Can you successfully HE when, in truth, it wouldn't be your first choice?

(18 Posts)
insanityscratching Thu 25-Jul-13 23:27:36

Dd will be y6 in September, she has ASD is statemented and is very happy and well supported in her exceptionally inclusive primary school.
Dd won't thrive in secondary and I wouldn't win a Tribunal for a specialist school until she fell apart. I can't watch her fall apart and so the only option is HE. I will give it my best shot but for me it would never be my first choice.
So, can reluctant home edders be successful home edders?

exoticfruits Fri 26-Jul-13 07:17:39

Have you discussed it all with her primary school? What do they think?
Is there little choice of secondary?
If there really is no other choice I would find out about HE in your area and see what sort of community it is. You might be pleasantly surprised and if they have a thriving, supportive one then you wouldn't be going it alone. If you are isolated with just you and her I would think it pretty difficult, but groups and others similar would make all the difference. Make some contacts- see what is out there.

streakybacon Fri 26-Jul-13 07:19:44

I think we probably fall into this category.

Ds was deregistered at the beginning of Y5, at a point where I felt we'd gone as far as possible with schools and LA and we had no other alternative. I felt at the time that my priority was to keep his mental health intact and that wasn't going to be possible in the school system so we opted to home educate. Like your daughter, ds also has an ASD diagnosis, as well as ADHD (and other issues we discovered along the way after deregistration that weren't picked up by school), but no statement at the time.

He's 14 now and doing very well, though the effects of harm done to him during his time in school are still evident. He's working on IGCSEs now (has done three already) and we're looking at college options for him, so I guess in that respect we are succeeding at home ed. But like you, it was never my first choice and I fought tooth and claw to get decent support from him in school. In the end I decided he was better off out of school than in it and we just made the best of it.

As an aside, I'm just now in the process of finalising a statement after nearly five years out of school, and it recommends that ds needs specialist intervention to achieve his goals. I mention this as you could set out to home educate then apply for a statement (or EHC plan as it will be soon) which could allow you to get her into specialist school if you still want to. I've come across a few HE parents who've requested statutory assessment specifically for an application to special school, so it's definitely doable.

exoticfruits Fri 26-Jul-13 07:24:37

I would say the heartening thing is that a lot of parents HE because of a similar situation to yours.
They do it for all sorts of reasons but many because they have run out of options. I wouldn't wish to HE but if my child wasn't coping with school,and I had explored all other alternatives, I would do it.

insanityscratching Fri 26-Jul-13 08:24:38

streakyShe has a statement, she's had one in place since she started nursery which gives me the choice of secondaries. But in truth none of the secondaries could give what she needs which would be more of what primary offer small school, quiet and calm atmosphere, teacher chosen to suit her needs, sensitive handling, emotional support etc
exotic her Primary know that I know her best and acknowledge that what they provide isn't how Secondary schools function. They suggest giving it a go and then withdrawing if it doesn't work but if it doesn't work it means that dd will suffer and she will quickly fall apart and I couldn't put her through that. Besides I don't think that's the right mindset tbh if I was to send her it would be because I was confident it would work.
I'm not worried really about the academics even, dd is bright and doesn't take any teaching and would probably just pursue her interests and expand them I think it's more that it's a role that I never saw myself in and I can't quite reconcile myself with it.

insanityscratching Fri 26-Jul-13 08:34:29

I should probably add there are no LA maintained ASD special schools in our LA only generic special schools and dd is too academically able for them (attainment at end of year 11 is generally 4b and dd is above that now) There are 4 enhanced resource places per year 2 of them are attached to a school that has got serious difficulties (HT and SMT and some governors suspended and a lot of rumours as to why) so I wouldn't want her there and to be fair the places go to boys usually with challenging behaviour so not a fit for dd.

streakybacon Fri 26-Jul-13 08:51:45

Sorry, misread your OP as read in a rush. I see your predicament regarding secondary schools. I guess it depends on whether you want to fight for a school outside of your LA (as would be your right) or opt to HE. It doesn't sound as though your dd will get much statutory support either way, unfortunately, unless you're in one of the better LAs for EHE.

exoticfruits Fri 26-Jul-13 08:55:12

I think that finding out about your local HE community is the next step.

CarpeVinum Fri 26-Jul-13 09:00:40

That was me.

My main concern was how I would feel with all the responsibility on me.

And as it turned out, that was the bit I liked the least. I was overly stressed, too much of the time. And it made me snappy and short tempered. It wasn't so bad at first, but certainly towards the end I dropped my filters and had to recognise it wad negatively impacting our relationship, his education and my emotional balance. I'm much happier being the mum who helps with school work via encouragment and pointing in the right direction than I am being the mum who is responsible for his education. Autonomous was never going to be something that floated my boat becuase the more I "just relaxed" as instructed the more I worried that he was going to leave school age at a disadvantage. And it would be All My Fault.

We have been lucky, we tried an Internet based British secondary school last September as a last resort. And it has been the best choice I have ever made. Even if we moved back to the UK or the school system here was transformed for the better overnight I'd stick with them. I cried when I got his school report last Sunday. It was that good. And it was achieved by engaging him, not squashing all the happiness out of him. Proper ploppy tears and eveything. Think the last six years have been harder to bear than I allowed myself to recognise while it was actually happening.

It's incredible the difference it makes when you finally get a good fit for both parent and child. (whatever that particular solution might be: HE, a differnet school, something else). Ever since he started school at six I practically vibrated with stress, by summer I was ready to pop and spent the holiday girding my loins for the next round. This year, with all the stress removed, has been a revelation.

I guess this is what other people call "normal" but it has been life changing for us to fnally have a good fit.

Had it not been an option I would have stuck with HE, allowed myself to discpunt all the advice and tailored it better to what suited him and me rather than my HE community's idea of how you are supposed to do it. Becuase despite the downsides for me, it was still way better than the angst/rage/stress caused by our local school system.

I guess what I am trying to say is, it can't hurt to try if the other options aren't working and you need a solution. But bear in mind we are all individuals, and no matter how great things are going for other parents and kids, there is no shame in changing your mind if it turns out to be not such a great fit for you two. It's not a competition, nothing is one size fits all, and the aim has to be an education that doesn't cost the family their (collective and individual) emotional wellbeing.

And even within HE there is more than one way to skin a cat. Just becuase something is very popular in your HE circles, and works for everybody else is no reason to try and shove you and your child in a round hole if it turns out that you are square pegs. It can be a bit lonlier if you are out synch with the majority that can form your education specific supoort network. But if it starts to feel less like support and more like a barely suppressed raised eyebrow aimed in your direction, then a bit lonely is probably better.

Don't be afriad to have a try, it's not set in stone and not only can you go back to what you did before you may stumble accross other options that suit even better cos HE gives you the breathing space to think, explore and evaluate.

maggi Fri 26-Jul-13 09:02:26

There are many reasons to HE and many ways to do it. Once people start to do it, I have not heard any negative comments from them. There are worries about how much to do, whether to reproduce a school environment, whether to but in a curriculum. But nowhere have I seen a thread saying that the adult or child doesn't like HE. (Of course they could be keeping stum about it)

Once you settle into it you will find it a lovely way of life.

Are you going to have to give up a career?

CarpeVinum Fri 26-Jul-13 09:20:33

Of course they could be keeping stum about it

I didn't say anything other than postitive for a very long time. There can be a concern of ending up under a dogpile, in RL or online, as it can cause denfensiveness. An understandable defensivenss given the already uphill battle many people face becuase of knee jerk prejudice being a known quantaty.

My first murmers of discontent in RL caused an immediate and somewhat out of proportion backlash. I get it. I understand why. I think to some extent it was failry natural that I had a bit of a "turncoat" whiff about me. But it wasn't condusive to me talking about my experience honestly and openly in earshot of HEing parents.

I have no idea if that is a "thing", or was just a wholly unique experience related more to geographical specifics and my personality than educational choice.

cory Sat 27-Jul-13 19:05:12

Well, it's bound to be better than if if were last on your child's list wink

That was been pretty well the case with dd, not that she's ever been officially withdrawn from school but we have had to run some kind of programme of flexi-schooling and I think I can confidently say she has hated every minute of it. But that was because she never wanted to be at home in the first place.

If it's you who's the reluctant one, perhaps you could fake it?

singingmum Sat 27-Jul-13 19:27:59

Look for local groups and try them on to fit if your going to HE. Remember that HE doesn't have to be done in one way. We HE and use a mix of child led and more formal work and that works for us. Groups are there to support not direct you and punish if their ideas don't fit for you so if that's what you feel is happening find another group and try that or just DIY it. We didn't have any contact with other HE'ers with our son and just went with what we felt, now with our dd13 we are running a new group in our area and we believe in supporting the families involved in their choices, helping where needed and making sure that whatever choices they make they feel comfortable in the group.
My son would have been diagnosed in school with mild aspergers but thanks to us HE'ing he now functions well and if not mentioned people don't even know that he was so different when younger.
Whatever choice you make don't stress yourself as children really do want to learn and will and as for stressing about keeping up with the curriculum you don't have to and tbh your child will get a better more rounded one without following the limited curriculum that now exists as they can really learn in depth.
You will sometimes have doubts but in all seriousness I have found that those doubts are done away with as I see my children help other friends who do go to school with knowledge that sometimes I don't know when they picked up lol

Scottishdancer Sat 27-Jul-13 19:48:13

We are in exactly the same situation. Ds has a statement and will be year 6 in September, but he is not happy at school. He is in fact refusing to go at the moment. We have just a tribunal to get him into an independent special school, so for now HE looks like our only option. Just don't know where to start, and want to make sure he still meets children of his own age.

JuliaScurr Sat 27-Jul-13 19:53:30

The only h edders I've known, inc me, were in your position
6th form college is much better for eg Asbergers, apparently

Ineedmorepatience Sat 27-Jul-13 21:03:24

I am also in this situation. My Dd3 doesnt have a statement and it is very unlikely that I would be able to get her one unless she completly falls apart at secondary sad

I am not prepared to let that happen and have already warned DP that I will be giving up work to HE if her mental health begins to suffer as it did at her previous primary.

It is scary though isnt it!!

insanityscratching Sun 28-Jul-13 08:34:47

Ineed ds is at an independent autism specialist school and dd would thrive in somewhere similar but ds is a different kettle of fish and even he had to suffer in an ASD unit before we won at Tribunal.
Dd is so happy in her primary, they are so receptive to her needs that we have no evidence to push for enhanced provision much less specialist provision. I just can't see her fall apart to get what she needs.
Dd loves her school but she's reluctant about secondary (that's without any visits) Dh has surprised me and is fully supportive of me home eding her probably because he saw ds suffer and dd is somewhat more fragile.
I suppose I've just got to get my own head around it. It's good to read though that a fair few home ed because of circumstances rather than it being their lifelong wish.

On the basis of threads about it, I'd say it was probably about a 50/50 split between people who really want to HE and do it from the start (or wished they could), and those who find that circumstances push them into it because the available schools just don't work for their children for a variety of reasons - practicalities, SEN, bullying, stress, whatever.

It feels like a huge step, to get off the conveyor belt that you hop onto with them at age 4 or 5 just because it's the norm. You go along assuming that school will work, or will work if you just adapt to it a bit, or if you put up with the problems, or fight to get what they need, or this or that. To stop short and say "This isn't working. I could do better myself" is a big step, and you do have to get your head around it.

But remember if you try HE and you find it doesn't suit as well as you hoped, you know the school system will still be there, and the place your child didn't take up will still be around, or another at a school that is no worse for them.

You can take it a term at a time, a year at a time, up till GCSE age, up till whenever. Look at it just one mouthful at a time and it won't seem so big and scary.

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