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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?

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 16:30:53

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease can totally understand that... DD also enjoyed preschool and playgroup. I do wonder how they will take to full time school. If your dd hates it will you reconsider? Also will you contine to be a sahm when she starts scholl?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 07-Feb-13 16:36:08

Are you in Scotland? I'm not sure but I think that's what it means when someone talks about P1 instead of Y1! smile

If so, I don't know how it works up there, but early years (pre school) education is supposed to be all about learning through play. Most of it is child led, and it isn't all about sitting still at all. Reception children do need to learn how to behave, but that's not a bad thing, and they learn a huge amount of other stuff too.

I'm 32, my children go to the type of school that is very similar to the one I went to, and reception and year one couldn't be more different.

Not just aiming this only at you OP, but sometimes school is an especially good thing for children for children whose parents are a bit control freaky, and who worry about a short amount of time being sat cross legged.

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 16:36:15

<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.

Yeah, I get that - but they are almost always at school, aren't they? Not a long of time before school in the morning.. then my friend's kids all seem to be doing zillions of after school activities - like Rainbows and enjoy-a-ball and ballet and swimming and so on.... then even the P1 children have homework - often an hour a night!! By the time you've had your supper, there really wouldn't be much time for doing that much else - especially if you factor in a weekly class birthday party, which of course they are desperate to go to sad

Pandemoniaa Thu 07-Feb-13 16:36:33

Home schooling can be a very good alternative but I'm not sure that you are considering it for the right reasons.

You seem to make a lot of snap judgements. Your daughter lasted a day and a half at nursery so you've now written off nurseries as places that children don't like. You didn't like school therefore your dd is unlikely to get any benefit from it. If you send your dd to school it won't be worth getting a job.

Most things aren't absolutes. You don't have to go back to full time work just because your dd starts school. Many children love nursery but a day and a half isn't really giving it a chance, is it? You will almost certainly like some teachers more than others but quite rightly the decision to appoint teachers isn't yours to make. But equally, not warming to a particular teacher isn't a good enough reason to home school.

I think you need to do a lot more research into home education and try, if possible, to set aside your prejudices and dislike for your child spending time away from you.

Groovee Uruguay Thu 07-Feb-13 16:38:53

If you are talking P1, is that Scotland or Ireland? If Scotland then CfE has changed how P1 is and in the early years although there is so much teaching there is also a lot of play based activities. It may be worth going for a visit of a few local schools and seeing what is different these days.

OvO Thu 07-Feb-13 16:43:32

Stripey, what month was your DD born? As you might be able to defer, so won't have to make a decision for an extra year and if you do send your DD to school she'll be that little bit older but will still be able to go into P1.

My boys both have November birthdays and I deferred them both to give me extra time to decide. If I do send my youngest to P1 he'll be just under 6. Still umming and ahhing myself. He wants to go but we'll see...

Catriona100 Thu 07-Feb-13 16:44:29

I think the sitting cross legged thing is about keeping their feet to themselves, rather than leaving them sticking out to (accidentally?) kick/ trip up another child. Ditto crossing their arms.

CailinDana Thu 07-Feb-13 16:45:29

Incidentally the whole sitting on the carpet thing drove me to distraction when I was teaching in England. It's not done at all in Irish primary schools, yet I was told here that it absolutely had to be done whether I wanted to or not (and I definitely didn't want to!). I simply cannot see the point of it at all - it's disruptive for the children to get out of their seats at the start of each lesson, there's inevitably fighting and pushing as they find their "spot" on the floor, they're desperately uncomfortable and, in winter, cold, and then there's another bout of disruption as they go back to their seats. It's bloody nonsensical.

CailinDana Thu 07-Feb-13 16:56:00

Oh and primary school floors are manky. I would not sit on them if you paid me. Why children have to sit on them when they have perfectly good chairs is beyond me.

BrittaPerry Thu 07-Feb-13 16:56:55

I HE, but dd went to reception (and nursery,which dd2 still attends part time)

Our entire lives became focused to school. When she was at nursery, she had two nursery days, which were great, then we had five home days. We could also take her out for trips, projects and if she was tired.

When she was at school, it was everyone rushing about and shouting in the morning, busy bus to school, forced worship at school (we are atheist), she was wetting herself and hiding at school, she wouldn't even show that she coukd read, I got home at ten and had o leave again at two so I couldn't do much, get tired and grumpy child home, bicker over homework (I felt I had to add to what she did at school because there were huge gaps and I'm quite pushy) bicker over food, she was too tired to do many after school activites or play with friends very long, she coukdn't sit up reading because she had to be up in time to get to school. We couldn't go away to visit family except in school holidays, whenever we went to museums etc they were crowded, and she never got to go in shops etc and choose/pay by herself as it was too busy and we were always rushing.

HE is brill grin

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 17:03:19

StripeyBear, you may be better coming over to www.mumsnet.com/Talk/home_ed to talk about this. There you'll get feedback from experienced and new HEers. I HEed my DC up to 18 (DD is in uni and DS is at college, heading for uni in Oct). There was no problem with maths (as it was specifically mentioned), children do not need to practise sitting down, etc. from 3 or 4. Most HEers I know of who have gone into school at a later stage (7 or 8 and then secondary are fairly common entry points) have found no problem with fitting in with the group. 18yo DS finds that he is more mature than his college cohort but I can't see that as a problem - and will be less of a problem as he gets older. DD found that HE was a positive benefit in uni.

BrittaPerry Thu 07-Feb-13 17:13:19

Oh, and in HE I might have more control, but she spends less time being controlled overall, iyswim. Lots of playing out with friends, exploring, lying in, staying up late to see stars, following her interests, choosing her own crazy outfits, following bugs, doing experiments with friends, chatting to people on buses, etc etc etc, instead of 'wake upM' 'get dressed!' 'Eat up!' 'Hurry up!' 'Sit down!' 'Hands up!' Etc etc etc...

We follow a fairly formal curriculum too, easily covering what she would do in school and more. This week, she has acted out stories dressed as the goddess Athena, stroked a stuffed fox and a live lizard and leaned about them, spotted constellations in the sky, looked up their names and read stories that are connected, found our train on a timetable and bought the tickets, experimented with weights and measures and cooked tea for the family, and that doesn't even include the formal written work that she has done. She is five, and we are unexpectedly living at my mums house at the moment.

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 17:15:54

<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.

Yeah, I get that - but they are almost always at school, aren't they? Not a long of time before school in the morning.. then my friend's kids all seem to be doing zillions of after school activities - like Rainbows and enjoy-a-ball and ballet and swimming and so on.... then even the P1 children have homework - often an hour a night!! By the time you've had your supper, there really wouldn't be much time for doing that much else - especially if you factor in a weekly class birthday party, which of course they are desperate to go to sad

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 17:16:39

oVo Thanks for that - that's reassuring. I tend to agree that 4 or 5 is too young too sad Will go check out the forum

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Thu 07-Feb-13 17:17:28

Stripey - not sure how long I will SAHM for. Part of me wants the challenge of work again but part of me could throw myself into volunteering and being around afterschool for all the other activities. I expect I'll end up part time teaching at some point!

I would be very surprised if my daughter didn't take to school. When we went to look around she was desperate to join in some of the activities and didn't want to leave. I've asked local children about the school and they do love it (it is a very good school).

However I do think HE would be justified if she had a SN that wasn't provided for (doesn't seem to be the case) or if they weren't dealing with bullying or she was desperately unhappy. I probably would consider another school first though.

deleted203 Thu 07-Feb-13 17:21:59

Up to you, it's your children. I would say that teaching is not as easy as it looks, however. I'm a qualified Secondary teacher with 20 odd years under my belt and I wouldn't feel confident in my ability to teach 5 - 8 year olds.

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 17:23:55

Clouds&trees yes, we're in Scotland.
you said: "Not just aiming this only at you OP, but sometimes school is an especially good thing for children for children whose parents are a bit control freaky, and who worry about a short amount of time being sat cross legged."

I'm not sure it is a small point though. DH has chronic pain in his knees and has spent all our married life having physio, massage etc to control it - the thing he's found the most helpful is the Alexander Technique - his teacher seems to think that all this sitting cross legged etc is probably how he f*cked up his knees in the first place, and that trusting children/babies is the best thing, as we instinctly know how best to sit....

I suppose I am a bit of a hippy.... was aiming for natural births, try to take the lead from the children in terms of raising them... nice attached parent.... so maybe it is just a bit too much for me to send them into a school system that is focused on quashing their indviduality for no good reason... sorry, I mean, teaching them how to be good little citizens grin

tiggytape Thu 07-Feb-13 17:29:09

I would say that your stance on primary school teaching ignores the fact that it is a skill in itself. Somebody with a 1st class honours degree and a masters degree is not automatically better suited to teaching 5 year old children than a 2:2 graduate for example. Of course a teacher needs good standards of maths and English (and other subject knowledge) but actually teaching very young children is a skill in itself and not one directly related to academic ability.

I agree with you about the pace of the school day and holiday requirements. Fulltime school is only fulltime enough to totally mess up other daytime plans but not fulltime enough to allow you to work without childcare or to supplement education a great deal when they are small. That is very true and doesn't really change until they are older.

It sounds like you perhaps have fixed ideas based on the experiences you have had so far without considering that things will shortly change. DD may have prefered 1:1 time with mummy rather than nursery when she was 3, but when she is 6 or 7, friendships will become increasingly important to her and socialisation is something she will crave. Home Ed can also offer this but not in the automatic way that school meets that need - you have to seek it out and curb what yo ucall 'control freakery' tendancies to let her truly mix with children she wants to mix with. At any school you will have no say over who her teacher is but you can raise concerns if you encounter problems. If it is any consolation, competition for primary school teaching posts is red hot at the moment (multiple candidates interviewed, some sent home at lunchtime and the rest made to teach in front of the Head for the afternoon etc). Just because your friend is on the PGCSE course doesn't mean she will walk into a job unless she proves herself to be a good teacher.

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 17:34:41

Pandemonia No, I wouldn't say I make snap decision at all - DD is under 2, so I am thinking about it now and giving myself about 2 1/2 years to make up my mind one way or another. I thought carefully about the nursery for my older daughter - visited all the local ones and did an extended settling in. The thing is, whilst she was quite happy to do the short settling periods - I suppose they were a bit like the playgroup she was used to - she hated the full days. She did 2 and on the third attempt, I listening to my distraught daughter and decided to withdraw her. That was several years ago, and I am very happy with that decision.

I'm not unhappy to spend time apart from my children. With DD1 I went back to work, and was away from her for 30 hours a week - that is why I know it is not ideal for young children. For similar reasons, I would try DD2 at playgroup once she is 2 - I think a 2 hour play with friends with other adults is beneficial for us all - and it will give me some me-time, especially when she drops her day time nap. However, if school isn't the best experience for her or me, I think it is worth questioning it.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Thu 07-Feb-13 17:38:46

Ah yes - when my DD was under 2 I was still thinking along the lines of homeschooling. I'm fairly hippy/AP too and at that stage I couldn't imagine being away from her every day.

I agree its worth questioning it and thinking it through. I guess I'm being a bit child-led in the sense that I'd quite like the life-style of the HE scene in one sense but its seeing her bloom at pre-school that has made me realise how beneficial it has been. She didn't start until she was nearly 3 though.

Good luck whatever you decide. Its definitely worth meeting local HE people, looking at the local schools (which can all be very different) when the time comes.

StripeyBear Thu 07-Feb-13 17:42:14

Brittaperry

When she was at school, it was everyone rushing about and shouting in the morning, busy bus to school, forced worship at school (we are atheist), she was wetting herself and hiding at school, she wouldn't even show that she coukd read, I got home at ten and had o leave again at two so I couldn't do much, get tired and grumpy child home, bicker over homework (I felt I had to add to what she did at school because there were huge gaps and I'm quite pushy) bicker over food, she was too tired to do many after school activites or play with friends very long, she coukdn't sit up reading because she had to be up in time to get to school. We couldn't go away to visit family except in school holidays, whenever we went to museums etc they were crowded, and she never got to go in shops etc and choose/pay by herself as it was too busy and we were always rushing.

Yes, this is what I thought it might be like... and to what end as well - as I couldn't really go back to work anyway. How did your daughter feel about being taken out of school?

BrittaPerry Thu 07-Feb-13 17:47:05

She loves it grin

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Thu 07-Feb-13 17:51:18

Are you planning on being a SAHM mum either way, Stripey?

How far are you from the school? Ours is only a 5min walk away so we won't be having the huge chunk out of the day - and she'd be playing with local children and forming local friendships etc. I can see if you were bussing a long way like Britta was that might be differernt and too tiring for a small child.

WilsonFrickett Thu 07-Feb-13 18:06:05

I think you should HE because you want to HE, not because you don't think you like school (an opinion which you don't seem to basing on direct experience of school).

And you should check out Steiner schools.

WilsonFrickett Thu 07-Feb-13 18:07:10

Also you should base your decision round what will suit your DCs needs.

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