Light bulb moment, need to be brave, where to start...

(56 Posts)
JuicyShops Thu 08-Aug-13 14:39:58

My DS has been unhappy in a school environment for 3 years and to cut a long story short is under the Mental Health team for a few reasons.

He Detests school. Lighbulb moment came when I realised how happy and unanxious he is now it is the school holidays, then today we had a long and sensible discussion about school. This ended in him desperate to go to secondary school (he has one more year at primary school). I have been so much happier and so has he.

It is an OK school, but I just think he would hate any school!! Any!! He is very bright, but hates work and being under pressure> He has been bullied and his teachers have tried to accommodate his needs but are failing.

My instinct tells me to take him out of school for the final year. I know we can do this. Where do I start and how do I explain it to everyone? Is it worth trying the final year? Loads more questions, I will read the forum later, and sorry for the rambling nature, just snatching a moment!

Also, I have 3 other children, who will all stay in school> Does anyone else have a similar situation?

runningonwillpower Thu 08-Aug-13 14:44:09

Before I went down the home schooling route, I'd want to know why he thinks secondary school will be better.

Could be he has unrealistic or idealised views of secondary school that will disappoint.

I'd be very careful about taking him out of school before I could be sure that re-integration into secondary school is viable. Could be you are setting yourself up for years of very difficult home schooling.

JuicyShops Thu 08-Aug-13 15:27:40

He has been bullied at his current school which has put him off school and yes he thinks secondary school will be better as he has seen his siblings so happy there.

Saracen Thu 08-Aug-13 16:45:19

It's entirely possible he has unrealistic views of secondary school and may eventually change his mind about wanting to go, or that he'll try it and dislike it.

Given how unhappy he is about his current school at the moment, there seems no point in continuing with primary next year. Let him have the year off and then have a look at whether trying secondary school is a good idea. You'll also be on much firmer ground as far as having some home ed experience under your belt, so you and he will be in a better position to know whether longer-term home education is right for him.

You don't have to make a decision about the entire rest of his education at this moment. Just find the right option for the next year.

JuicyShops Thu 08-Aug-13 17:26:20

I think you are right. I guess I had coped by convincing myself all shall be well when he starts secondary, when actually the hard graft and problems usually start then! It has just been so stressful, traumatic and confusing, and only now we have space we have perspective on the situation.

He does a lot of sport and activities with 'school' friends which I would hope he would continue. It really is the school environment he can't cope with, and the pressure. The severe anxiety issues, which he suffers all the time are made a lot worse by the school environment and pressure.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 08-Aug-13 17:37:34

Hello Juicy.

If he is so unhappy at school I would definitely miss y6 especially as you mention he doesn't like the pressure of work. Some schools really put the pressure on for SATS in y6 and even my friends dds school who don't felt pressured by other influences.
Then if he wants to try High School let him try, although he may not settle after the freedom of H.ed.
My dd is 9 and says she wants to go to highschool and I pretty much know now she wouldn't last a term of y7. grin
I'm not sure if you realise but the after school activities organised by the LEA are open to H.ed children. Obviously the schools own aren't because of deregistration but all other groups are.
Our reason for H.ed was not the same but came about from the same light bulb moment, they are usually the best thoughts and decisions.
Good luck, whatever you decide. There are many knowledgeable people on these threads so do ask any questions you have any.

milk Sat 10-Aug-13 17:25:48

I was bullied all during primary school. Got to secondary and everything was fine.

In hindsight I wish my mum had taken me out of primary while I was being bullied, and then sent me to secondary.

Caster8 Sat 10-Aug-13 17:31:15

One thought. [I have never Home Ed btw]
You say he hates work. [that will partly explain why he is liking the holidays!]
Would he work, school work, while at home with you?

Saracen Sat 10-Aug-13 18:57:13

He wouldn't have to, Caster.

There are many ways to home educate. Some of them bear no resemblance at all to school. There does not have to be any "school work". Some children enjoy that sort of work. If the OP's son doesn't, there's no point in forcing him to do it.

I know it is hard to get your head around. Most people imagine home education is similar to school, because that is all most of us have ever known. But it isn't. It can be a whole different world!

Caster8 Sat 10-Aug-13 19:55:49

Describe some ways that he wouldnt have to "work" at school work. Wouldnt he have to eg do Maths "work" for example? [he couldnt do it all by "lets go shopping and tell me whether to buy orange juice 3 for 2, or would the 2 for £4 be cheaper"]
Surely he would have to do some "work"?

Caster8 Sat 10-Aug-13 19:58:14

If her son hates work and being under pressure, will he take all the extra pressure that his mum will have to do? Or not? Maybe not, not sure I understand this.

ommmward Sat 10-Aug-13 22:35:41

Hi Caster8, try googling "unschooling" or "autonomous home education".

I've never done anything with my children that is billed as "work" at all. Not ever. They choose what to learn and how to learn it; I facilitate that learning, by answering their questions, providing them with resources when needed, giving advice when sought. Basically exactly the same as what most of us do with our toddlers, but extending as far as we feel like instead. It is a terrifyingly efficient and effective way of educating someone, because their minds are ALWAYS ready to learn what they are learning.

Some families DO do things that look more like formal education, with sessions each day for maths and literacy and whatever other areas the family are pursuing at that time. Sometimes that's on an adult agenda and sometimes it's the child who demands to be guided in their learning that way.

There doesn't have to be any pressure in any of this home ed malarky. That's why the famous Grit often tags her posts "Smug Home Educating Bastard"

Caster8 Sat 10-Aug-13 22:48:18

Will look up those links tomorrow. Just to let you know, that my kids have now gone past school age, so there is no chance of me doing Home Ed. I was just curious.
I have known 3 families do Home Ed. 2 were a disaster. 1 probably wasnt. Not sure. But I think that the 1 who was probably successful did it very much in the school mode.

What if the kids dont want to learn the first day, or the second or...? Is that ok? Perhaps those questions are answered from the links.

ommmward Sat 10-Aug-13 23:39:57

They learn every day. It might not look like learning to someone outside the situation, especially someone steeped in school-based ideas about learning (where the agenda is very very rarely set by the person doing the learning), but I promise you that children learn all the time.

I think that the parent's role is to give them an environment in which they are happy and confident, because that's what optimises their learning - if you are scared or bored, you mostly learn about what it feels like to be scared or bored rather than what the teachers think you're supposed to be learning.

ommmward Sat 10-Aug-13 23:42:39

Also... When home ed looks like a disaster, it's important to think about context. Had the child already had a traumatic time at school? That can take years to recover from. Was it the kind of child who wasn't going to have looked like a success in conventional educational terms in any environment? If so, then can home ed be said to have been a disaster if it prepared them in some way for independent adult life? Was the child ill? Etc etc :-)

Caster8 Sun 11-Aug-13 08:20:54

I am not buying this, sorry. Thanks for explaining.
For one thing, children get the non school learning all the many many hours that they are not in school.

Not saying that Home Ed may not be right in very exceptional circumstances.[and yes, this op may be wise to keep her son off school for a few months and Home Ed] But imo would also need a parent able to give time and also very dedicated to, yes, teaching, proper teaching, at home.

maggi Sun 11-Aug-13 11:05:20

Hello Caster
Like yourself I used to think HE was a matter of creating a school in the house. Some people do. They have a specific room for learning and plaster it with posters. Some "ignore" teaching and let the children teach themselves entirely. You can see both these types of parents in regular schools too (with varying sucess in both school and HE).

The majority of HE draw a middle line between the two extremes. The adults guide the children into areas of Maths and English (or music or whatever the priority is in the household). Then the adults observe the children for signs of interest in broader areas and facilitate those. The adults provide resources or trips within the topics the child likes and the parent then expands the child into new areas by discussion and questioning or activities. With a little thought the average HE parent can expand any interest into aspects of any named lesson from school.

Challenge me - tell me something a child may be interested in and I'll explain how to make it cover all the school subjects without ever sitting the child at a desk and lecturing them or getting them to copy notes. The best part is how much more the children recall and apply using this technique of teaching - because they are interested and the teaching is tailored to them.

Hello everyone
Can anyone find some statistics relating to the success of homeschooled children? I only half remember an example about the proportion of HE in the general population compared to the proportion of HE in the top 100 earners in this country - there being a very large number of HE people in this sucessful group of people.

Saracen Sun 11-Aug-13 11:50:10

I know it sounds implausible, Caster8. Why would be be teaching children for so many hours in school if they could just learn things themselves? But it's true.

To take your maths example:

Insofar as maths actually is an essential subject, it surrounds us in our daily lives. In that case, it would be difficult to reach adulthood without having been exposed to maths constantly and getting a decent grasp on it. Few of us set out to teach our babies to talk through a formal programme. We know that they will hear language from the day they are born, and will learn to talk spontaneously. The same is true of maths.

But what about calculus? It isn't likely a child would acquire a mastery of that subjects through daily life, so surely we have to teach it to them? The answer to that is, if calculus isn't a feature of the child's life then he doesn't need it yet, so there's no need to force it on him. If he finds he needs it later (for example because he's decided to be an engineer), he will learn it then. He'll learn it willingly, because he sees the point. He'll learn it efficiently, because he can use it immediately in the context which interests him.

My husband, a roofing carpenter, decided in his 30s that trigonometry would help him in his job, and learned all he needed in a few weeks. He's quite competent at it as he uses it almost daily. My class at school spent an entire year on trigonometry; I doubt that many of my classmates now remember anything of it or that they have ever used it since. What use was that year to us? It only taught some of us to fear and dislike maths. For the few who were interested, it was very slow going because we were learning alongside people who didn't share our enthusiasm.

Here's a psychologist who thinks he's found evidence that introducing formal maths too early is a waste of time and even impedes children's mathematical understanding:

This echoes my experiences at school and at home. You ask why schoolchildren don't learn huge amounts from their out-of-school experiences. They do, but sometimes less than HE children because compulsion at school actually makes many of them switch off. In "How Children Fail", the schoolteacher John Holt described the primal fear reaction which he observed in many children in his class. Their objective was not to do the maths correctly, it was to escape from the situation they were in with the least pain possible.

I remember helping some of my classmates who struggled with maths. There were questions they could not answer such as "4 x 1/2", and I remember wondering how it was possible for anyone not to understand such a thing. Anyone with four halves of chocolate bars in front of her would know how many she had altogether, so why could my schoolmates not answer the question? It was because they were in such a state of fear that they were unable to think, and because they had never learned to connect their daily experience with this abstraction on the paper... and then they had been presented with more and more paper-based exercises which confirmed them in their belief that maths was impossible.

My younger child cannot answer "6 + 1", but she understands that her six year old friend will be seven on her next birthday. She does not need to memorise "6 + 1 = 7". In time, when she is ready for abstraction, she will learn what "6 + 1" represents, and then it will be trivial for her as she will already have years of practical experience to fall back on. I am not going to risk switching her off to maths or confusing her by demanding that she master number bonds or use a number line now. Her teenaged sister can do all the calculations essential to her daily life because she has learned them through daily life. It really is that easy.

ommmward Sun 11-Aug-13 12:00:32

^ ^ ^ what Saracen said.

Caster8 Sun 11-Aug-13 22:22:03

There are some jobs which require a lot of somewhat intricate maths. May or not say what some are. Cant see how they could be done without quite a lot of maths training.

Caster8 Sun 11-Aug-13 22:24:19

Saracen. So how is he, and lets just take an engineer as an example, and the child decides he would like to be an engineer at 17, going to suddenly catch up with enough maths.
Presumably he would then have to enter university late?

ommmward Sun 11-Aug-13 23:38:06

It's a slight straw man. In my experience, he teens often get very focused at 14 ish or even before. That's when they start doing college courses, a levels, gcses, whatever is needed in order to pursue their special interest. If they have been autonomously home educated, they are very likely to know their own minds and not spend their teens "keeping their options open" (there's a great sarah fitz-claridge essay about how the keeping your options open approach isn't necessarily a good one somewhere on the Internet. Too hard to find a link on a tablet!!).

There's a huge difference between starting gcses at 14 because that's what automatically happens at this point in your school career, and starting gcses at 14 because you know you'll need them to get onto the training course/ degree programme of your dreams.

Suddenly deciding at 17 to be an engineer? It might be a stretch to get to a level maths and physics in a year. But not such a stretch in 2 years. And that would post you into university at 19, at the same age as all the privileged ex-public school boys who had a gap yah.

I have a good friend who followed the whole school -> top uni script, hated uni, dropped out, bummed around for years, and then finally went back and got the right a levels and is training to be a doctor in her late 20s. Life is not a race. The moment we realise there's something we really want to do is absolutely the right moment to do whatever is necessary to make that thing possible.

Caster8 Mon 12-Aug-13 07:46:44

Agree with some points and not others.
Your first 3 lines. You are probably right.
Definitely dont agree with line 4.

third paragraph. Made me laugh. There is a bit of an own goal in that one. The ex public schoolboys bit. If someone goes to uni at 18, they wil stilll be mixing with the ex public schoolboys who are 19 instead of 18!

True, life is not a race, very true. Personally 3 of mine have gone through or are in uni. And they are mainly friends with other uni students who are the same age. They seem to like that. [though obviously if their cohort is mainly the same age, then statistically wise, they are likely to have friends of the exact same age].

julienoshoes Mon 12-Aug-13 09:29:25

It is hard to imagine, when you are not seeing it happen in front of you.

I didn't buy into the autonomous education/living at all when we first deregistered the children from school either.
But 'school at home' didn't suit my children at all, so we became autonomous by default....and were astounded by how well it work.
Once we set off on that path the children didn't choose to do any formal work at all, until they chose to go off to college or to do an OU course.

It's not neglectful of their education, it's following their interests and facilitating them-so the child interested in mechanics, would probably always have had those interests, and we'd have helped him follow them...including maths puzzles and building models etc to his hearts content...and moving on and forward as he wanted to.

Mine all got to Uni level, one at the same age as her schooled peers and the other two a little later as it suited them to have life experience first-one of them had a course that required quite a lot of maths for statistics etc. he told me just the other day, he learned most of that from playing 'Magic the Gathering'

I know loads and loads of home educated young people -probably numbers into the hundreds now, who have been educated in this way-totally informally. All are doing well now. At good universities or having just graduated from good universities. My FaceBook newsfeed has been full of their graduation pics.
The rest are doing very well at college, employment or self employment- not a single NEET (Not in ducation, employment, or training) amongst them.

Astonishing that formal schooling really is not needed to be successful I know.
But it's true.

ommmward Mon 12-Aug-13 09:40:50

I taught a seminar of undergrads one year where the oldest in the group was 21, having taken two gap yahs and having an early setember birthday, and the youngest was just 17, having gone throug school a year young despite the August birthday and having gone straight up to uni. Really, this idea that a socially cohesive university cohort will be people within a year of each others ages. I've also seen mature, as in late 20's or 30's and also mature as in aged about 60, have a fab time socially at university.

Caster8 Mon 12-Aug-13 09:47:42

I dont doubt they can still have a fab time ommmward. But perhaps not quite the same? Though I suppose they have left mainstream anyway because it didnt suit them.

julienoshoes. Can I ask a bit of an awkward and rude question. Do these children then become good team players? Many jobs do require this. And becuase, as I have just said to ommmward, the children have left mainstream, are they really willing and indeed able to be team players?

If I was a prospective employer, and the job required it, as a lot of jobs too, I would at least think twice, if I had a child that had been homeschooled for any length of time, in front of me.

Saracen Mon 12-Aug-13 10:19:40

Some kids are natural loners and some are not. I do know some home educated children, and some school children, who will never be what you might call "team players".

But as for opportunities to practice working in teams, it seems to me that these arise far more often outside school than in. Children at school are being directed in their activities and many of their assigned tasks are supposed to be done individually.

I remember when one of my children was on a museum trip with a gang of HE kids, and the museum staff handed each of them a worksheet. You know the sort of thing, where they have to go round to various exhibits to answer all the questions on the sheet. I hate them with a passion, as I find that the kids are so focused on filling in the blanks that they have no opportunity to engage properly with the exhibits, ask questions, and really think. It seems patronising to suggest that the children won't find something to interest them without being told what they should look at. (Sorry to rant.)

Anyway, my dd was getting herself in a bit of a state over this worksheet. It was aimed at slightly older children, but she wanted to join in and feel grown up. She couldn't yet read or write, and she couldn't understand some of the questions. I tried to divert her to look at the exhibits, and assured her that she didn't have to complete the sheet, but she felt it would be rude not to, as the museum staff seemed to expect it. Various older friends of hers kindly took it in turns to tell her what answers to write, and even to write some for her. They swapped answers with all their friends too. They were all in a hurry to get everyone's worksheets finished so they could wander freely through the museum looking at what actually interested them and discussing it with their friends.

No doubt a teacher or a museum staff member would say this was cheating, that the children were missing the point of the exercise, and that my dd had been deprived of the opportunity to learn and be assessed individually by means of the worksheet. Such behaviour wouldn't be allowed at school. But I thought it was wonderful. The children had redefined the task to fit with their own priorities (get the worksheets out of the way so we can look round the museum properly) and had worked as a team to accomplish the task efficiently.

I think as a prospective employer you would think twice if you had a home educated young person in front of you. You would find your preconceptions challenged. Chances are that you would wonder how on earth this teen had come to acquire so much maturity, life experience and confidence in dealing with other people. If you ventured to ask her, she might explain that she'd spent time with a range of people of all ages in different situations and had had the freedom to follow her own lights - just as adults do.

Caster8 Mon 12-Aug-13 10:29:54

ooh. You have kind of put my mind at rest of one aspect and now I can see two more, for prospective employers, if indeed they knew enough about home schooling.

I think the most alarming thing is that I can now see that homeschooling is not just about home schooling for some parents. It is about not fitting in with society norms. Which is not always a bad thing. But from an employers pov, that child has literally been taught not to fit in. So expecting someone to then employ them, particualarly ina large organisation, is somewhat of a big ask. { I do take on board that some kids are naturaly more of a loner[as are some schooled children obviously], and therefore would probably baulk at the idea of a big organistaion in the first place].

I would say, as per your museum example, that yes, sometimes a look round would be as beneficial as filling in sheets. But not always obviously. And not all the time.
Because, partly, if nothing else, it teaches obeying.
Again, going back to an employer pov, would an employer want to employ someone who would say yes sir, no sir, or a "free thinker".

Caster8 Mon 12-Aug-13 10:41:09

I employ btw. But mainly casuals. I am aware of someone around who has been home schooled. But I am afraid that that is a bad example of home schooling, so I think we will leave that particular boy out of this.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Aug-13 00:08:15


Surely anybody can see that a H.ed person won't have necessarily been taught not to fit in, on the contrary the people i have met are very good at fitting in.
My own dd plays in orchestras, choirs, ensembles, groups, bands and she dances. She is part of a societal norm that says some/ many girls like to dance, they have friendships sustained through childhood. Participating and fitting in is important to most children, in this respect it is no different than dc who attend school.

Caster8 Tue 13-Aug-13 07:44:31

Yes, I think in your case, if the activities are listed, and there are at least some group activities, then that would help put an employer's mind at ease.
[You do say "wouldnt have necessarily been taught not to fit in". I think an employer would have to maybe ask some pertinent questions in that regard].
Also, activities is not the same as work. Activities, a child doesnt have to go there every week, can leave part way through. if the leader of the orchestra or dance class upset them one week, then they dont have to go back again, they can move away from the situation without dealing with it at all if they want to. Not the same as going to school on a daily basis, or work on a daily basis, where if you have a rough day, or rough week, you are expected back again the following day.

ommmward Tue 13-Aug-13 10:15:53

Very interesting what you say caster, about how schooling teaches people to obey. Mass schooling from an authoritarian standpoint (which is of course what we have) is a splendid thing if you want to produce a) potential soldiers who will obey orders that might be harmful to them but are in the greater national interest and b) factory workers and other cogs in the industrial machine who will be willing to do repetitive and not very creative jobs for not very much money because they have grown accustomed to doing boring and apparently pointless tasks on someone else's agenda.

There are various subcultures of home educators - those whose children have special needs of some kind (defined really really broadly as a generalisation of the kind of family which ends up home edding in that situation), those whose religious views are completely at odds with those of th mainstream and they want to give their children a different moral foundation (my city has thriving groups of both Christian and Muslim home edders), and the what might be termed the dissidents. Hippies, anarchists, libertarians, über lentil weavers of every hue. And they'd tend to point to what school education achieves in terms of intellectual development and social engineering and say "no thanks".

Saracen Tue 13-Aug-13 10:24:38

"Activities, a child doesnt have to go there every week, can leave part way through. if the leader of the orchestra or dance class upset them one week, then they dont have to go back again, they can move away from the situation without dealing with it at all if they want to."

Well, it depends how much the child wants to do the activity, doesn't it? Quitting a much-loved activity just because someone upsets you one week, without attempting to sort it out, carries its own natural consequences. Having the opportunity to make such mistakes is valuable.

After all, typically people can change jobs. Hanging around too long when things aren't right is just as big a mistake as quitting at the first hurdle. Knowing how to sort problems out, how to tolerate problems when it is worthwhile to do so, and when to move on are all key life skill. Kids don't always make the right choices, adults don't always make the right choices. But we learn and make better decisions next time.

Equally, with activities where 100% attendance is not required, infrequent attendance carries its own consequences. My teenaged daughter knows that if she doesn't turn up to sports practice very often, she won't improve and won't get selected for the county team. Take too much time off drama and she won't get a lead role in the play. With some activities she is very diligent, and with others she prefers to have some time off and go camping instead of doing sports practice and going in for the county team. In just the same way, my self-employed husband does not have to go to work every day. He knows the consequences if he doesn't: less money coming in, a smaller client base, missing out on contacts who might help him land lucrative contracts in future. Sometimes he works seven day weeks and does long days, and other times he chooses not to go in because he would rather go fishing. He'd never let someone down if he had made a commitment to work for them on a particular day, just as my daughter would never fail to turn up for a sports match she agreed to do or a performance in which others are relying on her.

People often justify the school environment with the claim that it is a good preparation for work. But there are key differences between school and work, and I think those differences undermine the whole argument. The absolute compulsion inherent in school is one such difference.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Aug-13 11:51:56

Totally agree there saracen.

My dd loves her hobbies and also has to have discipline in order to be allowed to take part. If she doesn't turn up to rehearsal unless ill there are many of her groups where she wouldn't be allowed to partake in that project or concert etc. You are expected to go if you are having an off day or somebody upset you the previous week.
They also gain a sense of team work the same as schooled children do, and wouldn't want to miss a week so as to let partners/ team/ group, down.
I do think it is important to remember that there are many different reasons people choose to H.ed and that also not everybody does it for the whole of their childs education. You do what is right at the time and what works best for you.
I don't know which category according to ommmward we would put ourselves, but i do think that our dd receives an education more fitting to her needs than school could offer.

Caster8 Tue 13-Aug-13 13:13:36

I think that if a Home Ed young person applied for a job, they would need to be interviewd for longer.
I can think of a few jobs where being Home Ed could be an advantage. But many jobs, the majority, require a lot of obeying.

I would be interested to know from people themselves who have been Home Ed, what jobs they do.

Perhaps a lot of them end up being self employed?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Aug-13 13:50:29

Why do you think a person who has been H.ed would need longer at interview? Also what makes you think that having to obey certain rules, regulations or procedures wouldn't be a skill that they may possess?
I think you could find people who were school educated who don't like following instructions. I have a son like this, he is 18 and went all the way through school. I really don't think there are any character traits I have come across that are synonymous to all H.ed children I have met. Everybody has different perspectives, personality etc, it doesn't mean to say that certain categories of people will all act the same.

Caster8 Tue 13-Aug-13 15:04:59

If it was a job that required teamwork, which most do, even if it is only a team of a very small number, I would ask extra questions, or ask more questions about certain aspects, such as
1. how do you deal with authority. do you deal with confrontations you feel comfortable working in noisy environments/loads of people around
4. do you think you are going to suit this organisation. Do you have some reservations.

I would expect them not to be so good at obeying, on the whole. No. Partly from answers form other posters on here[not particualarly your posts].
And just generally. If you are at home on a school day, with just mum I presume and or a couple of siblings, that is not the same as with x number of teachers, and all other staff.

You say not all Home ed children are the same. I would agree.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Aug-13 15:36:14


I would hope you asked these questions to all the applicants, as there is no evidence to prove that a person who had been H.ed would have any problems in the areas you suggest.
There isn't only school where a person may gain experience in your suggestions.
In fact any group, class, activity, or organisation a H.ed child may attend would certainly benefit them here.
Personally over the past year of H.ed with my dd I have seen her mature into a very confident person in her own right, capable of socialising well with people of all ages and from all walks of life. This is an ability many don't possess until well into their working lives, if at all.
My dd is at home for quite a lot of the day as are many others, but honestly I find they are far more confident when out and about. As for obeying orders, well all I can say is most people I have met so far who H.ed are good here because they attend groups where they need to. Brownies, Scouts, or in cases of private tuition for a particular subject, they are taught to do as they are told and to accept authority, just the same as school children do. There are a few schooled dc we know who are not good when it comes to accepting a particular authority figure as it isn't a teacher, the only authority figure they recognise.

bebanjo Tue 13-Aug-13 19:07:47

So caster, how many teenagers have you interveiwed? I went to normal school and I had a major problem with authority, delt with confrontation badly, did and still do have a problem with nosy inviroments.
So school did me a lot of good didn't it.
School sets out to educate children but it falls short of this for many children in lots of different ways, do you ask at your interviews if they can read and write? Have you seen the fingers of children leaving school unable too, I was one of them.

Caster8 Tue 13-Aug-13 20:15:32

I dont see how your post is of any relevance to what I have written.
You having those problems are not helpful to you are they.

Saracen Tue 13-Aug-13 21:01:19

Well, Caster8, your expectations reflect your background and your assumptions. As you've said, you haven't seen home education up close nor have you met many young people who are/were home educated. Nevertheless, you appear quite unwilling to question whether you may be mistaken. You seem reluctant to accept the firsthand experience of those who know hundreds of young people who have been HE. Under the circumstances, I don't really see how anyone could change your mind. Perhaps one day a job applicant will, if he has the patience and good humour to get past your preconceptions.

I suppose a prospective employer who knows about home education might make some equally offensive generalisations about job applicants who were educated at school. Such an employer might want to know, for example:

1. are you unduly intimidated by or resentful of people in positions of authority, because you are accustomed to being treated without respect?
2. have you managed to find time to discover what interests you outside of the prescribed curriculum?
3. are you able to make productive use of unstructured time in order to identify work which needs to be done, or will you only do what you have been specifically told to do?
4. do you know how to take the initiative and ask relevant questions to understand the task and the priorities of the company, or are you used to having everything spelled out for you?

and so on.

I suppose at the end of the day it is fortunate that you don't need to be convinced of the viability of home education, since you aren't considering it for your own children. Parents who are considering the option will, if they are concerned, be inclined to go and actually meet some of these alleged socially-challenged misfits and see for themselves whether there is any truth to your notions.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Aug-13 21:54:03

I think you make some valid points there Saracen.
When I was teaching FE and Higher Ed, I was amazed at how many young people were unable to think for themselves, ask questions, and expected to be spoon fed.

ommmward Tue 13-Aug-13 22:03:19

In my experience it takes almost every undergraduate at least a year to get over their schooling, and in some cases I'm afraid they don't get over it before they graduate. Inadvertently, we teach young people to be focused on what they need to do to get a good mark, rather than facilitating them as they blossom as independent learners, who happen to get their learning measured in some manner along the way. Anyone with a teaching qualification knows perfectly well that assessment has a negative impact on learning, but our sats and gcses and as levels and a levels mean that many many successful and apparently motivated people arriving at university have latched onto the qualification as the desirable thing not the path towards it. Give me a mature student or a home educated one or an otherwise unconventionally educated one any day of the week, frankly.

Caster8 Tue 13-Aug-13 22:18:07

Saracen, are you saying that some Home ed children have felt intimidated by school and therefore feel resentful of people in authority long after they have left? That is a pretty big problem, especially as they grow up. And sad too. And must be difficult to live with.

Free thinking is good in some jobs. Definitely not in other jobs, including our business. Pretty disastrous in fact, and could cost thousands, hence the need for hefty insurance.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Aug-13 22:24:57


I think most people have felt intimidated at school whether they later choose to be H.ed or continue in the system. I think you have to be very fortunate to receive a schooling that doesn't include some sort of intimidation, bullying and negative patterns.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Aug-13 22:31:02


I think I love you thanks

A lady I know through our H.ed group told me her dd has been accepted into Cheethams music school for 6th form. She has no level 2 qual at all, not even Maths and English. She gained a place because she proved she was different and had worked at her music for many years.
I know she'll go onto a really good Uni too.

ommmward Tue 13-Aug-13 22:37:28

The feeling is mutual, potatoprints (and Saracen too, I've been admiring her posts for ages smile )

bebanjo Tue 13-Aug-13 22:46:20

My point is, you feel the need to ask anyone that has been home ed these questions but not anyone that went to school, many that went to school would have the problems you believe you would find with someone that had been home ed.

stilllearnin Wed 14-Aug-13 14:09:27

Hello Juicyshops, I don't have lots of experience but there are some deeply understanding people on this thread to give you great insight into what might be ahead. But I just wanted to say from my experience - Ive taken my son out of school twice (he is currently home ed). Both times we've just known it was the right decision. I think you may be at the stage where you know it is the right decision. When school life is as hard for someone as you describe it is so consuming, the poor child has no time or energy to sort out how to cope with or feel about anything. Plus it affects the whole family.

Secondly, we went straight into a curriculum based home ed. seemed right at the time but I think this may well change for us. If it was just for a year I wouldn't worry too much about the actual formal education side of it, particularly with a bright child. Maybe take your time and concentrate on the emotional side of things. A really settled and secure child is the basis for anything really.

Lastly, I still have a child in mainstream school and it works really well, because neither child has wanted what the other has - and of course we've offered any kind of education to both of them. They are different children and have decided for now what suits them. (I think you were asking about mixing home and school children in the same family).

Good luck to all of you. Even if it doesn't 'work' it has to be better that you tried something different for him - but I'm really hoping it helps.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 15-Aug-13 10:17:50

Juicy - we were in a very similar situation, as my DS1 (now 13) suffers chronic anxiety and was being bullied in Year 6 at primary school. We took him out and it was absolutely the best thing to do for him, as it was doing him no good at all. It also meant he missed all the pressure of the SATs revision.

His younger brother continued at school, as he was happy there.

DS1 then went to secondary school, but couldn't cope at all and came out after a term. He has been home educated since then and is now considering going to a smaller secondary school next year.

I really admire the experienced home edders on this thread who talk about autonomous home ed, but that is not how we started out. I used the Little Arthur School course on Science and then worked through textbooks in English and Maths. I also kept DS1 practising his handwriting. Apart from that, we did projects together and he followed his own interests, which invariably involve looking after animals or using the computer. He has just taught himself to use some complicated editing software for his YouTube channel, which is a perfect example of how a child who can't concentrate on, for example, Maths textbooks is able to focus perfectly on something that he sees as valuable grin.

DS2 did have a bit of a wobble last year because he didn't always enjoy school at that stage and wanted to be home educated like his brother. I think this is inevitable if one child in the family is home educated. I considered taking him out too, but we worked through it and he is now very happy and settled, with many good friends. It was the right thing for him, just as home ed has been the right thing for DS1.

As for what to tell other people... I just said DS1 was miserable and being bullied and we were taking him out of school. Family were shocked, but telling them that it was only for a year before he went to secondary softened the blow. And by the time he came out of school again, they had become used to the idea of home ed.

Incidentally, my DS1 is now having CBT for his anxieties (he also has OCD) - worth asking CAMHS about for your DS if anxiety is an issue for him.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 15-Aug-13 11:47:26

sorry to derail Toffee where have you been, I've missed you? Have you just been lurking? Hope you, dh and ds are doing well.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 15-Aug-13 12:42:24

Sorry, morethan, I vanished off the home ed boards for a bit because DS1 wanted to try school and so my focus was on that, rather than home ed, for a while. Not sure what's going to happen next, to be honest. Sounds as if your DD is doing well and enjoying her music still grin.

<apologies to op for hijack blush>

JuicyShops Sat 17-Aug-13 18:21:19

Sorry just logged on and seen the discussion. Reading this has actually got things clear in my mind!

Life is too short for your child not to be happy, We have agreed he will try the first term of school and see how things are going. If the anxiety and other problems begin to get worse I will take him out of school.

As for the methods of educating him, I was thinking the natural way would be 1 hour a day of focused learning which will be absolutely more effective than even a whole day of school.

I know him inside out and how he learns and his passions. I want to nurture his passions and who he is. He has already developed all the necessary social skills and does a lot of sport and we have a wide circle of friends and a good social life.

Anyway who says what kids have to learn, when you think about it who sets this rigid curriculum. Who is tell tell us what life our children will carve out? I hated Maths, still got an A at GCSE but hated it and never use anything more than the basic skills.

My son has high ambitions and knows what he wants to do, he can focus and develop that in a way he can't at school.

ommmward Sat 17-Aug-13 18:26:30

Well done you! I would just say: if he is hating it in the first couple of weeks, quietly revise "take him out at Christmas" to "take him out at half term". I don't think there's much point sticking with something you hate and you know you are going to escape soon, just for the sake of sticking with it (working out a month's notice at a job or something is a quite different kettle of fish).

morethanpotatoprints Sat 17-Aug-13 19:39:13

Well done OP, and Good luck to your ds at school.
If for some reason his anxiety returns and is unbearable remember you can deregister from immediate effect and not even have to go back the next day, no notice is required. I think this is useful for those with problems relating to being in school.

JuicyShops Sun 18-Aug-13 07:41:11

Thanks for the tips, it is so much easier now I know we have an option and I would have no hesitation in taking him out immediately!

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