to have real concerns over my dsil plans for DN?

(55 Posts)
QuertyQueen Thu 16-May-13 11:23:06

My Dsil is planning to Home Educate her DD.

I admit I don't know much about it so I am posting here for opinions and thoughts.

Dsil is not a teacher. She is currently studying a degree with the Open University. I cannot see how she can be qualified to teach DNiece at home.

DNiece has been struggling at school it has to be said, she possibly has ASD, currently going through diagnosis, however she is super bright, free reader age 7 etc and academically is doing well.

But what about socialisation? Surely if dd is already struggling, just keeping her at home is going to make it that much worse? DSil says DNiece won't do SATS. What will that mean for her future? She is opting out of these exams, what will this mean for GCSE's in the future?

Can I ask for honest thoughts please? Everyone needs to go to school don't they? How will the fit in and adapt in the future if they don't? I want to be supportive I really do and as such have not said much, though DH has mentioned SATs to her and how she intends to help DNiece achieve all she is capable of? She just says she wants to get DNiece out of the situation she is in and then will sort all that later.

Any opinions at all welcome. I just want to be able to have an educated opinion about it though fully intend to keep my own counsel smile.

QuertyQueen Thu 16-May-13 11:25:18

Oh and I have to go out now but will be back later this afternoon.

hotcrosbum Thu 16-May-13 11:26:20

Home educators rarley stay at home all day.

I did it for 6 years and I was exhausted with all the stuff ds did.

I have no formal qualifications.

He went to school at 10 due to circs beyond my control as is top of his class. He misses HE as he says he used to see more, do more, meet more people, have more experiences.

It's fine.

hotcrosbum Thu 16-May-13 11:27:46

I met a lot of HE children on the autistic spectrum, they always thrived away from the pressures of school.

IvanaCake Thu 16-May-13 11:28:05

Lots of people home school and 99% of them have no teaching qualifications (*made up statistic but bet its not far off!)

Sil is doing what she feels is best for her child.

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 11:28:30

SATs are tests for schools, not for pupils.

There is no advantage to a child in doing them.

WilsonFrickett Thu 16-May-13 11:28:39

No, everyone doesn't have to go to school. Many, many children with ASD are home-ed, I would home ed myself if a) it wouldn't drive me insane and b) I didn't need to work.

You don't just get let loose with a pack of crayons and CBBC, there is a curriculuum and everything. Have a look around the HE boards here.

MammaTJ Thu 16-May-13 11:30:30

She has ASD and is struggling although bright. There are many, many people who will say home educating is the best thing for her. I am one of those people. Your SIL is not doing this lightly, I am sure of that.

I am also sure she will be a member of at least one group online that is advising her on this and she will be getting RL advice too.

Ask her for more information. Ask her a supportive way what she is going to do to help her DD socialise. I am willing to bet she has already thought about that. Ask her what will happen about exams too.

I think you will find she is willing to discuss these things as long as you ask her in a way that sound as though you want to talk about it and learn form her rather than in a critical way.

NatashaBee Thu 16-May-13 11:31:19

Not everyone who home eds is a qualified teacher, or even has a degree. There are plenty of resources to assist parents and i'm sure its possible to team up with other home ed families to share their expertise in a particular subject. I'd be more concerned about how she plans to make sure he can still socialise/ interact with other kids. If she has that covered then he may well thrive at home.

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 11:32:37

Home educating wouldn't be my choice, by I think it sounds really brilliant in lots of ways.

I also think it's very important that parents have this option if they don't think school is right for their children.

Madmum24 Thu 16-May-13 11:41:34

YABU. I home educate, always have and I am not a qualified teacher. My dd is doing her first GCSE aged 11 in June (there is no pressure btw). There are so many home educators who are forced into the decision because their child has needs that cannot be met at school, often children with ASD who have high anxiety levels etc.

The important thing is that your niece is educated in an environment that is conducive to her intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing. If school is not up to the job then home it is.

Everyone always pulls the socialization card with me, the truth is that we are hardly at home and have a much better social life than if they were at school.

OddSockMonster Thu 16-May-13 11:42:27

Not every child thrives in school, some do benefit far more from HE.

Yes, it'll be important for your DN to socialise but she may simply be struggling with that at the moment in a school setting.

I'm sure your DS will have thought long and hard about this as it's a big descision to make.

Why not ask if there's anything you can help out with? Do you leave near them? Maybe you could offer to take your DN out on trips out or help out if she wants to try a club Raindows or Beavers?

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 11:55:30

I did it. And from a legal perspective I still do despite the majority of home edders probably not seeing what we do as "real" home ed.

Opportunities for social interaction do not have to be an issue. Becuase my son doesn't go to a brick school I set up a range of peer based social opportunities from the start. He goes to youth club five afternoons a werk, plus sport thingies, plus with mates here or their house. Other kids will have differnt needs as to how, how much and who they want to spend time with and parents generally speaking are ususally willing to factor that in.

However....and it is a big however.

If she is very involved in the online support/community groups there is a tendendecy I think for people to become very defensive about the "socialisation card". And sometimes that can evolve into declaring the need/desire to socialise with peers a non issue.

So, gentley bently, if she is going to fall into any pitfalls, and it is not a given that she will, if she can't talk her freinds and family becuase they put her on the defnesive then she may be more inclined to take her advice elesewhere. and that might not in her or her child's best interests becuase while there are loads of lovely and very sensible, readonable people home edding, like any other group you always get a few noisey hotheaded "I'm so radical !" ones too. Don't shove her so hard on the defensive that you make it a possibility that in her rapid and hurt withdrawal from her normal support system she falls face first into their arms.

I am not having a pop at home ed online/RL groups. It happens in every sphere be it educational choices or any other "interest group", a constant need to go on the defensive becuase of knee jerk assumptions can create echo champers and then perspective can get a bit .... fuzzy.

NotYoMomma Thu 16-May-13 11:58:21

If I could do it I would. It's not something to be undertaken lightly and it may be the best thing for dn.

You don't need to be a teacher to Home Educate a child - a lot of teaching is about dealing with a class of 25-30 children at different stages. HE can allow you to be guided by your child and take things at their pace. And if you don't know something then you find it out together. Anyone with a reasonable level of education themself will have enough knowledge. The skill is something you develop - education is not about transfering information from your brain to theirs, it is about encouraging them to find ways of getting the information and skills they need.

Very few HErs stay home all the time - most spend time with other families with children, other people in general. The reduction in pressure to be "social" can make a big improvement in a child's ability to cope with other people - if you aren't being forced into it, and can choose how long and in what circumstances to be with other people you feel in more control of the situation

SATS are a test of the school, not the pupil, They are meaningless in HE. If they want, there are ways of doing GCSEs when the time comes, other people choose not to and go to college later if they feel they need qualifications.

School is just one way to get an education - it is a practical choice for a lot of people, but it doesn't work for everyone. There are some children for whom HE is a much better choice, and many more for whom it would be an equally good choice.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 12:40:32

there are ways of doing GCSEs when the time comes

We are looking ahead to IGCSEs now. With the I cos the plain old GCSE variety are even more complicated cos of the coursework element on top of finding a centre that will take private candidates.

Yes it's true there are ways, but they are not stress free and it can be fricking expensive (faints at the costs involved, without counting our flights)

It is worth giving her the link to the HE exams yahoo group for when she needs it. The whole exam thing has been a massive learning curve for me and I'm glad sheer nosyness got me thinking about all the details now rather then when I was up against the clock.

It's not a reason to not HE, by and large solutions are findable the vast majority of issues that pop up. Just nice to feel ahead of the game becuases it's just that bit more tricky when compared to having kids in a mainstream school.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 12:40:59
LemonBreeland Thu 16-May-13 12:47:00

I think it massively depends on how much research your SIL has put into this. If she is just doing it without thought then you have reason to be worried.

However if she has researched what she will be doing then leave her be.

mummytime Thu 16-May-13 12:56:50

I have known people who have gone into it with no thought whatsoever, and have been very successful. It is a huge learning curve, and there are a massive range of approaches.
It doesn't have to be forever.

I'd second Carpe's comments about being supportive - it's fine to ask questions on the lines of "Gosh I don't know much about that. How do you deal with X then?" but more of a problem if you start from "That will never work because of X". It is very likely that she has thought about a lot of the issues, or at the very least has decided to shelve them for now, such as exams.

If your niece is only 7 then there is a long time ahead in which they can decide whether she might go back to school for a while, or do exams outside school, or skip them completely. It doesn't have to be all decided now - many people HE just for a while, as a way of taking their child out of an unacceptable situation, whether that's because of ASD or bullying or whatever.

But you are more likely to influence her choices in small ways if you engage with this, rather than if you put her back up.

You could also think about how you could be involved, if you see them regularly, eg you could spend time with her on a regular basis so she gets another adult's input and perspective, if you have children you can make sure she gets to spend time with them, you could offer practical support so that she can get to Brownies or whatever.

You say you haven't realy talked about it yet - I'm sure she'd love to have someone to talk about it with, as long as she thinks you are prepared to listen. HE is a valid choice made by lots of families, and the vast majority of HE children end up with a good result both academically and socially, because parents don't just do this without thought, they do it because they see it is something their child can benefit from.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 13:13:12

This, wot AMumInScotland said...

But you are more likely to influence her choices in small ways if you engage with this, rather than if you put her back up

I know my sister was mightily dubious at first. But she has admitted that in good part she chocked down her concerns and went on the supportive. Lots of listening. Some non goady and not dripping agenda questions, but lots more ear than gob.

When I felt it wasn't the best choice for me...DS pretty much doing fine, but parents can go off things too, I turned to her. She was great, I bouncedmideas off her and she was a big part of the reason why I made a differnet choice for secondary education.

I'm not the world's most stubborn person, but I think it would have been so much harder to admit it wasn't working all that well for me if I had spent the last three years forced into a massive defense of my choices.

It wasn't a one way street. My sister readily admits that in retrospect, having had the chance to be privvy to all the details of what we were doing and thinking in home ed, that many of her initial objections were baseless and a tad knee jerky.

Forced contact with people whose birthdays happen to be in the same school year as hers is not socialisation.
There are more and more HE families in the UK now, and loads of brilliant resources out there to help them.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 13:47:56

A) Who said anything about forced ? Did I miss a post ?

B )Not it's not, because socialisation is not the same thing as opportunity for social contact with members of ones peer group. But when people worry about socialisation, we and they know pretty what they probably mean.

Dragging an unwilling child to a birthday party yelling "they are the same age as you, so you HAVE to go!" is likely to raise eyebrows amoung HEer and parents with kinds in mainstream schools alike.

To be honest I am hard pressed to think of a parent who would consider the drag to birthday party thing as a jolly good idea.

SoniaGluck Thu 16-May-13 13:49:49

You only have to look at all the threads on here about bullying/isolation of some children to realise that socialisation in school isn't always a positive thing.

And then, think about your own social interactions on a daily/weekly basis. Do you only have contact with people born within a 12 month period? Socialisation surely means being able to get on with the wide range of people that you meet in life; not just those within an (artificially) prescribed group.

Some children thrive in schools. They do well and enjoy it thoroughly. That's fine. But lots do not. For those children home ed. can be a life saver. And it could mean that they are ultimately more successful in life than they would have been if left in an unsupportive or hostile school environment.

mummytime Thu 16-May-13 13:50:58

I think PomBear was talking about "school".

Blu Thu 16-May-13 13:58:13

To my mind enjoyng the process of education and having confidence in the fact that you can learn things is about 99% of what matters in the success of the eductaion of a child. If your DN does not fit what is on offer within the system, and does not enjoy it, then I suspect your DSIL is completely correct to prioritise getting her out.

As others have said there is loads of support - and presumably loads of ways to ensure that a child makes progress in all the important ways. All the HE children I know are happy, stable, and achieving.

There is no need for anyone to stress about SATS, ever!

I would love to have had the lifestyle and personality to home Ed - though DS is actually v happy in school.

REeax, be open minded and observe how they progress!

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 13:59:13

Ahhh! You mean school not parties!

That went right over my head, perhaps cos DS doesn't go to one. School I mean. Not parties. He goes to parties without any dragging. Well unless anybpdy is concerned about the dragging of me. I hate birthday parties.

School does provide social contact with ones peers though. My son as described above has a great line up of social contact, but he still chose to go back to mainstream school for one year becuase he missed the social side of school. It is by no means an essential form of social contact for all children, and may be the worst form of social contact for some. But all the same it does provide social contact and in some cases that socail contact is a welcome breather from the issues that exisit in some homes.

It isn't so black and white really. Pros and cons on both sides and basically a parent needs to work out which option has the most pros and least serious cons for the individual details of their child's needs and circumstances.

Blu Thu 16-May-13 14:02:19

And actually, in response to your OP, Yes, YABU to have 'concerns' and immediately take an anxious approach to your DSIL's choices when (as you say) you know nothing about it - nor much about education at all givcen your concern about SATS! I am being blunt and harsh here, to remind you that although you plan to keep your own counsel, your attitude will show through - even your DH asking about SATS will have sent a signal - so to be truly supportive you need to get rid of your negative perceptions, and trust her instincts and insight.

Doubtlesss there will be challenges, and times when they get it wrong as they find what suits, but most of have periods of angst over what goes in is schools!

JenaiMorris Thu 16-May-13 14:14:22

grin mummytime I have known people who have gone into it with lots of thought, it's just that the thought was <ahem> misguided. It was a bloody disaster for the three girls (they were miserable), but their brother had a blast.

They were an odd family though. Very dominant father, who was pretty useless in terms of making a living but fancied himself beyond belief.

Thankfully they all went back to school the following year.

Just to be clear, this was just one family and the decision was completely made to fit the father's "free spirit" delusions.

As for the OP, your niece sounds like an ideal candidate for HE. And as others have noted there are opportunities for social interaction - possibly even more than there might be at school.

DS and I would kill each other however. Either that or he'd spend all day every day on the Xbox whilst I sat drinking wine. It's probably best that he stays at school for now grin

thecakeisalie Thu 16-May-13 14:18:54

I think yabu until you become more informed on the issue and do some research before jumping to the same misguided conclusions alot of people jump to.

We intend to home ed from the start with our two young boys for many reasons and to make this decision we have spent months researching it. Do you know your sil hasn't done the same?

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 14:19:37

Either that or he'd spend all day every day on the Xbox whilst I sat drinking wine


There were HE days when I was rather glad that there wasn't a bottle in the house to tempt me.

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 14:21:41

Don't know anything much about home ed but I'm with Carpe - I fecking hate parties!!! particularly dry ones

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 14:32:17


Aren't they awful ?

Lots of mums I have nothing common with thrusting slices of "Nonna's simply marvellous crostina!" at me while I politely choke down sawdust smothered in home made Half Dead Apricot Jam.

And then the ironing olympics starts where I always come in last cos they all have Italian Rolls Royce massive ironing "systems" and I haven't seen my supermarket 10 euro jobbie since 1997. I know it's in the house somewhere. Just not sure where.

Bastard birthday parties from hell.

Pins in eyes time when an invite arrives.

Cloverer Thu 16-May-13 14:36:36

SATs are irrelevant, school isn't the best/only place to socialise, and if your SIL is organised, committed and intelligent enough to study for an OU degree then I'm sure she is quite capable of educating a child.

loofet Thu 16-May-13 15:03:05

I'm not qualified and I home educate grin

People have an image in their head of home educated children being fish in tiny bowls. That they stay home all day and never socialise. It isn't true. We go out to different places all of the time and when we go they meet new people of ALL ages. Socialisation doesn't have to just be with people your own age, is everyone you meet your age?

Mainstream education lets a lot of children down through bullying, the fact they're all treat as if they learn in the same way when they're all individuals and learn very differently, too many children per teacher, no one to one time etc etc. With home education you tailor learning to your children so it isn't all sat down at a desk with a teacher talking at you all day. Plus if it's a nice day we take lessons outside smile

So, I don't think SIL is being U. She's doing what's best for her child. Trust her judgement.

rainbowbrite1980 Thu 16-May-13 15:26:10

My child has an autistic spectrum disorder and I home educate. I originally started home educating because he did not cope socially in school - I can see how people might think that riemoving a child from school might make social difficulties worse, but for my son certainly, he is more able to cope now he is not in that school environment - he was so overstimulated by it that he couldn't cope, was exhausted, and couldn't benefit from anything they did. Now we can choose what activities / meet-ups he goes to, tailor those to him, and I can support him in socialising, whilst also standing back and letting him practise those skills for himself.

There are a lot of social opportunities for home educated children. We end up turning things down just in order to get some time at home. We could be with other families all day every day if we wanted to.

Ais for not being a teacher - a home educating parent is a different role, and children tend to learn more independently. We learn alongside our children, and enable them to learn for themselves, more than teaching them as it would happen in school. I have many friends and a sister who are teachers, and teacher training is a lot more concerned with classroom management than what to teach - but also, the research shows that a parent's level of education doesn't have much impact on home educated children's achievement. It also shows that home educated children tend to do better both academically and socially.

I don't agree that everyone has to go to school - legally they don't, and it doesn't suit everyone - school is one system and it can't suit every child.

I love home educating so much and can see gthe benefits of an individualised and personalised education and so have decided that my other 2 children who do not have asd will also be home educated.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 16-May-13 15:26:25

I'm not intending to home ed, but have 2 friends who are - frankly they and their kids seem to have a brilliant time, and are doing well academically and socially. They live in different areas but both have home ed groups they attend with other hone educators and children.

I really see the advantage in it, particularly when you are dealing with a child like your DN, who is bright but struggles with mainstream school.

Your SIL might not be a teacher, hut she's studying towards a degree herself so she clearly believes in education and it's value.

Don't worry DP much, be supportive.

Journey Thu 16-May-13 16:03:20

I think you need to be far more open minded. You should be supporting your sister. It will be tough for her if her dd is going through the diagnosis for ASD. If you generally want to help your niece listen and respect your sister's choice. Criticising (because that's how it will come across) your sister's choice to home educate your niece is not helpful. Your sister has enough on her plate to deal with at the moment.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 16-May-13 16:07:23

This is a great thread.

thebody Thu 16-May-13 16:09:54

Pombear, your post does make me think.

I never ever considered HE for my own kids but now working in a school I do see the down sides of having to stick to a ridged curriculum, seeing tired 4 year olds struggling with phonics when all at different stages and sitting in a sweaty classroom on a fantastic sunny day when all is called for is a nature walk.

Makes you think.

WilsonFrickett Thu 16-May-13 17:16:55

The socialisation thing is such a red herring. Particularly for children on the spectrum who usually find it so difficult. They don't just go to school for a couple of years and then suddenly go 'Oh! That's how you do it'. What tends to happen is they wander round a big, scary playground on their own (if they're lucky and not bullied). For seven years.

Much, much better to have controlled opportunities to socialise in non-overwhelming sensory situations. For girls with ASD OP, school is exhausting. They are usually 'masking' like crazy to get by socially. In many cases it's better just to remove the stress.

JenaiMorris Thu 16-May-13 17:36:07

The only time I'm a bit hmm about HE is if it seems to be more about the parent than the child. I don't imagine that happens as often in this country as it might do elsewhere though.

DailyNameChanger Thu 16-May-13 17:48:35

I used to think HE was a ridiculous idea. But my son, he's 5, has ASD and at the moment I am trying to get him a transfer to special school. I wouldn't HE myself, unless the situation got desperate. Because I don't think I have the right temperament and I think it would end up with me isolated and fed up and him just doing his own thing. But I can see how it could work absolutely great with a lot of commitment, and actually maybe a bit more of a laid back attitude than I am able to have. The thing about socialisation is that, kids with ASD generally don't. And if sensory issues get in the way, being in a huge school with hundreds of children is massively stressful for them. I can certainly see pattern now with my little man, all his autistic traits and quirky behaviours increase tenfold when it is term time. I think over the next several decades the way children are educated will change massively to cater for different needs and HE will be just one way of doing it, as will school. I have an older son who absolutely thrives in the school environment, loves every single day.

There is a good HE board on MN which I have learnt a lot from (my childen are in school).

What is clear to me is that whilst every child needs an education, school is only one method of delivering it. For some children school is a great experience but for others it does more harm than good.

I would assume that your DSis will be able to plan social activities that better suit the level of interaction that your DN can cope with right now and adjust it to meet her needs going forward. In school, its much more sink or swim either you cope with a classroom situation or you don't (i know I am generalising here).

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 16-May-13 17:51:11


That's just how I feel

Dawndonna Thu 16-May-13 18:17:33

We home educated three of ours for a while. All three with ASDs. They went to High School well ahead of everybody else. One still really misses it, the other two are happy.

QuertyQueen Thu 16-May-13 19:38:21

Thanks for all your replies. I think I need to find out more don't I? Certainly given me a lot to think about. I was thinking about how much I HATED school myself tbh and came away with two GCSE's despite being of above average intelligence. I studied for my degree as a mature student later. I am not sure why I didn't think of this before. Maybe the routes are different for some. FWIW I only have one friend from my school days and even then I am only in touch via FB.

I homeschooled no2 son (of my five children) with no "qualifications" as a teacher, and no experience of teaching, and I had never in a million years thought we would ever do such a thing. Circumstances led us to it, and I still (he's almost 19 now, and a qualified chef) maintain that we saved his life by taking him out of school.
Your neice might not be in such a "life or death" or serious situation OP, but if you can trust that your SiL has her child's best interests at heart, then you can be supportive and helpful hopefully.
By "forced contact" I meant school every day for whoever that was - I hated school and was bullied and just remember so much misery during my time there, that when my child was in a similar situation, and so bloody unhappy and the school couldn't/wouldn't do anything that I was determined to do anything I could to help him. HE worked for us, and I do firmly believe that, with the commitment and determination to make it work, it can be a lifesaver.
(I haven't pored over the other posts, but has anyone mentioned the HE topic here on MN? Or "Education Otherwise" yet? have a look and tell your SiL about them too grin )

Fecklessdizzy Thu 16-May-13 23:40:38

I think it's horses for courses OP.

As people have said up thread, children who find social interaction tricky and a bit daunting oftain do much better in smaller, more controlled groups where they can go at their own pace.

Support your sister's choice - my sister's mate does it and her kids are bright and friendly and cheerful!

cory Fri 17-May-13 08:18:02

School is one way of meeting the socialisation need and it is often rather efficient.

But it is not the only one.

And it is not efficient for all children.

A friend of mine pulled her ASD son out when she found he wasn't engaging in any way in school, either socially or academically. His social needs have been met far better at HE group and at local drama group. He is sitting his GCSEs through his group and will be going to college. His brother otoh opted to go back to school at secondary level and will be doing his GCSEs at school. They both get what is best for them.

Startail Fri 17-May-13 08:37:09

DF has HE each of her 3DCs up to 11.
I don't think she started out intending any great plan, this is just where DS1 got better at math than she was (she's Canadian).

She's very chatty and outgoing so makes friends everywhere, her DCs are far more sociable than my DD1. They have friends from church, riding, dancing and HE group as well as neighbours etc.

They manage this on her DHs manual wage, she is brilliant at giggle food, fugal craft and min spend birthday parties.

She does have one cheat, her DSIS is a teacher back in Canada and she sends stuff and gives tips.

TheBigJessie Fri 17-May-13 11:05:35

Well, it sounds like school isn't working. Also, you can take a child out of primary school, and enrol them in a nice new secondary at 11 after a few years out of the environment that wasn't working.

There's also FE colleges, some of which can be quite amenable to accepting bright previously home-educated 14/15 year olds on to GCSE courses.
There's also the option of doing GCSEs in year 12 and A-levels in 13-14, but I wouldn't recommend that one, unless as a last resort.

I did that, and it limits your GCSE options substantially, because cramming a two-year course into one year means you can only take three or four. That, in turn, limits your A-level options.

LaQueen Fri 17-May-13 11:12:57

I worked as a tutor for HE children, who needed extra help for their English GCSE.

IME experience, they struggled to relate socially to their peers at the FE college where I worked. They only seemed comfortable with adults.

Also, a very large percentage of the parents had had negative experiences at school themselves, which was why they were HE their DCs - their children had never been allowed to try the school system for themselves, which I thought unfair.

CarpeVinum Fri 17-May-13 11:28:55

IME experience, they struggled to relate socially to their peers at the FE college where I worked. They only seemed comfortable with adults

That jibes with my RL experience with a specific group where there was a strong sway towards dersion for the need or even advisability for an emphasis on providing extensive peer group social opportunities.

I was a pariah to some becuase I was so pro DS being very much inserted on a daily basis amoung his peer group, particulary because while I valued the "playground-esque" nature of the yputh club setting.

And before anybody jumps all over me, there were three children with SEN. Of the rest with clear behavoiral or socialmissues the majority had gone through extensive investigation due to referrals and come put the otherside eithout diagnosis.

But I don't think that is indicative of the wider HE scene. I think it is indicative of small pokcets where bords of feather come together, hyjack an educational option, use that to draw in new blood and then intensionally or otherwise restricting the newbies putlook to their own particular flavour. What is notable is in a group that has its axis in one strong personality "leader" and her handy flock of acolytes is not how many people are in the group, but the far higher number who have fled screaming for the hills

In any given area I think who starts/controls the grassroots social/support network can pretty much flavour the visible face of HE, sometimes to the detriment of the public perception of the choice.

And dear god there is an awful lot of power play to be seen both online and off when specific flavours or outlooks clash over who gets to be in charge.

I'm happier in a group of one. My son doesn't play with HE children, he plays with children. I don't socialise with HE mums, I spcialisemwith mums. That way I don't feel ghettoised and keep myself free of the same dynamics I saw play out in other "special interest in common"groups, like the expat groups. Which were a special kind of hell of their own kind.

But that choice is reliant on not having to be defensive the whole time cos everybody is picking holes in my educational choices. I couldn't do it in the face of constant critisim and an unwillingness to even listen to another perspective. Even Awful HE Group With Knobs On would be better than that. But it wouldn't be anything like as good for us as gen pub tolerance and acceptance is.

mummytime Fri 17-May-13 12:07:53

Most HE children I know have integrated well when they have gone to sixth form, college or school. A few have more difficulties, but to be honest usually those individuals would have struggled with socialising with their peers at whatever age. Which was partly why they were HEd, at least they got some qualifications and grew up a bit before having to "re-integrate". (They also probably had a diagnosed or undiagnosed SN, I would guess.)

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