How schooling connects to depression and confusion in identity and passion of a child
|For my first post on this blog, I would like to talk about home-schooling.
During this quarantine period, I am gradually coming back to my first love. And that is art. Art of all forms. I love literature, I love writing. Fine Arts, too. I love painting and I love reading about artists of the olden times and studying the nature of their works.
The first months of the quarantine, I was quite idle, enjoying the days when I can sleep for more than 4 hours, lie around just browsing my feeds. Work life has totally drained me of all that I originally am. But the last few weeks, I started to feel the familiar urge to create, like I did when I was still a student. I used to paint all the time, read, do my researches happily ( I am a History buff), write, create meaningful things. As I grew older, and necessities and “adulting” started to push me to look on the more practical side of my every day life. I got different day jobs, mostly clerical and office works. I was fine, I was earning, though not so much, just enough for my needs and wants. I, then, saw these things, the arts and all, as frivolity and silliness. I started to try to be like everyone else.
Well, to be fair, it started in school. I realized I was quite different from my peers. An introvert who loves books, reading about old people, old stories, listening to old songs. I realized, as I once tried to share it to my friends with excitement, that no one was interested, and so, I shut it down and put my attention to the things they were all talking about.
But this period made me rethink. This period made me realize a lot.
One of my endeavors in this quarantine period was to finish this online diploma course on home schooling. I plan to teach abroad someday, and I realized I will need more credentials to be able to pass the standard.
I never thought of home schooling as more than just sheltering a child before, but now, reading the materials I have been given, I realized, if only I was home-schooled when I was young, maybe the massive mistakes I have done during my schooling years could have been prevented. I now wish I have been home- schooled.
So how can home-schooling help a child in achieving greatness in academics and in life?
There are so many benefits that I have learned, and made sense. One of these are having more and better family time, eliminating the parents’ arguments over the matters concerning the child’s education, putting an end to the power struggle of homework, cutting of cost, securing the child’s safety, more sleeping and resting time for the child, and also, the courses and projects can be customized and individualized.
But there are some more benefits that I am thinking about so much, ever since I have read them. Here are some of them.
Practical Skills by Living and Learning in the Real World, with Practical Education
Believe me when I say, I have learned much, much more practical skills by occasionally accompanying my mother, who is an Elementary school teacher, to work and everywhere else, than I did in school. Not saying schooling is useless. But evidently, being with my parent gave me practical life lessons that now equip me in the daily battles we call adulting. And I am glad I went with her.
I saw her and her colleagues’ struggles and hardships, what it took for her to come back home every evening, carrying foods and treats for us her children. I did not grew up to be perfectly proper and good but I learned how not to take all of those treats for granted because I saw firsthand how she worked for it.
I also saw her budgeting and handling money, balancing between treating herself and tending to her family’s needs. I went with her when she had to process some papers for her loans, and other documents adults need. As a child, I enjoy the long bus rides, the tall buildings we go to, and I can’t wait to grow up to be able to do those things, too. But I also felt her sadness and agony when some deals failed.
Now in my twenties, I am able to dodge some mistakes my mom did, financially, when she was in my age. She taught all of that to me, like I was in an OJT (on the job training) of life. And I am glad.
Not saying it should be this complicated and heavy home-schooling a child. It can be simple everyday things, like taking the child out on a grocery trip as a part of a lesson. Letting him/her handle a little money. My mom did that when I was around seven years old. She gave me an amount of 100 Pesos (2$), telling me I can buy whatever I want, just not letting it exceed the amount I have been given. So I was forced to do my math right there and then in the grocery store.
It can also be cooking, doing a small business like a lemonade stand, talking to the phone or faux interviews, as an introduction to communication. it can be many things that can be used to teach a child something that can hardly be learned in a classroom setting.
Peer Pressure and Influence to Personal Choices
As was mentioned earlier, one of the reasons of my many academic downfalls (yes, I can call that a downfall) was being influenced in my personal choice and expression.
Something that is a vital part of me was lost, the moment I chose to be like everyone else, to work so, so hard to be like everyone else around me. Little did I know, what I have lost, could have been my wings to take me to places I dreamed to be. This is not being over-dramatic. I see it now, as it is, and if I could go back in time, the one thing I will tell my younger self would be: don’t look at anyone else. Mind yourself. Don’t think too hard, just do and nurture what you feel you love doing right now. Nothing is too silly or too practical.
The advantage of being home-schooled, in the years where a child’s dreams and interests are only beginning to take form, is that there will be no one to bother and influence him/her, no one to break through that shell of dreams he/she is making, and tell them it should be this or that, or something is cooler and way better. And they will emerge from it whole and sure of themselves.
Something most children in our generation lack.
Wrong choice of courses (that’s what happened, in my case) could have been prevented. And when a child is sure of what he/she is doing, and loving it, there would be no failure and frustration.
It can also be applied to choices regarding things like sexuality, morals and beliefs.
Better Equipped to Handle Child’s Medical Concerns and Mental Health Issues
One of the most widespread killer today is anxiety and depression. It sure is a sensitive thing to tackle. But I can say I can talk about it because I have been there. Last year was the worst, the peak, you could say.
My mother was all confusion when I told her for the very first time that I feel depressed. I am only vocal to my mom when it is about positive feelings but I rarely let her see me when I am broken, down or disappointed. We are what you can call a very chill family, it’s like we are all men, when in reality there are actually three females in out small family. Me, my mom and my sister, but we are all never vocal as to what we feel because, maybe we are not used to seeing one of us crying, and wouldn’t know what to do.
So the fact that I felt so hopeless, I had no choice but to tell mom, says a lot. I was in my boyfriend’s (now ex) house when that happened. We fought and I received hurtful words and just wanted to go home, but I can’t square my shoulders up and stop my crying. So I texted mom and told her I was thinking of bad thoughts, I was thinking of hurting myself. I did not say why. I just told her I wanted to die. That was not the first time I felt that. I have been braving it for a few years then, but that moment felt like the worst.
Then I went home. My mom did not show reactions you would expect from a usual mom. She did not cry, did not hug me and comforted me. She told me to eat my dinner and afterwards asked me what’s wrong. She looked confused and worried, I can see that she really can’t understand or comprehend why. We are not wealthy but surely, she made sure I grew up getting what I need, and even want. My mom is too kind, too gentle, there should be no reason for this.
I was away from my family for too long. I was away from my mother for too long. Of course, in most culture, as soon as you turn 15 or 18, you are expected to find your own home and build your own life. Not for us. But I was pulled away from my family, supposedly my pillar and guide, way too early. I was pulled away from them when I started putting my friends and peers first and other superficial things as my compass and guide.
In home-schooling, parents have more chances of being closely in touch with their children’s emotions and mentality, reducing the chances of depression and anxiety. Of course, some cases of clinical depression do not have to have a reason for it. Just a chemical imbalance. But if that should ever happen, at least, the child is comfortable enough with his/her family and have a stable rock and pillar keeping them up above the water. Also, the parents will be able to find cure or medication for relief earlier.
Long story short, the parents are more in touch with the child’s emotions.
This can also be applied for other medical concerns, that is one of the most common reasons for home-schooling a child. When a, say, child with a physical disability, learns in the comfort and care that comes with home-schooling, he/she will emerge confident and sure of him/herself.
This is not to say that home-schooling is the perfect way to be, but speaking, as a young adult who is very aware of all her emotions, journey and mistakes and newly found strength, I can easily say that, home-schooling might have prevented me from doing many, many mistakes in my life as a student. Now that I am a little older, I am constantly yearning for the presence and energy of my mother. I also grew up to be a late bloomer. Whereas my batch-mates have their lives and careers all figured out, here I am, just starting to realize my real goals and dreams by getting back to the things I loved first, things I loved as a child. Arts, writing, painting. The things I called frivolities just because they were different from everyone else’s in school. It’s only now that I am realizing that they are what I wanted to do all my life.
Maybe I will resign from my day job to pursue them. Maybe I will take them as sidelines. One thing is for sure. What one sees blooming in a child, should be nurtured and watered. It might just be his/her wings to go places in life.