Home ED the first few years and then school

(12 Posts)
Fazerina Tue 29-Jan-13 01:06:48

I realise this has propably been asked before so sorry if it's repetitive..

My DS is 20 months so obviously this is not really relevant yet, but I'm already thinking ahead a few years. So basically, where I'm from (Scandinavia) children don't start formal school until they are 7 and I'm frankly horrified by the long days 4-year-olds do in school here in the UK and would not want that for DS. So I've been thinking to home educate him until he's 7 and then put him to a regular school.

I was just wondering if this is really doable in terms of bonding with the other kids in school etc. I suppose by then they would have pretty much clicked and formed friendships and I wouldn't want DS to feel like an alien. Also I was wondering, if I was to go ahead with the home ed, should I roughly follow the national curriculum just so DS could jump in easier when he joins regular school? I had initially thought to follow the curriculum from my home country, but then realised it's aimed at children much older than DS at 4, so decided it's propably not the best thing to do. Although, in my country, the first year or so is relatively easy and the school days are only roughly 4 hours long of which propably only 2.5 hours are spent in the classroom, so I suppose similar to the reception class here.

Another thing I was wondering about were after school classes. Would these be available for DS even if he was home educated? I was thinking that along with hobbies would be a good way to make sure he has friends and social exposure.

I would appreciate any thoughts and experiences.

Fazerina Tue 29-Jan-13 01:10:02

Wou, probably grin! I suppose I'd have to get someone else to teach English to DSsmile!

5madthings Tue 29-Jan-13 01:21:26

I did this with ds1 and ds2, its late now so marking my place to come back in the morning smile

maggi Tue 29-Jan-13 01:31:08

I've read that other people do this so hopefully one of those will be along soon.

In the meantime, having seen a few schools in reception year, they spent nearly the whole time in the classroom environment. A couple of times a week they got to use the outside classroom. Some time was taken up with assembly and some with PE but generally they were stuck in thier rooms. There is a move towards more outdoor play but it depends on the facilities at the schools - and the weather, some teachers were real hothouse flowers!

I'm not completely against schools - my boys went but I wish I had been able to home school back then.

Some school clubs allow "outsiders" to join when the club is run by a third party. But usually the ones that the teachers organize are just for the pupils and many clubs have waiting lists to get in which will obviously go to pupils first. However there are plenty of clubs that are not on school sites which you have equal access to. Doubt you will find any free ones but some are really good value like beavers(scouts). Check with your local children's information service (each town has it's own name for this) as they will have comprehensive lists of what's available.

It is usual, in towns at least, for 1 or 2 children to leave and join a year group each year so class children are used to welcoming new children and the newbies quickly become part of the group. (I was going to write 'assimilate to the group' but that made it sound a lot like the Borg on Star Trek who suck in all civilizations and make them mindless drones. But I had second thoughts.)

catnipkitty Tue 29-Jan-13 08:13:18

Hello!
I don't have direct experience of what you're planning to do (we've done it the other way around and took DCs out at junior level smile ) but in theory there's no reason why you couldn't so this. In my DCs school they had an infant school that was linked to a junior school but not part of the same school so there was quite a lot of changing of children as they moved from yr 2 to 3 - some moved to other juniors, other children came in to the school from elsewhere, and we're in a south london suburb where all the schools are oversubscribed. There was always movement of children to and from the school in all the years actually, and one thing the school was actually good at was making sure new children were included and felt welcome. I suppose this depends also on your own child and how he'd settle in to that environment.

On the subject of the NC i would think that you would need to stick roughly to it.

However ;) I suspect that after a few years of HEd you'll not be too impressed with the restrictions of the NC and all the other things that come along with going to school and you'll choose to carry on HEd 9though of course I could be wrong...!)

C x

catnipkitty Tue 29-Jan-13 08:14:31

Oh, and yes my DDs go to various after school clubs - not ones attached to the schools but things like gymnastics etc.
x

Saracen Tue 29-Jan-13 23:09:28

Hi Fazerina,

I'm foreign also and share your concerns about full-time school for four-year-olds. This was the main thing that got me interested in home education in the first place. I intended to use HE as a way to delay my older daughter's school start until an age which I considered to be more suitable for her. It was only going to be for a few years. However, we soon got to know many families whose older children were clearly thriving without school, and my daughter loved home education, so there never did seem any reason to send her to school!

Like some of her friends who had been home educated from the start, there came a time when she wanted to try school to see what it was like and find out whether she really was missing out on a good thing by not going. Based on her experience and that of her friends, I feel that people are being unduly alarmist about this "fixed friendship groups" malarkey. They predict it will be hard for a child to join school at a different time from the other children. I am sure it could be possible to feel left out, but I doubt it is usual. Come to think of it, parents of schoolchildren seem to complain of just the opposite: they say their children's friends can be all too changeable and that there is constant jockeying over who is going to be friends with whom. My dd found that everyone was curious about the "new girl" and wanted her for a friend. She was a welcome novelty in their usual routine. She brought new subjects of conversation, new games and songs and jokes.

You also hear people imply (politely) that home education will turn children into such oddballs that they will be shunned by the "normal" school-going majority. Judging from the hundreds of home educated children I've known, I don't think being home educated does make children into oddballs. They do the same things as other children, watch TV, play, read books, see friends... they just don't go to school, that's all! My older daughter is a pretty typical kid, and I'm not sure that her classmates even realised she was home educated. (My younger child is a much more quirky individual who stands out in a crowd, but going to school would not have "fixed" that - not that I want it fixed!)

So yes, I think delaying school start for a few years is a perfectly viable thing to do.

As for what to learn, I don't think your son needs to know any particular information before starting school. The only exception is that I imagine it could be hard for a child to start school aged 7+ without having much grasp of reading. Like many HE kids, neither of my daughters was much interested in learning to read at an early age and so I didn't force them. At school it is different. There is an overwhelming emphasis on reading; it almost seems the litmus test of successful education. I think if either of my girls had joined school aged seven and unable to read they would have been pathologised by the school. It would have affected their self-esteem, the teacher's perception of their intelligence, and their ability to complete coursework in most other subjects.

Because of this, I suppose if you are planning definitely to send a child to school at seven it could make sense to encourage him towards early reading even if he is not keen. Alternatively, if you are able to be flexible about exactly when your child starts school, you could afford to be more laid-back about the reading. Just wait until his reading has developed before sending him to school. This is what I did. I quietly discouraged my dd from trying school until she had been a fluent reader for a year, so she went in Y5.

Fazerina Wed 30-Jan-13 00:55:10

Evening all and thank you so much for your replies, I hadn't expected so much feedback already! And sorry for my late reply: this is really the only time I have to come on MN, as I normally finish work around this time..

Wau, where to start.. First off, I'm sorry if I'm not able to comment on each post individually. I'm on my phone in bed and it's not good for going up and down the thread IYSWIM.. But I was encouraged to see that you all felt home educating your children had no impact on their social lives. Personally, I had thought that this would be quite neately sorted with the afterschool clubs etc. So good to hear there are still lots of activities to arrange where DS could make friends.

I think it's still a bit hard for me to imagine life when DS is a bit older and to come to think of many things and it's interesting to get an insight to life with older kids and how they have taken to home ed. Another thing I find a bit difficult, is that I'm quite unfamiliar with the school system in the UK and what children are expected to have learned at any given age. It may be a cultural difference, but I find it difficult to grasp how any 4-year-old (or even 5-6-year-old) could be expected to sit in class for 6 hours 5 days a week. I also wonder how much of the information they are being fed actually sinks in at that age. This is why I am hoping that if DS starts in a regular school at 7, he will be able to catch up quite quickly, as he will surely be more mature than a 4-year-old..

The reason I'm thinking to put him and any other child we (hopefully) will have to school at a later stage is because I don't see myself not working for several years. My plan was to put any career prospects on hold for the sake of securing a good start in education for DS and then when he's a bit older to go back to a more meaningful job hopefully. To that effect I had planned to get an evening admin-type job for the time I would home educate DS and then move on when the time comes. Of course, this would mean that I would effectively be working 24/7 on weekdays and it does give me a pause.. I was wondering whether some of you still manage to work and how you are able to combine that with home ed? I currently work from home, but it's not a job I would like to do for several years to come..

Saracen Wed 30-Jan-13 09:33:21

Hi Fazerina, I'm glad you are finding it helpful!

Home ed definitely did have an effect on my dd's social life - a very positive one!! For one thing, there was more time to play. People say that Reception, at least, is "play-based". But that doesn't mean the kids can play what they want when they want for as long as they want to do it. My dd and her friends used to play games of make-believe that lasted all day. I somehow can't see a teacher being able to allow that at school!

For another thing, she didn't like being very crowded. She usually wanted to play with one or two or three friends. Twenty or thirty makes for a very different social environment, one in which you can find yourself alone when you want friends or pestered when you want to be alone, friendships are conducted under the spotlight of public approval, competition for friends can cause unkind behaviour and peer pressure, and conflicts with friends are often avoided by swapping to someone else rather than working through the issue properly. I like going to a party from time to time, but it isn't like relaxing with one or two friends!

Finally, my daughter had more choice of friends outside of school. At four she preferred older children. At nine she mostly played with friends who were younger than herself. At eleven she had boys as her closest friends. Now at thirteen she mostly associates with girls a few years older than she is, though at this moment she is off playing with a ten year old and a six year old! At school, even if it had been physically possible to have friends of different ages and genders, those choices would have been frowned on by peers. I think the opportunity to take on different roles in this way rather than always playing with "equals" has been very positive. And of course she isn't spending most of her day with the same 30 children so there is more choice in friends, and she can find someone whose company she really likes.

Fazerina Sat 02-Feb-13 21:43:09

Evening again and thank you again for taking the time to reply. I was a bit busy trying to push in as much work as possible before the end of the month so haven't been able to come on here.

Interesting points Saracen about the social aspects of home ed. I think you are absolutely right about the danger of the child ending up alone in a crowd of 30 children. I do think boys tend to be a little bit more adept to being in a crowd from early on, whereas girls like to have only a few good friends to play with, but I might be wrong. And in any case, it's difficult to really know what my 20-month-old will be like when he's 4 and as you mention, they propably change all the time.

I myself had a very good experience of school as a young child and I would love to be able to offer the same for my son. Then again, I was 7 when I started school and in a different country.

I was still hoping to hear of any experiences regarding working and home educating your child/ren. Have you been able to work or did you decide to not work anymore in order to educate your child/ren?

OddBoots Sat 02-Feb-13 21:49:53

I did this with ds (my eldest), he was 7 when he went to school but I didn't have an age in mind, it was just a case of when he was ready and when he was secure in himself, that just happened to be when he was 7. It worked really well for him, he is a happy 13-year-old geek, but his experience can't really measure with others as he has ASD so he's a quirky chap anyway.

I didn't do this with dd as she had a totally different personality, I don't think one system suits everyone, you just have to go with how you feel about your own children.

SDeuchars Sun 03-Feb-13 15:18:08

Fazerina, I worked throughout HEing my two DC. I was fortunate in being able to work PT from home as a copy-editor, so could work early in the morning or late at night and on weekends. I did activities with the DC during the day. It was a hard slog (I was sole breadwinner) but we got through it.

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