Saturday, April 28, 2007

Teaching Children Quran

I am brainstorming how to start teaching my two-year-old daughter Quran. She can hardly speak yet, but she is soaking in information at a bewildering pace, putting two and two together in such creative ways. I hope the Quran can be an integral part of her learning in this phase.

For me, results are secondary. She doesn’t have to have a certain number of surahs memorized, be learning at a certain pace, or know how to read by a certain age. If she knows 20 surahs by the time she’s five, or if she only knows three, that’s OK. While we are all amazed by children who memorize the whole Quran by the time they are ten, that may or may not be within our own children’s ability. If we push them too hard, we might get results but in the process crush the internal desire and associate stress, boredom, and frustration with learning the Quran. I care much more that she loves the Quran, loves to pick it up, leaf through its pages, and pretend to recite. I want her to know that it is something very special.

Here are a few things that I’ve been trying. Please share your ideas too.

1. Play the Quran throughout the day. The Quran should be the soundtrack of our homes! Constantly playing in the background whether the children are playing, eating, riding in the car, or going to sleep, the Quran should become a normal, familiar part of their lives.

2. Read Quran before something special. My daughter loves to sit down with a pile of books and read with me. Since I have her total attention at that time, I’ve started reading a short surah before each book. “Ok, let’s read this one! We can start it with Surah Al-Ikhlas…” I’ve found that she is paying attention, eager to get to the story, and she is also associating the Quran with something that she already loves.

3. Have a tape for the car, a tape for bedtime. Although I haven’t been disciplined with this, I think it’s a great idea to play the same tape over and over again in the car, and before sleeping.

4. Set the example. This is the best way, and for me it is what I am most struggling with. When we hear a song, see something fascinating, or taste something good, we react in a way that makes our children share in that joy and interest. If we read the Quran throughout the day, read it while doing housework, listen to it when we want to relax, and feel and show true pleasure when we are with the Quran, our kids will naturally share that love. They will adopt an attachment to the Quran, so intrinsically part of their routine that they miss it when it’s not there.

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