My DS is 2.1 so we've still got a few years to go before we absolutely have to make a decision on how to go about education. However, we've already quite firmly decided on HE, at least for the first few years.
Our decision to HE is primarily based on cultural differences between my home country (in Scandinavia) and the UK, where we live. I'm not very familiar with the British school system, but off the outset, I don't like the idea of 4/5-year-olds sitting in class all day, when to me they should be running around enjoying childhood. I don't want to offend anyone (or start a debate about how the Scandinavian model is/isn't suited to the UK), but I personally prefer a much gentler approach to my DS's education and hence the decision to HE.
At the moment, despite my strong urge to ensure that DS has a sound start on his educational path, I've come to realise the stresses it may place on my own career development. While I'm willing to delay my career and 'settle for less' in many ways, I don't want to remain self employed for ever doing a job that has no connection to my educational background. Another issue I've started to wonder about is the fact that my DS is very sociable. Not to say that HE would be best suited to the introverted children, or to the ones that are shy, but I personally had a very positive experience with school growing up, and I would love to offer DS the oppoertunity to experience something similar and to have the kind of shared experiences school friends tend to have.
So I have started to consider flexi schooling as a good option for us. This would offer me the opportunity to work part time and to hopefully find something a but more meaningful to do and have some sort of job-security. Also I was hoping this would give DS the opportunity to hopefully have the best of both worlds, if all goes well in school. Additionally, we had always planned to put DS in school when he is 7/8 and I was a bit worried how he might settle in, when everyone else had already been in school for 3 years. I thought flexi school might be a good way to make sure he didn't feel like an outsider and also make sure he was used to the British school system and educational style, something I have no knowledge of.
I was hoping to hear your thoughts on this plan and of any experiences of flexi school.
Hi there and thanks for your reply. Yes, that's something I intend to do for sure. I'm very conscious of the fact that my limited knowledge of schools in the UK is largely based on what I read and hear in the news (often not very positive) and what my Scandinavian friends tell me (which is also very limited and probably often not very accurate). I very much want DS to feel part of this country and think school is a big part of that experience and that's why I do want him to go at some point.
Don't be too disheartened by what you see on the news, or even what you read on MN - most children in the early parts of primary school are enjoying their childhood. The fact that they start school at 4 or 5 means that schools are used to children that age, and they don't expect the same of them as they might in a country where they start at 7 or 8.
There are pros and cons about flexischooling at a young age, and I think it varies a lot with some children taking to it very well but others being unsettled because it's neither one thing nor the other. It also depends a lot on whether the teacher and head will consider it, so you might want to raise the issue when you look at schools.
I think the best bet is to look at schools and see if you genuinely don't think your DS will be happy there - bearing in mind that it's hard to imagine how they change between 2 and school age!
Hello and thanks for your reply. It's a very valid point about not really being able to imagine what DS might be like when he's 4 or 5. Somehow I hope he will be the type that can take to school easily and settle in well, but it has been a relief to discover that HE is a legally acceptable option.
I also hadn't really thought about the fact, that as children here start school at 4 or 5, the school will be adapted to that. Thanks for pointing that out. Children do go to a type of pre-school in my country, but it is arranged in the kindergarten and only takes a few hours of the day. I think they teach children basic maths and alphabet etc. I'm not quite sure. I wonder if the first few years in school here are something similar..? Do they have break often and playtime? I guess my main concern really would be if school is very formal from early on and big class sizes.
Hi and thanks for sharing your experiences and glad to hear your DD is now happier.
Having read about flexi school on another thread here, I now realise that schools would be required to mark the pupil as absent on the days s/he is being educated at home, which might be one of the reasons they wouldn't be too keen on flexi schooling. I also realised from a teacher's comments on the other thread, why from a primary teacher's point of view, flexi school would not be ideal, as it takes away some of their flexibility to plan the schedule for the rest of the class. So yes, I have realised this is not something that could easily be approved. Then again, we live in London, where many schools are 'over-subscribed' so somehow I'm hoping they wouldn't mind having a pupil attend only a few days in a week.. Don't know how realistic that is though.
I was under the impression that reception is not compulsory anyway, as they're not yet 5 at that stage, so had decided to start school at Y1 anyway, whether HE, school or flexi school. DS is born in the beginning of May, so he'd be around 5.4 when school starts, which I'm hoping is mature enough. If not, I'll just HE until he is ready.