Not long ago I uploaded a video to YouTube showing a science experiment I had done with my kids. I received a private message from an individual claiming to be a homeschooled 15-year-old who was considering suicide because he felt so isolated. I tried to reply back to this young man but I wasn’t able to so I forwarded the information on to YouTube’s support team. As a parent, my heart aches for this young man and I wish there was something that I could do or say that would change his situation. Instead, all I can do is urge parents to pay attention to their children and look for signs of depression. Depression is something that doesn’t discriminate and often it is those who we do not suspect that are battling their emotions quietly and alone.
This young man attributed his feeling of depression to the isolation forced upon him by his parents choice to homeschool. Homeschooling isn’t the issue in this situation it is isolation and even kids who attend traditional brick and mortar institutions deal with isolation. It is so important for people especially young children and teens to connect with their peers and their community.
Parents, I urge you to pay attention to your children and watch how they are interacting with others. If your child doesn’t seem to be able to make friends or build relationships this could indicate a problem. Talk to your children and help them express their emotions and NEVER be afraid to get help if you feel like your child is in trouble.
This message is for all parents but I do want to single out my fellow homeschoolers and caution again that depression doesn’t discriminate. Homeschoolers often get exasperated when people ask us if our kids get opportunities to socialize. I myself have been asked this question far too often but we do need to pay attention to the fact that kids do need interaction and they need a connection to the community.
I have met so many homeschoolers and every one of these parents has their kids enrolled in church activities, 4H, mom groups, and other extracurricular activities. Even in situations where we provide opportunities for our kids to socialize we have to watch how they interact with others. If your child doesn’t seem to be able to connect then you need to take action.
Always trust your gut if you think something is wrong get help. There is no shame in dealing with depression and the only way we can help those in darkness is to bring light to this issue.