Need reassurance about school - its not all bad, is it?!

(154 Posts)
mamalost Thu 24-Jan-13 23:01:46

I was planning on HE-ing DD for at least reception (she is due to start in Sept) but it is not going to work out at the moment. In the last few months I have spent A. LOT. of time reading about home educating etc and I really believe in it even though we can't practically make it happen at the moment... I have sent in an application for reception and now am feeling like a massive failure and like I am going to damage my children by sending them to school. Please - tell me its not all horrible children on the playground, nasty teachers, strict rules and pointless lining up? I am so worried about DD starting school, I feel ill just thinking about it and its months away. sad

cory Sat 26-Jan-13 12:35:34

Personally, I think HE can be a brilliant thing if you do it because you have a lot to offer and can provide plenty of outside stimulus and contacts- as many HE'ers can. It has worked brilliantly for my friend- and I'm not sure I wouldn't want to be HE'ed by her myself grin

But to do it because you want to keep your child kept in the family cocoon and protected from knowing that other families are different (of which there was more than a hint in the OPs posts) seems a less positive path to go down.

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 12:45:34

It has been proven the biggest single factor influencing learning outcomes is class sizes, they do not cover the ground in a class that they do in small groups.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 26-Jan-13 12:50:44

I was a teacher, I know how little can be achieved in a week!

With due respect, it's a poor teacher who achieves little in a week and my DC's have had a much more positive experience than you express in your time as a teacher.

You talk about cheap shots but personally I find this comment and your comment about 'office fodder' very cheap too.

Shall we stick to trying to help the op?

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 12:52:25

I have to say for me personally, the best thing about school was the time I spent with friends and I would expect most kids to say the same. Because that is what school has going for it - there are loads of kids to entertain you in the massive boring bits between the tiny pieces of learning.

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 12:56:27

I did not achieve comparatively little, I was not doing worse than others, but if you cut a class to six you get more done. This is one of the key reasons why private education outstrips state.

marriedinwhite Sat 26-Jan-13 12:59:52

We live in zone 2 OP - not quite inner City. Our DC went to the local church school. They have very fond memories of it. The tests weren't in their faces at all; the teachers were, on the whole lovely, and usually the dc had a brilliant day. Of course, sometimes they had a bad day; but not usually over much and I have bad days too sometimes.

Of course there was a bit of roughty toughty stuff in the playground but that's normal and easily avoided. FWIW I have the shyest, gentlest, most sensitive dd you could imagine - she was fine.

Give it a go; go with the flow and if you feel a bit insecure then offer to help - schools love help - and see how lovely it is for yourself and for reassurance.

cory Sat 26-Jan-13 13:05:39

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 12:52:25
"I have to say for me personally, the best thing about school was the time I spent with friends and I would expect most kids to say the same. Because that is what school has going for it - there are loads of kids to entertain you in the massive boring bits between the tiny pieces of learning. "

This is not to say that every child will have the same experience.

Dd did not find school massively boring; she enjoyed the work she did in groups with her friends as well as the work done more closely with the teacher or TA. Enjoying working with your friends doesn't necessarily mean you don't enjoy the work itself.

I could feel her horizons expanding week by week; she would come home and talk excitedly about new things that we had never thought about at home.

BooksandaCuppa Sat 26-Jan-13 13:23:35

Not for me, StripiestSocks - I loved school for all the learning and not the social side at all - that I got from my various hobbies etc (see why my personal gripe with the school system is the weird grouping of children based on their dates of birth) - and I would consider myself an intelligent 'needs challenging' person (straight As in every exam I've taken; 1st class degree from a good Uni; always reading and finding out new things as an adult, kind of thing) but I loved school.

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 13:36:50

I didn't feel I really started learning until I went up to 6th form college, if my kids felt as you describe your learning experience I would be content. That sounds very rewarding.

cory Sat 26-Jan-13 13:57:06

My daughter has severe chronic pain which means attending school is very difficult for her; she also has bad anxiety issues. Throughout the years of her treatment she has been adamant that she does not want to be home schooled but wants help to get back to school because that is the learning environment she wants. Every time she sees a doctor or counsellor on her own (without my input) she tells them that that is what she wants support with.

This is not because HE is frowned on in our circles: two of her best friends are or have been HE'd. It is not because I have a negative attitude to HE either. It is simply because dd feels school suits her. I don't think she is necessarily going to be "office fodder"; she dreams of acting and will probably end up doing something fairly unconventional. But she feels school is facilitating that, not least because she meets so many different people there, whereas the HE parents around here do tend to be fairly similar in class and general outlook.

mamalost Sat 26-Jan-13 14:10:42

StripiestSocks I think we're on the same wavelength.

Not being funny, but why is it seen as such a bad thing to try to protect our children from negative experiences and influences?! At 4 years old, children do not have all the information they need to make moral judgements, they don't yet know fully right from wrong and they could easily be misled. I am certainly not against my children mixing with a wide range of children from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, etc etc (I specifically chose to live where we do in London because I didn't want a 'suburban' upbringing for them) but there is a massive difference between this taking place in school largely unsupervised by adults and taking place in groups and other things with other HE-ers. HE-ers are all different and HE for different reasons... many of the things that you are saying can only be experienced at school are also experienced by HE children.

I certainly don't want to unduly 'protect' my children, but at the moment, they are young, I don't see why this is seen as a negative thing. Of course I'm not saying I will keep my DD at 15 under lock and key (as much as I would like to) but there is a huge difference between a 4 yo and a teenager. Different rules apply to different ages.

mrz Sat 26-Jan-13 14:17:36

I honestly think you have made your mind up and no matter what people say you are only going to listen to those views that match your own.
Unfortunately I'm not sure if you will ever believe that your daughter can be happy in a school even this proves to be the case. good luck

Bunbaker Sat 26-Jan-13 14:21:22

I agree mrz

mamalost Sat 26-Jan-13 14:21:40

I think that in some ways school vary so much that we're not comparing like with like. There are so many variables. Some of the things that you are describing sound amazing and are definitely not options at the schools in our catchment area!

Also a note on ethnic mix - I want my DCs to go to school with lots of different children, but in my area in many of the local schools, except church schools, my DCs would be the only children (white other) not from mostly one other country or religion! That does not reflect society or 'real life' in the UK. I don't think that I'm weird to want there to be a mixture of children in their school. HE might be a way that they meet a bigger mix of children than school if they don't get into the church school.

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 14:24:23

I personally wouldn't be at all worried about my children mixing with almost any other children in a school environment, other than normal concerns about children who handle anger violently of course, or bullying.

My issues are more to do with school not being the best use of their time I think, in terms of stimulation and education.

You do sound a little fearful of your child mixing with other children - what precisely are you worried will happen?

I would say the mixing with lots of children is the one thing I think school is good for - it is possible to mix widely when HE but it takes a lot of input.

I think the negative aspects of mixing with other children come later, I can understand switching to HE when a teen is clearly making bad social choices at school but in infants I think there is little Negative impact from peers, except in cases of bullying or social isolation.

seeker Sat 26-Jan-13 14:24:50

Please let's not let this descend into a snipy he/school thread. We've had too many of those in the past.

There are good things and bad things about both, but the use of terms llike "office fodder" and "over protective" don't help.

TheSecondComing Sat 26-Jan-13 14:24:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mamalost Sat 26-Jan-13 14:28:07

I'm sorry that you feel like that Mrz and Bunbaker because I have thanked people various times for sharing their views. I guess I can only put them together with my views and reading and see what we think is best in the end.

I guess its important for us all to believe that we're doing the best things for our families and children, and even if we disagree on the 'how'.

Thanks again for the thoughts, experiences and advice. I really will take them all on as we make the decision in the next few months.

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 14:28:11

Hmm, I am not sure I understand what you mean by 'my children would be the only one's not from mostly one other country or religion'. That sounds like you are making the judgment on grounds of the race/religion of the pupils?

If that is the case, I can say we are not on the same wavelength!

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 26-Jan-13 14:30:44

Do agree with Mrz.

I think the worst possible outcome is for a child to attend school where the parents do not trust or support what is being done there.

School works best where there is a committed home/school relationship.

So I think you should home educate too.

seeker Sat 26-Jan-13 14:31:03

Oh, lord. Please tell me you're not trying to avoid a ... non- white school..........

TheSecondComing Sat 26-Jan-13 14:39:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mamalost Sat 26-Jan-13 14:40:05

No, please understand me... I want there to be a MIXTURE. At many schools in my catchment, there isn't a MIXTURE: people from different and varying backgrounds. (Ie - white, African, Asian, European, whatever) My nearest school is 98% Bangladeshi background children. There is not one single white child in that whole primary school. That is what I am talking about. I am asking the question about whether that is normal and healthy when our society is a MIXTURE of people, not just people from one country or community.

So, when I say, I would like my children to learn in a MIXED school then I want there to be more than just Bengali children in their school. If you think that is bad then that is fine, I just don't think that that is normal. (Unless, of course, we lived in Bangladesh)

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 14:45:43

Ok, I am not sure any of my thoughts on learning outcomes at home vs school are of any relevance to you, because you are actually worried about the pupils rather than the school. I don't really know what to say but I repeat I am not on your wavelength at all.

So you wouldn't like your DD to go to a school where 98% of the pupils were from White British families? Not much of a Mixture there, either.

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