How long to 'unschool'

(15 Posts)
Emochild Mon 12-Oct-15 09:44:34

I've made the decision to homeschool my 13 year old

School has broken her so my priority at the moment is to rebuild her emotionally

I understand that this will take time but i'm conscious that her friends are starting their gcse courses

I've made peace with the fact that she probably won't do any gcses at the right time as dictated by school but I don't know how long to leave her to her own devices

She's always been a bookworm and is still reading but that's all she is doing

At what point do I approach qualifications with her or do I leave it up to her to tell me?

Lweji Mon 12-Oct-15 09:46:15

How was she broken? What were the issues?

Emochild Mon 12-Oct-15 11:02:32

Issues included bullying (and victim blaming)
Setting ridiculously high expectations on her
She felt they only saw her as a brain and not a person
Being pushed into taking subjects she didn't want as she was capable so she 'should'

She's been unhappy at school for the last 2 years, I realised that, looked to the school to help and was told she was just growing up and becoming a teenager

I should have trusted my instincts earlier and potentially changed schools -that ship has sailed now as she has severe anxiety and couldn't walk into another school at this point

Lweji Mon 12-Oct-15 12:12:14

I think I'd start looking at what subjects she is interested in and start working on those. Not book work, but in the spirit of homeschooling, start reading, going to relevant places, watching material, etc.

Have you acquainted yourself with methods of homeschooling?

Duggee Mon 12-Oct-15 12:13:57

There's a Facebook group called uk unschooling or unschooling uk, I can't remember which way round it is! Really helpful people and lots of information.

AndNowItsSeven Mon 12-Oct-15 12:14:20

13 is year nine though, it's not until year ten that the real preparation for GCSE's starts.

futureme Mon 12-Oct-15 12:22:50

Some schools do gcses over 3 years instead of 2.

Emochild Mon 12-Oct-15 12:33:05

Lweji i'm still researching

I'm happy for her to be autonomous to a point but don't want her to get to 18 with no qualifications and no options

Stompylongnose Mon 12-Oct-15 12:33:48

Does she have a favourite subject and what sort of books does she read?
If reading is pleasurable for her I'd get her to read a favourite subject book(s) and use that to study a topic to ease her into things and build some confidence.

NewLife4Me Mon 12-Oct-15 12:33:59

Hello OP.

So sorry your dd has been through so much.
I agree with those who'll say take your time and not doing anything book related for a while and let her decide when she is ready.
The joy of H.ed is that you don't have to do things like school, so if your dd wanted to wait until year 11 to take half a dozen GCSE's then that is fine and also 2 years away yet.
Schools have to start them early due to how the system works, and only offer a fraction of the subjects available at GCSE. Give her time and she'll have the choice of exactly which ones she wants to do.

It sounds like she needs to recover from her ordeal poor child and it can only get better for her from now on.

Best wishes and good luck.

Emochild Mon 12-Oct-15 14:09:26

She likes Victorian fiction and also history

I'm keeping her going with the library but its all for 'relaxation' at the moment

Nigglenaggle Mon 12-Oct-15 21:27:15

Someone more knowledgeable will doubtless be along soon, but it's standard I think to allow a months 'deschooling' for every year your child has been in school, ie they please themselves and don't do anything resembling formal school work. If you feel twitchy during this period, you could use it to research local home ed groups and GCSE options (in our area there are specific separate Facebook groups where parents gather to arrange GCSE tuition/learning and exams, but my children aren't at this stage yet so have limited knowledge). As others have said, you have a year yet before you need to think seriously about it, even if she were to take them at the standard time. With home ed, you also have no need to safeguard the schools reputation, so she also only need take the number of GCSEs that she needs/wants to rather than as many as possible to bolster league tables, so there's the potential to go at a slower pace and do other interesting stuff too. I hope she feels better soon xx

Saracen Tue 13-Oct-15 02:07:45

"I'm happy for her to be autonomous to a point but don't want her to get to 18 with no qualifications and no options"

She won't. Provided she is happy and healthy, it is very very hard to imagine any scenario which leaves her without any qualifications and without any options in five years' time.

Without qualifications at 18, yes, it's entirely possible that that could happen. But how could she be without options? This idea that young people must achieve certain things before it is Too Late is an artefact of the school system. Elsewhere it hardly exists.

Let's look ahead to the morning of her 18th birthday. She has spent the previous five years relaxing, reading sometimes widely and sometimes deeply, and generally feeding her brain according to its particular hunger. She's done some voluntary work at the library and had a Saturday job at the corner shop, as well as helping around the house. She has some friends and some hobbies. She feels good about herself. She knows she is a capable person, and she knows she is loved. But she hasn't been near a proper textbook for years, she doesn't know how to write an essay, and she hasn't a clue about the content of the maths GCSE.

Now suppose this morning she realises that her life's ambition is to be a surgeon. Is she without options? Has she painted herself into a corner by frittering away her teenage years, abetted by her misguided feckless mum who thought it more important to let her recover her happiness than to "keep her options open" by getting a decent handful of exam results at a respectable age?

Of course not. Why would it be to late to do what she wants to do? It's no harder for an 18 year old to do IGCSEs from home than a 15 year old. In fact, it's a good deal easier if by waiting until 18 she has found her own motivation and focus.

One great thing about learning independently is that there's no such thing as too late or impossible. Kids don't have to contend with any nonsense about "we don't offer that to your year group", "we won't let you undertake this A level because your predicted grades aren't good enough", "the timetable doesn't allow that combination of subjects", "you can't join that course now because everyone else is too far ahead of you and you won't manage to catch up". And they don't feel daunted either, as they've seen older home educated kids do these things at unconventional ages. Sure, there are practical considerations and financial issues and plenty of hard work needed to achieve goals, but there are no insurmountable obstacles.

You've let go of some of the urgency already, in recognising that it may not be possible or desirable for your daughter to do the number of GCSEs that a school would have liked her to do, at the age which a school would think proper. 13 is young. Go off and do some surreptitious research if you like, surreptitious because at this moment your daughter needs complete freedom from contemplating exams even as a tiny dot on the horizon. Join home ed email lists and talk to other parents of teens to see what they are doing and how they are doing it. But try not to let her hear you gathering this information. She's only just escaped from all that.

I think you will find that as time goes by, your fears for your daughter's future will recede and recede until you actually feel comfortable with the idea of waiting as long as it takes for her to move forward in life.

Emochild Tue 13-Oct-15 06:46:33

I know age isn't a barrier (i'm doing a degree now and i'm 37)

But financial considerations are unfortunately and I know I will not be able to support her financially indefinitely

Not that she knows that but it is something I worry about

Nigglenaggle Tue 13-Oct-15 09:05:09

When she is older though Emo she may be able to work part time to help support herself and study for the qualifications she wants, or she may choose a practical qualification with some pay during training.

I don't want to say 'don't think about it' because I think it's good to keep an eye to the future but try not to worry, there is plenty of time.

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