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to have real concerns over my dsil plans for DN?

(55 Posts)
QuertyQueen Thu 16-May-13 11:23:06

My Dsil is planning to Home Educate her DD.

I admit I don't know much about it so I am posting here for opinions and thoughts.

Dsil is not a teacher. She is currently studying a degree with the Open University. I cannot see how she can be qualified to teach DNiece at home.

DNiece has been struggling at school it has to be said, she possibly has ASD, currently going through diagnosis, however she is super bright, free reader age 7 etc and academically is doing well.

But what about socialisation? Surely if dd is already struggling, just keeping her at home is going to make it that much worse? DSil says DNiece won't do SATS. What will that mean for her future? She is opting out of these exams, what will this mean for GCSE's in the future?

Can I ask for honest thoughts please? Everyone needs to go to school don't they? How will the fit in and adapt in the future if they don't? I want to be supportive I really do and as such have not said much, though DH has mentioned SATs to her and how she intends to help DNiece achieve all she is capable of? She just says she wants to get DNiece out of the situation she is in and then will sort all that later.

Any opinions at all welcome. I just want to be able to have an educated opinion about it though fully intend to keep my own counsel smile.

QuertyQueen Thu 16-May-13 11:25:18

Oh and I have to go out now but will be back later this afternoon.

hotcrosbum Thu 16-May-13 11:26:20

Home educators rarley stay at home all day.

I did it for 6 years and I was exhausted with all the stuff ds did.

I have no formal qualifications.

He went to school at 10 due to circs beyond my control as is top of his class. He misses HE as he says he used to see more, do more, meet more people, have more experiences.

It's fine.

hotcrosbum Thu 16-May-13 11:27:46

I met a lot of HE children on the autistic spectrum, they always thrived away from the pressures of school.

IvanaCake Thu 16-May-13 11:28:05

Lots of people home school and 99% of them have no teaching qualifications (*made up statistic but bet its not far off!)

Sil is doing what she feels is best for her child.

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 11:28:30

SATs are tests for schools, not for pupils.

There is no advantage to a child in doing them.

WilsonFrickett Thu 16-May-13 11:28:39

No, everyone doesn't have to go to school. Many, many children with ASD are home-ed, I would home ed myself if a) it wouldn't drive me insane and b) I didn't need to work.

You don't just get let loose with a pack of crayons and CBBC, there is a curriculuum and everything. Have a look around the HE boards here.

MammaTJ Thu 16-May-13 11:30:30

She has ASD and is struggling although bright. There are many, many people who will say home educating is the best thing for her. I am one of those people. Your SIL is not doing this lightly, I am sure of that.

I am also sure she will be a member of at least one group online that is advising her on this and she will be getting RL advice too.

Ask her for more information. Ask her a supportive way what she is going to do to help her DD socialise. I am willing to bet she has already thought about that. Ask her what will happen about exams too.

I think you will find she is willing to discuss these things as long as you ask her in a way that sound as though you want to talk about it and learn form her rather than in a critical way.

NatashaBee Thu 16-May-13 11:31:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AThingInYourLife Thu 16-May-13 11:32:37

Home educating wouldn't be my choice, by I think it sounds really brilliant in lots of ways.

I also think it's very important that parents have this option if they don't think school is right for their children.

Madmum24 Thu 16-May-13 11:41:34

YABU. I home educate, always have and I am not a qualified teacher. My dd is doing her first GCSE aged 11 in June (there is no pressure btw). There are so many home educators who are forced into the decision because their child has needs that cannot be met at school, often children with ASD who have high anxiety levels etc.

The important thing is that your niece is educated in an environment that is conducive to her intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing. If school is not up to the job then home it is.

Everyone always pulls the socialization card with me, the truth is that we are hardly at home and have a much better social life than if they were at school.

OddSockMonster Thu 16-May-13 11:42:27

Not every child thrives in school, some do benefit far more from HE.

Yes, it'll be important for your DN to socialise but she may simply be struggling with that at the moment in a school setting.

I'm sure your DS will have thought long and hard about this as it's a big descision to make.

Why not ask if there's anything you can help out with? Do you leave near them? Maybe you could offer to take your DN out on trips out or help out if she wants to try a club Raindows or Beavers?

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 11:55:30

I did it. And from a legal perspective I still do despite the majority of home edders probably not seeing what we do as "real" home ed.

Opportunities for social interaction do not have to be an issue. Becuase my son doesn't go to a brick school I set up a range of peer based social opportunities from the start. He goes to youth club five afternoons a werk, plus sport thingies, plus with mates here or their house. Other kids will have differnt needs as to how, how much and who they want to spend time with and parents generally speaking are ususally willing to factor that in.

However....and it is a big however.

If she is very involved in the online support/community groups there is a tendendecy I think for people to become very defensive about the "socialisation card". And sometimes that can evolve into declaring the need/desire to socialise with peers a non issue.

So, gentley bently, if she is going to fall into any pitfalls, and it is not a given that she will, if she can't talk her freinds and family becuase they put her on the defnesive then she may be more inclined to take her advice elesewhere. and that might not in her or her child's best interests becuase while there are loads of lovely and very sensible, readonable people home edding, like any other group you always get a few noisey hotheaded "I'm so radical !" ones too. Don't shove her so hard on the defensive that you make it a possibility that in her rapid and hurt withdrawal from her normal support system she falls face first into their arms.

I am not having a pop at home ed online/RL groups. It happens in every sphere be it educational choices or any other "interest group", a constant need to go on the defensive becuase of knee jerk assumptions can create echo champers and then perspective can get a bit .... fuzzy.

NotYoMomma Thu 16-May-13 11:58:21

If I could do it I would. It's not something to be undertaken lightly and it may be the best thing for dn.

AMumInScotland Thu 16-May-13 12:25:00

You don't need to be a teacher to Home Educate a child - a lot of teaching is about dealing with a class of 25-30 children at different stages. HE can allow you to be guided by your child and take things at their pace. And if you don't know something then you find it out together. Anyone with a reasonable level of education themself will have enough knowledge. The skill is something you develop - education is not about transfering information from your brain to theirs, it is about encouraging them to find ways of getting the information and skills they need.

Very few HErs stay home all the time - most spend time with other families with children, other people in general. The reduction in pressure to be "social" can make a big improvement in a child's ability to cope with other people - if you aren't being forced into it, and can choose how long and in what circumstances to be with other people you feel in more control of the situation

SATS are a test of the school, not the pupil, They are meaningless in HE. If they want, there are ways of doing GCSEs when the time comes, other people choose not to and go to college later if they feel they need qualifications.

School is just one way to get an education - it is a practical choice for a lot of people, but it doesn't work for everyone. There are some children for whom HE is a much better choice, and many more for whom it would be an equally good choice.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 12:40:32

there are ways of doing GCSEs when the time comes

We are looking ahead to IGCSEs now. With the I cos the plain old GCSE variety are even more complicated cos of the coursework element on top of finding a centre that will take private candidates.

Yes it's true there are ways, but they are not stress free and it can be fricking expensive (faints at the costs involved, without counting our flights)

It is worth giving her the link to the HE exams yahoo group for when she needs it. The whole exam thing has been a massive learning curve for me and I'm glad sheer nosyness got me thinking about all the details now rather then when I was up against the clock.

It's not a reason to not HE, by and large solutions are findable the vast majority of issues that pop up. Just nice to feel ahead of the game becuases it's just that bit more tricky when compared to having kids in a mainstream school.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 12:40:59


LemonBreeland Thu 16-May-13 12:47:00

I think it massively depends on how much research your SIL has put into this. If she is just doing it without thought then you have reason to be worried.

However if she has researched what she will be doing then leave her be.

mummytime Thu 16-May-13 12:56:50

I have known people who have gone into it with no thought whatsoever, and have been very successful. It is a huge learning curve, and there are a massive range of approaches.
It doesn't have to be forever.

AMumInScotland Thu 16-May-13 13:01:21

I'd second Carpe's comments about being supportive - it's fine to ask questions on the lines of "Gosh I don't know much about that. How do you deal with X then?" but more of a problem if you start from "That will never work because of X". It is very likely that she has thought about a lot of the issues, or at the very least has decided to shelve them for now, such as exams.

If your niece is only 7 then there is a long time ahead in which they can decide whether she might go back to school for a while, or do exams outside school, or skip them completely. It doesn't have to be all decided now - many people HE just for a while, as a way of taking their child out of an unacceptable situation, whether that's because of ASD or bullying or whatever.

But you are more likely to influence her choices in small ways if you engage with this, rather than if you put her back up.

You could also think about how you could be involved, if you see them regularly, eg you could spend time with her on a regular basis so she gets another adult's input and perspective, if you have children you can make sure she gets to spend time with them, you could offer practical support so that she can get to Brownies or whatever.

You say you haven't realy talked about it yet - I'm sure she'd love to have someone to talk about it with, as long as she thinks you are prepared to listen. HE is a valid choice made by lots of families, and the vast majority of HE children end up with a good result both academically and socially, because parents don't just do this without thought, they do it because they see it is something their child can benefit from.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 13:13:12

This, wot AMumInScotland said...

But you are more likely to influence her choices in small ways if you engage with this, rather than if you put her back up

I know my sister was mightily dubious at first. But she has admitted that in good part she chocked down her concerns and went on the supportive. Lots of listening. Some non goady and not dripping agenda questions, but lots more ear than gob.

When I felt it wasn't the best choice for me...DS pretty much doing fine, but parents can go off things too, I turned to her. She was great, I bouncedmideas off her and she was a big part of the reason why I made a differnet choice for secondary education.

I'm not the world's most stubborn person, but I think it would have been so much harder to admit it wasn't working all that well for me if I had spent the last three years forced into a massive defense of my choices.

It wasn't a one way street. My sister readily admits that in retrospect, having had the chance to be privvy to all the details of what we were doing and thinking in home ed, that many of her initial objections were baseless and a tad knee jerky.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Thu 16-May-13 13:34:25

Forced contact with people whose birthdays happen to be in the same school year as hers is not socialisation.
There are more and more HE families in the UK now, and loads of brilliant resources out there to help them.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 13:47:56

A) Who said anything about forced ? Did I miss a post ?

B )Not it's not, because socialisation is not the same thing as opportunity for social contact with members of ones peer group. But when people worry about socialisation, we and they know pretty what they probably mean.

Dragging an unwilling child to a birthday party yelling "they are the same age as you, so you HAVE to go!" is likely to raise eyebrows amoung HEer and parents with kinds in mainstream schools alike.

To be honest I am hard pressed to think of a parent who would consider the drag to birthday party thing as a jolly good idea.

SoniaGluck Thu 16-May-13 13:49:49

You only have to look at all the threads on here about bullying/isolation of some children to realise that socialisation in school isn't always a positive thing.

And then, think about your own social interactions on a daily/weekly basis. Do you only have contact with people born within a 12 month period? Socialisation surely means being able to get on with the wide range of people that you meet in life; not just those within an (artificially) prescribed group.

Some children thrive in schools. They do well and enjoy it thoroughly. That's fine. But lots do not. For those children home ed. can be a life saver. And it could mean that they are ultimately more successful in life than they would have been if left in an unsupportive or hostile school environment.

mummytime Thu 16-May-13 13:50:58

I think PomBear was talking about "school".

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