All the Reasons Why I’m Putting Off Formal Education

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Every week, Preen tackles motherhood sans the rose-tinted glasses. Our columnists L. JulianoMarla DarwinMonica Eleazar-ManzanoRossana Unson, and Ronna Capili-Bonifacio tell their personal experiences like it is—at times frustrating, oftentimes confusing, but always enlightening.

My two-year-old daughter isn’t signed up with any play school or daycare service. I’m very fortunate with my work-from-home setup and the fun daily routine my kid has with her yaya. My husband and I agreed to delay formal schooling as long as we can. I’m heaving a sigh of relief that I don’t have to worry about Linggo ng Wika costumes or field trip meltdowns just yet.

This school-free window we have is fleeting; we can’t avoid school forever. The conversation about schooling is a national past time with parents. In my circle of friends, we all have strong opinions about what we like and didn’t like about our schools. We exchange anecdotes on current wave of education methodologies, from Waldorf/Steiner, to Banks Street, to Montessori, to Homeschooling/Unschooling.

Talk of theories and anecdotes about school can be an intellectual and cathartic exercise but actually putting a kid through it is daunting. Education is a loaded topic for any parent because of the sheer amount of resources that go into this and the potential life trajectory you set for your child. It’s easy for me to slip into an anxiety spiral worrying about where we’ll put our kid and if we’ll be able to afford it.

I worry if a school’s academic rigor can ensure admission to a good university. I worry about screwing my daughter over because I didn’t lay out a beneficial network for her. I worry about my kid not being able to hone her curiosity to develop the skills to chase after her goals and see them through. I worry about inept sociopaths who have no business teaching snuffing the light out of her. I worry about my kid being surrounded by assh*les who are enabled and protected by their privilege.

I stress about searching for the right environment for my kid. I fantasize about a perfect enclave out there filled with progressive left-leaning parents, gender neutral toys, socialist values, and secular spirituality. If that wasn’t enough, I also want whole food school lunches, permaculture, green architecture, and jungle camps to ensure I’ll have offspring capable of leading the charge to save the world from apocalyptic collapse.

I snap out of this reverie once I realized that I’m no different from the parents who are relying heavily on the schools to mold their spawn in their (idealized) image—which is one of the most dangerous things things you can do to people you love.

There is no perfect school. That’s what I’m learning to tell myself. I’m learning to tell myself that doing all the “right” things won’t guarantee a happy, well-adjusted kid.

“Progressive School” is the buzzword among millennial parents. I speculate that it’s more than just one generation reacting to the previous generation’s way of doing things. I hear from friends that “traditional” schools are also integrating more radical methods of learning into their curricula. I’m learning of more and more friends who are homeschooling or planning to homeschool. This tells me that there’s a shift happening wherein more and more parents are no longer content depositing their kids into institutions to outsource their parenting.

I don’t know if my husband and I will be able to afford the schools we like, but I’m going to go choose to believe that there will be good people wherever we end up. We’ll be good people. People make schools better places. We’ll be involved. We’ll hold educators accountable. We’ll look out for everyone else’s kids.

At the heart of all of this is the need for my partner and I to teach my daughter that she has it in her to makes things happen, no matter the limitation. We can’t avoid school forever, but we’ll be ready.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.

 

Art by Lara Intong

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