Support thread for new home educators(591 Posts)
There seem to be a lot of us around at the moment, so I thought it might help us all to have a place where we can swap ideas, chivvy each other along on the bad days and cheer for each other on the good days.
I have two boys, the oldest is 12 and is just starting out in home education. My youngest is 6 and is still at school. Fortunately for me, he has just told me he's missing school and looking forward to going back <phew>.
We have had a good summer, with lots of dog walking, excursions, get-togethers with friends and family and minimal rules on television watching and computers. I have had a lovely time ordering books for our home ed library (failed to reign myself in on this ) and planning what we are going to study .
The plan at the moment is for DS1 to do a bit of Science, Maths and English every morning. He has a tutor for English once a week and we are going to get him a Maths tutor too. We will spend the rest of the time doing projects, reading together, practising handwriting, art, etc etc. Fridays are going to be 'free' days for informal learning, such as excursions.
I have been in touch with the local HE groups and we are planning to meet up with other HE families.
I'm spending some time today organising everything - plans, timetables, files, folders, lapbooks, etc. We have a visit from the LEA next Thursday, which gives me a good deadline to work towards.
I would love to hear how the rest of you newbies are getting on. And words of wisdom from the more experienced home educators are very welcome too!
toffee I may just show your post to my DH what a terrible thing to happen to your son im so glad to hear that he is happier now. From what ive heard a child with ASD can just end up lost in the school system especially if they are clever as the school just give help to those who they think are in worse situations. Its so unfair as all children deserve happiness and and education and to feel secure. Everyone ive spoke to professionally about him and school just say he will learn to cope, well im sorry but thats not good enough for me, i dont want him to cope i want him to thrive!
gulp home edding in Cornwall, lovely. MY grandad lives in Falmouth its right in the middle of nowhere but a car trip out and theres so many places to go, i loved going on holiday there as a kid may have to take ours next year!
Helen how old is your daughter? Ive met a lot of peopel round here who send there kids to private school and wonder what it is thats made you pull her out, if you dont mind me asking you dont have to divulge!! I looked into the private schools here as id heard so much but was put right off when I found they dont like SEN kids and will more often than not turn away an autistic child.
mam29 Can I ask how old your child is? is it your daughter? Your environment project sound ace and could be adapted to lots of age groups too and lots of activities you could link.
We have spent today going to the shops for some food and leaning how to not run off . Its also DS 4th birthday next tuesday so we have been making a birthday tree, basically two large tree shapes cut out of cardboard you the slot together. They have painted it today and tommorrow we can stick extras on and in the week we will make decorations from card and saltdough. Its a fab idea i got from the imagination tree, wonderful blog with idea for early years children. On his birthday all his presents will be under it!
Iris - what a coincidence, that's exactly where we live . Very irregular bus service and a town full of restaurants and charity shops but the 5 beaches and quiet life make up for it!
iris our DD is nearly 11. We've been happy with her school but we gave notice because we were moving away and they needed a complete term's notice. I found HE after researching what we could do in the time before moving. I think it will be great for her. She is dyslexic, dyspraxic and dysgraphic but we've found the SN provision in her school to be fantastic. She's had an hour a week 1:1 with a specialist teacher. The only downside we found was the emphasis on team sports, music and drama. Oh and the school run fashion show! We won't miss paying the fees though - £800 a month makes a big difference!
Hmm, well, the trip to the Tudor house didn't happen because DS1 had a panic about it. Very frustrating, but I had to remind myself that his anxiety is exactly why we are home educating and at least we can be flexible here. The event which was on today will be on again in November, so we can try again then.
Later, I put up a children's world map on the wall beside the stairs up to his loft bedroom (have been trying to find a place to display it for ages) and was greeted by "Noooo, Mum, what are you trying to do to me? That's so uncool! What will my friends think?" Map was swiftly dispatched back to the cupboard .
I think today was a very small taste of the conflict between my idealistic ideas of what home ed should be like and the reality (and no sniggering from any lurking old-timer home educators either!).
Helen - my educational philosophy is four pages long too - and that's after I pruned it because I was horrified at how long it was. I found it really helped me to get my ideas down on paper though.
I hope you are right about the LEA leaving you alone, or at least working with you, not against you.
Iris - yes, do by all means show my post to your DH. The worst thing, for me, is when DS1 now talks about things that happened at school that I had no idea about at the time. He was so unhappy and desperate during his single term at secondary that he even thought of suicide . I asked him why on earth he didn't just tell me and he said he knew that everyone thought he should go to school, so he felt he was letting us all down by not coping. We will see his psychiatrist this month and she will doubtless chastise us for taking him out of the system (she was very keen on him going back to school, as they always are), but I'm ready for that. I have no doubt we have done the right thing.
Having said that, there are children on the spectrum who cope well at school and enjoy the routine, so just because my son suffered does not mean your son would. I think the main thing is to follow your instincts though. You know him better than anyone.
By the way, I love the birthday tree idea . What a wonderful idea.
Hello, today was my first day of HE with DD1 so I can officially join in too! It's all been a bit of a whirl, as our plans have changed over the summer hols from HEing at secondary level, to taking her out next year, then Christmas, and decided about a week ago on now! She was due to go into Y4 and was about to start having help with dyslexia, which she does not have (she was the best reader in her year; what she has is dysgraphia, which nobody seems to deal with locally).
Tickled to hear that helena is a governor, as I am a TA at the school and also chairperson of the PTA. Thought that this would make my life difficult, but when I told the Head teacher yesterday she was wonderful and totally supportive - told me to feel the fear and do it anyway.
DD1 has had a great 1st day, with DH this morning and me this afternoon. can't believe how many people asked why she wasn't in school when we nipped down to the shop, though. Really took me by surprise.
Hello, Tyrannosaurus . How fantastic that your Head is being so supportive. They are not all anti-home ed. The head of my son's primary was very understanding about my decision to take DS out of school for his last year at primary.
Sounds like you've had a great start. How interesting for you to be in school in the morning and home educating in the afternoon - you will certainly be able to see the pros and cons of each.
Glad to hear that your son's Head was supportive too, Toffee.
It was certainly a contrast today, I could barely stay awake this morning and the 3 and a half hours basically boiled down to doing one maths exercise and writing a postcard about the holidays. Then this afternoon was so much fun and we got loads done, I know every day won't be like this but it's been a lovely start.
DD2 is happy at school but I am wondering how long that will last...
toffee that made me laugh about the map, its something id do but luckily mine are too young to ague about whats cool just yet ha!
helena thats good about the sen provision maybe its just the one near hear i heard they dont like to admit asd as its not in fitting with the team image like you say team sports etc. Could just be hearsay though!!
gulpyes the bus service is once a week or something ridiculous and near his house there is only a spar a post office and a pub!! and the village hall and church. lovely community though and like you say so many beaches on your doorstep, i love it im in manchester thats where he moved from 20 odd years ago and never looked back!!
hi tyrannosaurus how interesting that you saw such a contrast from work and from being with your daughter, ive always thought it must be hard to get much done in school and from what ive seen when volunteering in the school my mum works at it seems to be the case. Early years always seemed to just be running here there and everywhere which is ok for a lot of young kids who want to play i suppose but id worry about my son as he needs constant guidance or he gets destructive.
Even when i was in year 4 they didnt seem to get much work done.
Did you daughter enjoy her day? how old is your dd2?
My daughter - the 8 yr old goth who spent her birthday party under a climbing frame outside while her friends ate her cake, and has had a negative attitude since the day she started school - told us tonight that her first HE day has been "fantastic, amazing and brilliant". DH and I exchanged a look - she NEVER talks like that.
DD2 is 6 - almost 7 - and is doing fantastically well at school, but the head of infants did tell us not to push her to achieve more as she would have to wait for the others to catch up so I do wonder if her days are numbered at schol. She is already feeling a bit sad at going to school alone and knowing the rest of the family are at home (DH is a politician and works largely from home, and I only work 3 mornings a week). It would be much easier for me if they were both HE of course, without school runs etc. but I need to wait until there has been a cooling off period I think. We've said we'll see where we are at Christmas.
We also have DD3 to think about - she is due to start next September. That will be a big decision - I can see DDs 1 and 2 working together at the same level as there is just over a year between them, but she is quite a bit younger. Personally I'm happy to give it a try, but DH has doubts!
DS went to his new music teacher today and I'm really pleased. The distance is not great so I need to get creative about what a 12 year old could learn on a long car journey that a: doesn't make him car sick, b: isn't babyish and c: he doesn't realise he's learning!
In total he spent about one hour combined on Latin homework, maths and Rosetta stone. We're going for the very little but often approach.
Iris 1-My eldest is 6. She mostly enjoys school.
But her performance and worst of all confidence has dropped in year 1 . In some ways feel shes changed so much since nursery maybe feel lost in such big classes miss how personal nursery/preschool was and worried over the years shes not achieving her potential or enjoying school as much i wanted her to.
I love cornwall been on hols there a few times lovley.
I want to do environment project with dd at some point
maybe slight slant for you could be
marine life in sea near you
caves and rockpools
On the education otherwise map its hows devon has high proportion of home educators not so many in cornwall but maybe worth you trying to find local group.
Good luck with it love your tree idea.
would joining him up to clubs help so cubs or sports, swimming so he still gets to socialise as well as few home ed groups.
TyrannosaurusBex - I have 3 too so do sympathise my younger 2 due to start 2014-2015 and dont have clue what to do as think sometimes can be child specific so nothing wrong with 1child at home and 1 in school ect.
re school telling you to hold her back how odd.
I do think schools cater for the masses.
but the ones who struggle
have special needs
gifted and talented
they struggle with.
toffee-one think thats struck me on a few education threads is how unhappy and badly treated kids are at school-it scares me but also brings back bad memories of my schooling as was chatting to old freind about our old comp how unhappy we were. how bullying was bad, favouristm. Looking back it did have effect on mental health it did minewas very depressed with eating disorder but a few from our school did commit suicide.
I agnonised over picking schools for my eldest.
I think i picked a good school one wheres shes safe and not bullied but worry deeply about secondry and worry primary pastoral care good but academically not so good.
No one tells you hoiw hard and stressful being a parent is and educations so important.
On lighter note.
took kids to libary forgetting its shut on a tuesday such a numpty.
havent done much today as house looked like pit of doom and weather was nice so went out.
Popped into 2 charity shops to look at books ended up with big bag of magnetic letters/numbers which think could be useful with 6year old and useful for younger 2 at later date,.
Eldest not looking forward to going back tommorow,
middle dd exited about starting preschool-just 1hour trial tommorow.
despite a few rows this summer been quite easy feel eldests been better behaved, less tired and really interested in things.
will see if head agrees to flexi.
will see how year 2goes.
Do wonder in eldest case if home ed might be better.
But think she would miss her freinds.
Up far too early, thanks to DS2 wanting a cuddle at 5am. At least I can have breakfast and a sneaky browse on MN before the morning rush starts.
DS1's box of work is all packed up for today, ready for him. We'll have a chat about what subjects we'll be doing in the next few weeks, then we are going to take turns reading 'Shadow'. After that, he can do some Science (read one short chapter on living things, then answer questions) and a little handwriting. For Maths, I'm going to let him have a go at a Times Maths CD-Rom I bought, in which you solve maths puzzles to progress through an adventure story. We'll probably just spend an hour and a half on learning, then we are visiting his English tutor to discuss what he'll be studying before Christmas.
After that, DS1's best friend is coming round for the afternoon, as he's still off school. So it will be social skills and 'Minecraft' for the rest of the day .
Tyrannosaurus - that's brilliant that your DD is so positive about her first day of home ed . It's a shame that your next daughter is meant to wait for her peers to catch up though. Surely they should be giving her more stimulating work, not expecting her to hold herself back?
Colleger - glad to hear the first session with the new music teacher went well. What instrument (s) is DS learning? Like you, I am keeping sessions of work short. Home ed is more efficient anyway.
mam - sorry you had such an awful time at school. It's shocking that you and so many of your peers suffered mental-health problems (and tragic about the suicides ).
Sorry you had a wasted trip to the library.
DS2 (6) has just joined me, so that's the end of my morning's peace! I asked him what he's looking forward to about going back to school and he said, "Packed lunch, because you make me lovely lunches, and then after lunch I get to play with my friends" .
Thanks toffee I wasent extreme but looking back lots of people were unhappy and only small %did well there.
I dont know out of my 3 who I worry the most.
eldest is very highly strung drama queen and sensitive to rows and in some situations outgoing but others she gets nervous and is like totally different child.
middle dd-clingy, doesnt share well and it too rough and tumle impatiant but is bright as a button and very girley.
Or baby boy whos mummsy boy-guess I worry lot about him as hes a boy and my dont want him to turn out like my stepson.
well was up early eldest looking smart, ven more grown up and said shes nervous about year 2 and loves being at homer mummy.
middle dd dressed in wellies, bare bottom, vest, peppa pig rucksack waiting by door as she wants to go preschool. she has 1hour 2-3 this afternoon trial and is only doing 3 3hour sessions a week plus lunch club 1 day. Not sure if its idea as she can be nightmare when we leave her at nursery.
I so need to catch up laundry today.
Lovley sunny day here
hubbys day off.
will book apointment in reception with head for next week give me time to type up proposal, agreement and print of positive research.
Have put the magnetic letters and numbers in lare rectangular cake tin which is fab as they stick to lid well spent.
I keep seeing some fab educational stuff but pricey.
so im boiokmarking things i like and trying to do similar for cheaper.
found few ideas on pinterest like
make own teaching clock out of plates!
so wanted to teach her to tell time this summer but not had chance.
Local libary has large laminated educational posters of world, space, times tables 4 for £5!
The works has really cheap crafts/workbooklets.
will keep hitting charity shops and carboots for books as was few non fiction books in there and getting my ancient 52peice encyclopedia set off my mam this was pre interent and very useful to me and my sister its callled joy of knowledge.
Next on my list is what the americans called maths manipulatives/aids so some number/fraction rods, abacus,flashcards as dd struggles with maths shes very visual and practical.
another idea seen on pinterest-yes im addicted.
is using duplo b;ocks with stickers on and writing numbers and maths symbols or letters and words as joined together can work and maybe make it bit more fun.
Also just looking at local areas ideas jump out at me.
sorry about tudor day hopefully hes ready in november as sounds fun.
have a good day everyone.
Today was our first official home ed day and it was good . DS1 and I spent a lovely half hour reading 'Shadow', a new paperback by Michael Morpurgo. Then he did some handwriting practise, interspersed by him telling me how unnecessary it was for him to learn joined-up handwriting . His hand really aches when he writes for long, though, so he had to keep stopping. Rang the OT to chase up his appointment, but it's a long waiting list apparently.
DS then did his first Science lesson and floored me by asking several very bright and unexpected questions, which had me reaching for the encyclopaedias. It made me feel very inadequate, but I reminded myself that I am 'facilitating' his learning, not 'teaching' him!
Started Maths CD-Rom, but then ran out of time. We have been to a meeting with DS's English tutor and he is now enjoying the afternoon with his best friend, who doesn't go back to school till tomorrow.
I hope every day is as good as this one.
mam - at image of your youngest in her wellies with a bare bottom and Peppa Pig top. You have some great ideas for home ed. Your idea of bookmarking educational stuff and then finding it cheaper is an excellent one (I must start curbing my spending on home ed).
Hope everyone else's day is going well.
Just dashing in to say day 1 is going brilliantly! Trampolining was amazing. She bounced for an hour and was really happy. I met some other HE mums who were all nice.
Then we did RE and some English. DD has come up with her own system for checking her work - I didn't even ask her to do that .
I'm just about to leave her on her own in the house (figuring that if she was 14 days older she'd be at high school and walking home alone) while I go to collect DS. I've made up an activity pack for her to do while I'm doing school run.
We'll see how it goes but so far it's great!!
That's fantastic news, Helen!
Am also just off to do the school run, leaving two 12-year olds home alone for a short while (but glued to their computers, so unlikely to be doing anything very adventurous).
Mam at the bare bottom/Welles/vest/peppa pig rucksack combo, DD3 has that outfit too!
Toffee whirl so glad you had fab 1st day sounds really promising start.
I imagine if fully home ed very easy to spend on resources.
Im surprised by clasical mind forum as in ameraica some home ed through charter schools(free schools)get given money as in hundred or over £1000 to buy home ed resources and get to use other facilities too such as online subscriptions.
I also think the american tax system gives a discount for home educators which sounds fair as saving the average la 5000.
seems weird uk people get zilch as at secondry gets even more pricey
I been trying to find some singpaore my pals books cheap but impossible on ebay.
Helena grace so glad your day went well too.
well missed school run this morning
eldest had good 1st day in year 2
but hardly got to speak to teacher on way out.
Also shes made new freind a girl whos moved from another country is in her group and on her table.
Its lovley shes made a new freind but Im guessing the reason shes on this table is too be assessed what level she is as the others on her tables are bottom of class so basically shes on bottom table of her class when shes was on better table last year.
shes says shes skipped a level reading but wont know until friday until new books get sent home.
Im so sorry if come across as pushy mum or petty moo.
I just dont feel confident shes making the progress as school from day 1 this year segregated her to bottom set.
Not sure how much movement there is in the year.
shes not sat next to her freinds.
All the younger ones in her year that were in smaller class during one are higher levels.
I know educations not a race.
I know shes bright and inquisitive I see that at home.
I worry school will use year 2sat results and if she doesnt perform against nc levlels then she be in bottom set again in year 3 and rest of juniors and confidence will fall even further.
she does well with one to one and practical application.
im dubious in class of 30 with 1international student and some velow her who need more help.
one mums already bragging on fb how well her daughters doing.
see this is why i hate school.
anyway went into reception and asked for a appointment with head wed or thur next week.
cue them both looking at each other with curious glances probably thourght not another one leaving!
One has son in dds class and in my opinion one of nicer ones the others remind me of doctors surgery receptionists.
she said she check and ring me but couldent remember my number so gave her hubbys.
I then saw her on way home where she said rang you spoke toi hubby , heads free tommorow but its booked for 11am next thur just me as hubby has baby and toddler in nursery.
So i have a week to prepare which makes me feel bit better.
This weekend will type up proposal and agreement
and print stuff off next week as running feeding group at clinic mon next to libary.
Im bit nervous I dont think he would give me 2days so really should ask for 1 and if goes well push for 2 next year.
im trying to remain positive as feel anxious that i picked the wrong school.
On better note took toddler to trial session at preschool and she seemed to like it trie trest will be when leave her there next week. Its like old fashioned playgroup lots of just play and crafts no phonics or pushing academics too soon hich is why it appeals eldest went there.
Was suppost to join committee tonight but hubby had to go out, baby wont sleep, tea wasent ready and house looks like bombs hit it so will have to pass and help out where I can at later date.
T bex-she loves peppa pig and is nudist round the house keep telling her bare bottoms and wellies not a great look but she likes it.Shes also started calling me mam and possibly sounding welshy and due to school and daddy eldest sounds very west country such an eclectic family I have!
This is a lovely thread, Toffee, thank you for starting something so positive and reassuring .
Can I just quickly say (as I mentioned that DH is a politician) that where we live there are no political parties and he is a very nice normal independent environmentalist. Just in case you thought I might be married to
an evil bastard like George Osborne.
Mam my 3yo has a permanently bare bot too, and is also a fan of wellies. Quite endearing, isn't it? Until MIL shows up, anyway... Try not to get too worked up about seeing Head, I got myself into a right state before seeing Dd's and it all went really well. Quite clever asking for 2 days in the expectation that he'll offer 1!
Glad you like the thread, Tyrannosaurus. I just noticed that there seemed to be a lot of us newbies around at the moment and thought we could help each other. I'm very relieved to hear that you are not married to George Osborne, by the way (for your sake, as much as ours) .
mam - that's great that your eldest had a good first day in school yesterday. My youngest was the same and could hardly be held back from running up to school this morning. It's amazing how my two children can be so different.
Sorry you have concerns about your daughter being placed in the bottom set. I know my son became very demotivated when he was in a group for slow readers (even though he needed to be there!). I discussed it with the teacher and she moved him out of the group. Could you discuss your concerns with your DD's teacher once a couple of weeks have passed? You will probably have a teacher meeting around then anyway. Good that you have a date booked for meeting with the head, by the way.
Was up till 2am this morning preparing for the LEA meeting. The house is not usually this clean and tidy! The meeting went really well and the LEA woman said she has no concerns about DS1's education, but she wants us to make sure he doesn't become isolated from his peers. I told her we are going swimming regularly, where he will meet up with his best friend and any other boys from his former school who happen to be around, and that he is going to a birthday party sleepover this weekend with eight boys. Oh, and also meeting up with several home-educated boys who share similar interests. That seemed to put her mind at rest.
She gave me good advice. She told me not to get too bogged down in teaching textbook stuff, but to concentrate on DS1 having fun and learning to enjoy learning again. She said she didn't need to come back again for a year if I didn't want her to, but as I actually like her input we have arranged that she will come back in December.
Back to earth with a bump after she'd gone though. DS1 decided he would like to do a special project on Minecraft, which would involve him playing Minecraft during the day. I said he can write about Minecraft for his project, but he can only play it after 'school' hours. He has now stormed off.
We haven't been able to do much work today because of the LEA visit, but we did read a couple more chapters of 'Shadow' this morning. I can see DS1 getting more and more interested in it.
Off to try and prise him out of his bedroom now and encourage him to do some work...
Having another good day here. I've been making up activity packs for DD to do while I'm doing DS's school run and they're going well. We've done some English and Maths this morning which I was pleased with. French next (not looking forward to that) then history.
We're meeting up with 2 other families after school. We couldn't have done that before as DD didn't get home until 4.45pm and then had to start half an hour of homework plus reading, spellings, compulsory recorder (my poor ears!) and cello. Not any more though!
It's lovely to see how much happier DD is.
Several teachers at DS's school have asked me how I'm getting on and have offered help and resources.
Feeling very positive here!
That's wonderful that it's still going well for you, Helen, and that your DD is so much happier. How lovely that you are being offered help and resources from your DS's teachers. Hope the meet up with the other families goes well this afternoon.
DS overcame his strop without my intervention. He is still pushing the boundaries though. I suppose we will tussle over that for a while before we settle into a routine.
Today, we read 'Shadow' whilst waiting for the LEA woman's arrival. After she'd gone, DS1 revised what he'd written for Biology yesterday, then worked through today's lesson on life processes. Again, he asked lots of unexpected questions and wouldn't accept anything at face value. This led to lots of debates and unexpected research. It's good to have the time to be able to answer all his questions.
DS tried out a Lett's Science CD-Rom, which I hoped would be a more entertaining guide to Science. It was very disappointing - just tests and textbook pictures.
After that, DS tried out the TES English CD-Rom. This was better, although he was still very sceptical about its value. However, I noticed that, in spite of his complaints, he inadvertantly practised placing commas and speech marks and spelling (if nothing else, he can now spell 'perspiration' ).
Tomorrow is our free day for trips, meet ups, projects, exercise, etc. No plans as yet.
Sorry, didn't see your post toffeewhirl.
DS plays bassoon as his main instrument but sings and tries to play piano...
We have done very little today: ten sums, five minutes on Rosetta Stone French, yawned through an hour of Latin tutorial, piano lesson and now off to orchestra. Basically, I count the sums and Rosetta as the HE as he did all the rest anyway when at school. I really need to stop being so lazy
It was our day for trips today as it was my day off, and already I can see how the boundaries between learning and fun disappear with home ed. We dropped DDs 2 and 3 at school and pre school, went to a boulangerie and ran through all the French phrases DD1 knows, then learned some new ones. Went on to a castle where we hold a season ticket, visited one of the museums and watched a short film about a Roman wreck, which tied in with last term's topic.
This afternoon we went swimming at the beach with dd3 and I got dd1 to swim a certain distance in a proper stroke, then after school pick up we went to the park opposite the school and dd1 played with some of her (former!) classmates. We also whizzed through times tables and phonics, and this evening we had reading.
Back to school for me tomorrow and NOT looking forward to it. I hadn't realised how quickly a yawning chasm would open up between the creativity and spontaneity of home ed and the boredom and time wasting of school.
Helena, how lovely that your dd is so much happier. Mine is too.
Toffee, I am envious of your cordial relationship with LEA, the education authority where we are is hostile toward HE and I am dreading our meeting in a fortnight. Glad yours went so swimmingly!
Mam, don't worry too much about your daughter being in lower set, teachers with a new child in class generally depend on the comments of the previous teacher when deciding where to start them off, and in your Dd's case they don't have recourse to this. It might also be worth checking whether your Dd's set works most often with the form teacher or a TA - sometimes TAs don't immediately inform the teacher that a child needs to move to another set. I've had children placed with me for various subjects who needed to move up or down - I don't have any qualms about pointing this out, and as a result they have switched sets.