Do you work and if yes, how?(20 Posts)
Have you got room for an au pair? Dh and I work rotating 24 hr shifts and also have an au pair to help for days when we are sleeping in between night shifts or crossing over shifts.
There are many very intelligent and talented young people who might like to help mentor your lad and even swap language lessons together.
Yes, I agree I have only seen the "failures" and I do know families whose teenagers are home alone for a few hours after school and make a sucess of it. I was just pointing out what can happen in even the best families. A good family is no guarantee of a good teenager. I was hoping to provide Kerry Lou with both sides of the arguement as when we are desperate to affect a change out of a terrible situation, we may leap into what seems like a life line without giving the consequences enough thought.
But maggi, while I respect your experience and that of your husband, surely a foster carer and a police officer don't have occasion to see a representative sample of teenagers who are left home alone. You don't meet the young people who are doing perfectly well on their own, only the ones for whom things have gone wrong. I could just as well contrast my own experience of many young people who stay on their own and have not turned into delinquents or been taken into care as a result. I would go so far as to say that the experience of being sometimes on their own has been beneficial to them and has helped them to mature.
I remember a conversation I had with an obstetrician who said he didn't like homebirths because all of the women with whom he'd come into contact after they'd planned a homebirth had run into serious problems giving birth. He had been part of a team which was called out to women whose homebirths were going wrong. He did admit, however, that his own personal experiences had prejudiced his view. On an intellectual level he knew that the vast majority of women gave birth at home safely, but the nature of his job meant he never got to meet them. If he had been a midwife or a doula he might have had a completely different experience of homebirth and a different view.
The idea that young people are hardwired to take excessive risks is not proven. Dr Robert Epstein observes that this behaviour is not universal in all cultures, and theorises that it is actually teens' response to a society which infantilises them by denying them the opportunity to mix freely with adults on a social basis or to take on adult responsibilities such as working, controlling their own education or even taking responsibility for their own personal safety as they feel ready. http://drrobertepstein.com/pdf/Epstein-THE_MYTH_OF_THE_TEEN_BRAIN-Scientific_American_Mind-4-07.pdf
Of course, if you take a young person who has spent all his life being closely supervised and having his every move dictated at school and then suddenly throw him on his own resources for days on end, he may cope well from the outset or he may run wild in accordance with society's expectations of him. It depends on the kid. But if I had a child who was being bullied and had begun to self harm, I'd have more faith in his ability to look after himself than in his ability to survive school any longer.
I agree with Saracen that 9 hours a day alone will quickly become a lonely life. One of the favourite phrases of people who are against home education is "lack of scoialization". True home education has anything but a lack of socialization.
I would always advise against a 13yr old being home alone. They may be adult height but they do not have enough life experience and worse they are at the age when thier minds tell them to take risks. My husband arrests many 13 year olds for shop lifting. When the parents come to collect them, the parents most common phrase is "You were supposed to be at home (alone)". As a foster carer I have looked after children whose history includes being left home alone (amongst other things).
When my children say "but he did it" or "but everyone else does it", I always say "But that doesn't make it right and you should always do the right thing."
Kerry Lou - weigh up the situation carefully before you leap. Home education is wonderful and I'm certain your child will benefit. But being alone for many hours will not help anyones mental health.
I disagree strongly with the idea that a 13 year old shouldn't be left at home alone, or that people should live in fear of Social Services if they choose to do so. The vast majority of schooled 13 year olds go to and from school alone and it is extremely common for them to be in the house unattended for several hours at a time. A parent would only be convicted of neglect if the court finds that it was unreasonable to leave that particular child under the circumstances, that a sensible person would have anticipated that he could well have a serious accident. Anyone can have an accident, even an adult.
With only a few exceptions, all of my 13yo's friends (schooled and HE) are regularly left alone for hours at a time. The exceptions are where there are unusual circumstances, such as the young person having shown particular difficulty coping safely with everyday challenges such as remembering to switch off the grill or being sensible about dealing with people who come to the door.
Having said that, in the long run being alone in the house full-time could be isolating and I think it would be wise to look for ways to get him out of the house and keep him active, and find people to keep him company. In view of your son's extreme distress, if I were you, KerryLou, I'd pull him out of school straight away and then begin to put your mind (and his) to work on how you can keep him happy and prevent loneliness.
You could, for example, have your son spend part of the week with a childminder, relative or family friend. Perhaps you could consider changing your job or your working hours so that you will be with him more. Can he get out under his own steam to the swimming pool, library or shops? Are there volunteer opportunities in the area? Would he like to walk the neighbours' dogs or work on their gardens? Once he's begun to recover somewhat from the bullying, maybe he will want to join an after-school club of some sort.
You'll find that with individual work and no distractions, your son is able to get through his academic work quickly and he will need things to keep him occupied. Unless he loves to be alone, sitting in the house alone all day every day could soon begin to feel like house arrest. It could be OK as a short-term solution to the current crisis - chances are it would still be better than school for him right now - but eventually you'll need to make arrangements which can meet his social and emotional needs more completely.
Kerry Lou - There is no legal age limit for children to be allowed to be home alone. But as SDeuchars says - you are liable if anything happens to him. The nspcc don't recommend leaving under 16's home alone. The Council nor Social Services will approve of the idea. They will approve even less if there is any other reason for thier involvement such as your ds having special needs or if the school has put in a welfare query.
Think about the risk of you being deemed negligent after an accident which then causes social services to think about removing your son. An accident could be as little as a cut needing stitches, which could happen to anyone at any time. It doesn't need a near death accident to set the ball rolling.
There are people out there who are stay at home single parents who home school but their budget is very tight. It may be a choice you have to make for a few years until your son is old enough to stay home or out earning for himself.
Sorry just reread and you said he was already being seen , I'd see what more they can do for you before you make a decision , I have found though that you do have to be quite pushy to get the help you need at times .
kerrylou has he had a referral to CAMHS as that may be a starting point . My daughter is not HE but for medical reasons is out of full time education and lots of the children at the school her tutor is attached to are out of main stream education for reasons similar to your son . As you work full time it may be worth investigating those types of avenue as well . Good luck .
Thank you for your reply SDeuchars. He is 13 years old.
Meant to say: That is regardless of HE or whatever - home education does not change it (except that he is likely to be on his own for longer).
How old is he, KerryLou72?
The basic rule is that if you think he is old enough to be on his own, then that it is up to you (but if something bad happens, you are responsible for it).
I am new to this site so I apologise if i am doing anything wrong. I am considering HE my DS. The only problem is that i work full time and i am a single parent and so cannot afford to give up work. Do i need to prove to anyone that i am at home with him all the time as i know that i could leave him the work and he would get on with it and then we could discuss things in an evening or weekends. I am at my wits end now. My DS is being bullied at school and he hates going, to the point where he is now under the Mental Health Team because of concerns about self harming and he cries before going to school. It breaks my heart sending him and i just want to make life better for him. Ive had plenty of people saying that i will be doing the wrong thing but i really dont know what else to do. The school have been informed but he is just going down hill and nothing seems to be improving.
I work 2 weekday mornings and 1 weekday evening when my DH is working from home. He is pretty much tied up with conference calls and emails but DDs who are 8 and 9 are really good at managing their own time, reading, playing, occupying themselves and hardly bother him. I get a snack and packed lunch ready for them and they just sort themselves out! DH is available if needed but they hardly bother him. Started doing this a year ago, don't think it could've worked if they were any younger. I also work saturday mornings.
I work 2 days a week and DH works compressed hours (so 5 days work in 4). This leaves us with 1 day a week to cover, for which we have someone come in. She is fab and does a lot of the ironing as well, which is a bonus!! However, my DCs are older so need less input as they tend to get on with their work (more or less ). Our previous nanny was great at crafts, which was really useful when they were smaller.
I work two evenings when my dh is home and have a nanny for one day and work then too- childminder not really an option for us due to my son's behaviour. I am not sure if I will make much more money than covering the nanny TBH but if I stop working I will lose my professional registration and will not be able to do more later. HE has required a major change of career plan for me.
I started out burning the candle at both ends by working (from home) when my child was asleep but that was quite exhausting. Childminders were a better solution for us. I used HE childminders so my daughter didn't have to get hauled out on school/nursery runs, and she also got to play with older children; in fact the daughter of one of the CMs became her best friend.
Don't forget that depending on your family's income, you are likely to be eligible for the childcare element of Tax Credits. This could reduce your childcare costs considerably.
When mine were small I childminded. I also worked from home for 2.5 days per week proofreading and copyediting. I worked early mornings, late nights and weekends for years.
I'm a childminder working from home and spending my days educating other people's children, so it was easy to add my ds to the mix. Which means I work at something I love and I HE my own ds with ease, in and around my working hours.
I would also be happy to childmind older, home educated children. Whilst it is not in the remit of a childminder to educate school age children, (officially) any HE children would get a gentle education about life from me with parents doing the formal curriculums if they wanted. But using a childminder would obviously come at a cost to the parent (£3 to £4 per hour).
FYI If you thought about childminding yourself - it takes about 6 months to get qualified - you have set up costs - you then rely on business coming to you - hours are long (mine are 50+ with kids here, plus training, cleaning and PAPERWORK, oh and looking after my own family) - pay is aprox £16,000pa for that 50(more like 60) hour week - house looks like a nursery. Your 3yr old would mean you could only have 2 paying full timers so your potential earnings are lower.
After reading John Holt and lots of HE blogs, I am becoming more and more open to the idea of HE - at least for a few years.
I am just wondering how those of you whose partner either does not earn or not enough manage it? Do you have a nanny some part of the day? Or do you work in the evenings? Who takes care of your children when you work?
I can imagine it when they are older and one could work while they do their own thing, but i am curious how it could be done with two young kids, say if they were 5 and 3. It's the main thing stopping me.
Would love to hear how HE families manage it. Thanks.
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