DH wants to home school - I'm not sure

(14 Posts)
RedCrab Tue 01-Nov-16 17:41:41

Please could you tell me your positive/ active reasons for choosing to HE? (As oppose to reactionary because of problems at school.)

Ds is four. He'll be going to school next autumn. I'm really on board with all the debunking of myths around HE academically and socially but Ive really no idea why you'd choose to. I think I'm also worried about what to say/ how to explain to people.

We went to see a school today. It was lovely and DH really liked it. But it basically just confirmed in his mind that of you can and choose to HE, is so beneficial for the child. He described it as recognising the school doing a wonderful job within great restrictions - governmental pressure on results, schools needing to make children conform/sit still and quietly because they have to operate that way. His reasons for wanting to HE is that wants to offer a different experience to DS - to keep his freedom and ability to learn through play as much as possible and for as long as possible, to give him freedom in a physical sense - learning how to learn whilst not being confined to a chair (we've both read a lot on how children learn when being able to stand or move - not jumping up and down but just standing or sitting on the floor or whatsver). DH has suggested HE until secondary. I feel really unsure. Though I think this is based on stupidly caring what people think, I need to figure out my own reasons for doing it.

DS is happy and sociable and loves pre school. We have a toddler and a baby on the way. But we're lucky in that DH is self employed and we're moving his business to a model where he can earn more for less physical work. He tends to see his clients in the evening and weekends and he's suggested taking on the majority of HE while I look after toddler and new baby.

How does it work for you at that age? What groups do you do? Do you still go to playgroups or did you need to find age appropriate groups and if so, how? And mainly - why did you actively choose to HE?

BeattieBowRisenFromTheDead Tue 01-Nov-16 17:42:42

Is your DH going to do it?

BeattieBowRisenFromTheDead Tue 01-Nov-16 17:44:18

Sorry, reading challenged here blush

Well if he can and will, let him go for it I guess.

PotteringAlong Tue 01-Nov-16 17:44:40

Does your DH have any concrete reasons for wanting to HE?

You could flexi-school (if the primary will allow it) at first to see?

ommmward Tue 01-Nov-16 17:54:53

It really sounds as if you are worried about what people will think... you'll find that, if you DO take the plunge, you'll meet a whole community of people who think HE is normal and a perfectly valid alternative to school (you'll find rabid school haters too, just as you'd find rabid HE haters at the school gate). You can start now - find out what the local meets are that are for all ages. 4 years old is perfectly normal for people to be joining the HE networks. That will also give you a sense of whether there are people who you click with and can imagine developing friendships or aquaintanceships with.

It sounds like your DH has really thought it through.

Important caveat: schools are still going to be there. If you do a year and feel like it's time for school now, you can send your children to school. You can try it out without committing to ten years of it!

How does it work for you at that age? What groups do you do? Do you still go to playgroups or did you need to find age appropriate groups and if so, how?

We were mostly doing playdates and trips out at that age IIRC. Lots of people I know join in with all sorts of community HE events, groups, meet ups, activities with children aged around 4. You can still do pre-school, probably for the whole of the "reception" academic year, if you want. Lots of people I know send their child to forest school (or take them and stay) a morning or two a week, which does that long term community building that some children thrive on. You'll find your local HE network on facebook - it'll be a closed group, so you'll need to ask to join it, and then keep an eye on your filtered messages, becuase usually the admins ask you to confirm that you are bona fide before they let you in.

And mainly - why did you actively choose to HE?

All sorts of reasons. Children learning well already, but self-directed rather than on adult timetable or curriculum; not feeling comfortable with adult:child ratios in school; it being possible to fit around the family finances and culture; cheap term time holidays; being able to go to museums, zoos, local attractions when they are really really quiet, and properly squeezing the marrow out of what they have to offer; teaching the children through modelling and kind of apprenticeship about how to cook, shop for groceries, look after their living space etc etc - which of course children in school do as well, but we could focus on life skills as the priority at points when those were what the child seemed ready and eager to learn.

claraschu Tue 01-Nov-16 18:01:08

You don't have to decide the whole future now. One of my homeschooling friends said that all 3 of her children wanted to go to school when they were 9 or 10, so they all tried school at that point. She felt like this just happened naturally as they became more aware of the outside world.

They then went on to do different combinations of school and HE as they got older.

You can change your mind at any point, is what I am trying to say.

RedCrab Tue 01-Nov-16 18:40:56

Thank you so much for all your replies!

I'm in a weird paradox because I see how beneficial it is...I just don't think I activdly want to do it. But if I am being very frank, that is because I have been at home with DS since the day he was born. I have a toddler and a baby on the way. I was looking forward to school to take on the responsibility not just of his education but also basically to have a bit of time and space. I think if we were honest, this is one of the huge positives of school. Everyone I know jokes about being relieved when they go to school.

So I've made it very clear I don't think I want to actually do it though I'm not opposed to the idea. DH is very passionate about it and has outlined how much he can do. He has suggested he has time alone in the day with DS to HE while I am with toddler and baby doing what we'd normally be doing. But he will also need time for his business so I suspect if we agree to do this, I have to expect some of it will also be on me in terms of groups and "field trips"?

Can you bring younger children to groups? We also love the idea of forest school but not sure how to find a pre school style one for his age - 4-5 years.

Basically my position right now is that it seems like a wonderful thing to do for your child but I don't feel capable of doing it, and I'm worried about too much burden on DH in terms of him being the breadwinner AND HE DS. He swears it'll be fine but I need to make sure this approach is for the good of all of us.

We are lucky in the sense that we are very flexible with each other. We have loosely defined roles - I am a SAHM and he is the main earner. But self employment brings so much flexibility, the reality is we swap back and forth whenever we need to - I do a lot of work for his business (web and digital marketing) and I have a few clients of my own, and he is around a lot for taking over the children. We basically tag each other back in and out of whatever needs doing outside of his set times with clients and teaching. Because of this, we are used to a certain level of busyness and workload and always being active. For example a typical day for me is full day with children and then doing client work in the evening while they sleep. So the "workload" of HE doesn't phase us. I just want to figure out my own reasons to agree, I guess.

cansu Tue 01-Nov-16 18:50:00

I actually think your reasons for not doing it are pretty good. Yes your dh says he wants to do most of it but in reality will it mean that you will essentially have your ds to take along to groups etc as it just works out that way. I would think hard about this. Whilst it may sound lovely in theory, your ds may get a lot out of going to school and it will give you some time to concentrate on your other two. Plus what will happen when the next child reaches school age, will they join in? How will this work when or if your dh isn't around as much or has to work? I can see this so easily becoming your responsibility and it could mean that you are a SAHM with no free time for many years to come. Be careful.

foursillybeans Tue 01-Nov-16 19:00:54

I know a lot of people who have done this. Their children are now in their 20s. They are without exception amazing individuals. They are well educated and socially inclusive to anyone they meet. They don't see the same boundaries that most people do and are achieving great things. One at college in the abroad, one is traveling, one has started a successful tech company, one works with their parent and one is at university and teaches part time, plus more. They are just so well grounded and secure individuals. They fit perfectly well in the general society but don't confine themselves to the same boundaries as most of us limit ourselves too.
I genuinely feel I have made a mistake not home educating my own children. I see the problems that my own DC are struggling with at school and they are due to the constrictions of our education environment within our schools. They are not academic problems but unnecessary restrictions and issues like bullying holding them back. I would turn back the clock if I could and HE. It is all consuming and it is a lifestyle decision and you would need to throw yourself in 100% but I am sure you have realised this based on your OP. Good luck with your decision. Be courageous in your choice OP.

ommmward Tue 01-Nov-16 19:03:45

once you get yourself on your local HE facebook groups, you can just ask what HE forest schools there are. Some of the ones near us cater for children right down to babies (well, toddlers realistically, but sometimes babes in arms go along for the ride). Some do a drop off (going rate is something like £20 for about 4-5 hours for drop off I think), others do stay and play. Seriously, it's about to be one of those pyramid schemes where EVERYONE has trained to be a forest school leader but there aren't enough clients for everyone to run a forest school. They are springing up like mushrooms!

I'm the main breadwinner and also do all of the social stuff related to HE - trips, groups, playdates etc (about 5 hours a day most days, then I work flexitime a full day's work). So I'd be the equivalent of your Dh in that scenario. You are already used to tag teaming, so I can imagine it working. Just be ready to revisit the family rhythms every few months as the baby grows - you know how it is when you get into a pattern that works beautifully and then suddenly it doesn't as the children's needs shift, and you have to re-adjust. But that's about family life not specifically HE. it's just that it's more noticeable with HE and flexi working, because you can shift timings around so everyone really flourishes.

One thing to note is that home ed groups can be very female spaces (in terms of the adults). We have more like 20%-40% men in the groups we go to; your Dh might just need to brace himself for being the only dad in some groups (or actively seeking out other HE men smile )

RedCrab Wed 02-Nov-16 07:27:45

Thanks so much both. We've been discussing it and DH completely understands my concerns (panic) that I'll be stuck with doing it and have a school age child at home along with toddler and baby. We're going to take a practical look at the business and what hours he can reasonably offer in the day, and what DS's day will look like. I will still be the main parent for the "wraparound" parenting - morning/ late afternoon/ bedtime just as I would if DS was going to school. DH has always worked evenings and weekends so me doing solo dinner and bedtime is usual for us.

We've been moving the business into a workshops model recently - which is more lucrative for less actual time teaching but they do require a lot of marketing. Essentially DH's suggestion is he HE's DS in the morning/ lunchtime and then we (hopefully) find groups to send DS to - possibly/ hopefully one he can be dropped off at as we were reading about the benefits of children his age on socialising without the parent present. I've certainly seen DS flourish in pre school environment in this sense. Does three groups a week sound reasonable? I will be doing the usual playgroups for toddler DD and new baby and DD will go to pre school in the morning when she's 2.5.

Still so much to work out and learn about. I just want to start looking at it practically - essentially what his day will be like. Funnily enough I am much less concerned with the actual learning side of things.

Can I ask how you actually teach them though? Do you follow a curriculum or are you more unschooling in your approach?

Saracen Wed 02-Nov-16 08:49:47

You and your dh seem to be having very productive discussions about this, thinking about how it might look for your family, identifying motivations and possible challenges and looking at ways to tackle those. I feel sure that you'll find the right way forward for your family, whatever that might be.

Of course, there is a limit to how much you can plan it. Home education is a bit like parenting in that respect: you'll have ideas, but it's hard to know how it will REALLY pan out until you are doing it. Fortunately, as others have mentioned, you don't have to make a massive commitment to it. It is quite possible to try it for a year or so and see how you get on. You may then find that you like home ed and you can address any difficulties. Or you may decide that school would be better. (Ignore people with no HE experience who may predict that a child who starts school after the age of four will have massive problems. It is not such a big deal to move into or out of school.) You might find that you end up home educating one or two of your kids while one or two go to school. There are many possibilities. As you are unsure how all this might work out, I'd encourage you to ask not "Do we want to home educate all of our children for the primary years?" but rather, "Do we want to home educate our eldest child next year?"

Likewise, you say that you are wondering whether you personally have a positive reason to home educate, but perhaps a more relevant question at this moment is, do you have a positive reason to delay your eldest child's school start beyond the age of four? On the flip side, do you have a positive reason to send him to school next year rather than waiting until he is older? If he did go to school and if you could choose any age for him to start, what age would you choose? Because you [b]can[/b] choose his starting age. Your husband proposes 11. If you yourself want a starting age for your son which is greater than four, then your decision is already made: "no school next year".

itsstillgood Wed 02-Nov-16 13:17:48

We home educated from the start. Decision was made before kids that I would not put a child into state primary in this country by choice. I dropped out of training as a primary school teacher as I think the national curriculum is a mess and seems to have been written with no common sense or glance at any studies into how children learn and develop.

We initially said we would home educate until they were 7 so we could ensure that they had a decent foundation and then review annually with them.

Home education isn't perfect, nothing is. There are things that they do miss out on not being in school. That said there is a huge amount that they do that can't be done in school. Over the years we have found a new reason to be glad we chose this path virtually every day.

Nigglenaggle Wed 02-Nov-16 19:47:22

crab I do think time away from your children is important, and also giving them time away from each other. We are lucky and have family close but many home educating parents are also childminders so if you feel you need more space and/or your DH gets too busy arranging a day or half day a week with someone else shouldn't be tricky. We also try to regularly have one on one days where one of us takes one of the children off to pursue a particular interest- these are some of my favourite days as one child is a breeze when you are used to three!
As far as positive reasons to home ed go there are hundreds but mine include seeing the best of my children, instead of a stranger getting that at school and me getting the worn out version: a tailor made education for each child; not missing out on seeing my family when I work weekends and have days off in the week; no sats and the assorted disruption to education that they have brought to my friends children; being able to choose a time to educate when the children are most alert and receptive rather than being bound to the clock, then giving up and going out to burn off the silly when that time is over and being able to afford to go on holiday because we aren't bound to term times!

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