Is school good for children?

(67 Posts)
skewiff Fri 28-Sep-12 10:49:17

I just wonder whether school is a place in which children do actually learn to be social?

I wonder whether it teaches children to love or hate learning?

It feels like sending my child to prison every day. He is only 5 and does not want to go to school. He would much rather stay at home and read and play.

This morning I had to tear him away from reading his books - reading the words etc - and get cross with him for not wanting to go to school. It felt all wrong. Tearing him away from enjoying learning to force him into a place where he hates being forced to learn.

I know that home schooling is not an option for everyone - but I just wanted to open a discussion about the pros and cons of schooling versus home schooling here.

pianomama Fri 28-Sep-12 12:42:03

Well, I know how your DS feels. I don't feel like getting to work in the morning sometimes.
But this is something we just do.

The important point about school is learning discipline.

May be you are a bit too soft with him? This is not something that should be discussed with a child - he has to go school (unless you want to HE of cause).

I would start with finding out why he doesn't like the school - any problems with other kids/what's the teacher like? But anyway , he is only just started so I would give him a bit of time to adjust but never make him feel that school is optional.

I am not a big fan of HE but I accept in some cases its the only option.
Some children have SN which schools can't cater for. Some specialize in something which takes too much time and its easier to HE to fit other activities with academic work.

If the only problem is that your DC does not like school, I'd say put your foot down.

School can be good for children, but it doesn't suit all children. And even if it does suit them, it's not the only or necessarily the best thing for them.

Have you given serious thought to home education? It sounds like you feel it would suit him better than school at the moment.

cakeandcustard Fri 28-Sep-12 13:00:42

I feel exactly the same, my 5 year old DS doesn't want to go to school either. I think he has a lot more fun at home - school seems to be all about teaching them that life's not fun, its very depressing.

A lot of the time I feel he would be better off home-educated, but school does give them a better opportunity to socialise with other children - more than I would be able to.

LittenTree Fri 28-Sep-12 13:18:05

I think a lot of teachers and quite a few parents might disagree with the statement 'school seems to be all about teaching them that life's not fun, its very depressing'!

Not all school is going to be fun, fun, fun, but you don't need me to spell out that some very worthwhile things in life start out 'not fun' but can become things from which we derive huge enjoyment and feelings of self-worth once we have done the 'hard yards' and have mastered them.

Yes, we do send our DC to school young in this country, but we can also be deceived into thinking that other countries don't- it's just their educational starts are labelled 'pre-school' and 'kindy' which was associate with under 5s whereas their 7 year olds are still going to s-'labelled institutions, but once there, they're also learning letters, numbers, how to shut up, keep still, wait their turn, share etc etc.

Because this isn't on the HE thread I can say that, with a fair bit of knowledge of HE, He is a multifaceted beast. Of course it 'works' for many parents and DC' (but rarely for one but not the other!); but a fair slab more emerge 'educated' and articulate- but completely unable to relate to their peers and a little arrogant. Just my observations. The social aspect of school is, for most DC, very important.

And for me- and I can only speak for myself in this respect- I'm glad that school has taught my DSs that life does tend to yield back in direct proportion to your input, both good and bad. Allowing them to stay home and 'have fun' all day would not have done this! And no, not all learning can be 'made fun', even at 5.

seeker Fri 28-Sep-12 13:24:32

If he's being forced to learn at 5 then there is something badly wrong with the school.

skewiff Fri 28-Sep-12 13:30:05

But Littentree (and I don't want everyone to say HE is great - do that instead - so thank you for your thoughts), just to bounce back my ideas ...

A child of 5 is so young to learn that you just have to get up and go to work every day.

I would like DS, one day, to work in a job that he is really passsionate about. So that he doesn't find it arduous and boring getting up every day for work, but actually looks forward to going. Both DH and I have been lucky in finding jobs like this, but only through luck and later on in life.

When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do because none of the stuff learned in school related to the real world.

I can see that, at 5, DS has real and defined passions about certain things. He loves reading. He loves numbers. He loves learning about the olden days in various forms. And DS would do this throughout the day of his own choosing at his own pace and ask questions along the way. He wouldn't even see it as learning or work or whatever it is seen as at school.

That's what happens at weekends and holidays with DS. He learns so much during the holidays.

He said to me this morning that he wasn't enjoying school anymore (Yr1) because he always had to do what the teacher said and could never play, like he wants to.

Firstly I think at 5 it is a terrible thing to think that a 5 year old should be soft for wanting to play. I think it is a terrible thing to restrict a 5 year old from playing. And this is, after all, the way that 5 year olds learn anyway - through play.

So learning being fun - for me means learning through play. And that is exactly what DS would do ALL day if he was at home. Whereas when he is at school he is being forced to be quiet and sit still and listen and do this and that - that is all in the teacher's order of how things should be done and not the children's at all.

LittenTree Fri 28-Sep-12 13:32:51

OK, so HE! That's obviously the way to go for what you want for your DS.

singingmum Fri 28-Sep-12 13:41:08

Ok so he loves to learn when home and you seem to be considering if this would be best for him now. Well I have a son whose now 18 he's been HE almost his whole life and like your son he could read very young and loved it. I did try nursery and what a joke they wouldn't let him read(yes it is true his teacher didn't like that I'd let him learn naturally before starting) he couldn't put up with the others making noise when he wanted to read or write. My son thanks me everyday for HEing him and his 12yr old sister feels the same. They both socialise a lot with other people of all ages and abilities they attend/ed different activities where they've met lots of new people and are articulate and able to have a social life better than some of their school ed friends.
As to some subjects can't be taught in a fun way thats nonsense.I have even managed to make math science and geography fun. The people who are saying this have obviously not seen a large slice of HE children.
I have an excellent relationship with both my children and they are both happy and driven to succeed. In fact as someone who was school ed I really wish my parents had HE'd me as school drove me crazy and I just quit after bad teachers,bad behaviour and generally bad experiences. Yes my children have had some of the experiences of school such as bullying, cruelty of adults who believe children should be locked up all day etc,but they have been able to deal with it better than I ever did knowing they can walk away from these things and just get on with their lives.
I'm probably about to be flamed but when people post without any real knowledge it annoys me as I know what schooling can do to children with real interests in learning. It can completely turn them until they stop learning for fun and just give up

It does sound like HE would suit you and him!

Are there reasons you decided to try school? If so, do you think they have turned out how you hoped, or do they seem less valid than they did a year ago? If there are things that you were worried about with going the HE route, what were they and can you see ways of getting round them?

I don't mean you have to tell us all this, just think round it and consider why you're sticking with school at this stage, when you seem to have thought seriously about HE and have a preference for the flexibility it would give him to learn more autonomously.

claraschu Fri 28-Sep-12 13:44:31

School can be a place where lively sparky children are turned into adults who will put up with a boring unfulfilling job, because they have learnt "discipline".
School can also teach children a lot of horrible social skills, like living with being bullied or being unable to communicate with people who aren't your age.

Of course, the right school can be absolutely wonderful.

If I could disagree with Litten, I know 5 families who have HEd, either temporarily or long-term, and the children (in 3 cases now grown up) are friendly, sociable, and not at all particularly arrogant.

When I hear HE blamed for producing arrogant, unsociable people, I can't help noticing that most of the annoying people I know went to school, but no one blames school for their shortcomings.

skewiff Fri 28-Sep-12 13:49:49

There is no home educational group in my area. There is a very small Christian one, but I am not a Christian and I would prefer there to be a larger group of mixed people to join in with. The closest group is an hour's journey away and that feels like a long way. It feels too far for making and keeping friends.

I am sticking with school because all the children round here are in school all day and, although I would love it, I don't think it would be good for DS being just with his sister and myself.

Also my DS has mild cerebral palsy and he is already different from the vast majority of children. I don't want to separate him more.

These are the only reasons that stop me though. I don't feel comfortable with our education system. And every day I question what I am doing to/with him.

I suspect the "unsociable" HEd children are much like the "unsociable" only children - when you meet someone for whom both things happen to be true, it sticks in your memory as "proof" that they are connected, whereas you don't particularly remember the sociable HE or onlies. Or you remember them as an odd exception to the "rule".

I did know someone at university who was very arrogant and had been HEd, and I do think that school would have knocked some of his corners off, and at least taught him to pretend that other people might be worth his consideration. But I blame his parents for raising him as an arrogant little prince far more than for choosing to HE him.

So long as you're not choosing to HE so that you can continue to wait on your child hand and foot and behave as though the sun shines out of his backside, I don't think there's any reason for it to become a problem.

claraschu Fri 28-Sep-12 13:57:53

I know exactly how you feel. I was in the same situation 12 years ago, and chose school for the same reasons you have chosen it. My oldest son is now finishing A levels, and it has been a very mixed experience for all of our 3 children. I think if I could do it all again, I would choose more HE mixed in with some school.

Are there ways you could get DS more time with other children outside of "school hours" if there isn't much available in terms of actual HE? If he was in cubs/beavers, music or drama groups, sports clubs if there are suitable ones for him, etc then the lack of other children from 9 till 3 might not seem such a big deal. It can be hard to do a lot after school because of tiredness, but if he wasn't at school that issue would disappear, though costs might start to add up of course.

gymboywalton Fri 28-Sep-12 14:23:24

you could always look around for another school that practises continuous provision through kd1 and then he would be getting to play every day and the majority of his lerning would be play based.

gymboywalton Fri 28-Sep-12 14:23:47

fuck! KS! and leArning!!!! typos sorry

rabbitstew Fri 28-Sep-12 15:55:44

School is good for some children, bad for others. Most children go through school. There's not much more you can really say about it without accidentally turning the specific into the general... Although it might help if you made it clear whether you think your child genuinely hates school, all day, every day, or whether he dislikes being taken away from an enjoyable activity in a safe environment at home each morning and knows how to press your buttons.

Do you know what your ds is doing all day at school? Have you spent a day in a classroom of children his age to see what actually goes on? Perhaps you could volunteer to help out somewhere?... If you got the opportunity to do that, it might help you be more decisive about whether HEd is for you or not, and/or if school is bad enough to make you want to HEd - relying on a 5-year old to tell you accurately everything he did that day and which bits he enjoyed and which he didn't and how much he was forced into doing things against his will is not a hugely accurate way of assessing the situation. In my experience, KS1 is most definitely NOTHING like learning how to get up and go to work, though.

wordfactory Fri 28-Sep-12 16:20:19

School simply does not suit all children.

How could it? It's an institution.

However, it's a big mistake to assume school doesn't suit other DC or is in some way bad just because it doesn't suit yours.

pianomama Fri 28-Sep-12 16:26:56

The same as HE - it suits some children who's parents are really good at HE.
I take my hat off to the parents who do a good job at it - I know I could not do it unless I employed lots of different tutors. I do think it is important for a child to spend a part of their day away from mothers, to act as an independent person, even as young as 5.

lljkk Fri 28-Sep-12 16:35:26

You asked about pros & cons...

A lot of the things that HErs dislike about school are things I like about school.
Some of the things that HErs love about HE I would profoundly loathe.
I still think it's great that we can all find so many positive ways thru to an acceptable education for our kids.
You need to talk to the HErs here & elsewhere online, I'm sure they'd lay to rest all your doubts about HE.

throckenholt Fri 28-Sep-12 18:33:09

You will find some evangelical home edders who will tell you school is bad for kids. You will get most parents who send their kids to school who think HE is awful. There is a spectrum. For some kids, school is great. For some it is totally wrong. For some kids, it the the actual school that is wrong, and moving them to a different one works for them.

My personal feeling is that for a lot of kids school as we do it at 5 is too young. Many of them are not ready to conform to the timetable of school life, and the social stress of being with lots of people all day. Boys in particular are not really ready for the sitting and getting on with stuff associated with school.

For some parents school is a godsend - their kids really need the stimulation of being out of the house.

You could, for example decide to HE for a couple of years (it doesn't have to be a once only choice). If you did that, you could either go for a formal approach (try and model the school curriculum), or go free range and do whatever suits you - he will be learning stuff either way. You say he has already learnt to read which is pretty much what the first few years at school aims to achieve.

Socially - some kids thrive on the big groups of school, others hate it. Only you know which is your child, and whether you can give him social opportunities outside school (most people can with existing friends, family etc).

teacherwith2kids Fri 28-Sep-12 19:59:24

" For some kids, school is great. For some it is totally wrong. For some kids, it the the actual school that is wrong, and moving them to a different one works for them."

Can I agree wholeheartedly with this?

DS has been in school, and has been home educated. His first school became a disaster in Year 1, and his head said at that time that she didn't think he would ever be returnable to a mainstream school when I took him out to HE him.

I thought long and hard about long-term HE, but wanted him at secondary to have that contact with subject specialists that I so much loved, and saw returning him to school as the best path towards that (note that DS is a 'spiky' individual, and HE would almost inevitably have hugely accelerated him in some areas while leaving other areas behind, not a good mix for re-integration at Year 7).

He went to a different primary, and all school-related problems (he had been a school-induced selective mute with marked ASD traits) disappeared. That school was great for him - the first one was totally wrong for him. A school move - particularly if he is currently in a school where fun and love of learning is not in evidence - might well work wonders.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Fri 28-Sep-12 20:12:47

What an interesting question!
DC1 was in day nursery from 7 months - it was a fantastic environment, and I remember there was a point a few months after he started when I realised it was so good that having originally being where- he- was-so-I- could-work, I wanted to work so he could be at that place... And I remember saying to DH that if I won £20 million on th e lottery I would ensure that many more Dc could have that same experience...
He was very happy there. Then at 4.5 he went to school, local school, leafy, lovely, over-subscribed, outstanding primary, and he didn't laugh as much, got much more serious, still a lovely boy, but some of the spark had gone.
I wish I had the resources to home-ed, but although I considered it, was not an option. At 10 he moved to the prep of a leading independent school and the spark came back. In retrospect we should have moved him at 7, but that's the benefit of hindsight grin

skewiff Sat 29-Sep-12 08:30:52

Yes, Mrs Salvo - I see that spark go and then come back in the holidays.

I hope that I have not said that schools are 'bad' or 'wrong' anywhere. I think I just said that I don't feel comfortable with the education system.

I can see that schools are fine and good for some children.

Where we live schools are so overly subscribed (ours in particular) that if I take DS out I would not be sure about getting him back in if HE failed.

Also with him having mild CP I would like him to grow gradually with children (if he is to be in school) rather than hop in and out - because I think the latter would mean that children would notice his differences more and this may lead to bullying.

Its a good idea to go in and see what the day in school entails. I have a 18 month old and that's prevented this happening so far.

Perhaps some of it is DS knowing how to push buttons and not wanting to leave the comfort of home in the mornings ...

As to choosing a different school. Well the one DS is in is supposedly the most creative and 'free' of all schools around here. We live in London and all the schools here have been enlarged to ridiculous sizes (2 primary schools are now 6 form entry) so I think if DS has to be at school this one is going to have to be the one he's at.

Thank you for all your help and advice. I didn't want to post on HE forum because I knew I'd get mostly pro HE thoughts and I want to make a balanced choice about this.

margerykemp Sat 29-Sep-12 08:57:04

I think there is an element of your DS picking up on your own attitude to school. You don't seem to like timetables/rigidity yourself so DS is probably picking up signals that this is 'bad' and undesirable.

Maybe speak to the school about their lack of learning through play.

Doeshe have a statement? That may help you negotiate with the school.

Bonsoir Sat 29-Sep-12 13:30:12

I am strongly in favour of children learning in an environment that is separate from their families. But schools are often not optimised, that's for sure.

ReallyTired Sat 29-Sep-12 13:38:50

A girl recently started in my son's class. She had been home educated and learnt absolutely nothing. Clearly her experience of home education was resoundingly crap. The girl is ten years old and she can't read or add up as her mother tried to take an automous learning approach which meant her dd learnt sweat FA.

However it would be unfair to assume that no children learn with home ed just because one family failed to teach their daughter anything.

Similarly there are good schools and bad schools. If your son is unhappy at school or learning nothing then you need to look at other options like changing school.

I think its a mistake to think that learning should always be fun and that everything can be learnt through play even at 5. Sometimes children have to shut up, sit down and listen. They have to learn that the universe does not revolve around their whims. Things like hand writing practice are boring, but the sooner it is done the sooner they can do something more interesting.

happygardening Sat 29-Sep-12 17:02:36

I'm surprised if you live in London that you have to travel for 1 hour to find an acceptable home ed group. We're rural and we've got 4 within a 30 min drive and most of our state schools are well regarded.
My DS 1 now nearly 16 was the same as your DS we moved him for two years to a Steiner school we are the most unlikely Steiner parents in the Uk fully paid up members of the hunting shooting fishing brigade anti homeopathy and no more hippy than the Queen. I'm not going to pretend it was an unmitigated success but certainly the first year (a London Steiner school) brought back my DS's joivre du vivre. Interestingly he went back into main steam ed for year 2 and learnt to read in term and passed his peers for reading in three terms!
Education is IMO obsessively prescriptive many primary school teachers are unimaginative and not very bright (runs and hides) they have virtually no comprehension how many boys learn and certainly little idea of what makes them tick. This is why boys do "less" well in the state sector (this interestingly doesn't apply in the independent sector) because they've been put off education from an early age.

orangeberries Sat 29-Sep-12 18:29:54

All my children have had ups and downs with school but it does give them a routine and an order in their lives that I think most human beings seem to need. Certainly not something I feel I could facilitate at home. But some people are really good at doing that.

All my children, boys and girls, have got a lot out of school educationally and by this I don't mean just reading and writing but lots of other experiences which I wouldn't have chosen - including eating and cooking traditional british food, playing things like cricket and hockey, and many creative activities like singing in a choir.

I do lots with my children out of school but I must admit it is a good parternship. Controversially maybe I would say that I don't think school really has helped them socially, I am not sure why I say that but none of them seem that keen on school friends. They do playdates and they seem fairly popular but it seems to me more like the kind of relationship one has with colleagues at work - pleasant but not that deep. This though could be because we are a large family so there is no huge desire to socialize.

Having said all that what school also does is give them a sense of independence; the ability to be themselves without parents observing/breathing down their necks. I am sure that is also a positive thing, especiall these days where children do not roam the streets and are free to go out and about on their own.

Finally, schooling is part of our society now and although I quite like the idea of homeschooling and have much sympathy with it, I would say that choosing this means also excluding your children from what all the other children do and you have to be quite brave I think to do that and face criticism from people but also possibly from your own children later on in life.

LittenTree Sat 29-Sep-12 19:28:11

"This is why boys do "less" well in the state sector (this interestingly doesn't apply in the independent sector) because they've been put off education from an early age."

No, I disagree. The reason boys generally do better in an independent environment is the same reason girls do, as well- they are selected. By and large, many DSs who fail to thrive in a state school (and I don't mean 'lose their spark') would possibly, nay 'probably'!- not be allowed through the gates of a private school thus do not ever get the opportunity to sully the stats of that school.

Similarly, whose spark wouldn't return if suddenly they found themselves in an environment where they were carefully matched to a style of curriculum; in small, focussed groups of similar and like-minded individuals without the distraction of non-alike DCs? Or in an environment, like home, where you were the sole focus of a parent's attention?

Back to the OP and HE. Something I was aware of in my experience of HE (not that I ever actually did it!), many of the HE parents also said that their DC got lots of time to socialise with other DC via say Baden-Powell activities (adult lead and guided), sport (coach lead and guided), drama (teacher lead and guided) and so forth. There was rarely any non-supervised hanging-out time in there. Just an observation.

skewiff Sat 29-Sep-12 21:55:42

Thank you again for all of your comments.

orangeberries you have said a lot of very helpful things. I was hoping for some thoughts and ideas that would give me a more balanced view - and didn't mean to start an argument about whether HE or school were better.

You spoke about clubs Littentree and somebody else did too. DS already does lots of sports clubs outside of school and I would not want this to be his and my hopes of a social life for him. They are usually just half an hour long. Sometimes an hour. But always they are full of so much organised activity that its impossible for proper friendships to be formed in the short space there is for conversation or play.

It is strange, living in London, that the nearest group is 1 hour away - happy gardening. I don't drive, so it would take an hour to travel by public transport. Perhaps not by car.

seeker Sat 29-Sep-12 22:14:47

LittenTree- what a good post!

An important thing to remember is that the school day is short, the holidays long-you're not sending them into penal servitude!

Colleger Sat 29-Sep-12 22:28:02

I think school is a very unhealthy and unnatural environment. Some children may enjoy school but what do they have to compare it with and many children just go with the flow, regardless if it is good for them or not. The Hitler Youth springs to mind!

School, for me, is a glorified childcare facility. There are only a few schools I'd now be willing to pay/send my children to if that's what my kids wanted but I still think its a waste of time and crushes creativity, individuality and a love of learning. It's odd that children are free and learn freely and passionately about the things they are interested in for the first five years (if they're lucky) then institutionalised and learn to hate learning, hate school and to avoid bullies. Then at eighteen they are allowed to be free again and follow their dreams - if their creativity or ability to know what they want has not been zapped. A schooled child at eighteen is like a bird with clipped wings.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 29-Sep-12 22:31:00

"Education is IMO obsessively prescriptive."

Strange that there have been threads (yes, I'm a bad person) saying how rote learning would be best.
but the quote is one of the many reasons why schools can't win.
The truth of the matter IMO is that if you want an education styled around the wants and the needs of your child then you really do have to HE, any other type of educational environment is always going to be aimed at the few or the many.

seeker Sat 29-Sep-12 22:35:06

" A schooled child at eighteen is like a bird with clipped wings."

And there was me thinking we might be able to have a thread on the subject without anyone coming in and completely dismissing children from either "side". Sadly, not.

Hulababy Sat 29-Sep-12 22:42:33

I can honestly say that my DD's school has been very good for her. She's in Y6 now and she adores school, has many friends, she loves the social side of school as much as the learning side. I know that for DD her school life so far has been excellent. She will be very very sad to leave next summer.

However I can imagine that some schools may not be good for some children. I think it very much depends on individual schools and individual children.

DD would hate home schooling. We discussed it on a few occasions as one of her friends left her school to return to the US and for a while she was home schooled - I assume til the next year began. She is now at school once more. DD was very clear on why she loved school and why she would not be want to be home schooled - and we do have an excellent relationship as mother and daughter (and also father and daughter for her and DH.)

But I would not rule it out if there was a need and school was failing her. This seems very unlikely for DD however and I would try more than one school in the quest too.

Hulababy Sat 29-Sep-12 22:46:06

Colleger - how many schools have your children be to? How many schooled children do you personally know?

It sounds to me like you have a very skewed impression of schools and children who have been to school. It does not in any way, shape or form, match what I know of schools and many school children. I know there are some poor schools, my I also know of many very good schools.

I can on'y assume you know few older children/young adults if you think schooled children have no creatively, individuality or independence.

Colleger Sat 29-Sep-12 23:05:41

Yes, I post comments with no understanding or experience on the matter! hmm

My children have all been to school, state and private, until at least the age of 11. One is currently at a boarding school and they have been in at least six different schools between them - nursery, Pre-prep, prep, senior schools. I know plenty of young adults.

So, you assumed wrong!

seeker Sat 29-Sep-12 23:12:33

And all the young adults you know have no creativity, imagination or individuality, hate learning and have had their wings clipped? Oh, apart from the HE ones

You must, surely, know that is a foolish thing to say? Surely?

Colleger Sat 29-Sep-12 23:17:25

I didn't actually say HE ones don't? Where did I say that?

I love how you always jump on my posts seeker. hmm

Hulababy Sat 29-Sep-12 23:26:04

I may have assumed wrong but I remain hugely surprised and shocked. This is not my experience of children at school and not the opinions of anyone I know, including HEdders. Not even the experience of those who have children who have had negative experiences of school.

Why do your children attend schools when you believe they are being held back from the experience? That baffles me tbh.

stinkymice Sat 29-Sep-12 23:27:34

Find a different school.
My ds just started in reception. He loves it, they play all day! Even work is playful, counting games etc. I would feel that HE would very much deprive him of friends and the opportunity to play and explore in ways I can not provide at home. School has taught him to pickup bugs! He has always been too squeamish (like me) to do this at home, I was very happy when he came and told me proudly he had found a woodlouse and picked up a snail. Small things but very good to have different experiences.

Colleger Sat 29-Sep-12 23:28:16

One doesn't attend school but the other one is so institutionalised he fears the freedom of HE...

Hulababy Sat 29-Sep-12 23:30:56

Or maybe he just likes school???

If you feel he is so institutionalised surely all the more reason to put your foot down and pull him out? Or chose another school? Although I would imagine boarding school would be more regimented and institution like than most schools anyway.

Colleger Sat 29-Sep-12 23:34:04

He does like school but again it comes down to what one is willing to put up with and not realising there are better alternatives. My child is a teenager and I cannot force him on this issue.

seeker Sun 30-Sep-12 07:42:45

Collager-if you say offensive and ill informed things about school educated children and I'll call you on them.

Colleger Sun 30-Sep-12 10:01:33

I wasn't being offensive, I was writing it with sadness.

Emandlu Sun 30-Sep-12 10:10:28

I home ed my kids.

For us it works. They did go to school and I took them out for exactly the reasons you mention skewiff.

I always say that home ed works for some children in exactly the same way as school works for some children. There is no average child and so it is illogical to think that one size will fit all when it comes to education.

Most of my kids friends are from the music groups and orchestras they attend, they have other friends in the locality who knock on for them and they also know people through church. We have another home ed family just around the corner too and we see a lot of them.

If you would like to chat about how we do home ed then send me a pm and I will happily chat about it.

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Sep-12 10:22:17


Like you, I have spent time in the school community (though not the private school community, which I believe is where your children have spent most time?) and in the HE community.

There is huge variety in both. To make generalisations such as yours seems unhelpful. The experience of individual HEed children varies massively - from the totally uneducated [I am an absolute supporter of the right to HE, but it would be wrong to deny that such a situation can arise] to the incredibly hot-housed in one area or in many, from the wholly autonomous to the very structured. Equally, the experience of a schooled child will vary massively - both within an individual sector and between them (visiting practically the full set of primary schools - both state and private - in the town where I live showed a truly extraordinary range, from sitting in rows copying off a backboard to almost wholly child-directed learning). I would risk a generalisation and say that, at least locally, the private schools were more structured than the state as a general rule - and perhaps as this is the sector where you have more experience, it is that structure that you understand to be the common 'schooled' experience.

The OP is comparing her child's school with her idea of HE. Other posters are saying that a third alternative is to look for a school which more closely matches her ethos as there is a genuine difference between schools. It isn't a schooled in general / HE in general debate - it is about a child, his family, and a single school.

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Sep-12 10:29:59

(I will say, though, and again it is with sadness, I met no HEd teenagers, however much their 'creativity, individuality and love of learning' had been fostered, who had or were in any way being enabled to obtain the basic educational 'passports' into the next stage of their lives or of education. Although they were fairly universally intelligent, articulate and personable individuals, I did worry that they were perhaps being failed somewhat in the 'balance' of their education in terms of preparing them for the next stage of their lives. I state this as an absolutely individual view, based on the teenagers I met while HEing - it is not a criticism of HE as a whole because I know that those basic educational 'passports' are accessible, obtainable and also obtained by HEd teenagers all the time. I just didn't ever meet any.)

seeker Sun 30-Sep-12 10:32:46

Well, I think that home educated children are incapable of sharing, self centred, bad at time keeping, not good at getting on with things they find difficult and inadequate socially. Oh, and very bad at seeing things from other people's point of view.

And I say this with sadness. Which makes it absolutely all right for me to say it, even though it is complete rubbish.

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Sep-12 10:35:09

[X posted with seeker and am now crawling back into my hole.... My only excuse is, I suppose, that what I posted is absolutely true of those teenagers I met. However, I hope that I made it clear that I in no way believe that it is true of HEd teens as a whole...]

FushiaFernica Sun 30-Sep-12 10:46:01

The only time my dd appears to be forced to learn is when I am trying to get her to do her homework. At the age of child 5 my impression is that schools teach them in a fun playful ways, with topics taught in short bursts.

I was at a party recently and was so impressed with the way children ate together, you could clearly see that their table manners had been taught in school.

FushiaFernica Sun 30-Sep-12 11:03:37

I didn't explain myself well there, I am sure table manners are taught at home, it is just that the children seemed so polite and comfortable eating at the party together.

jabed Sun 30-Sep-12 16:08:37

Interesting question and some interesting comments.

I took my DS out of school because I realised there was something dreadfully wrong with the education system here in the UK (or at least England - cannot speak for other parts).

I do think 5 is too young to go to school.

I do think school can actually spoil small children. Make nice quiet ameniable ones into little monsters or worse, make them phobic of life.

However, I think there is a time when formal instruction becomes positive and useful if a DC is to succeed in the outside world and eventually become part of wider society. Then you need an appropriate school. Again I think our education system fails.

This is why my DS will be going to school next year - but to an independent school. The school chosen is in fact a Christian one. Not that I am religious but I think it has a gentle atmosphere.

I have taught HE children who came through to 16 without formal education and it does pose problems. Often they are not acedemically rounded. However, I would not say they lack learning skills or even social skills. That very much depends on the HE er I think.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:16:45

It depends on the individual. I loved school at 5 yrs and cried if I was ill and couldn't go-I hated missing anything. My brother would happily have stayed at home.
You can't make silly statements like 'schooled DCs being like 'birds with clipped wings'. Knowing 3 who were HEed and lots and lots who went to school I just don't recognise the description at all-quite honestly I can't tell the difference! I really don't know any with 'clipped wings'. University is only a continuation of school-in a more adult way.

Some schools are excellent and some are dire, some HE parents make an excellent job of it and some are dire-both have the whole range.

Your DC does maybe pick up on your negative attitude-if you were wildly enthusiastic it is possible that he would be too.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:18:06

That very much depends on the HE er I think.

Very true-at least in school they are dependant on a wider range and at least one should be good.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:27:37

The more I think about it the more I would think that 18yr olds starting at university would roll around laughing at the clipped wings! The only ones it would apply to would be those with over protective, helicopter parents-they are the ones to go wild when they get freedom. Most are there because they want to be, are mature and ambitious and have learnt to manage their own time.

chocolatecrispies Sun 30-Sep-12 19:29:02

We live in London too, I decided not to send my ds aged 4 to reception because I think we do start school too early and I knew from the school that reception is not just play, plus it lasts for 6 hours every day which is too much for us. He may go to school later, i don't know. There is no HE group nearby so I am setting one up myself, have found a venue and facilitator and we start next week. I have 6 children signed up already so it is possible. Where are you based? There are lots of people HE in London, the best places to find people are the yahoo groups and Facebook. There are also regular park groups for more informal socialising. I would recommend looking into HE if you think you might be interested, the reality is very different to what you imagine when you start - I certainly thought the idea of autonomous education was bonkers when I first hear about it. It has been a great relief to us knowing we do not have to worry about ds starting school until we feel he is ready, rather than because the education system says he should be ready.

chocolatecrispies Sun 30-Sep-12 19:32:56

And sadly, I do know what colleger means about the clipped wings - I feel mine were clipped by school although I did exceptionally well- I learnt that learning was about memorising facts for tests and I became very good at it. It has taken me about 15 years to recover the love of learning I see in my 4 year old. I didn't hate school but I didn't realise until long afterwards how many unhelpful things I learnt there.

NopofacehaveI Sun 30-Sep-12 19:33:16

Only read op but the answer to your question depends on the enthusiasm and ability of the school and the teachers, it also depends on the child. Mine has den and has struggled through the system and never really coped with it, others thrive.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:43:00

That isn't what I learned at school-maybe you were just very unlucky chocolatecrispies and didn't have any inspirational teachers.

The whole question is rather like 'how long is a piece of string'-far too many variables. Some DCs are too young at 5 yrs-some , like me, couldn't wait to start.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:46:19

It is really impossible to answer some thrive and some don't cope-even within the same family. My brother would have loved HE but I can't imagine much worse than being stuck at home with my mother 'facilitating' and never getting away from my siblings-that is what would have 'clipped my wings'. This doesn't mean it is wrong for everyone. (much as I love my family and I had a very happy childhood).

skewiff Sun 30-Sep-12 21:28:48

Yes - I can see that it is like a 'how long is a piece of string' question.

Thank you for the tips chocolatecrispies. I am not on Facebook and don't do yahoo groups either - but will try and have a look and see if I can find anything useful there.

This thread has given me confidence to keep going with school and see how it goes for DS. I'll try and be more positive about it with him - I wasn't being really negative, but maybe he could see into my inner thoughts.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 21:34:24

They are very astute -they pick up on far more than you say. There is a lot to be said for starting later than 5 - but he is already there - so best to help him enjoy it.

Remember no decision is set in stone. If your DS really doesn't get on with school in the future you can always take him out at a later date.

School seems to suit my two children, they are energetic boistrous lads who are in an all boys prep (who understand how boys learn). The same environment wouldn't suit some other children.

The other consideration for me was that I think I would be a hopeless HE'der. I am impatient and quite results orientated. I think there is a real risk that I would put my sons under too much pressure because I'm a bit of a control freak. HE doesn't work for some children and it doesn't work for some parents!

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