Please go gentle on me as this is my first post - although Ive been a long term reader of these boards. I am after some advice/thoughts really as I am just going round and round in circles in my head!
My son is only 2 but for over a year now it has been my intention to home educate him when the time comes. I have read an awful lot on the subject and it all resonates with me and I see massive benefits of home education over mainstream schooling - in particular the ability to start later, have one-on-one interaction and tailoring to fit my sons personal development/ability.
I have even made contact with my local HE group and we have attended a couple of sessions to keep in touch with them and see what goes on.
However, there is one big thing that is worrying me about this choice and thats mainly because I am a single mum, with no other children, and I am worried about the intense situation I will be creating with it being just the two of us day in day out (for the most part). I am by nature a pretty insular person and I am quite happy being in the house day after day and with my own company. I would of course make the effort for my son to get him out and about and interacting with society/socialising etc, but I fear that my options are fairly limited by the area we live in.
We are in a largish, but rural town and although there is this one HE group they only meet once a week and there is just not much else to do around here. No museums, not many parks, nature trails, etc, not many groups, sports clubs, etc. I just wish there was a bigger, more active HE community with more options really.
I am worried that my son will grow up without many opportunities for socialising with other children as my friends/familys children will all be in school during the week. I am self employed and work from home for most days apart from Saturdays - so that also limits the amount of weekend days Ill have free to socialise with my son and friends children too.
But my options for schools are terrible and moving is not a possibility. My catchment area school and the neighbouring ones are all pretty dire and the better schools are on the other side of town (putting me well out of the catchment area) and oversubscribed. So realistically there is no likelihood of getting a placement at one of them.
We live on the border of two counties and there are some nice village/small town primary schools just over the border which I could apply to, but again I am quite some distance away so not sure how likely we would be of a placement there either.
I am just not sure what to do for the best. I would be happy to start off home educating (especially as out of choice Id rather he didnt go to school until 7+ anyway) but then this would only make matters worse if I decided to try and find him a school later on. And Id worry that he wouldnt fit in if starting at a later date, having never been to school before.
I just wondered if anyone had been in a similar situation or felt they could offer some thoughts/advice for me?
I think that as you are aware of your insular temperament and the need for your son to socialise you are half way there. I second the suggestion of maybe starting a club or a regular activity that you could offer to your local H.ed group. I'm sure your LEA is the same as others I know who make all activities and opportunities to belong to clubs available to H.ed dc too. They would more than likely be quite central to you or if not they usually don't cost much to join. I think you are doing the right thing doing your research though, many who leave school in a hurry are unable to do this.
Thank you everyone. Yes there are football clubs, rugby too I think, beavers/cubs, swimming, and gym classes in the town which he could join. I think though that I am worrying that these sort of things won't be enough when perhaps they will be?
I also like the idea of starting up my own club - which is definitely something I could do as I work for myself and have plenty of free time.
"I would be happy to start off home educating (especially as out of choice Id rather he didnt go to school until 7+ anyway) but then this would only make matters worse if I decided to try and find him a school later on. And Id worry that he wouldnt fit in if starting at a later date, having never been to school before."
I really think you need to look first at what is manageable for you and best for your child while he is young. Just meet his needs now. Worrying about what might happen when he is six, seven or older is overthinking things. Home education (or school) is not a permanent decision. Changing from one to the other is not as difficult as you imagine.
If a child is grounded and has had a happy time in his early years, he will be well placed to adapt to whatever changes life brings his way. The average seven year old will fit in at school without difficulty, regardless of his background.
...which probably leaves you wondering, what if your child is not average? What if your child needs to move about instead of sitting and listening, or dislikes crowds, or objects to being told what to think about all day? If that is the case, he simply isn't going to enjoy school. Sending him at four doesn't change that; it only gives him an early start to being unhappy at school. Why not spare him for a few years if you can, and let him tackle school with a bit more maturity when he might be better able to tolerate it?
My older daughter is a fairly average, adaptable sociable child. I didn't need to send her to school to make her that way. She first went to school aged nine. It wasn't much of an event. I had no worries about her. I'm not sure the other children even realised she hadn't been to school before.
My younger daughter is not average. Keeping her out of school did not cause that. There are things about other children which she doesn't really understand. She has firm opinions about what she will and won't do. She is now beginning to grasp the concepts of the Reception curriculum, two years later than she would have been presented with it if she were at school. If she started school now, at six, I can't imagine she would fit in or be happy. (I rather doubt school ever will suit her.) But if for some reason it became necessary for her to go now, I would not regret having kept her out of school for the previous 2 1/2 years. She has at least had a happy early childhood. What better gift could I have given her than several years with people she loves, playing, learning at her own rate, and being aware of what she can do rather than what she cannot do?
You and your son may or may not enjoy home education. But don't hesitate to give him whatever you feel he needs at four because you are speculating about what he might need when he's seven. It will be five years before you meet your seven year old. You don't even know what he will be like, or what you or your situation will be like. Cross that bridge when you come to it.
Thank you Saracen. Everything in your post makes perfect sense to me! You are spot on that I shouldn't be worrying about the future needs of my son, but simply concentrating on his earliest needs.
I have also done a bit more research into what groups/clubs there are in our town/area and now feel happy that there are plenty of options to keep him occupied and socialising with other children, even if he isn't attending school. I think I was hung up on finding specific home ed activity groups, although I'm not sure why!