stories to turn to in their free time to feel that sense of community and bond to the greater Ummah. Now with books that bridge between story books and educational books, they can learn while being entertained – the goal of most homeschooling families in the young years. I’m so thankful for Emma’s books to bring light to simple questions and giving more information to think about at the end!
Here are some resources to tie in How Does Allah Look? with a homeschool lesson about light:
- “And verily We have beautified the world’s heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils, and for them We have prepared the doom of flame” (Quran 67:5) Link
- “Praise belongs to Allah Who created the heavens and the earth and appointed darkness and light…” (Qur’an, 6:1) Link
- Moon as reflected light: 10:5, 26:61, 71:15-16 Link
- Learn more about what people are discovering lately. Does the Qur’an answer any of these questions?
- Astronomy and space discoveries. How much is there still to discover?