Schools Are Not Enough | For Parents

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

If you haven't seen the 'For Students' part, I suggest you check it out first, here.

Of course, every parent would wish for the best education course for their children (if you don't, why the heck are you one), and the long, unending debate I talked about in the earlier article is mostly between parents. Unsurprisingly, sometimes they are much more sensitive to their children's school place than the children themselves. One thing is certain, parents have a great influence on their children's education. I say, they are a more deciding factor than the school or any formal course of education.

Schools might give children the necessary technical skills. However, parents are the one who are supposed to give their child learning skills. Emotional intelligence and spiritual capability of a child mostly consist of how their parents taught them. How their parents showed them.

The truth is that, school, or any kind of education institution, is not capable of doing a miracle to a child. I noticed that a lot of parents send their children to a religious school expecting their problematic children would come home nice, kind, and religious. Some send their children to religious-modern school (SMAIT, SMPIT, SDIT) expecting their children to be transformed into a nice, kind, religious, academically smart child. Hey, come on. That's not the way it works. Schools can't change anyone. They can give technical skills, but that's it. If your child is the type who likes to study, dilligent, polite, you send them to a religious school, they will come home better. If your child is the most rebellious, doesn't like to learn new thing, doesn't like to think, no matter which magic school you send him into, he will come back with some soon-forgotten technical religious knowledge and that's it. I think every parent should understand this. Not only religious school, this also apply to any kind of education course. Let me stress it again, unless you send your kid to Hogwarts, schools don't do magic. Because no matter which way of education you choose for your children, there is no shortcut in parenting. The roles of parents cannot be neglected, no matter what.

As for technical skills, it's never too late to make your child participate in an activity outside their school or even college. As I suggested in the linked writing above, skill-related course or a job will really help them, whether it's now or in the future. Find their interests, and let them pursue it. It doesn't matter if their interest changes over time, they're still a child. Also, discuss it with them, trust your child. Make them participate in making family decisions, especially for things related to them. Personally, I don't believe in the concept of  'Teen Phase' in life. I believe when your child has reached puberty, they should be able of making their own life decisions, and have some responsibility about it. So, encourage it.

If you decide to send your child to a public or private school, regularly doing a family meeting never hurts. Monitor their progress, both in academic and extracurricular activities. When a children step into puberty, they need a friend. And I think the best friend you can give, dear parents, is yourself.

Schools Are Not Enough | For Students

Monday, 3 August 2015

It has been a long, nearly endless debate when it comes to choosing the best course of education. Most of us choose a public school. Some of us, prefers private schoool. Some others insist on religious school, some boarding school, and some doesn't even go to school. Like me.

Admittedly, there is nothing such as a perfect education system. To put it simple, one's education involves many factors other than just a system designed for mass education. Parents, friends, environment, even personal traits have to be taken into account.

Talking about school, many of us are obsessed with choosing the best school. Generally, a good school is one that rules over these criterias:

  • Good learning environment
  • Good teachers
  • Good academic reputation
  • Good university acceptance rate
  • And other stuff.
However, for sure, these values are very relative. For a school, it's mostly relative to the area where it's located. Here in Indonesia, we can say the standards are really low. Take the best engineering school around, ITB, as an example. The rate of acceptance per Faculty is extremely small, most of them has less than 5% admission rate. Even MIT has 7.8% admission rate. However, MIT sits comfortably on top of the world, while ITB can be found after digging a couple miles deep, rank 461 - according to  topuniversities. From these numbers, we can conclude that something is very, very wrong.

Who's guilty? No one. Most likely, it's the education system. It is true that there is no perfect system, but it is also true that there are plenty of incomplete system. And a weak system, produces weak people. I say it is to blame for Indonesia's small contribution in science. However let's face it, this is the reality, and to change it the system needs a long-term major overhaul. Since it's not happening yet (or so it seems), let's check what you can do to improve yourself.

First,  I believe it is essential for a student to have an extracurricular/organisational activity outside school. Be it a cooking class, a language course, a  humanitarian organization, or a part-time job (these ones I mentioned are highly recommended), it's best for you to have one. Not only to polish or add your technical skill, it's also to improve your life skill. Interaction with other people - who is not your age, work ethics, and other social skills you don't get in school. Also, you'll possess a better learning skill if you are in these activiteis.

Second, for the academics, your future prospects, have a special community for academics. Especially in the fields you like. Once you find the right people in the right place, your academics will be rocketing sky high. It could be bimbel, although bimbel can be defined as a forced learning environment. But better, it has to be a place of genuine interest, where you and some other study together to your heart's content. What if there isn't one? Easy, make one! It doesn't have to be a formal institution. It could be your fellow classmates. Or your fellow neighbors. This is important because simply the existence of these people, with similar goals and interest as you, will encourage you for your studies. If you're smart, they don't have to be smarter than you. You can be the one who helps them, and that will improve your skill as well.

Third, for psychological and spiritual strength, even if you're in a religious school, I'd recommend you to do some mentoring. Why? Because spiritual learning is special, you'll learn and use it your whole lifetime. Also because in the standard mentoring system you will have the responsibility to mentor someone else, this would also help you improve your learning skills, from the natural pressure, and also communication skills.

I guess, that's three advices I can give as a supposedly-recently-graduated-from-SHS senior. No matter which course of education you choose, you just need to live it. You don't have to be serious all the time, but always be serious when it's related to your goals. As I said, there is no perfect system, you just have to improvise.


By the way, I'm thinking of making one, a community for learning, where we can learn and share fun stuff. WDYT? Tell me in the comments!



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