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Need reassurance about school - its not all bad, is it?!(154 Posts)
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.
Mt children loved Reception, and it should be great fun with lots of play opportunities, and especially lots of social activities, and if there are problems, usually teachers who are experienced are great at talking through your concerns. I think one advantage of school over HE is that your children get a chance to learn from a perspective that is different from your own. But be reassured, you are your childs most important educator for a long time, even when they are in school. You are not doing anything wrong to your child enrolling them in school and they may even have the best time ever. Talk to the Headteacher and explain that you are feeling anxious and they may let you come and observe some time in Reception or simply explain their approach to reassure you.
just to add, DD will shortly be 3 and we are thinking about pre school for her - she is at home with me full time and whilst (mostly) i love it, i know that i want to keep her with me for ME and that isnt necessarily what is best for her. she is getting to be very independent and needs her own friends to mix with and to prepare for school i guess. feel very guilty for even thinking of sending her when i am at home .
havent read all of the posts, but just wanted to reassure you OP that no, all schools are not that bad. a year ago, i felt the same way as you, and even up until the night before DS started school i didnt want him to go and felt sick to the stomach at the thought and would have chopped my right arm off if it meant he didnt have to go!
we had of course visited on our own, visited with him, left him for an induction morning. i was worried that he wouldnt make friends, that all of his thirst for knowledge would be knocked out of him, that teachers wouldnt have time to answer his
sometimes daft questions, that it just wouldnt 'fit' him. we were offered our third choice school which made it so much the worse for my fears. i have a friend who HE and i think some of her thoughts about school i had taken on board myself. i took him on that first day, telling DH that we would give it until christmas and then i would HE if things werent working out.
however, i really needn't have worried. he settled in so well. he has made friends (didnt know anyone on first day) and has a great time playing with his friends. from what i see the class is made up of 'nice' children, the teachers are lovely and his yR teacher especially clearly loves her job and her class. he is doing well, and somewhere between all the playing and dressing up has learnt to read, confidently write a little, add and subtract. nothing exceptional you understand but he has made me so proud. he loves school and was a bit difficult at home for the first few weekends when he realised sat and sun were non-school days! he does have a reading book and occasional bits of homework but we do this and we still have time to do after school / weekend activities meet up with friends etc.
i think maybe if you visit and get a feel for the school yourself it might help ease your worries a little? reception classes are loud, be warned. but it was the loud chaotic atmosphere - ie children dressed up playing monsters that really attracted us. the children were learning (without realising it) and were happy.
Agree with Bunbaker. Pre-school is usually sessional. Get your childminder - or do it on your days off - to take your child to a sessional pre-school for a couple of mornings a week. Honestly, it will make all the difference in terms of easing transition into school. OK, my ASD-ish son needed it, but even my VERY sociable daughter benefitted hugely from a stepped transition home all the time - pre-school a couple of hours a day - school.
"not wanting DD to be in nursery 9-3pm every day from such a young age etc."
Preschool hours are usually morning or afternoon and only three hours per session. It sounds to me that it is you who is having separation anxiety and are consdering HE for your own benefit than your DD's. Primary school round here finishes at 3.30 and there is plenty of time between 3.30 and bedtime to do stuff together.
I couldn't wait for DD to start preschool so that I could have some child free time during the day.
It depends on the child too. My dd wasn't happy unless every single second of her day was filled with something- she would have had 2after school activities then a friend to tea every day if I'd let her. Ds liked to come home and potter.
There's loads of day left after 3. And holidays are long.
2 years at nursery not 3!
It's really not that bad!
My DD was looked after by me, DH & her grandparent until she was 3, then did 3 years at a small, private nursery with just 16 children per session, all of whom went to a different primary so I had some concerns when she started school.
For the first week (part time hours) she came out every day and asked if she'd made any new friends and got a 'no' which freaked me out completely, but by the end of the first week she had a 'best friend' and had decided she liked school so much she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. She's now 8.4 and still wants to be a teacher!
Her Reception teacher was not my cup of tea tbh, but she wasn't bad, and the three teachers she has had since have been brilliant, as is her head teacher.
It does get more difficult as they get older in terms of extra activities, homework and getting to spend time with them. I'm struggling a bit with that myself at the moment, but it just means a bit more effort and forward planning really.
School usually finishes about 3 o'clock. So if you meet them with a snack (which is often a good idea), they won't be ready for dinner for several hours yet. And plenty of activities can be done at weekends.
cory - do you find that in the normal school week there is enough time with DCs? If they do afterschool activities etc - is it not just dinner and bed by the time that they get home? I just can't imagine so much time away from home for such little ones.
Sorry, I meant that it was too difficult for DD to go to nursery and DS to go to childminder - so I kept them both at the childminder. There were also other reasons - like preferring a smaller setting, DD and DS being together, not wanting DD to be in nursery 9-3pm every day from such a young age etc. Not that it was too difficult to visit schools - sorry for confusing sounding sentence!
Have a look round several now that your dd is older; sometimes it is difficult to visualise them in an environment while they still look small and vulnerable. And visiting schools is fun . It's not like you're committing never to HE in your life: just that it's not convenient at the moment, so you are investigating different options.
But don't worry about after school activities. If parents you know have made their children give them up, then that was their decision and chances are they would have made some equally silly decisions if they had been HE'ing.
It's not like the headteacher is going to come sneaking round your living room in the afternoons to check that nobody is having a good time
However busy their school day, the time they spend with you is longer (particularly if you count holidays) and you are still in charge of that.
If you work part time can you not get a place for your daughter at pre-school on the days you are at home? She will only be there for 3 hours each day. It is a really good preparation for school.
seeker, and others concerned, I have been to one of the schools that I applied to which is my preferred choice, but I went last year when DD was going to be going for nursery. It was too difficult to juggle with work and my other DC (who is younger) so we kept them both at their childminder. I have mostly seen the nursery and reception classrooms, but not the rest of the school.
I posted a thread recently about how lovely my dgc school is.It is a small country school [about 90 pupils aged from 3 to 11.It is a warm,happy place with lovely staff and all the age groups seem comfortable together.
Even though my dd and I are both teachers and I am now retired I wouldn't recommend HE unless the local schools are awful.
The world is full of new people,new situations and unless she needs to be protected for a specific reason it is time to ease her into them.
On the after school activities point, DD has danced (starting off at 1 hour a week, up to 7h 45 mins now) throughout primary school. She has also been a Rainbow and a Cub, plays a musical instrument and learned to swim. DS has gone right through the Scouting movement - Beavers, Cubs, Scouts - plays an instrument (including in band / orchestra), played football with the local professional team's centre of excellence as well as with his boys' team, also at various times played cricket and rugby as well as swimming. he's added to those since starting secondary, of course, but that is many years away for yours.
Basically, my children have always done lots outside school, both in terms of 'formal' activities listed above and also the informal park / trampolining / voracious reading / tearing around on bikes / baking etc etc type stuff. The first term of Reception is quite hard, so I suppose they only did a couple of things each at that point, but once they're over the 'tired' phase it hasn't been a problem at all.
Sorry- just noticed that you haven't visited any schools. How very odd. My children are far too important to me to send them into an environment I haven't visited.
"There are children that I know who have had to give up afterschool activities (including football, art and drama) because they need to focus on school work. I would not want that"
In^primary school?^ they must have incredibly stupid parents!
Try to visit some pre-school settings too - maybe your childminder might take your oldest child there for a morning or two for you? Mine used to do the whole 'drop at pre-school, pick up 2 hours later and care for the child for the rest of the day' thing when I (briefly) worked while my children were at their pre-school.
Fantastic idea to visit.
Also, once you have seen round and (hopefully) liked one or more of the schools that you have applied for, take your child round [I would suggest that as a first visit for most people, but given your concerns, I would suggest an 'adult only' version first for you].
The school DS went back into after a period of HE was the one where the Head put his hands down to my 6 year old and 4 year old and said 'Can I show you my school?' TO THEM, leaving me trailing in their wake. It is a large primary, but that initial impression of focusing absolutely on the child and doing things for them, not to impress the adult, was absolutely accurate.
Why don't I HE any more? Short answer is because the issue was not 'School' but 'A particular school', and a school move following a house move took away the problem - even for my deeply quirky, spiky ability profile, many ASD behaviours DS.
Longer answer related to a wish for him to access specialist teachers at secondary, as although I am very expert in some areas there are others where I did not want to deny him the experience of learning from someone with a much higher level of expertise than I can offer (and had I HEd DS through primary, the spikiness of his academic profile would have made him very difficult indeed to reintegrate into mainstream seconary - his primary head, when I deregistered him, opined that he was a child who was unlikely to be able to re-enter mainstream education.). Also, for a child who due to a level of ASD has to explicitly learn the social norms and appropriate social behaviours of e.g. conversation, working in a group, playing a game without strict 'rules', keeping him permanently away from an environment where all of those ARE appropriately modelled and taught every day [supplemented by daily work at home, of course] was only likely to intensify the difficulties.
DD, on the other hand, was born conventionally school-shaped - to have kept her away from her natural environment by HEing her would have been positively unkind!
For what it's worth, neither of my children noticed that Year 2 SATs happened (and they are observant children). DS did notice Year 6 SATs, but his school does minimal preparation (in the form of familiarisation with a couple of papers over the course of the year) and overall he seemed to see it just as a challenge along the lines of the weekly 'tiumes table challenge' rather than as any big event.
Am slightly bemused (and trying not to sound too critical!) that you have this many preconceptions about school without having looked round one?!! How on earth did you decide which one to apply for without looking, either?
I hope you get some reassurances when you do.
It really is important to come to you own opinion on this.
I think it's a great idea to go round.
I loved how safe, friendly and welcoming our school felt
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