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Is this enough of a reason to HE?

(19 Posts)
Bodenbabe Tue 17-Aug-10 09:51:16

DD (8) misses me a lot at school and says she wishes she could stay at home. Is that by itself enough of a reason to HE?

She is happy in class but not so much at breaktime/lunchtime, I have no problems with her school or education, she progresses well and she has friends there - but now and again she just gets really sad about being away from me. I have no problem with HEing at all and it's something I'm very interested in - but I'm unsure whether this alone is enough of a reason to take on the hard work of HEing. I see benefits to both school ed and HE and I consider them equal, so it's not like I have a real yearning to do one or the other.

I suppose it may be difficult to answer as everyone on this topic is obviously more in favour of HE than school or you wouldn't all be doing it But knowing what you know about how hard HE can be, would you switch to HE for this reason alone?

juuule Tue 17-Aug-10 10:21:43

If it's just now and again that she says she gets sad and the majority of the time she is happy then I would probably let it ride for now and watch. Could she be saying that she is really sad being away from you to let you know how much she cares about you?

Is she very upset to go back to school after holidays or is she excited to go back? Would she miss her friends?

I'm not sure I would HE on the strength of occasional comments about wishing to stay home, just as I've not sent my HE children to school on the strength of the occasional comment about them wanting to go.

gillybean2 Tue 17-Aug-10 10:33:10

Lots of children fnd play time difficult. Have you spoken to the school and asked them if they have a play leader scheme for breaks? If not ask them to look at starting one.
Play leader - This is a scheme where children are given the role of leading games and activities and including children from all classes and years in it. At my ds's school they have a two week rota and about 6 different children (different ages) on each day. They wear a coulored bib so other children know they can go up and join in with them without worrying about being turned away or rejected. Play leaders are expected to lead games and include anyone who wants to join in.
And do they have a find a friend spot? - a place where you wait if you're looking for someone to play with. Other children are also often feeling alone and don't know how to find a friend or fear being rejected, this makes it easier for them and others to appoach as some of the other children who are in a group may come and include someone who is waiting to play, especially in combination with a leaders encourage scheme.

What play oportunities are there at break time? Do they have chalk etc that the children can draw hopscotch etc on the tarmac to facilitate play? Do they have hoops, balls, beanbags etc available?

Speak to the school and see what they offer and ask what they do to encourage friendships at play time.

Or the other options (if you are close enough) is to have her come home for lunch time and see if she prefers that or if she finds that actually she'd rather be at school.

AMumInScotland Tue 17-Aug-10 10:37:23

I don't think it's enough of a reason to change, if it's just an occasional comment. There's a benefit to children in learning to just "get on with it" if they are not specifiically unhappy, rather than feeling that an occasional passing whim should be acted on. I sometimes feel I'd rather not be at my current job, but overall I'm happy with it and don't have any actual intention of changing. I'd feel quite unsettled if I wondered about leaving every time I had the slightest "sooner not go today" feeling.

Different if you think she's genuinely unhappy, but it doesn't sound like you think that's an issue.

Saracen Tue 17-Aug-10 11:15:58

It might be hard for your daughter to imagine what it would be like to be home from school every day, rather than just when she feels like it. Many HE families see this situation in reverse, with children saying they'd like to go to school, but the children don't actually want to go every day, just occasionally! Usually with really young children, parents try to find out what it is about school which appeals to their children and reproduce it at home... but I don't see how that would work in your case, since your daughter wants to spend more time with you, which you can't really do while she's at school! Older children are nearly always allowed to try school and see whether they like it; mine did this last year at the age of nine.

Would there be any harm in giving home ed a try for a term or two, so both of you can see what it's like and whether you enjoy it? That may be the only way to know what is best. I imagine this might be a problem if there is a waiting list for your daughter's place at school: if this is the case, she might not be able to get in again once she gives up her school place, and she'd have to go to a different school. Or if you have a job you like which you'd have to leave in order to HE, that could be a problem. But if neither of those apply, why not just give it a go?

By the way, I disagree with the idea that home education is hard work. It can be, depending how you choose to do it, or if you have a child with severe behavioural issues and you are taking on the task of looking after the child full-time without a break. However, many parents like me find home education very easy, easier than sending children to school. There are many different approaches available to you.

shemall Tue 17-Aug-10 13:09:55

My daughter had exactly the same problem (she has been hom edded one year now)...other people will probably consider you crazy but I would say "Go for it!!!"

My daughter is 7 now, and her confidence has soared.
She used to tell me "I was crying insie today (which meant into herself) because I was thinking of you". Even if you mention these things to teachers, they tend to watch a day or two then forget again.

It didnt help we could see the playground and see her walking around on her own some days, and other kids being nasty to her.

As far as Im concerned, just as Home ed is for some and not for all, so is school!

what age is your daughter?

Love, s.x

PotPourri Tue 17-Aug-10 13:16:33

DH family were all home educated. The reason was that they were all being bullied and the school refused to deal with it.

DH's view is that HE if done well is superior to school education. However, they all would say that the social aspect is definately missing with HE - you see no other kids during school hours, and often other kids are jealous of you that you don't go to school (and pick on you - so bullying was still there despite the school bullying being gone). Also, be aware that if the child is socially awkward anyway (and also an only child) this will be exacerbated further.

PotPourri Tue 17-Aug-10 13:19:48

BTW, DH went to school when 14 of his own volition, so that he could get qualifications. He found it hard to integrate at that point - and he is a very sociable person. So definately worth thinking about

LackingInspiration Tue 17-Aug-10 13:26:15

Try it for a term or a year and see how it goes? Once you read into it further, I bet you and your DD will find other reasons to do it, and if you explore it with your DD, she'll soon decide if she really wants to be HE or if it's just that she has one or two days at school that she doesn't like.

gillybean2 Tue 17-Aug-10 14:34:08

Will the place at school be available still should you decide to try HE and then find she prefers school after all?

A class mate of my ds's emigrated to Australia. They cam back after 2 months as they changed their mind, but his place at school had been given to another child and he had to go on the waiting list. He ended up going to a different school as a result and never came back to the school and his friends there. A big upheaval for a few weeks of 'give it a go'.

Can you perhasps use these last three weeks of school holiday to give it a try, work out how you would do it and restrict seeing any friends etc during school hours and only see other children after what would be school if it were term time.

Bodenbabe Tue 17-Aug-10 18:10:13

Thanks for all your replies, everyone. To answer the questions, she is 8, she hates the thought of going back to school (but then so did I but I didn't really dislike school), I qould imagine that the school place wouldn't be available if we gave it up (haven't checked though). The lunchtimes and breaktimes do have a playleader scheme in the infants but not for the juniors. There is little to no activity provided for them - they jsut have to make games up with their friends. I have spoken to the teachers and the head and asked for to have help at lunchtime and my experience was exactly the same as shemall's - they look out for her for a few days and then it gets forgotten. They have a quick look at her and see that she's smiling at that partiuclar moment and then deem that lunchtime to be fine, depite the fact that she'd been crying 10 mins later.

Saracen, very interesting to hear that you don't find it hard work - I just couldn't see how it could be anything but hard work but pleased to hear of your experience! Surely there must be quite a bit of planning involved? I wouldn't want to do fully-autonomous learning (though certainly not averse to some of it) so I imagined that it would take a good hour or so planning what you're going to do the next day (though I understand that all days aren't planned and that's the beauty of HE). I don't have a job, btw, so that's not an issue.

Part of me would like to HE for myself and that concerns me as not being a fair reason to do it - surely it should just be what's best for DD, not because it's something I'd like to try?

I do like the idea of trying it for a term - I may speak to the head about that. It honestly hadn't occurred to me, I thought we'd have to stick at one or the other for good. Except we'd then probably have to follow the national curriculum if we were considering going back and that makes me nervous!

I am also nervous of DD losing the social side - obviously there are loads of ways around this with HE but would I have to be seeing other people and going to groups several days a week to provide this experience for DD? I can't bear the thought of everyone making friends except her. And she would probably lose the schoolfriends she already has if we took her out of school.

Anyway, some good food for thought there - I really appreciate all your advice.

Saracen Wed 18-Aug-10 02:53:09

"Part of me would like to HE for myself and that concerns me as not being a fair reason to do it - surely it should just be what's best for DD, not because it's something I'd like to try?"

You've said you consider school and home education equal, so turn this on its head: imagine you were keen to send your daughter off to school for your own sake, and she also said she wanted to go to school (but you weren't sure she really meant it) - would it be selfish of you to let her try school? How many people would criticise you for doing so?

It isn't as if you'd love to HE but your dd is fighting tooth and nail to stay at school. What's best for the child isn't always a sacrifice for the parent, sometimes it's fun for both!

"I do like the idea of trying it for a term - I may speak to the head about that."

Unfortunately the head isn't able to give such a long leave of absence in order to keep your daughter's school place open, if that's what you were hoping. Only in a few exceptional circumstances (such as illness and seasonal migration) can a child be away from school for long without the place being offered to whoever else may want it. You'd have to deregister her from school and take your chances as to whether she could get back in.

A few headteachers see the benefits of HE, but in many cases you can expect to get the same response as if you asked your Catholic priest whether it might be a good idea to try Satanic worship for a short while to see whether it suits you better. Just do this one thing for me: if the head starts going off about what a great disservice you would be doing your child by home educating her, ask him how many home educated children he has actually met in his life. (Note: Reading an article in the tabloid press does not count as having "met" a child, nor does watching a sensationalist TV programme, nor does reading the claims of the aptly-named NUT spokesperson.)

Bodenbabe Wed 18-Aug-10 09:49:39

"What's best for the child isn't always a sacrifice for the parent, sometimes it's fun for both!"

Thanks, Saracen, that's very true!!

I did realise that the head wouldn't keep a place open for DD if we tried it for a term or two - what I meant was that I'd speak to him about the possibility of there being free places should she decide to come back (as I have no idea how full the school is in the older years). I did casually mention flexi-schooling to DD's teacher last year, just to test her reaction, and she looked as if I'd just poured iced water down her pants

shemall Wed 18-Aug-10 13:34:06

The head of our school rang us to make sure we wanted to home ed, just to go over it one more kind of her) and also said "if it doesn't work out, we would be happy to have her back"...

I too worry about the social side, and feel my D has suffered in this area....but don't regret my decision.


milou2 Wed 18-Aug-10 14:51:27

Have a look at the numbers of children in each of the higher years in the school. That will tell you whether there tend to be spaces available.

In our primary 30 used to be the magic number. In Reception and year 1 there would be 32, then the number would fall to 30/27 by year 6, so there were always places going for those years.

Ask a parent who has some older ones who are now at secondary, they will know what the numbers are like normally because they have been around the school for getting on for a decade!

Bodenbabe Wed 18-Aug-10 15:07:47

shewmall, that was so kind of your head! I can imagine most heads being more of the "and never darken my door again" opinion

shemall Thu 19-Aug-10 10:43:41

Indeed Bodenbabe.

Tinuviel Tue 24-Aug-10 02:55:43

We are structured home edders and it doesn't take me an hour a day to plan work for 3 children!! I do a main planning session in August where I discuss with the DCs what they are doing (joint decisions up to a point!) and write up what resources we will use for the year. Then every 10 weeks (4 times a year) I plan what pages/lessons they will do each week in a table in 'Word'. That probably takes about 3 hours. I do encourage independence and self-marking for some things which helps too!!

lilyfire Thu 26-Aug-10 22:33:29

You could also find out if there's a home ed group local to you and either just go along by yourself, or take your daughter along with you (some groups still meet in school holidays). You might find that meeting and talking to local home edders about what kind of activities are available locally helps you both decide if you could really picture yourselves doing it.

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