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.

Isnt it illegal?

SenoritaViva Thu 07-Feb-13 12:41:46

She said it was 'very awkward' when Ofsted came around, but I think she managed to convince them she was doing something...

deleted203 Thu 07-Feb-13 12:42:51

I would feel fairly concerned for these children that they are being used to do household chores rather than getting a proper education. (And lets face it - how much real use are a 5 yo and a 7 yo when it comes to housework!) I've got 5 DCs and never found it an 'unbelievable' amount of work, personally. I know little about HE but presumably someone should be checking that these children are getting some sort of schooling and not just hanging about at home doing nothing?

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 12:43:14

What do you mean by She has not started their home schooling with them? Many home educators in the UK do no formal "schooling", especially not with children those ages. It does not mean that they are not being educated, just that it looks different from what you'd expect when DC are in school.

SenoritaViva Thu 07-Feb-13 12:43:20

I presume it might be but I have little knowledge of home schooling. I'd never consider it as I know I wouldn't be organised enough and my DC seem to thrive at their schools.

I do feel though that it is people like this that give home schooling a bad rap.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 12:45:36

Ofsted does not "come around" to inspect home educators. There is no requirement in law for parents educating their own children to be inspected at all. If their LA know about them, the LA may (with the family's agreement) come to visit.

StuntGirl Thu 07-Feb-13 12:45:43

Is she actually doing no education whatsoever?

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 12:48:47

Has she told you she is in no way educating them, ie; autonomously, or have you decided if she isn't doing formal lessons, or what you recognise as 'schoolwork' she's doing nothing?

spicandspan Thu 07-Feb-13 12:49:02

Well, maybe she is 'teaching' them through the chores? (count the socks... Let's read the instructions on the packet.... Weigh the ingredients... Why is the water making bubbles etc etc). I mean, she must be occupying them somehow, you can't leave small kids to get on with chores themselves - they won't!

dexter73 Thu 07-Feb-13 12:50:18

I have visions of her watching Jeremy Kyle while the kids are hoovering and cleaning!

FellatioNels0n Thu 07-Feb-13 12:52:40

Depends what you mean by home 'schooling'. There is a difference between home schooling and home educating. It is not law to follow the national curriculum.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 12:52:59

What SD said

phlebas Thu 07-Feb-13 12:54:13

ofsted have nothing to do with home education.

MrsMushroom Thu 07-Feb-13 12:55:37

Are you sure she's not in the process of unschooling them? That's a process used by home educators to un-do schooling so they may start again afresh. People may also choose to educate in a non-formal fashion...which involves simply living your life....and using day to day experience to educate children.

I can't remember the term for it...but it's certainly not illegal.

MrsMushroom Thu 07-Feb-13 12:56:39

OP as for people like this giving HE a bad rap...are you sure it's not actually people like YOU doing that?

charlottehere Thu 07-Feb-13 12:59:06

shock I have 4 children and so far it is a lot of work however, the children are the parents responsibility, why should their education suffer?

I am not against HE but this isn't HE is it? hmm

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 12:59:43

Autonomous Mrs Mushroom smile

So you can HE your children, and no-one has to check up on their progress?

(Total ignorance of this issue).

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:01:12

FellatioNels0n: There is a difference between home schooling and home educating.

Not really, except that the UK home education community generally tries to avoid the S word because it confuses people and they expect us to be doing stuff that looks like school.

It is not law to follow the national curriculum.

That is true - not even all schools have to follow the NC. Home educators are governed by the primary legislation which says that it is the duty of a parent to ensure that their school-age child receives an education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude. Education Act 1996, section 7

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:01:15

Charlottehere, we don't know because the OP has posted a claim but not yert answered questions.

MrsMushroom Thu 07-Feb-13 13:01:26

Charlotte I can't be bothered to explain...but can be. And as I said, it is perfectly legal and it is a personal choice.

Thank God we HAVE that choice too.

I know a man who was taught in this way and he is now a very successful comedy hasn't harmed him at all.

lolaflores Thu 07-Feb-13 13:01:37

Here them come, thundering down from the moral high ground, watch yer backs.
Home schooling...oh dearie me.

SenoritaViva Thu 07-Feb-13 13:03:03

Good point MrsMushroom. Apologies.

I certainly wouldn't expect her to follow the national curriculum, isn't that the point of HE, to have a different approach etc.

These were her words, not mine. She said she was not doing anything with them but rather trying to get them into a routine where they all did chores so the house ran smoothly and that she might get around to 'thinking about' education next September.

If she was doing the 'un-schooling' again I'd have no problem but I don't think she is doing it as a plan. Just simply using them to help her so she can cope (again, these are her words really).

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Feb-13 13:03:40

How do you know she's not started their home educating? I HE ds. It's 13.00 pm here, to outside eyes he has messed around on the laptop all day watching Top Gear, playing with Lego and getting his hair cut.

What he has actually done is two Maths exercises on IXL, he's read to me at length, he's done research on Bolivia, la Paz and caves to be found in national parks near there for a location for a script he's writing. Using his lego he has also built a set for the animation that his script is being written for. Tomorrow we will film it and put it on You Tube.

Oh and he has also researched and weighed up the price and benefits of various hire cars for a trip we are planning over half term. He is 9 and a very helpful boy to his tired old Mum grin.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:03:54

That's right, VisualiseAHorse. Same as no-one has to check that you are feeding them. It is the duty of the parent to ensure the child is educated - if the parent fails, then the state may get involved (as in other areas).

Im with VisualiseAHorse.

Are there no ways in which HE is monitored? At all? I just assumed they were checked.

SenoritaViva Thu 07-Feb-13 13:05:28

Sorry I am slow answering questions, looking after an ill child today

eminemmerdale Thu 07-Feb-13 13:05:59

I can't imagine anything worse than have 4 children at home all day every day, especially at those ages. That's just me.

MrsMushroom Thu 07-Feb-13 13:06:26

Are they fed and well dressed? Do they look healthy? Happy?

SenoritaViva Thu 07-Feb-13 13:06:57

Sorry I was wrong about Ofsted but she got visited by someone.

But how do we determine if a parent has failed or not?

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

Thanks for coming back, SV. If she says that she is not educating the over-5s, then she is breaking the law. We can educate any way we like (including doing chores) but we cannot choose not to educate.

But how would the state know that the parents had failed to teach (writing/reading/maths etc at least?), unless they are checked up on?

So I could potentially keep my child at home, 'HE' (but really make him do the washing up and hoovering, give me foot massages), never teach him to read, and no one would know or check?

Have to say, doesn't seem right to me.

SenoritaViva Thu 07-Feb-13 13:10:12

They are well dressed and healthy, hence my point at the end of my post; they are loved and cared for. There are many children a lot worse off.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:11:53

How do we know you have given your child a bed to sleep in, and aren't having him sewing goods in the evening for you to sell VisuliseaHorse?

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:12:26

wannabedomesticgoddess: But how do we determine if a parent has failed or not?

Good question. How do we determine any educational process has failed?

Especially with children so young, it is almost impossible (without there being other signs of neglect). Humans are programmed to learn, so they are learning unless she shuts them in a cupboard (which would also reduce the housework required grin).

My DC when under 7 learned through shopping, cookery, craft, music, reading, watching TV, board games, going out to interesting places. We didn't do set hours and we used almost no worksheets (and only if the DC wanted to do them).

I cant understand why parents get threatened with prison if their kids dont go to school.

But you could HE and no one would check.

ReindeerBollocks Thu 07-Feb-13 13:14:25

Your DS sounds great akaemma can you send him to mine to help me plan and book a holiday?

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Feb-13 13:14:41

If you withdraw your kids to HE wannabe you would NOT be prosecuted for them not attending school.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:15:17

They're threatened because they've signed up to use a system of education and then aren't using it.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:16:03

If a 7yo cannot/does not read, is that because they have not yet learned or because someone has failed to teach them?

Leaving aside SEN (which institutions often handle badly), it would IMHO be almost impossible for a caring adult to engage with a child in the UK in 2013 and for that child not to learn to read, write and do arithmetic. With those skills they can then learn most other things.

What about reading and writing then?

I ask because I havent the first clue how I would teach that.

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

He's brilliant reindeer grin. Now there's a thought. I could hire him out as a little holiday consultant and make some cash out of him under the guise of HE. The woman talked about in the OP is missing a trick only getting her four to do housework for her. No earning potential there. How shortsighted wink.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:19:06

Senoritaviva she may actually be very wise depending on how she intends to HE. The biggest mistake I've made is to plunge into home ed without sorting out our home, lives, and difficulties first. With hindsight if I could do it all again I'd take a year out and get us into good shape with routines established and barriers removed.

Btw my dgc's old school saw nothing wrong in saying she should just not have an education for 14 months while she underwent a series of operations. They wern't at all concerned she might fall behind, (we were) and said education isn't a race.

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 13:19:49

I have learnt a lot about HE from these threads.

I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole but I am not against it. I am not up to it.

I can understand why HEers are defensive. I can only go by internet forums so I am getting a skewed view so that should read 'seem so defensive on the internet'.

It doesn't help when high profile abusive parents are described as homeschoolers when they clearly are not.

People seem to latch on to the fact the child was not at school rather than the most important bits of the case.

Personally I don't like the idea of kids being kept out of school and spending the day doing housework but I doubt if that is a controversial stance.

Look at the outrage on threads about the travelling community removing girls from school at 11 so they can help with the housework. I don't see this as any different.

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 13:21:40

There was a bit missing in my last post.

It was supposed to say 'IF this IS what is happening'

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:21:43

Neither have I, but both my DC learned! I always read to my babies and we had books around.

DD started spotting letters at about 2-ish so we sometimes played a game where we put labels around the house (including on baby DS!). She was reading independently at about 5 but still (at 21 and in y3 of a law degree) cannot 'do' phonics to save her life.

DS showed no interest in reading himself until about 8 or 9 (although I knew he could read at 8). At 9, he asked for HP and the Philosopher's Stone and read it in a week (he was already familiar with the audio book by then).

I have no idea how they learned. I didn't teach but I provided a suitable environment for them to learn - books, games, reading to them, making up rhymes, reading stuff when asked, etc.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:22:32

Wannabe when I was a child all but the bottom social level taught their children to read and write before they went to school. It's been mystified out of all proportion along with how to repair a car, once the preserve of pretty much everyone who had one.

givemeaclue Thu 07-Feb-13 13:25:23

Op goodness knows why you are being flamed here. Ths mother has openly saidshe is not educating then but using them for housework. That is awful. I yo le repost he education and ask for advice,xout are getting stick in aibu for no reason

I know a couple (not well - through some friends!) with 8 and 10 year old children who cannot read or write. I find it shocking that no one checks up on the children's progress or how the adult is teaching.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Thu 07-Feb-13 13:26:00

Regardless of the HE issue (which is very interesting), I don't understand how she could possibly have so much housework that it would be beneficial to have 3 DC at home "helping"? There aren't that many jobs that I can think of which I could give to my 6 year old, which he could do and that would actually save me time (ie I would need to supervise, answer endless questions, re-do stuff that he'd done). So this sounds a bit hmm to me.

Ah I see.

It takes more of an organic approach. I can see the appeal actually. Letting them learn at their own pace as opposed to forcing it upon them.

I am definately not capable of that though. I would always worry I was failing her because of my own self doubt.

Thanks for explaining it though!

givemeaclue Thu 07-Feb-13 13:26:40

Agree that this is like travelling families taking kids out of school to work

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:28:24

She's not being flamed by most, she's being asked sensible questions and HE is being discussed.
The family are known to the LA or they wouldn't have been visited. If in the longer term she has no plans to do anything with them, she will find intervention in spadefuls.

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 13:28:58

I don't think the op is being flamed.

I think people are being patient and trying to establish what exactly is going on and then explaining some important things about HE.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:30:13

In school, the teacher has to try to satisfy 30 children at roughly the same developmental stage and Ofsted. Most parents only have to deal with a few children at different stages (so those more competent can help those less, which does not necessarily correlate with age). This means that the parent needs only to find a maximum of N ways of educating, where N is the number of children (and it is likely to be a lot less than N).

In this case, all the children are still in a developmental stage where they are likely to learn more efficiently by doing.

HE often works better for children with SEN. Some SEN stop being an educational handicap when school is taken out of the mix. For example, a DC with ASD no longer has to deal with other people's random (to the DC) schedules and the sensory overload of the rest of the class.

Because there is no pressure to be reading independently by a certain age, children who have difficulties with reading can still be educated to their intellectual capacity - as long as they have an adult prepared to facilitate that.

Fabsmum Thu 07-Feb-13 13:31:40

In Finland they don't start formal schooling until the age of 7, and their kids are academically far ahead of hours.

Really OP - you don't know what your 'friend' is doing with her dc's on a day to day basis.

thebody Thu 07-Feb-13 13:34:27

This is such an interesting thread.

I have 4 kids, youngest 12 and just did what I suppose most do and sent them to school.

Now I have just trained as a TA and work in reception class and am totally shocked at the pace and expectations.

It's phonics followed by numeracy followed by IT followed by topic... It's boom boom onto the next thing, writing practise, circle time it's seriously never ending.

Kids often cuddle up and say ' I am so tired body' and 'when can I go home'

I don't know about H.E but I can tell you instinctively that I think we are getting it totally wrong with our little ones in schools and its just sad.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:35:27

VisualiseAHorse, how do you know that these 8 and 10 year old children cannot read or write? And if you know it, do you know that there are not specific reasons for it? As I said, my then 8yo was apparently no reading but a year later he was. Should I have been checked up on? I knew he was learning and was sure he would read at some point. It was a conscious choice on my part not to put him under pressure to satisfy onlookers who thought I should.

forevergreek Thu 07-Feb-13 13:35:31

Surely the auto home ed is just every day life?

And most people send children to school and have everyday life on top? Which sounds like double the education

We are just at nursey age here, but 3 year old woke up, we sang songs together (music), counted walking down the stairs, measured milk in a jug for pancakes ( Maths), cooked together ( home cooking lesson), he laid the table whilst I served and we sat together eating ( being civil). He then put coat/ shoes on himself ( independence), and we walked to nursery ( physical education).

He went to nursery and learnt a bunch of new things and played with friends

At midday we scooters back via shops where he counted 5 bananas out and help paid ( excercise and Maths). Home counting stairs again/ drew some animals and writing name on paper. Gone for a nap. This afternoon he will play/ count/ help/ go for a swim all an avergae day

Surely everything in life is education? But is it enough?

spicandspan Thu 07-Feb-13 13:35:56

Fabsmum why the 'friend'?

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:36:05

Visulise try these London literacy figures, going to school is no guarantee either.

1 in 4 children in London leaves primary school at 11 unable to read or write

1 in 5 leaves secondary school without being able to read or write with confidence

One million (or one in six) working adults in the capital cannot read with confidence. Nationally, five per cent of adults in England have literacy skills either at or below the level of a seven-year-old

16 per cent is the estimated proportion of 16- to 65-year-olds with the reading age of an 11-year-old. Of these, about five per cent are believed to have skills at the same level or below that of a seven-year-old

40 per cent of 11-year-olds from inner-city primary schools have a reading age of between six and nine when they start secondary school

1 in 5 pupils at inner London schools has special educational needs

40 per cent of London firms say their employees have poor literacy skills - and report that it has a negative impact on their business

forevergreek Thu 07-Feb-13 13:38:44

Ps I have nothing against home education but really do think some sort of education should be given rather than flapping a duster around and giving it an educational meaning

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:42:47

Forevergreek how much does it matter if a teenager learnes forces and motion in a classroom in a group of 31, or on a surfboard with friends? What matters is can they learn, apply, and explain the physics.
Sadly as we're mainly structured I'm struggling to teach how to flap a duster around.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 13:43:54

forevergreek, I'd say that "every day life" is sufficient of an education for a 3yo. The only difference between one of my 3yo DC and yours is that I did not leave them at nursery for any time during the day. I say "at nursery" because I'd hate to give the impression they were always with me. Our days just did not include a formal "education" session to which we always had to go, whether or not we felt like it.

We did much the same sort of stuff (at a more competent level on the DCs part, obv) all the way to 13/14, when they chose to do formal work (in our case, Open University but other HEers do GCSEs as independent candidates).

Between 5 and 13, we did a variety of activities, some group and some individual. DD even spent a term at school to see what it was like. We chose not to spend 30 hours a week in a separate activity that would have been mandatory for the DC after we had signed up.

To be fair, it doesn't sound like this woman is actively HE though - she says she wants to get the house in order so she cant think about HE come next September.

She sounds like a lazy fecker to me although I keep asking myself.....why would she want 4 kids at home. I imagine it would be quicker to do the housework yourself.

My four children do a lot of chores, and have done since they were little, so they know no different shamelessly brainwashing my children into pulling their weight around the house. They somehow manage to fit in a whole day of school too, as well as various clubs and activities, not to mention some time each day of playing and/or messing about in the garden.

I'm confused about what we're supposed to be discussing here. Most parents want the best for their children, so hopefully this mother is planning and beginning to implement home education that will challenge and enrich them.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:51:01

I really don't have a problem with her taking a year out, or with the MC who take their children out to go traveling for a year or two, or the students who take a gap year.

I would have a problem with someone saying they weren't going autonomous, and wern't going to do anything ever.

and she needs until September to do that?

givemeaclue Thu 07-Feb-13 13:51:54

I don't think op needs to be patronized by being told important facts about.home schooling.

There is a big difference between he and keeping your kids home to do chores. The friend has told op she is not currently home schooling, she is getting her kids to do housework. This is why op is concerned. It's not about home schooling its about the op feeling te kids are missing out by focusing on housework at an early age and not getting any kind of education. It doesn't sound like the friend is doing anything of value with them

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 13:55:48

She may or may not need, but you only need to be racing to keep up with some sort of 'must have reached this level by then' at all times if you're engaged in a competative education system.

forevergreek Thu 07-Feb-13 13:56:41

True. I suppose the mother op is describing just doesn't sound/ appear to be do anything especially with the older ones

We only do 6 hous nursey a week. And a generally day would include museums/ parks and explain things/ how things work/ baking/ building objects/ crafts/ random education with everyday life. I just can't imagine being able to fulfil his education needs without dedication myself to full time education with him by the time he is say 6/7. Hence school

School is only a small part of life anyway by the time you allow for before and after school/ weekends/ holidays etc. I see school as part of a
Child's education, not the only form of education

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 13:57:18

I don't think its patronising. There was loads I didn't know about HE before I was told.

I thought you had to be monitored, that you had to follow a curriculum, that you had to do certain hours etc. That sort of ignorance leads to loads of assumptions and worries.

If you know all that stuff but you still have concerns, thats different.

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 13:59:54

I had neighbours who didn't send their children to school. They were not HE in any shape or form.

It was part of a much bigger picture of dysfunction.

Those children did suffer because of their lack of education and their lack of interaction with the outside world. If they had been HE by responsible parents this would not have been the case

fromparistoberlin Thu 07-Feb-13 14:01:18

I hate to say this....

But I would grass her up to Ofsted

easier said than done, but its terrible unfair

mummytime Thu 07-Feb-13 14:01:57

I find it hard to believe that the children aren't learning. My own 9 year old learns a lot, even when totally ignored and left to her own devices. She is at school but I often think she learns more during the holidays than term time.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 14:02:51

Ofsted don't have anything to do with HE iirc.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 14:03:32

MrsDeVere I had no idea of how many things schools or LEA's could choose not to do, perfectly legally.
It can be hard to tell when a child is genuinely being failed by any sort of educator, because so much depends on why a decisions are being made, rather than what the decisions are.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 14:04:04

No way to involve Ofsted - nothing to do with them. It is the LA to whom you'd have to grass her up, but they are already involved.

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 14:16:27

My experience with my DC3 was that a particular school chose to do as little as they could possibly get away with and that to rectify this was to take on a LEA who colluded with them.

If a parent had been supplying that level of education to a child they would have been roundly condemned. Excuses regarding lack of resources or legall responsibility would have been ignored.

I am not a HE and shudder at the thought. I think there are some dodgy HEs out their with weird ideas. But I do not think HE is a bad thing an there are some totally crap schools failing kids too.

So I suppose I am not very exciting on a HE thread grin

5madthings Thu 07-Feb-13 14:17:16

I doubt the children are spending the whole day just doing cleaning, esp at the ages they are!

I would imagine there is quite a lot of play etc and the children will be learning through that. Taking a break from 'formal' learning is quite common in families that decide to home school and doesn't mean that they aren't learning.

We home educated ds1 and ds2 until they were 9 and 6 yes old, both summer born and not ready for school at four yrs. We did very little 'formal' learning, and yes they helped around the house and they still do now at 13 and 10. Their education didn't suffer because we didn't do formal learning, in fact their teachers have consistently stated what well rounded knowledge etc they have and are always surprised by the depth and breadth of reading they have done (and still do).

It really depends on what you see an education as, they will be learning unless they are literally doing housework all day which I doubt.

RunnerHasbeen Thu 07-Feb-13 14:18:52

Whatever the issue discussed, surely people can see the difference between someone executing a well thought out plan in their childrens' best interests and someone who isn't staying on top of things and whose children might be suffering as a result. The OP is obviously worried about the latter, not HE-ing in general and perhaps if some of the posts had been worded less defensively they might have been more helpful.

Perhaps you should make a note of what the people here who HE do (count and organise socks, lego towers etc.) and suggest these to your friend a way to get started, combining the housework with learning? It sounds like she is overwhelmed by the idea just now and perhaps some reassurance and prompting is needed by those around her.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 14:34:11

Eyes up Mrs DeVere suspiciously that we're in the same area!

Mine was illegally repeatedly and frequently excluded from the classroom because they didn't know how/didn't have the time to differentiate so he could access the curriculum. No alternative work was provided. Then they decided he didn’t need to do core subjects as he could do painting instead. (it turned out they had a child needing ‘art therapy’ and she didn’t want to be on her own and I was complaining he wasn’t doing anything.)
LEA came up with the brilliant 'reached the level of his learning abilities' to excuse the lack of education.

Crap or no education can be taking place for many reasons. The real question is what’s the bigger longer term plan, and will taking time out at any particular point have a negative effect on the planned goal? If the answers yes, you are looking at a problem. If the answers no, you’re not.

JustGettingOnWithIt - I think those figures are just as shocking.

I don't know the children I am talking about personally, but I do know there is no SEN etc, they are just two 'normal' children. Their parents choose to let them learn at their own pace etc, but I do find it

I think that if you have taken on the responsibility of teaching your children, then you need to follow through on that. Don't just teach them life-skills, but also the things that they will probably need in order to succeed in life and work.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 15:30:48

Sorry visualise you do find it.... what please? grin

akaemmafrost Thu 07-Feb-13 15:37:09

I certainly have a lot of crises of confidence as someone said previously. Some days ds seems to do NOTHING and I feel quite stressed and wonder if I am failing him.

When he WAS at school though he was doing part time hours (mornings only) and it was a rare day indeed when I didn't get a call to pick him up as he had lost it sad. He has ASD, dyspraxia, sensory processing disorder and Hypermobilty. All these conditions combined to make school totally unmanageable for him, where one difficulty from one condition ended another one started. I do feel that I can't be doing any worse than that and at least he is not covered in abrasions and bruises from being restrained every day sad. He lasted only two weeks in a special school so we really have tried all the options.

I believe from the bottom of my heart that SOME children cannot and never will function healthily in a school environment and I have one of these children.

For us, I don't think we actually have a choice other than home educate and this does make me defensive I suppose.

It does fascinate me the strength of opinion when it comes to HE, discussing it really does bring out some very strong opinions (and often the worst in people) and I wonder why that is? Why are strangers so invested in how my (or anyone else's) child is educated?

I believe that my child IS receiving the best possible education FOR HIM and his needs at the present time. I would defy anyone who knows ds and what he has been through to say otherwise, no matter how staunch an advocate of formal education they are.

It's not easy though.

Urm....I find it odd that you wouldn't want to teach your kids to write etc. I think that's what I was going to write!

I'm not against HE by the way, I just think that maybe there should be some checks around what the children are being taught?

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 16:15:08

The only time I have considered HE was when a MS school was failing DC3 so spectacularly I felt even I couldn't do worse.

School is also respite so I must have been desperate.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 16:33:39

Visualise frankly it was a huge culture shock and I privately wondered about so much, not least if this apparent laissez faire attitude wasn’t just because all HE’dders apparently owned their own houses so didn’t have to worry about where their children might later live! blush grin

But while we’re mainly –over—structured, (some autonomous) and wouldn’t cope without the constant reassurance of “measure me, grade me, give my life meaning” methods, since I’ve actually been around all these different set ups on a daily level, I’ve really changed my mind, on seeing the outcomes.

There are of course cases of not as good outcomes too, but the same is true of schools. I’m glad I bit back on my opinions and assumptions of what it might lead to, because I’d be looking a fool with what most of the HE’s I know are now up to regardless of where they were at X stage, or how little they seemed to be doing, or how unbothered their parents where.

Many people choose to embrace HE from the start, I’m a back footed into it convert, whose ds was being propelled down the ASDAN certificate of personal competency (very basic skills) route. There are no checks to ensure a child’s needs are being met in school, just checks that the school can talk the talk that justifies whatever the choice is.

There are no checks that when a child is severely behind (in a competition based system) and ought to be put onto SA and SA+ or statemented, that it happens. There are no checks on if a child is being taught to write in school or if they can write functionally, even if the parent is deeply unhappy about it.

Good schools often do of course and often care deeply, but no one checks they do, and education runs on the assumption that the education provider, whoever they are, always puts the interests of the child at heart, (even when they publically say it isn’t in the LEA’s financial interests to do so) unless proven otherwise.

Sometimes the interests of the child doesn’t get put first, but despite the large documented numbers it doesn’t happen for in schools, the great interest is in the minority, HE’dders.

I wonder why we’re fine about the failures we can see, and so worried if there are one’s we might not know about.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 16:37:08

Similer situation of levels of failure and couldn't do worse, here Mrs DeVere, (though I suspect very different types of difficulties) except his safety and well being meant it wasn't a respite.

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 16:45:20

I think probably quite similar just. DC has ASD and LDs and APD. He was zoning out totally so he wasn't in danger physically. To them he was an easy pupil.
Shame he wasn't learning at all. He couldn't read or write and he didn't know the days of the week at 7 and they were not concerned hmm

He can now do all of those things. He will always have LDs and ASD etc but he can learn. Low expectations generally were an issue at that school. Because he was disabled and because they thought we were thick and a bit common.

They simply didn't expect any of the children to achieve. I don't care how many motivational posters they put up.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 17:04:03

MrsDeVere Ds has ASD, associated learning diffuculties and serious hypermobility and a very spikey profile, so we're just about managing A level further maths, (but tables aren't happening) and physics, (but alphabet not happening) but very low age innapropriate self care skills, despite appearing bright as a button if odd.

Same end result of low expectations and assumptions about me being common and thick getting in the way, not helped by DS being seen as a package with severly brain damaged sibling by some.

We're all guilty of seeing something and making assumptions without looking harder first.

manicinsomniac Thu 07-Feb-13 17:20:46

I was really shocked when I found out that HEers don't get inspected and monitored. I read an article on it in the TES and the focus wasn't on the children being failed educationally by this system but pastorally. In several cases a school had begun to raise concerns about a child's welfare in their home and, just like that, the parents would whip them out of school to be 'HEed' and were free to treat the child as they wished without being watched by social services.

I'm well aware that most HEers are amazing but they have nothing to fear from being monitored so I think that, to save even one unfortunate child from secret abuse and neglect, OFSTED or some other kind of inspection should be compulsory. It's far too easy to hide children away otherwise.

MrsDeVere Thu 07-Feb-13 17:21:26

Great to hear he is at A level though. I am impressed smile

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 17:21:53

VisualiseAHorse, I find it odd that you wouldn't want to teach your kids to write etc.

I don't think there are many people who would say that (including the OP's friend). But it does not mean that you wish them to learn in the same way or to the same timescale as in school. If they grow up to be happy and fulfilled adults who are capable of earning their own living, does it matter if they could read at 7?

And it is difficult to imagine an 18yo who would not want to be able to be independent. My DS took a long time to get there, but he was concerned at 16 when he didn't know what he wanted to do (DD had known from about 14). IMO, school is more likely to produce a young person who sits around doing nothing because it is more likely to have eroded the DC's confidence.

SDeuchars Thu 07-Feb-13 17:29:23

Of course, manicinsomniac, a story in the TES is bound to be true, isn't it? It's not as if it is catering to people who might feel under threat by HE?

Excuse the sarcasm, but this is a constant criticism and it just is not true. If there are welfare concerns about a child, then those concerns are independent of their educational provision and SS can get involved. Where children have been removed from school after welfare concerns have been raised, it is wrong and a failing on the part of SS for them to close the case.

That is what happened with Khyra Ishaq in Birmingham: the education department passed its concerns to SS but overworked and inadequately trained and supervised social workers did not do their job. In fact, a teacher reported concerns about a sibling only 10 days before the child died.

HEers have nothing to fear from being monitored ... to save even one unfortunate child from secret abuse and neglect, OFSTED or some other kind of inspection should be compulsory. It's far too easy to hide children away otherwise.

There is absolutely no evidence that this is true. There is, however, plenty of evidence for inspections being stressful and traumatic for families and children.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 17:32:46

Manic That's absolute bollocks! (TES not you) HE'ds are in exactly the same position with SS and CPO as anyone and everyone else, and if there are CP or CIN concerns, social services have exactly the same remit.
It is often the case that de-registering a child to HE is an automatic trigger for concern, even if there haven't been any previously, which some authorities like to twist into X number of HE children are known to SS, of course they are, you automatically are in some authorities if you de-register.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 07-Feb-13 17:34:16

Ooops I see I've cross posted with a more articulate poster who's put it better.

lljkk Thu 07-Feb-13 17:42:39

Sounds exactly like Caitlin Moran was raised & she insists she & her very many sibs all turned out fine.

I'm not convinced either. hmm

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?

- 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)

- 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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