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Is school good for children?

(67 Posts)
skewiff Fri 28-Sep-12 10:49:17

I just wonder whether school is a place in which children do actually learn to be social?

I wonder whether it teaches children to love or hate learning?

It feels like sending my child to prison every day. He is only 5 and does not want to go to school. He would much rather stay at home and read and play.

This morning I had to tear him away from reading his books - reading the words etc - and get cross with him for not wanting to go to school. It felt all wrong. Tearing him away from enjoying learning to force him into a place where he hates being forced to learn.

I know that home schooling is not an option for everyone - but I just wanted to open a discussion about the pros and cons of schooling versus home schooling here.

Remember no decision is set in stone. If your DS really doesn't get on with school in the future you can always take him out at a later date.

School seems to suit my two children, they are energetic boistrous lads who are in an all boys prep (who understand how boys learn). The same environment wouldn't suit some other children.

The other consideration for me was that I think I would be a hopeless HE'der. I am impatient and quite results orientated. I think there is a real risk that I would put my sons under too much pressure because I'm a bit of a control freak. HE doesn't work for some children and it doesn't work for some parents!

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 21:34:24

They are very astute -they pick up on far more than you say. There is a lot to be said for starting later than 5 - but he is already there - so best to help him enjoy it.

skewiff Sun 30-Sep-12 21:28:48

Yes - I can see that it is like a 'how long is a piece of string' question.

Thank you for the tips chocolatecrispies. I am not on Facebook and don't do yahoo groups either - but will try and have a look and see if I can find anything useful there.

This thread has given me confidence to keep going with school and see how it goes for DS. I'll try and be more positive about it with him - I wasn't being really negative, but maybe he could see into my inner thoughts.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:46:19

It is really impossible to answer some thrive and some don't cope-even within the same family. My brother would have loved HE but I can't imagine much worse than being stuck at home with my mother 'facilitating' and never getting away from my siblings-that is what would have 'clipped my wings'. This doesn't mean it is wrong for everyone. (much as I love my family and I had a very happy childhood).

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:43:00

That isn't what I learned at school-maybe you were just very unlucky chocolatecrispies and didn't have any inspirational teachers.

The whole question is rather like 'how long is a piece of string'-far too many variables. Some DCs are too young at 5 yrs-some , like me, couldn't wait to start.

NopofacehaveI Sun 30-Sep-12 19:33:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chocolatecrispies Sun 30-Sep-12 19:32:56

And sadly, I do know what colleger means about the clipped wings - I feel mine were clipped by school although I did exceptionally well- I learnt that learning was about memorising facts for tests and I became very good at it. It has taken me about 15 years to recover the love of learning I see in my 4 year old. I didn't hate school but I didn't realise until long afterwards how many unhelpful things I learnt there.

chocolatecrispies Sun 30-Sep-12 19:29:02

We live in London too, I decided not to send my ds aged 4 to reception because I think we do start school too early and I knew from the school that reception is not just play, plus it lasts for 6 hours every day which is too much for us. He may go to school later, i don't know. There is no HE group nearby so I am setting one up myself, have found a venue and facilitator and we start next week. I have 6 children signed up already so it is possible. Where are you based? There are lots of people HE in London, the best places to find people are the yahoo groups and Facebook. There are also regular park groups for more informal socialising. I would recommend looking into HE if you think you might be interested, the reality is very different to what you imagine when you start - I certainly thought the idea of autonomous education was bonkers when I first hear about it. It has been a great relief to us knowing we do not have to worry about ds starting school until we feel he is ready, rather than because the education system says he should be ready.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:27:37

The more I think about it the more I would think that 18yr olds starting at university would roll around laughing at the clipped wings! The only ones it would apply to would be those with over protective, helicopter parents-they are the ones to go wild when they get freedom. Most are there because they want to be, are mature and ambitious and have learnt to manage their own time.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:18:06

That very much depends on the HE er I think.

Very true-at least in school they are dependant on a wider range and at least one should be good.

exoticfruits Sun 30-Sep-12 19:16:45

It depends on the individual. I loved school at 5 yrs and cried if I was ill and couldn't go-I hated missing anything. My brother would happily have stayed at home.
You can't make silly statements like 'schooled DCs being like 'birds with clipped wings'. Knowing 3 who were HEed and lots and lots who went to school I just don't recognise the description at all-quite honestly I can't tell the difference! I really don't know any with 'clipped wings'. University is only a continuation of school-in a more adult way.

Some schools are excellent and some are dire, some HE parents make an excellent job of it and some are dire-both have the whole range.

Your DC does maybe pick up on your negative attitude-if you were wildly enthusiastic it is possible that he would be too.

jabed Sun 30-Sep-12 16:08:37

Interesting question and some interesting comments.

I took my DS out of school because I realised there was something dreadfully wrong with the education system here in the UK (or at least England - cannot speak for other parts).

I do think 5 is too young to go to school.

I do think school can actually spoil small children. Make nice quiet ameniable ones into little monsters or worse, make them phobic of life.

However, I think there is a time when formal instruction becomes positive and useful if a DC is to succeed in the outside world and eventually become part of wider society. Then you need an appropriate school. Again I think our education system fails.

This is why my DS will be going to school next year - but to an independent school. The school chosen is in fact a Christian one. Not that I am religious but I think it has a gentle atmosphere.

I have taught HE children who came through to 16 without formal education and it does pose problems. Often they are not acedemically rounded. However, I would not say they lack learning skills or even social skills. That very much depends on the HE er I think.

FushiaFernica Sun 30-Sep-12 11:03:37

I didn't explain myself well there, I am sure table manners are taught at home, it is just that the children seemed so polite and comfortable eating at the party together.

FushiaFernica Sun 30-Sep-12 10:46:01

The only time my dd appears to be forced to learn is when I am trying to get her to do her homework. At the age of child 5 my impression is that schools teach them in a fun playful ways, with topics taught in short bursts.

I was at a party recently and was so impressed with the way children ate together, you could clearly see that their table manners had been taught in school.

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Sep-12 10:35:09

[X posted with seeker and am now crawling back into my hole.... My only excuse is, I suppose, that what I posted is absolutely true of those teenagers I met. However, I hope that I made it clear that I in no way believe that it is true of HEd teens as a whole...]

seeker Sun 30-Sep-12 10:32:46

Well, I think that home educated children are incapable of sharing, self centred, bad at time keeping, not good at getting on with things they find difficult and inadequate socially. Oh, and very bad at seeing things from other people's point of view.

And I say this with sadness. Which makes it absolutely all right for me to say it, even though it is complete rubbish.

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Sep-12 10:29:59

(I will say, though, and again it is with sadness, I met no HEd teenagers, however much their 'creativity, individuality and love of learning' had been fostered, who had or were in any way being enabled to obtain the basic educational 'passports' into the next stage of their lives or of education. Although they were fairly universally intelligent, articulate and personable individuals, I did worry that they were perhaps being failed somewhat in the 'balance' of their education in terms of preparing them for the next stage of their lives. I state this as an absolutely individual view, based on the teenagers I met while HEing - it is not a criticism of HE as a whole because I know that those basic educational 'passports' are accessible, obtainable and also obtained by HEd teenagers all the time. I just didn't ever meet any.)

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Sep-12 10:22:17


Like you, I have spent time in the school community (though not the private school community, which I believe is where your children have spent most time?) and in the HE community.

There is huge variety in both. To make generalisations such as yours seems unhelpful. The experience of individual HEed children varies massively - from the totally uneducated [I am an absolute supporter of the right to HE, but it would be wrong to deny that such a situation can arise] to the incredibly hot-housed in one area or in many, from the wholly autonomous to the very structured. Equally, the experience of a schooled child will vary massively - both within an individual sector and between them (visiting practically the full set of primary schools - both state and private - in the town where I live showed a truly extraordinary range, from sitting in rows copying off a backboard to almost wholly child-directed learning). I would risk a generalisation and say that, at least locally, the private schools were more structured than the state as a general rule - and perhaps as this is the sector where you have more experience, it is that structure that you understand to be the common 'schooled' experience.

The OP is comparing her child's school with her idea of HE. Other posters are saying that a third alternative is to look for a school which more closely matches her ethos as there is a genuine difference between schools. It isn't a schooled in general / HE in general debate - it is about a child, his family, and a single school.

Emandlu Sun 30-Sep-12 10:10:28

I home ed my kids.

For us it works. They did go to school and I took them out for exactly the reasons you mention skewiff.

I always say that home ed works for some children in exactly the same way as school works for some children. There is no average child and so it is illogical to think that one size will fit all when it comes to education.

Most of my kids friends are from the music groups and orchestras they attend, they have other friends in the locality who knock on for them and they also know people through church. We have another home ed family just around the corner too and we see a lot of them.

If you would like to chat about how we do home ed then send me a pm and I will happily chat about it.

Colleger Sun 30-Sep-12 10:01:33

I wasn't being offensive, I was writing it with sadness.

seeker Sun 30-Sep-12 07:42:45

Collager-if you say offensive and ill informed things about school educated children and I'll call you on them.

Colleger Sat 29-Sep-12 23:34:04

He does like school but again it comes down to what one is willing to put up with and not realising there are better alternatives. My child is a teenager and I cannot force him on this issue.

Hulababy Sat 29-Sep-12 23:30:56

Or maybe he just likes school???

If you feel he is so institutionalised surely all the more reason to put your foot down and pull him out? Or chose another school? Although I would imagine boarding school would be more regimented and institution like than most schools anyway.

Colleger Sat 29-Sep-12 23:28:16

One doesn't attend school but the other one is so institutionalised he fears the freedom of HE...

stinkymice Sat 29-Sep-12 23:27:34

Find a different school.
My ds just started in reception. He loves it, they play all day! Even work is playful, counting games etc. I would feel that HE would very much deprive him of friends and the opportunity to play and explore in ways I can not provide at home. School has taught him to pickup bugs! He has always been too squeamish (like me) to do this at home, I was very happy when he came and told me proudly he had found a woodlouse and picked up a snail. Small things but very good to have different experiences.

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