After centuries of wandering inside the box, we’ve forgotten to test waters outside of it. Over the years, the conventional classroom has proved to become one of these boxes that confine us.
We witness today’s modern world with high-end technological advances producing lazy, carefree, and passion-less teens who are oblivious to their purpose in life,whereas years ago, it was presumed to turn out to be the opposite. But why?
Why is it that though information is available at a single touch of a screen, our generation is facing an ever-deteriorating drive for knowledge?
Why is it that even with an array of professional fields and branches of science, our youth find it hard to choose any one in particular; whereas the young adults find it hard to become satisfied with their existing careers? Why have they run out of motivation?
One of the major reasons for so many of these “why’s” is the prevalent system of schooling. The restrictions of creativity within these institutions have a foundation somewhat rooted within conformity of the masses, and this culture of merely ‘manufacturing school graduates’ also has huge religious-political motives to it.
Another basis for the foundation of this widespread meaninglessness is the lack of attention/interaction that children get from their parents and how parents leave their children in the claws of environmental conditioning. It’s truly sad to witness how kids and teens are left to filter what comes through to their minds on their own.
Moving forward, let’s try and frame our minds to become a solution-oriented society, and ask the bigger questions. How do we bring the youth back on track? How do we rejuvenate their ideas and ideals? How can we bring back their sense of purpose, morality and accountability? Henceforth, we discuss one of the answers: Homeschooling.
Before we go into detail, let’s first categorize the different aspects of homeschooling to make it more approachable: Inter personal, Social, Economic, Spiritual and Physical. Here, we will relate the first aspect: Inter personal development.
In Psychology, we more than often come across the concept of how each of our traits and habits can be, one way or the other, traced back to our childhood experiences. This is more than enough reason to firmly grip the idea of how childhood is the most important stage in the developmental cycle of a child, and analyze how it is taken so lightly in our society. We rather prefer ‘behavioral learning’ (learning from experience) an easy way to instill values in our children, as the common phrase goes, “Jab bara hoga toh khud hi samajh jaye ga.” (When he grows up, he’ll understand it himself.”)
We realize, through research, that the self-learning has a completely different take on it. It is quite dangerous especially in the modern world where our perceptions have become so skewed and people tend go with the flow of the majority, like dead fish. Experimentation and close scrutiny reveals that the basic sense of right and wrong, the nourishment of the conscience, and the upbringing of a sound and stable mind needs to be focused on in the early years, and requires efforts from both major figures of authority present in the life of the child: the Mother and the Father.
With homeschooling, the parent to child connection and duration of interaction makes way for a greater probability of a strong and responsible moral character for the child. Educational psychologists often emphasize on how the school schedules are ruining the balance of the emotional and psychological attention required by the children and more possibly also draining the time they could be investing in other more interest centered activities which help support mental wellbeing.
They relate that (assuming children perform better in subjects they are interested in) “It has long been acknowledged that a variety of psychosocial and health problems affect learning and performance in profound ways. Such problems are exacerbated as youngsters internalize the debilitating effects of performing poorly at school and are punished for the misbehavior that is a common correlate of school failure.”
(School Mental Health Project, UCLA, Center for Mental Health in Schools)
We observe how the core (compulsory) subjects are gnawing away majority of the time and energy the child could put into particular subjects that spark their interest. This obviously does not aim to underestimate the need for having general knowledge about the basic subject lists. This is only to make us realize how schools are draining the ‘singularity’ of focus for an exceedingly long period of time, even after the child handpicks a particular field to study in. It’s more like trying to balance more than one ships at a time.
With this we come to the explanation of the title of this article, which is inspired by a quote of the famous scientist Albert Einstein who said,
“Everybody is a genius; but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Is this not true of today’s society? We judge future artists by their calculus grades, counsellors to be by their knowledge of science, and spiritual leaders in the making by their ability to describe quantum physics. We need to embed this idea in our minds that the fish may climb the tree, but it’s satisfaction will still float in water. The fish was created for that purpose, equipped with the essentials, just like every individual amongst us is.
Thus, bringing both the concepts together, we can conclude that it is our responsibility to invest our time, efforts, and energy into our children to help bring forward exemplary characters and personalities, who have the direction and guidance to fully discover their potentials and goals, and there is no one who could do it better than ourselves; for formal education stands on a considerably non-firm platform without ‘Tarbiyah’- “development of character and morality”.
Jazakumullahu Khayr – May Allah reward you for the time and effort of reading this post.
By: Ayesha Majid