To feel a bit sorry for these kids

(107 Posts)
SenoritaViva Thu 07-Feb-13 12:38:25

DC were friends with a family that moved away. They come back regularly to see family in the area and come to play with my DC.

When they moved, last summer they decided to home school their children. They have a Year 3 and Year 1 Child, a preschooler and a one year old.

She has not started their home schooling with them and instead has given them household chores instead because 'having 4 children is an unbelievable amount of work'.

I just feel the children are missing out on their education as a result of her needs for help. I am not disputing that 4 children is a lot of hard work, nor am I against her needing help around the house and I am not against home schooling either. But I also think that if the eldest two were at school and the younger one had her 15 hours at preschool that would free up some of her time. She won't consider it as she has made the decision to 'home school'. I presume their family will continue to expand, she's alluded to the fact that they will due to religious reasons.

I know it's none of my business I just feel a little sad for the children. I should just stop thinking about it shouldn't I? They are still part of a loving home and she cares greatly for them. There are a lot worse off I suppose.

manicinsomniac Thu 07-Feb-13 17:55:06

I don't think HE could ever be a threat to schools as such, it just isn't popular enough and, even if it were, most people wouldn't be able to do it. But fair enough, if deregistering is recorded properly and triggers an automatic concern then maybe the article wasn't that accurate and it isn't a problem.

I'm interested as to why an inspection is seen as suche a negative thing to HEers though SDeuchars. Not in a snarky way, I really would like to hear your views. Personally I hate being oberved teaching, it makes me feel sick and turns my head to cotton wool. But I definitely don't think it would be a good thing if nobody ever inspected my standards.

think of HE inspections like this. Someone from the Food Agency has written to you to come and do their annual check that you're feeding your children. They turn up with their folder, and look in your fridge and cupboards. They want to see sample menus, and talk to the DC about what they eat, and what they can cook themselves. Then they give you some recipe leaflets about different ways to cook broccoli. "My DC don't like broccoli" you say. "Ah, but broccoli is good for DC" replies the inspector. "I love it". "They've tried it may times, and don't like it." you say. "No, DC must have broccoli at least twice a week. Follow these recipes, and i'll come back and check. And if the DC aren't eating broccoli, then well, we'll have to send in the Official Broccoli Cook, ad you won't be allowed to cook for your DC any more".

To lots of HEers, inspecting how they live their lives is a massive intrusion (just as the Food Agency inspector would be an intrusion into your life). There's a presupposition that parents can't be trusted to do what's best for their DC, and the Authorities Know Best. Now combine that with a DC who's been taken out of a school (or schools) which have failed to meet their needs, and you can see why a parent might not be happy with the not so veiled threat that if you don't jump through the hoops demanded by an LA official with their own views and prejudices, then it's back to school with you.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 18:14:07

I didn't mean a threat as in that it would close the schools. We reckon that there are about 60-70K children being home-educated in the UK. Most will be primary age, so if we assume 45K at primary and 15K at secondary, that is the equivalent of about 150 large primary schools and 10-15 secondary schools. That is a lot of teaching and admin jobs (not to mention buildings, supplies, inspections, etc.). The "education industry" is huge and affects almost everyone; HEers choose not to use it and this bothers some people.

People have suggested that the HEers on this thread are defensive (not sure why, I thought we were just answering questions) - we often find that articles in the TES (and daily newspapers) bring out really vitriolic and uninformed comments.

Deregistering doesn't (and should not) trigger an automatic welfare concern. If there are existing welfare concerns, they should not be ignored simply because a child is deregistered. There is also a large percentage of HE DC (like mine) who were not registered for school at 4 or 5 and therefore have not been deregistered - their educational provision triggers no automatic check.

Why is a check often seen as negative?

Practically:
- HE may not look like school and LA officers may object to the way it is carried out
- LA officers may expect the child to "perform", which the child may not be able or want to do (this is completely outwith their remit - any check should be of provision not reception)
- LA officers often want to visit before the family has had time to adjust to the new arrangements
- A family who has deregistered a child in traumatic circumstances (bullying and unmet SEN being the most common) may not feel able to deal with an official coming into their home and judging them (particularly if they are on a low income, live in a bad area or have children with SEN)

Philosophically:
- The duty in law is placed on the parent; no authority has a duty to monitor HE

manicinsomniac Thu 07-Feb-13 18:26:22

fair enough. Thank you for answering.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 18:49:10

I am monitored and was absolutely fine with it in theory.

I'm not fine with the LEA providing a junior school teacher (accompanied by an LEA official who had already soured her books with unprofessional rudeness) to assess a child doing 12 IGCSE/GCSE’s.

The teacher did her best, but pointed out she wasn’t qualified for the level of task. She did however go through all the work and the rest of the things being done including remedial work, and praised them highly, saying he was clearly getting an excellent in depth education and would say so in her report.

I cannot have a copy of that report as they then decided she wasn’t qualified to have inspected him, but they had no one who was.

So I can’t have an honest report of where we’re at even in the eyes of a junior school teacher, and ds whose furious, and totally spooked out, now refuses to meet with anyone unqualified to judge his level, leaving a good mum looking not great and what should have been a relieved ds very untrusting and refusing to meet LEA people.

SenoritaViva Fri 08-Feb-13 15:50:07

Hello everybody

Sorry I didn't come back and post yesterday, things got busy. I will spend some time reading the posts I haven't had time to later this evening.

But as an update (I think I got somewhere on page 3) people really gave me some interesting perspectives and I shall stop being sad about these children. I didn't feel I got a roasting as someone suggested but that people were being challenging in a pretty nice way.

On the getting kids to do house chores front - they are quite a strange family and have brought up their children in quite a specific way. They are all quite responsible and there is no room for bad behaviour of any kind. So I expect they are all excellent at their chores (perhaps I was just really jealous?!) It's not my style of parenting but mine is certainly by no means perfect.

For what it's worth, I'd never have considered reporting them. I was always sure the children would be learning something, they all just seemed quite academic and I was surprised that she wasn't pursuing something a little more planned and strategic.

loofet Fri 08-Feb-13 16:07:00

In this country anyone can choose to HE. Don't have to be qualified and you also don't have OFSTED checks, nobody checks on you against your wishes. Sadly this means some children fall through the cracks and end up with little to no education although it is rare because I don't think many people know much about HE plus I like to think most people care about their kids education.

You don't have to follow the curriculum, schools aren't required to do so either. HE is a wonderful thing and, if done correctly, much better than mainstream education imo. Your friend, however, doesn't seem to be doing a good job and is giving HE families a bad name! I don't think learning to do chores is ever bad, life skills are as important imo as reading and writing- I mean we all have to do washing and pay bills! But they do also have to have a real education no matter how you do that.

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