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AIBU to ask for your opinions on home education?

(248 Posts)
MooMooTheFirst Sat 10-Jun-17 10:11:59

For background-

I am a primary school teacher that currently teaches nursery and have felt increasingly uneasy about the school system in the UK over the past few years. I've got a 13 month old DS. I am confident I can deliver education at primary level up to year six.

The idea of home education has always seemed 'other' to me but I am slowly starting to feel like it would be right for us.

This isn't a goady post, genuinely looking for a variety of opinions.

corythatwas Sat 10-Jun-17 10:20:42

To me it is about the individual family and about the individual child. I think it is perfectly fine as long as:

the child is happy

plenty of effort is made to ensure that the child has socialising opportunities

an older child is given the chance to move into formal education if they decide they want it

the child is encouraged to make the most of any educational opportunities and, as they grow older, given a realistic idea of the kind of qualifications expected for various paths

the adult in charge is happy with spending the time required on enabling the child educationally and socially in whatever way they decide to HE

the family finances can cope

there is a clear plan for the HE'ing parent's earning potential and pension

If all these are in place, then go for it.

hellokittymania Sat 10-Jun-17 10:28:46

I really wish I had been homeschooled, had it not been for my chaotic family.

I am a very curious person find nature, and have always enjoyed learning, even on my own. I went to a special-needs school, but took some mainstream classes. One year, I was the only student enrolled in German at the mainstream school , and the teacher was at another school. I taught myself, in my own way. I did really well, I love foreign languages and speak seven of them now. Had I been in a regular classroom, I would not have learned nearly as much. I could learn at a very quick pace and in a way that I liked.

Being a primary school teacher already, I think your child would have a major advantage. Depending on where you live, there are plenty of things to do for children if you look for them. Or, you could always start something of your own if nothing exists in your area.

RainbowsAndUnicorn Sat 10-Jun-17 10:30:39

I think as you are a teacher it's very very different than someone who is not.

As long as you can afford it with the reliance on the state, your child wants to do it and isn't stopped from joining their peers it could work.

They may struggle though at high school to go from no formal education to the highly strict secondary routine.

Witchend Sat 10-Jun-17 10:32:00

I've known families where it has been great.
And families where it has been a disaster (although they wouldn't necessarily recognise it).

The best ones are those who have sort of fallen into it due to the individual child needing it, but they've researched thoroughly and taken it as a decision and are very aware of the shortcomings.
Also the children are good socially, or already have a network of out of school activities/friends and work well without needing the competitive element to keep them going.

The parents present homeschooling as an option they have chosen, and school as a perfectly good option-not school as either a bogeyman or the thing lesser unfortunate mortals do.

They also are open to the idea that the children can choose school if they want to without pressure that the parents disapprove or will be upset.

winewolfhowls Sat 10-Jun-17 10:33:01

Wow hellokitty, seven languages?! Respect.

RedSandYellowSand Sat 10-Jun-17 10:33:04

I have seen families where it has been a decision made in the best interests of the child, and the parents have worked hard to make it an educational and social success.
I have seen it done as a "easy life" noone needs to know how to do all that stuff (reading, writing, maths) and been used as a way to enable chaotic living - no getting out of the house in the mornings, no term times.
One route has generated significantly more rounded adults than the other.

ScooterOnTheMotorway Sat 10-Jun-17 10:33:10

There is a home ed section on here's if you would like more information.

But basically I agree with @corythatwas.

I home ed one child and have another two in school. School sometimes does not work for a child, especially those with SEN.

SuperBeagle Sat 10-Jun-17 10:34:18

I am not a supporter of it in general circumstances.

I don't think it benefits a child to be kept away from "the norm". It limits their ability to socialise, learn critical conflict resolution skills, learn to deal with adults other than yourself/other family members etc. And I think expecting them to be able to transition easily from years or homeschooling in primary to regular schooling in secondary is optimistic and unlikely to actually play out.

I do think it's beneficial - if you do choose to do this - that you're a qualified teacher, but I'm certainly not a supporter of it.

I have known two families with homeschooled children. One family was just stranger, ultra-religious etc. The other did it for no real reason, and their children all craved the ability to socialise with people outside of their own siblings. Sure, you can take them to the park etc. but it doesn't allow for them to form friendships in the same way that school does. Those homeschooled kids were bright and relatively fulfilled academically, but they would've been far better off in a regular school environment.

LadyGagarden Sat 10-Jun-17 10:34:38

I've looked into HE quite a bit the past year as seriously considered it for my 9 year old. There's a brilliant site on FB which is very active and the members on there are really willing to help. There are different styles of HE too, you don't have to follow a set curriculum if you don't want to. A friend's daughter has made an excellent video about being homeschooled, it's really inspiring. If you google 'Agi K I don't go to school' you should find it!

TeenAndTween Sat 10-Jun-17 10:35:01

There's a Home Ed board under the Education topic.

I would have home educated if necessary but not through choice.

I know one family who home ed through choice (also ex primary teacher) and although the mum always says 'DC can choose to go to school if they wish' she is always so negative about school that I don't think that in reality the children have a choice which I'm not convinced is fair.

Heirhelp Sat 10-Jun-17 10:43:29

This is a really interesting thread.

I am a secondary school teacher with 1 year old and I also dispear with the UK education system and the current election results obviously don't help.

I personally can't imagine HE as I don't think I would be very good at it and I suspect my DD would benifit from going to school. But if school was not working for in the future it is something I would potentially consider.

MooMooTheFirst Sat 10-Jun-17 10:44:29

I would very much go down the routine route with it, should I do it. I believe in routine etc and would probably end up structuring it very much like a typical school day.

It is the lack of socialisation that would concern me, but that would have to be the part that I worked hard on. I think I live in an area where there are a few others doing it or that would be interested in it so could find like minded people that way.

I definitely see the issue with making the transition to secondary though!

Heirhelp Sat 10-Jun-17 11:36:07

I would prefer a routine. I like a routine myself. Perhaps you could do it until year 5 but then the year 6 sats would be an issue.

Definitely try and find your local HE pagea on Facebook. I know there is a regular HE forest school day in my area and you could explore extra curricular activities e.g. Rainbows and sports style groups.

ScooterOnTheMotorway Sat 10-Jun-17 11:52:13

The socialization thing is a myth. A group I am part of has multiple events every day of the week that you can choose to go to. Please can we stop banging that drum.

emochild Sat 10-Jun-17 12:03:09

Difficult to do based on classroom routine

Only teaching one child means a 60 minute maths lesson only takes about 20 minutes

SuperBeagle Sat 10-Jun-17 12:04:18

Scooter Well, no, because the OP asked for peoples' opinions and my opinion is that homeschooling inhibits socialisation. And even if it doesn't inhibit that, I still think kids benefit from the wider socialisation in school which involves dealing with many adults, having to form conflict resolution schools etc.

SuperBeagle Sat 10-Jun-17 12:06:20


DoJo Sat 10-Jun-17 12:09:12

Perhaps you could do it until year 5 but then the year 6 sats would be an issue.

Why would SATs be an issue?

Ummmmgogo Sat 10-Jun-17 12:09:37

op it sounds like you would do a far better job educationally than most, but the lack of socialization in home ed really isn't fair on the kids. A meet-up for home ed kids cannot in any way compare to being at school in terms of social development. xx

Trifleorbust Sat 10-Jun-17 12:28:07

I think it's fine. With the amount of learning time saved that isn't spent dealing with multiple children, their questions, their upsets, their illnesses, their behaviour, you could cover an extensive curriculum with a couple of hours of formal learning a day and spend the rest of the time going out to forests, zoos, museums, doing craft, cooking, talking to your child etc. I have no problem with it until the knowledge needed to teach exceeds the capability of the adult in question.

witsender Sat 10-Jun-17 12:31:01

We home ed, a 5 and 7 year old and another due in October.

We are very happy with the decision, as are the kids. We don't follow a routine, though I appreciate some like or want one.

LadyGagarden Sat 10-Jun-17 12:40:34

Socialisation can happen at cubs, sports clubs etc it doesn't have to be at school.

CloudPerson Sat 10-Jun-17 12:41:02

I keep writing posts and MN eats them!
Anyway, socialisation in school really isn't the be all and end all, and IME the people who bang on about it are those who don't really understand, or those who were amongst the few who positively thrived in school.
Some children do really well, make friends easily.
Some children find this difficult.
HE is not socially isolating at all, or in my case, is done at my sons' pace (both have ASD), so is far more fulfilling than enforced association in school ever was, and when you do socialise it crosses age barriers, abilities, there doesn't seem to be the competitiveness that there is in secondary school, there is more scope for modelling kind, thoughtful behaviour, and children with differences are more likely to be included, rather than ostracised, as so often happens in school.
Even if a child has no SN, I think this kind of environment can be hugely beneficial, as they'll be more likely to learn to treat their peers with respect, something which I believe school, particularly secondary, does not do well (and I say that through personal experience, plus the experiences of my sons, and those of many people I have contact with).
There's an assumption that children will come out "weird". SN and children who struggle to fit the system are over represented within the HE world, as eyre less likely to thrive in a school environment, so those considered weird having been home educated are likely to have come out of school perhaps performing normal a little better, but are often utterly broken by their experiences.
For a lucky few, school days are the best in your life, for most people it is something to be endured, or something to recover from.
If you can HE, and you're ok with lack of time to yourself (something I struggle with), then I believe it can be a very valid choice.
I'm not an over zealous home edder, I actually wish my sons had been able to cope with school and be amongst those who enjoy it, and I do feel we are HEing out of necessity rather than choice, but it's not the doom and gloom that lots of people think it is, rearing weird, anti social hippies. It's about having the freedom from the increasing pressure put on our children in school, and for us, a way to limit and soothe the awful mental health issues that were created within school and the social structure which so many hold to be vital for children.

witsender Sat 10-Jun-17 12:44:11

I should add there are no SN here that we know of, but this life suits us and the kids far more than the alternative, and our kids are amazing.

Depending on where you are there may well be huge communities of He around you, I know there is where we are. We pick and choose what we do but it is nice to know if is there.

I don't know many, if any, who follow a school like routine as to many that would bely the point.

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