to suspect I would make a better job of teaching my child P1/2/3 than the (good) local primary?

(54 Posts)
StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 15:07:31

I gave up work to become a SAHM, but always intended that they would go to school in due course. I am beginning to change my mind.

My first niggle is the short school day at P1 (9am to 2.50pm), 39 weeks per year. If I went back to work, I would certainly need a raft of after school and holiday club childcare - exactly what I wanted to avoid in the first place... Of course, I could continue to stay at home for a while...

The second niggle was a local acquaintance starting a B.Ed as a mature student... considering my knowledge of her, I was surprised she'd managed to secure a place on any degree course. Since she started, she is apt to have (public) facebook discussions with her classmates, who appear immature, ignorant and small-minded. Their grammar and spelling are truly frightening. I googled the entrance requirements for these courses and was appalled by how low they are.

The local school has a good reputation, but it seems counter-intuitive to send my child to school to be taught by someone with far fewer qualifications than myself, in a ratio of 1 to 25, whilst I stay at home doing the ironing. (Or alternatively, I go back to work and leave my child in the hands of child-minders for the majority of their waking hours - something I don't fancy much either).

The more I ponder the topic, the more sense it seems to keep them at home until they are a bit older. Surely it is hardly rocket science to teach early years subjects, and we would be able to do all manner of exciting things that schools can't possibly do (like foreign travel to learn languages, museum visits, cooking, damming brooks and so on and so on....)....

So bearing in mind I haven't had a school-aged child yet (blush) AIBU to think I would make a better job of teaching my child at least initially?

Booyhoo Thu 07-Feb-13 15:11:51

havent a clue if YABU or not. just do what you want to do with your own dcs.

although i have to ask. what time did you think school finished at if you have only realised now that school finishes at 2.50 and that you would need afterschool care in order to work full time?

mistlethrush Thu 07-Feb-13 15:14:11

I'm a qualified string teacher - but DS has made more progress in just over a term of violin lessons than he ever managed with me - and I'm sure that the same would be true of school work!

ohfunnyhoneyface Thu 07-Feb-13 15:16:53

Lots of schools won't accept teachers with poor qualifications or a weakness of spelling and grammar. Just because they can currently qualify, doesn't mean they'll ever get jobs or indeed finish their course and qualify.

Primary is massively competitive for jobs, and if your friend has just started their B.Ed they have another three and a half years before they'd even be an NQT. Long way from being anywhere near your son or daughter.

Stay at home and educate if you want, but do it for the right reasons and be informed as to what the benefits and draw backs are.

I kind of see where you are coming from and have had similar thoughts myself. What persuaded me that school was the right thing for my children in absence of any mitigating factors was that, like you, I was only interested in homeschooling in the short term.

As I see it, those early years at school are just as equally about the children 'learning to learn' within the school environment (e.g. learning in a classroom setting rather than one-on-one at home). My step child was home schooled for the first few years and struggled to fit into a school environment. He still struggles without the one-on-one teaching now (although he is streets ahead in most subjects) and would rather be at home. Don't get me wrong, he is doing well and loved his home-schooled time but, in his words, he is "the odd one out"

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 15:19:57

I didn't think at all about when school started or finished initially Booyhoo
I simply decided to stop working as I thought it would be good to be at home with babies and toddlers. I suppose I initially assumed that they would go to school at 4 or 5 - but when I began to think about the practicalities of when I could return to work it became apparent that unless you have an extremely flexible job, it's not really practical to work unless you use an awful lot of care (breakfast clubs, afterschool clubs, holiday clubs etc).

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 15:26:10

Neverquitesure Thanks, that's a good point. TBH, I wouldn't say I would be totally opposed to carrying on with home-schooling, but it is a huge commitment. I made a similar error of judgement previously by believing it was worth employing a nanny for my DD when she was a baby and that she could go to nursery when she got to 3. Of course, whilst she quite enjoyed preschool, she wasn't over-impressed at having a whole day in a nursery when she'd previously had 1 to 1, and a day structured around her and her needs.... she lasted a day and a half in the nursery... grin

I think that being a SAHM until school is difficult though... they are used to a very particular lifestyle - if I suddenly went back to work they would go from mummy-always-there to where-the-hell-is-mummy!

I wish I had more confidence in the school product sad

CailinDana Thu 07-Feb-13 15:27:38

Home schooling is a great option if you're prepared for it. But it's not automatically better than a child going to school for a few reasons. Firstly, it can be incredibly difficult and frustrating to teach your own child. My mother is an absolutely outstanding secondary teacher (has a reputation for massively improving outcomes for her pupils) and yet she was ridiculously bad at teaching me and my sisters one-on-one mainly because it's very hard to step out of the parent role and into the teacher role. She did try to help us study the subjects she teaches, but it usually ended in tears and an argument. It wasn't her fault in the slightest - it's just that having your mum standing over you pointing out faults is very irritating and fraught for a child and can really damage the relationship. It can also work out brilliantly, don't get me wrong, but it takes a special sort of relationship for that I think.

Constant one-on-one teaching can be overly pressurising for a child. In school the child has a chance to skate along some days and take it easy as they can hide in the crowd so to speak. They also don't have the full beam of the teacher's attention focused on their every move. With home schooling you need to get the balance of focused attention versus independent working right. I think it's totally possible to do that, but it takes some work and consideration first.

Teaching maths to children is hard. smile

I know this one is often trotted out for home schooling, but HS children run the risk of missing out on the social element of school. That can be remedied by ensuring you link up with other HS parents and ensuring you organise events where the children need to work together and engage in team work (a very important part of the primary learning process). A child who is used to always working in isolation will find it very hard to adjust to group working later on.

So YANBU in some senses, but I think if you are considering home schooling you need to see it as a job, one that you have to prepare for quite intensively.

Yo may be cleverer than the intended teacher but can you teach??

I like to think of myself as an intelligent woman but jeez, some of the maths my year 6 DS brings home is crazy...and if I do understand it, trying to explain it to him in a manner he can grasp is really hard.

Mind you, I am an aerobics teacher and I used to run a little class at his school just in the mornings to wake them up a bit.....I couldn't even get them to run in a nice circle hmm - teaching def is not for me!!

I fully intend to leave it to the experts and just give a little help on the side if needed.

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 15:46:01

Is 1 to 1 is pressure inducing? My current experience is that most children don't like being at nursery - all day as opposed to some appropriate group activity for a couple of hours when they get to 2 or 3 years old, that is. Most young children want to be with Mum.

I would also have thought it gave you lots of flexibility instead.... so you get up and it's a lovely day... and you can say... hey - lets go to the zoo... grin My memory of school is that it was boring, and involved a lot of sitting around behaving yourself. Another poster said that this was one of the key things to learn in the early years... and I take her point... learning to queue, wait your turn, only speak when spoken to etc... I think this is what I really, really hated about school. Things didn't improve for me until sixth form and unversity, when you suddenly got more choice about how to learn... maybe that is what attracts me to home schooling.

Not sure what is hard about teaching maths. My maths is ok.

Stripey - my maths is ok, most of my job involves accounts but seriously, have you seen the maths they do these days??

My DS loved nursery - I was lucky some days to get a wave. It was much better for him to mix with other kids his age rather than just be entertained by me.

How old are your DC?

soverylucky Thu 07-Feb-13 15:51:01

You need to go and visit the schools that your children could attend. Don't base your decision on someone/group of people who have not qualified yet let alone secured employment and achieved QTS.

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 15:55:06

almost 2 and 3 Betty I did some teaching years ago - almost 20 years ago - OMG - I am old!! I did a PGCE for secondary kids after my first degree, but whilst I passed the course I didn't enjoy the organisational aspects of being a classroom teacher - such as arguing with a 15 year old to remove their scarf because it was school rule, even though the classroom was freezing sad I think teaching a group of children is quite different from teaching smaller numbers tbh

I agree children can really enjoy playing with others - but my memory is that a lot of school is about sitting still and doing as you're told, rather than socialising with your friends sad

Don't fret stripey I bet you are still younger than me smile

I found reception year was very much like pre-school, play based and good fun and then gradually throughout the years they up the work a bit more.

I don't think it is a case of just sit there and do as you are told anymore....obv do as you are told but it is more fun. Don't forget, there are numerous TA's now so it is not a case of a lone teacher teaching 20 kids.

I think also teaching a 15 year old is massively different to teaching primary school age.

CailinDana Thu 07-Feb-13 16:01:16

I did maths up to honours level for the Irish leaving cert - anyone who is Irish will tell you that is a pretty high level! Yet, as a primary teacher I found teaching even pretty basic maths to children really difficult. Not because the maths itself is hard but because you have to meticulously break down every concept and teach it piece by piece by piece which is tough going. Just consider for a minute how you might explain to a 9 year old what an angle is.

1 to 1 can create huge pressure. I used to home tutor and it was incredibly hard going because you are depending entirely on one child to keep the lesson going rather than having the energy and input of many children. That can put a lot on a child's shoulders and can lead to a sort of lack of momentum. I found tutoring one to one tutoring far more tiring than teaching a whole class, hour for hour. An hour in a classroom passes in a blink, an hour with one child can seem like a bloody lifetime!

CloudsAndTrees Thu 07-Feb-13 16:07:56

School isn't like your memory of it any more, so you need to stop projecting that. But home schooling is a very valid option, especially is there are local home schooling groups near you that you can share ideas and problems with, and that can allow your child some interaction with other children.

Trills Thu 07-Feb-13 16:10:44

Please don't use "I didn't like school very much" in your list of pros and cons.

School is different to how it used to be (and individual schools are different to each other).

Your children are not you.

CailinDana Thu 07-Feb-13 16:12:59

FWIW I loathed and detested primary school, and I am a qualified primary teacher, but I wouldn't consider home schooling because I don't have the stomach for it!

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Thu 07-Feb-13 16:20:56

Depends on the nursery I guess. My daughter absolutely loves pre-school, as do most of her friends. They ask to go on their day off! She also asks to see friends at the weekend (she's nearly 4 so age may have something to do with it? I was happy for her to stay home until 3, and yes until then I think 1-1 or 1-childminded group is ideal).

I'm oxbridge educated and was planning to homeschool for primary (I'm a secondary teacher and can really see the benefits of good secondary teaching from specialist teachers). However, it was seeing my daughter completely bloom at pre-school that's encouraged me to enter her into school. The sheer variety of activities and input that complements what I do and is different to the topics we do at home, the "belongingness" of being in a group and group dynamics, running around games with friends etc. I've also seen her learn to swim so much quicker in taught lessons than she was doing with me. We are very close but there is a different dynamic with a different adult.

So I don't think you're being unreasonable to consider home-schooling. Its a viable choice and one I nearly made. You may be being unreasonable to assume you will do "better". I think its just more likely to be "different." In my daughter's case, she thrives on the group environment and it would certainly be worse to homeschool!

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 16:22:26

How is school different to when I did it? When DD started preschool - which she liked - was surprised that they insisted that all the children sat crossed legged during story time. Sitting crossed legged isn't good posture wise - and children don't do this naturally - unless they are "encouraged" to do it... mentioned this to the teacher and she mumbled something about it keeping them sitting down and tidy ??!!??

A lot of preschool seems to be about teaching "good" behaviour, routines etc... am struggling to see how school is that different....

I think my other qualm is that however much you like the ethos of the school etc, you have no say in who they appoint to teach your child. You are completely trusting the Local Education Authority to appoint a suitable person sad But perhaps I am being too control -freakery!

HumphreyCobbler Thu 07-Feb-13 16:24:54

I agree that home schooling is a valid option. I am a primary teacher but I am open to the fact that for some children and their parents HS is a great, free, flexible way to learn.

My DS's school did carpet time where they had to sit and be still......not all day though, just for a little while and really, I think that is a good thing. They do need to know there is a time and a place for playing but also for being quiet.

In the nicest possible way I think yes, you are being a bit control freaky. Our kids are precious to us and of course we want the best for them but sometimes the best is not us mums but for them to be out in the wide world gaining outside knowledge. Sorry, that sounded a but hippified but you get my drift smile

HumphreyCobbler Thu 07-Feb-13 16:27:50

at our preschool they use chairs - and where there are lots of children you need a bit of structure and routine. If this is not for you then HS would be a sensible choice.

I would also add that, just because my children go to school that does not mean I abdicate all responsibility for their education to their class teacher. No one does. You can still do all the lovely trips, cooking, walks, making stuff etc in the time they are not at school.

Bonbonchance Thu 07-Feb-13 16:27:56

Not too much to add except to echo above, don't base the quality of teaching in your local schools based on your friend. I can assure you I (and friends on my course) had to fight to get a place on my teaching course (admitedly not a BEd - I did PGCE primary almost 10 years ago) academic requirements included Higher English & Maths as well as my degree, and extensive experience with children & schools. Then actually passing the course to qualify as a teacher isn't a piece of cake, then you need to reach the required standard to become fully qualified during your probation year. So not quite anyone can become a teacher & make a mess of it situation.

Of course there are good & bad teachers, and home schooling is an option for any parent to consider for various reasons, but as others have mentioned, are you actually sure you can teach the whole curriculum to your child & manage any problems they might run into? Children rarely understand absolutely everything first time and progress exactly as you'd like!

OvO Thu 07-Feb-13 16:30:08

There's a great HE forum on MN if you want a wee look. I home educated until my DS was 8 (he then asked to try school and started in August). I totally believe that 4/5 is too young for school and there's no need for formal education for years yet. My DS learnt to read with no book schemes or actual reading lessons at all. He's also fitted in so well at school so I hadn't made an unsociable beast by home edding him. wink

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