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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.

mummytime Fri 17-May-13 12:07:53

Most HE children I know have integrated well when they have gone to sixth form, college or school. A few have more difficulties, but to be honest usually those individuals would have struggled with socialising with their peers at whatever age. Which was partly why they were HEd, at least they got some qualifications and grew up a bit before having to "re-integrate". (They also probably had a diagnosed or undiagnosed SN, I would guess.)

CarpeVinum Fri 17-May-13 11:28:55

IME experience, they struggled to relate socially to their peers at the FE college where I worked. They only seemed comfortable with adults

That jibes with my RL experience with a specific group where there was a strong sway towards dersion for the need or even advisability for an emphasis on providing extensive peer group social opportunities.

I was a pariah to some becuase I was so pro DS being very much inserted on a daily basis amoung his peer group, particulary because while I valued the "playground-esque" nature of the yputh club setting.

And before anybody jumps all over me, there were three children with SEN. Of the rest with clear behavoiral or socialmissues the majority had gone through extensive investigation due to referrals and come put the otherside eithout diagnosis.

But I don't think that is indicative of the wider HE scene. I think it is indicative of small pokcets where bords of feather come together, hyjack an educational option, use that to draw in new blood and then intensionally or otherwise restricting the newbies putlook to their own particular flavour. What is notable is in a group that has its axis in one strong personality "leader" and her handy flock of acolytes is not how many people are in the group, but the far higher number who have fled screaming for the hills

In any given area I think who starts/controls the grassroots social/support network can pretty much flavour the visible face of HE, sometimes to the detriment of the public perception of the choice.

And dear god there is an awful lot of power play to be seen both online and off when specific flavours or outlooks clash over who gets to be in charge.

I'm happier in a group of one. My son doesn't play with HE children, he plays with children. I don't socialise with HE mums, I spcialisemwith mums. That way I don't feel ghettoised and keep myself free of the same dynamics I saw play out in other "special interest in common"groups, like the expat groups. Which were a special kind of hell of their own kind.

But that choice is reliant on not having to be defensive the whole time cos everybody is picking holes in my educational choices. I couldn't do it in the face of constant critisim and an unwillingness to even listen to another perspective. Even Awful HE Group With Knobs On would be better than that. But it wouldn't be anything like as good for us as gen pub tolerance and acceptance is.

LaQueen Fri 17-May-13 11:12:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheBigJessie Fri 17-May-13 11:05:35

Well, it sounds like school isn't working. Also, you can take a child out of primary school, and enrol them in a nice new secondary at 11 after a few years out of the environment that wasn't working.

There's also FE colleges, some of which can be quite amenable to accepting bright previously home-educated 14/15 year olds on to GCSE courses.
There's also the option of doing GCSEs in year 12 and A-levels in 13-14, but I wouldn't recommend that one, unless as a last resort.

I did that, and it limits your GCSE options substantially, because cramming a two-year course into one year means you can only take three or four. That, in turn, limits your A-level options.

Startail Fri 17-May-13 08:37:09

DF has HE each of her 3DCs up to 11.
I don't think she started out intending any great plan, this is just where DS1 got better at math than she was (she's Canadian).

She's very chatty and outgoing so makes friends everywhere, her DCs are far more sociable than my DD1. They have friends from church, riding, dancing and HE group as well as neighbours etc.

They manage this on her DHs manual wage, she is brilliant at giggle food, fugal craft and min spend birthday parties.

She does have one cheat, her DSIS is a teacher back in Canada and she sends stuff and gives tips.

cory Fri 17-May-13 08:18:02

School is one way of meeting the socialisation need and it is often rather efficient.

But it is not the only one.

And it is not efficient for all children.

A friend of mine pulled her ASD son out when she found he wasn't engaging in any way in school, either socially or academically. His social needs have been met far better at HE group and at local drama group. He is sitting his GCSEs through his group and will be going to college. His brother otoh opted to go back to school at secondary level and will be doing his GCSEs at school. They both get what is best for them.

Fecklessdizzy Thu 16-May-13 23:40:38

I think it's horses for courses OP.

As people have said up thread, children who find social interaction tricky and a bit daunting oftain do much better in smaller, more controlled groups where they can go at their own pace.

Support your sister's choice - my sister's mate does it and her kids are bright and friendly and cheerful!

PomBearWithAnOFRS Thu 16-May-13 23:20:24

I homeschooled no2 son (of my five children) with no "qualifications" as a teacher, and no experience of teaching, and I had never in a million years thought we would ever do such a thing. Circumstances led us to it, and I still (he's almost 19 now, and a qualified chef) maintain that we saved his life by taking him out of school.
Your neice might not be in such a "life or death" or serious situation OP, but if you can trust that your SiL has her child's best interests at heart, then you can be supportive and helpful hopefully.
By "forced contact" I meant school every day for whoever that was - I hated school and was bullied and just remember so much misery during my time there, that when my child was in a similar situation, and so bloody unhappy and the school couldn't/wouldn't do anything that I was determined to do anything I could to help him. HE worked for us, and I do firmly believe that, with the commitment and determination to make it work, it can be a lifesaver.
(I haven't pored over the other posts, but has anyone mentioned the HE topic here on MN? Or "Education Otherwise" yet? have a look and tell your SiL about them too grin )

QuertyQueen Thu 16-May-13 19:38:21

Thanks for all your replies. I think I need to find out more don't I? Certainly given me a lot to think about. I was thinking about how much I HATED school myself tbh and came away with two GCSE's despite being of above average intelligence. I studied for my degree as a mature student later. I am not sure why I didn't think of this before. Maybe the routes are different for some. FWIW I only have one friend from my school days and even then I am only in touch via FB.

Dawndonna Thu 16-May-13 18:17:33

We home educated three of ours for a while. All three with ASDs. They went to High School well ahead of everybody else. One still really misses it, the other two are happy.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 16-May-13 17:51:11


That's just how I feel

There is a good HE board on MN which I have learnt a lot from (my childen are in school).

What is clear to me is that whilst every child needs an education, school is only one method of delivering it. For some children school is a great experience but for others it does more harm than good.

I would assume that your DSis will be able to plan social activities that better suit the level of interaction that your DN can cope with right now and adjust it to meet her needs going forward. In school, its much more sink or swim either you cope with a classroom situation or you don't (i know I am generalising here).

DailyNameChanger Thu 16-May-13 17:48:35

I used to think HE was a ridiculous idea. But my son, he's 5, has ASD and at the moment I am trying to get him a transfer to special school. I wouldn't HE myself, unless the situation got desperate. Because I don't think I have the right temperament and I think it would end up with me isolated and fed up and him just doing his own thing. But I can see how it could work absolutely great with a lot of commitment, and actually maybe a bit more of a laid back attitude than I am able to have. The thing about socialisation is that, kids with ASD generally don't. And if sensory issues get in the way, being in a huge school with hundreds of children is massively stressful for them. I can certainly see pattern now with my little man, all his autistic traits and quirky behaviours increase tenfold when it is term time. I think over the next several decades the way children are educated will change massively to cater for different needs and HE will be just one way of doing it, as will school. I have an older son who absolutely thrives in the school environment, loves every single day.

JenaiMorris Thu 16-May-13 17:36:07

The only time I'm a bit hmm about HE is if it seems to be more about the parent than the child. I don't imagine that happens as often in this country as it might do elsewhere though.

WilsonFrickett Thu 16-May-13 17:16:55

The socialisation thing is such a red herring. Particularly for children on the spectrum who usually find it so difficult. They don't just go to school for a couple of years and then suddenly go 'Oh! That's how you do it'. What tends to happen is they wander round a big, scary playground on their own (if they're lucky and not bullied). For seven years.

Much, much better to have controlled opportunities to socialise in non-overwhelming sensory situations. For girls with ASD OP, school is exhausting. They are usually 'masking' like crazy to get by socially. In many cases it's better just to remove the stress.

thebody Thu 16-May-13 16:09:54

Pombear, your post does make me think.

I never ever considered HE for my own kids but now working in a school I do see the down sides of having to stick to a ridged curriculum, seeing tired 4 year olds struggling with phonics when all at different stages and sitting in a sweaty classroom on a fantastic sunny day when all is called for is a nature walk.

Makes you think.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 16-May-13 16:07:23

This is a great thread.

Journey Thu 16-May-13 16:03:20

I think you need to be far more open minded. You should be supporting your sister. It will be tough for her if her dd is going through the diagnosis for ASD. If you generally want to help your niece listen and respect your sister's choice. Criticising (because that's how it will come across) your sister's choice to home educate your niece is not helpful. Your sister has enough on her plate to deal with at the moment.

TeWiSavesTheDay Thu 16-May-13 15:26:25

I'm not intending to home ed, but have 2 friends who are - frankly they and their kids seem to have a brilliant time, and are doing well academically and socially. They live in different areas but both have home ed groups they attend with other hone educators and children.

I really see the advantage in it, particularly when you are dealing with a child like your DN, who is bright but struggles with mainstream school.

Your SIL might not be a teacher, hut she's studying towards a degree herself so she clearly believes in education and it's value.

Don't worry DP much, be supportive.

rainbowbrite1980 Thu 16-May-13 15:26:10

My child has an autistic spectrum disorder and I home educate. I originally started home educating because he did not cope socially in school - I can see how people might think that riemoving a child from school might make social difficulties worse, but for my son certainly, he is more able to cope now he is not in that school environment - he was so overstimulated by it that he couldn't cope, was exhausted, and couldn't benefit from anything they did. Now we can choose what activities / meet-ups he goes to, tailor those to him, and I can support him in socialising, whilst also standing back and letting him practise those skills for himself.

There are a lot of social opportunities for home educated children. We end up turning things down just in order to get some time at home. We could be with other families all day every day if we wanted to.

Ais for not being a teacher - a home educating parent is a different role, and children tend to learn more independently. We learn alongside our children, and enable them to learn for themselves, more than teaching them as it would happen in school. I have many friends and a sister who are teachers, and teacher training is a lot more concerned with classroom management than what to teach - but also, the research shows that a parent's level of education doesn't have much impact on home educated children's achievement. It also shows that home educated children tend to do better both academically and socially.

I don't agree that everyone has to go to school - legally they don't, and it doesn't suit everyone - school is one system and it can't suit every child.

I love home educating so much and can see gthe benefits of an individualised and personalised education and so have decided that my other 2 children who do not have asd will also be home educated.

loofet Thu 16-May-13 15:03:05

I'm not qualified and I home educate grin

People have an image in their head of home educated children being fish in tiny bowls. That they stay home all day and never socialise. It isn't true. We go out to different places all of the time and when we go they meet new people of ALL ages. Socialisation doesn't have to just be with people your own age, is everyone you meet your age?

Mainstream education lets a lot of children down through bullying, the fact they're all treat as if they learn in the same way when they're all individuals and learn very differently, too many children per teacher, no one to one time etc etc. With home education you tailor learning to your children so it isn't all sat down at a desk with a teacher talking at you all day. Plus if it's a nice day we take lessons outside smile

So, I don't think SIL is being U. She's doing what's best for her child. Trust her judgement.

Cloverer Thu 16-May-13 14:36:36

SATs are irrelevant, school isn't the best/only place to socialise, and if your SIL is organised, committed and intelligent enough to study for an OU degree then I'm sure she is quite capable of educating a child.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 14:32:17


Aren't they awful ?

Lots of mums I have nothing common with thrusting slices of "Nonna's simply marvellous crostina!" at me while I politely choke down sawdust smothered in home made Half Dead Apricot Jam.

And then the ironing olympics starts where I always come in last cos they all have Italian Rolls Royce massive ironing "systems" and I haven't seen my supermarket 10 euro jobbie since 1997. I know it's in the house somewhere. Just not sure where.

Bastard birthday parties from hell.

Pins in eyes time when an invite arrives.

TattyDevine Thu 16-May-13 14:21:41

Don't know anything much about home ed but I'm with Carpe - I fecking hate parties!!! particularly dry ones

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 14:19:37

Either that or he'd spend all day every day on the Xbox whilst I sat drinking wine


There were HE days when I was rather glad that there wasn't a bottle in the house to tempt me.

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