Many Muslims Turn to Home Schooling, 26 March 2008, New York Times, New York, New York
Like dozens of other Pakistani-American girls here, Hajra Bibi stopped attending the local public school when she reached puberty, and began studying at home.
Her family wanted her to clean and cook for her male relatives, and had also worried that other American children would mock both her Muslim religion and her traditional clothes.
No matter what the faith, parents who make the choice are often inspired by a belief that public schools are havens for social ills like drugs and that they can do better with their children at home.
“I don’t want the behavior,” said Aya Ismael, a Muslim mother home-schooling four children near San Jose. “Little girls are walking around dressing like hoochies, cursing and swearing and showing disrespect toward their elders. In Islam we believe in respect and dignity and honor.”
“There is a tendency to make home-schoolers look like antisocial fanatics who don’t want their kids in the system,” said Nabila Hanson, who argues that most home-schoolers, like herself, make an extra effort to find their children opportunities for sports, music or field trips with other people.
Mrs. Asghar, the Stockton woman who argues against home schooling, takes exception to the idea of removing girls from school to preserve family honor, calling it a barrier to assimilation.
“People who think like this are stuck in a time capsule,” she said. “When kids know more than their parents, the parents lose control. I think that is a fear in all of us.”