Not got a concrete "reason" to try HE

(62 Posts)
daisychain76 Thu 23-Jan-14 13:45:26

Hello everyone, I am seriously considering HE (have met HE families locally, on local web groups). I have found quite a few families have gone down the HE route because their children were very unhappy at school or there was no suitable place at school for them. My dcs are actually quite happy at school, ups and downs but nothing major. I just feel HE would give us a lot more quality time together, plenty of opportunities for field trips and so on, which we just don't get in the school routine. I know it will be very hard work, but just feel it could be incredible fun and very rewarding too. I am just wondering if anyone else has done if for this reason as friends I have spoken to clearly think I am being a bit daft rocking the boat (and perhaps a bit selfish?!). Thanks!

JustGettingOnWithIt Thu 23-Jan-14 15:22:05

I think an awful lot of people traditionally h.e. for exactly the reasons you're considering. IMO there has been an upsurge of people (like me) falling back on h.e. in the last decade or so, as many (not all) schools have become more difficult places for some kinds of children to thrive, but from what I can see the majority of h.edder's are still families seeking a different way of family life as a whole.

I'll always be so grateful to all the parents who just chose to do it with no reason other than because they believe in it. They possibly don't know what a gift they gave others with less positive beginnings.

In our family I'm now as a response to circumstances, but my dgs are now being h.e. as a response to seeing what can be achieved and a different way of achieving it. smile

You can argue that's it a bit selfish to not provide whatever form of education you think would suit and create the best family life and future for all, just through being afraid of rocking the boat.

EauRouge Thu 23-Jan-14 16:19:48

We don't have a 'concrete' reason either. We have lots of little reasons why we think HE suits our family better than school would, and that's enough for us.

School is seen as the default choice and HE something that you do only if school doesn't work, but it doesn't have to be like that. Choose the best option for your child, which is not necessarily the most common one smile

daisychain76 Thu 23-Jan-14 17:21:57

Thanks Just and Eau that is reassuring. I do worry that it is me who doesn't like the school routine more than them as they are getting plenty of time with their friends and it is a nice school, so it is a hard decision to make.

EauRouge Thu 23-Jan-14 17:50:58

There's nothing wrong with taking your own needs into account too. I know some people who think their children would love to be HE but the parents just don't feel it would suit them. You have to take the needs of the whole family into account.

Do their friends live nearby? My DD1's social life is packed and she's never been to school or pre-school.

It is a hard decision though- but it doesn't have to be permanent. You could set a time-scale of a term or two terms to see how it goes. Would you be unlikely to get back into the same school if you de-registered?

daisychain76 Mon 27-Jan-14 12:41:27

Thanks Eau. After a lot of thought, I am going to go for it and offer my dcs the change (starting after Easter, to give me the chance to get a bit organised!). I am fairly sure they would get back in the same school if it goes horribly wrong. I am sure they will keep some friends too, but I am fairly quiet and shy, so a bit worried about that side of things as I can't "network" for them very well!

sedgieloo Mon 27-Jan-14 13:10:28

Daisy - good for you! It sounds like you have little to lose and well you won't know if you don't try and I get the idea at the very least you will have a fantastic and memorable time however long you continue with it. I haven't yet decided about HE, but I see all the advantages and I wanted to say ...All the best!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 13:25:28

Hello OP

We had a concrete reason[s] for H.ed but since starting have realised several other aspects that have benefitted dd, that we hadn't considered prior to starting.
I'm not sure you can know all the pros and cons before you begin.
I think the reasons you state are as good as any other reasons I have heard, and you seem to be saying that a good education isn't limited to a classroom, which imo is true.
Wishing you all the best.

ImperialBlether Mon 27-Jan-14 13:37:39

Sorry, but I think you're being selfish. Your children are happy as they are and you are doing this purely for yourself.

curlew Mon 27-Jan-14 13:41:37

What do the children say? I think that's important.

sedgieloo Mon 27-Jan-14 14:23:49

ImperialBlether - that made me laugh. I imagine for most parents it is a selfless choice requiring quite some sacrifice on their part. Rewarding perhaps but a responsibility and commitment. Not an easy choice lightly made and why I for one hesitate greatly.

Nigglenaggle Mon 27-Jan-14 19:13:44

I'm so glad you posted, we are wrestling with just the same dilemmas at the moment. Really, we feel we would like to home ed, but are concerned that we make the right choice for the kids and not just for us. We are lucky enough to have good schools in the area, but my concern is that they work primary school children much harder now than they used to, and don't seem to allow time for childhood. On the selfish side, I often work weekends and worry I'll hardly see them when they're at school. It's good to hear from others wrestling with the same issues grin. We are still far from decided on what we will do.

curlew Mon 27-Jan-14 19:38:54

I think imperial blether's post was uncalled for. But I do thing it's very important to look at your motives before you decide to HE. And to listen very carefully to what your children say- remembering all the time that children will often say what they think their parents want to hear.

ImperialBlether Mon 27-Jan-14 19:55:55

OK what I said sounded harsh, but I was simply repeating what the OP said:

My dcs are actually quite happy at school, ups and downs but nothing major.

Friends I have spoken to clearly think I am being a bit daft rocking the boat (and perhaps a bit selfish?!).

I do worry that it is me who doesn't like the school routine more than them as they are getting plenty of time with their friends and it is a nice school.

Nigglenaggle Mon 27-Jan-14 20:09:34

Curlew you are right. But it occurs to me that parents whose children are unhappy in school and don't home ed them (because they don't want to give up work and the financial security of work) don't usually get called selfish. I don't know what the answer is, or I wouldn't be reading these threads, but just a thought.

curlew Mon 27-Jan-14 20:26:10

Niggle- that's why if said ImperialBlether's post was out of order. But actually, I would call out parents whose child was unhappy in school and they were doing nothing about it.

sedgieloo Mon 27-Jan-14 21:00:45

Imperial ok yes but I still don't see how it is selfish. Maybe the OP is thinking there is a better way to spend a childhood and receive an education. If so and if she really feels she has the desire and circumstances to offer that then I think she's got to do it. Shouldn't schooling be more than 'plenty of time with their friends and....nice'. This is how I am thinking anyway, as no doubt obvious!

curlew Mon 27-Jan-14 21:16:05

Oh, it is possible to choose to HE for entirely selfish reasons. Letting go of our children is incredibly hard and to a greater or lesser degree we all find ways to avoid doing it. HE for some is an extreme version of this.....

<please note the word "some">

Saracen Mon 27-Jan-14 23:20:51

Sure curlew, but I don't get why would-be HE parents should feel obliged as a matter of course to do major analysis of their own motives. For goodness, sake, the OP isn't even proposing to take the kids out of school against their will, only to offer HE to them as an option!

We don't require the same of parents who are planning on school, though some of them may be doing so for selfish reasons. When have you ever heard anyone criticise a parent who said:

"My kids are happy enough at home, but I want to have more time away from them and focus more on my career. I think our relationship could improve if we spend more time apart. I think I'll offer them the choice of going to school" ?

Nowhere, even in the deepest depths of the most rabidly pro-HE circles which I often inhabit, have I ever heard anyone respond to the above with anything other than, "Good luck! I hope it works out well for all of you. And if it doesn't, you know you can always return to home education."

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Jan-14 23:35:02

I am happy to be proved wrong, but can't see how the decision to H.ed could be selfish one.

We all took a long time to make sure it was the right decision, as far as we could considering we hadn't experienced it before.
Our dd was completely happy in school her 2 brothers had gone all the way through school and we had no intention of H.edding.
It was an important decision that would affect the whole family and dhs business. It's not a decision most people rush into without thinking.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 08:48:28

Well, maybe people should examine their motives more before sending their children to school?

But I do think that before we do anything which goes against the norms of the society we live in, we need to think carefully about why we're doing it, particularly when we're making the decision on behalf of someone else. I'd have loved to HE my ds, for example, but it would have been entirely the wrong decision, and would have been based on what I wanted, not what would have been right for him. He is a "school-shaped" child. (And that does not, by the way, mean that he is a sheep, or has been taught not to challenge or question, or is being put through a sausage machine.....) Another child I am involved with, was obviously not "school shaped" from the first day of reception, and is now thriving at home.

All I am saying is that it is a complex issue. A lot of HEers both on here and in real life take a "LTB" approach to school. It's not as simple as that!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 09:48:36


my dd was a school shaped child as well and was very happy in school. There wasn't anything wrong at all. She is still in contact with friends she wanted to keep and we visit every week to collect her friend.
Her old teachers are still just as supportive now as they were when she was at school.
There are so many reasons people choose H.ed and I'm sure that most do it with the children's well being in mind.
DD is thriving at home and looks like she will reach her goals and realise her ambitions.
I think if they are happy at school the decision has to come from the child, otherwise I think it is fine for parents to make the decision. Some dc have never been to school so maybe couldn't make the same informed decision.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 11:22:53

iiRC, morethan, doesn't your dd have particular gifts that are best supported without fitting in to a normal school day?

sedgieloo Tue 28-Jan-14 11:32:18

Curlew - I can't disagree with anything you say there. Except that I was school shaped as you describe it. But I'm still glad I was HE later on and I wish it had continued as it afforded some opportunities educationally that school never can. I'm glad I experienced both in a way, but where I would be if completely HE, I will never know. My children are too young to take a view so I've got to make the best informed decision that I can. But it's not forever in any case.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 11:35:45

My ds gets lots from school that he could never get at home. And he gets lots from home that he doesn't get from school. I think people forget that school is only 6 or so hours of the day.

sedgieloo Tue 28-Jan-14 12:07:36

Agreed. That's why I'm finding it a difficult call. I get the 6 hours thing and yet for my dd a full day at preschool completely dominates that day, and the day before (early night) and the day after (lay in and a bit tired still through the day) ok she is still very young and that will change. But school hours are such that I don't know that I can fill in the gaps outside of school hours. There's the flexischooling option I guess.

curlew Tue 28-Jan-14 12:26:36


Yes, I think that pre school is a very different thing. But I know what you mean- it does feel overwhelming, particularly when they are tiny.

Flexischooling- if you can make it happen, is an option, but to me it seems sometimes to be the worst of both worlds. Certainly the three families I know who did it only stuck at it for a couple of terms- one went back to full time school- the other two to HE. I think my ideal would be school for the horrible dark cold winter months- say October to March,then HE for April to September. When I'm world dictator I'll make that happen.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 28-Jan-14 13:18:43


she is very gifted and yes she gains a lot by not attending school, but school was still very good for her and had she not known what she wanted, I suppose she would still be there.
I think the point I was trying to make but very unsuccessfully was.
She has gained in so many ways that we wouldn't have imagined before she left school. Not just the time and fewer constrictions which was the main reason for H.ed but within her academic subjects too. The biggest change is she wants to read and write for pleasure and has improved beyond recognition. Her attitude to learning is far better and confidence in her ability is soaring. We are so happy that she is content with her learning now and gone is the reluctance to try new things. She believes in herself in many things now, when it just used to be her musical talents.

TamerB Tue 28-Jan-14 22:02:00

Have you actually consulted your children? Much more important than asking strangers on the Internet! They are bound to have opinions- probably strong ones.

BigBoPeep Wed 29-Jan-14 15:33:28

I think wanting to spend more time as a family IS a concrete reason, it's one of the big reasons we want to! I actually like my children and it's no hardship to have them around.

It gives me The Rage that this is described as selfish, when countless children are forced to school unwillingly every single day and their parents would NEVER be described as selfish. I think it says something slightly strange about our society that yo uare considered 'selfish' for wanting to spend time as a family more than 'usua'.

TamerB Wed 29-Jan-14 15:44:21

Is it however a concrete reason for the children? I would have been set right against as a child. I cried if I was ill and couldn't go. I hated missing anything!

BigBoPeep Wed 29-Jan-14 15:58:01

Yeah I used to cry and DREAD going to school as a child and nobody took any notice, I went come hell or high water. Love how it's only valid to take the child's POV into account if it's a certain way round.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 17:13:26

"ink it says something slightly strange about our society that yo uare considered 'selfish' for wanting to spend time as a family more than 'usua'."

But that's certainly not what I'm saying- can't speak for anyone else. I do think that some people do home school for selfish reasons- or at least for reasons which are not child centred. Wanting to spend more time as a family is a good thing. Wanting to spend more time with your children regardless of their wishes is not a good thing.

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 17:14:17

" Love how it's only valid to take the child's POV into account if it's a certain way round."

Has anyone actually said that?

BigBoPeep Wed 29-Jan-14 17:44:38

I don't really know if anyone's said it specifically here but I've heard it often enough and it's glaringly obvious in every day life that when parents send their children to school, no matter how much the children DON'T want to go, nobody EVER accuses the parents of being selfish for sending them. A heck of a lot of people quite casually admit to sending their kids to school to 'get rid of them for a while' and indeed I have been told in the past many times 'oh you'll change your mind about home ed by the time they get to that age, you'll want to be rid of them then'. That would be the selfish reason for sending to's not seen as such, but I would be selfish to take them out of school if they were enjoying it hmm

curlew Wed 29-Jan-14 18:00:21

Would it be a good idea to address points that people have actually made on the thread, rather than things other people have said at other times in other places? I am managing not to bring up the appalling things that some home educators say about people who use schools........

TamerB Wed 29-Jan-14 18:52:23

I think that a lot of people are HEeding precisely because they have listened to their child. It is one of the things that would make me do it. Sadly not everyone can afford to listen to their child, they have to work full time and that must be heartbreaking.
People are reading their own situation into it. OP started by saying her children are quite happy at school and she has not mentioned asking them what they think. I would put that first.

TamerB Wed 29-Jan-14 18:54:26

I would have been utterly horrified if my mother had suggested it because she wanted to do it and expected me to want the same. I wouldn't have been too happy with her asking opinions of strangers before she asked mine!

daisychain76 Wed 29-Jan-14 20:30:15

Thank you for your encouragement sedg and more than and bigbo. I would be interested to hear what you decide niggle. Tamer and curlew l have spoken to my dcs several times, but it is very hard to really get the concept across to them and what they say can vary depending on if they are tired, had a goid day at school and so on. It is something that we will discuss in a gentle way over a few weeks. l realky just wanted to find out about others reasons and experience to supplement the reading l am doing and the few HE families l have been able to meet with. Having done a lot of thinking l don‘t feel l am being selfish ~ l can see so much potential for enriching their learning experience and fostering a real love of learning while having fun together (l do also realise l will need to actively seek ways to encourage their independence).

morethanpotatoprints Wed 29-Jan-14 20:57:14

I don't think it is necessary to talk to your children until you know its a viable course of action anyway. Why rock the boat if you and your partner decide against it.
We talked it over for a long time before realising it was a possibility and then we involved dd when we knew enough to answer her questions.
My original threads on here are asking lots of questions, gaining knowledge and insight.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 29-Jan-14 21:03:45


Not trying to boast but an example of enriching their learning.

My dd sings in a famous choir, she lives for the concerts and other work associated with it.
There is no way she could have done this had she still been in school and the opportunity to do this is a complete dream come true for dd.
This is only one example of the freedom she has found since H.ed.
She knows she is lucky to have the chances she has and works hard, showing huge commitment.
If we have to make sacrifices as parents to support this then so be it, what else are parents supposed to do?

BigBoPeep Wed 29-Jan-14 22:46:58

I am staying on topic thanks curlew, it was suggested that the OP talk to her children to avoid potentially being selfish. My point is that it is no more selfish than sending them to school without consultation which is what happens the VAST majority of the time.

Nigglenaggle Thu 30-Jan-14 19:54:06

I guess what you could do, Daisy, is home ed for a year with the option for them to go back to school after if they want??? I have been thinking an option for us if they ask to go to school would be the opposite - let them go for a term or a year and make a more permanent decision after that.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 30-Jan-14 20:14:19

I agree with Niggle

What harm is there in giving it a go, it might be the best thing you ever do. If not, they can always go back to school again.

TamerB Thu 30-Jan-14 22:10:00

The harm in giving it a go is that she hasn't asked them in the first place!

BigBoPeep Fri 31-Jan-14 08:05:33

but given that barely anybody asks their children if they want to go to school why is it such a crime the other way round? hmm

TamerB Fri 31-Jan-14 08:21:53

Because most people can't ask their children if they want to stay at home. Most families have both parents working and not for extras- just to live. Have you not noticed that there are families who can't even provide that and use food banks?
HE is a luxury most can't afford. You don't ask your child if they want to go to Florida and then say 'it has to be a tent in the New Forest'. If it can be Florida it might be nice to ask them ,if they are over a certain age.
Education is more important than a holiday and children have opinions if people bother to ask them!

Nigglenaggle Fri 31-Jan-14 08:52:12

Guys she clearly said in her last post that she had asked them, did you even read it? Please stop bickering.

Nigglenaggle Fri 31-Jan-14 09:02:02

I respectfully disagree that home ed is a luxury most can't afford. It would mean DH never goes back to work full time, it will mean our purse strings will remain pretty tight and we will have to give up some luxuries yes, but we can afford it, and we are far from rich. I guess we always planned for DH to work part time and bring up the kids so we've lived within the bounds of one income as far as housing, cars etc goes, and maybe others have more debt. So probably it's harder for some than others, but I genuinely believe that it's possible for most, if you really really want to do it. I know plenty of people worse off than us too, who have one parent stay at home.

TamerB Fri 31-Jan-14 09:28:41

You are jolly lucky then Niggle, there must be lots of people who would love to be in your position and just cut back.
You also need to think of pension provision if you are cutting right back like that.

TamerB Fri 31-Jan-14 09:30:27

Not everyone is the same, some are very ambitious in the workplace.

curlew Fri 31-Jan-14 09:36:51

"but given that barely anybody asks their children if they want to go to school why is it such a crime the other way round?"

It's not a crime. And I am on record as saying that many people should think much more about the whole process of educating their children.

But the fat remains that if you are thinking of doing something in a way which is different from the way most people do it, it's a good idea to think even harder. And you are making a decision which impacts hugely on somebody else's life. So they should be involved in that decision as fully as they possibly can be.

Nigglenaggle Fri 31-Jan-14 09:40:00

Yes, I think we are lucky. But we live in a fairly deprived area - I know what poor is. And lots of people who are have a parent at home (childcare in the school holidays can be costly otherwise, if you don't have family close). Your second post hits the nail on the head I think. It's hard if both parents are ambitious, to give it all up for your children. But I don't think anyone here is criticising the choices you have made for your family, whatever they are (although I guess not home ed!). Shall we be friends?

Nigglenaggle Fri 31-Jan-14 09:41:42

I just find it hard to separate my desire to do what's best for me, which is home ed in my case, with what's really best for the kids. I guess we all do.

TamerB Fri 31-Jan-14 09:43:30

I haven't an argument except that I think the child is central and their opinion comes first. I missed the fact that OP has asked.
I did actually ask mine because a close friend does it - and they shuddered with horror!

Nigglenaggle Fri 31-Jan-14 09:46:31

Hehe. Mine are too young to ask at present. But I'm already steeling myself for the same reaction!

EauRouge Fri 31-Jan-14 10:17:58

It does depend on the age. I think if they are pre-schoolers then it's really hard because they get bombarded with questions from random strangers asking them if they're looking forward to school. They end up seeing it as an inevitability rather than one possible option.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 31-Jan-14 14:18:14


We too have one parent working and low income. I have been a sahm for 20+ years. I know what you mean about living within the bounds of one income.
I guess at least we can take the benefit of a cheaper holiday in term time, if we save enough grin
I did mean to save all the costs associated with school, but haven't. I'm sure uniform, school dinners, trips, charity days, special days/celebrations, would have added up by now.
Dh has a small business and is at home a lot, he shares the day to day stuff with me, so she gets different input.
I know, she is very lucky, people tell us this all the time.

EauRouge Fri 31-Jan-14 14:26:15

We don't spend very much either. DD1 goes to ballet and Rainbows, but most school children would do that sort of thing anyway. We go to the local library for books and print a lot of free worksheets and whatnot off the internet. You can get a lot of good deals on things if you know where to look; a National Trust home educator membership is only about £30 and you can get into English Heritage places for free if you fill in a form a couple of weeks in advance.

TickTock123 Mon 16-Jun-14 02:05:23

I think your children are happy now at school, because that is all they know how to be , as being happy but later they will be stressed and much more happier and less stress being taught at home, doing things that they like and enjoy,if they are clever and bright intelligent kids, IMO, then this will shrine through and be even better at learning at their own pace, with family values, at stake

maggi Mon 16-Jun-14 16:09:34

I'm in a quandry now about choosing HE. ds1 is HE, needed it and thrives with it. ds2 wants to do secondary school to access all their science equipment.
But ds2 is gifted in maths and the junior school has actually suggested I should HE him because they don't feel he will be challenged in secondary school and will begin acting up. On the other hand I don't think I would have time to work as a childminder and help ds1 do his GCSEs and also take on ds2(unless we went fully automonous). ds1 and ds2 also fight quite a bit when they have constant contact with each other.
So now I'm being selfish but not wanting to reduce work to fit in ds2 as well. I'm avoiding conflict by not HEing ds2 because dh will probably be very negative about it and I don't want to get in a fight over it. I'm following society norms and choosing school. I'm resisting telling ds2 that all that exciting science equipment will be locked away and he will have very limited usage of it anyway. I'm worrying that ds2 will lose his love of maths......maybe. Anyway, he is going to secondary school to see whether it works for him.
In all big decisions there has to be some selfishness because our needs(wants) do come into the equation too.

Wackymummy Wed 16-Jul-14 03:27:08

People home ed for a myriad of reasons. Home ed is as diverse as the families doing it smile Mike from Home Education UK did a straw poll recently which you may find useful? smile

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