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Too Scared to Home Educate

(7 Posts)
angelstar Wed 10-Nov-10 14:04:11

Hi, I have been reading here a little bit but haven't posted yet. I have 6 children age 11, 9, 8, 6, 4 and 18m. I really like the idea of home education but just don't seem to be able to make the step to do it. My 9 year old has dyslexia and is currently according to school about 2.5 years behind in writing and reading. I feel I could help him better at home as he would get more one to one help and we can do things that interest him but on the other hand I don't want to take him out of school as he loves the dance, drama, hockey and netball he does there. My 11 year old has just started year 7 and I'm not very impressed with her secondary school but likewise it offers somethings that I can't. I just hate the way that are supposed to conform and be like a herd of sheep iykwim. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this post but has anyone else struggled with the benefits of school versus home education. I guess my problem is that my heart wants to HE but my head things they would be better in school.

Saracen Wed 10-Nov-10 15:23:33

Do you have any idea what your children's opinions are on the subject? I mean, for example, that perhaps your 9yo does love the activities at school but would think that giving them up is a small price to pay for being allowed to leave school. Maybe not. But you won't know unless you ask.

Is there much going on where you live, so that your son could do other non-school activities instead of the school-based ones he is doing now? Where I live, there are so many different activities on offer that leaving school gives more opportunities rather than fewer. If my dd didn't like her hockey coach, she could switch teams, for example. She can choose from many different types of dance. I realise that with six kids, ferrying them round to loads of different activities all over the place may not be possible. We are lucky to live in an urban area so my daughter can cycle or take the bus to many of her activities.

And what about your 11yo, does she like school or not?

I think your children's opinions will make all the difference. They may not know enough about HE to know whether they'd like it, in which case you might take them to meet some local HE children. Or just suggest to them that they try coming out of school for a couple of terms or a year to see how they like it, with the understanding that they'll go back to school if they decide HE is not right for them.

You're taking a lot on yourself if you feel that the happiness of your older children is all your responsibility. Give them options, and let them be responsible for choosing whatever makes them happy. They'll figure it out in time.

musicposy Wed 10-Nov-10 15:30:25

This is such a common feeling! I can't tell you how much I thought about home ed before I actually did it, or what a monumental decision it seemed when I finally and tentatively took DD2 out of school at 8. I actually told everyone it might only be a few weeks and I was sure she'd be back - I was so terrified of thinking of it as a permanent step.

Over 3 years on and DD2 is 11 and now too old to go back to primary - and it finally feels like a permanent step. I'm finally happy to tell people that and not feel I am keeping my options open.

Someone said to me when I was having your dilemma, "choosing means losing", and it's true. Whatever path you take, there will be things on the other path you'll miss. I was worried because it was autumn term that DD would miss all the lovely Christmas stuff, school photo, school disco, and the clubs she did at school. I kept dithering and dithering. In the end I told myself we would try it, and if she missed it we would go back. We were lucky in that I knew the school had places.

And in the end, yes she has missed out on those things. But so many things have replaced them, wonderful stuff she'd never have done if she was in school.

Last summer, we talked about her going back to school for the last term of Y6, to get a sort of closure. But in the end she couldn't do it because of all the home ed stuff she'd have to miss or give up! I never thought that would happen.

A year later my elder daughter came out of secondary school, at the end of Y7. That was a truly terrifying leap in the dark, I can tell you. But it was only once I started looking at what she'd been learning at school in detail that I realised what a monumental waste of her time much of it was. She's now Y10 and absolutely thriving, academically and socially. She has so much more self assurance and confidence than she ever did at school.

I could go on and bore you for ages....but what I will say is that only you can decide. Trying it will always be a scary decision. But I told myself that it's usually the things you don't do you regret, not those you do, and I took the leap. You could always start with the child you think would benefit the most/ is keenest to do it and go from there.

musicposy Wed 10-Nov-10 15:34:05

Plus, I agree with Saracen. It's no good taking a child out of school if they love it or home ed won't work. With both of mine they were keen to come out of school (although a tough choice for them too when they have no experience of home ed).

angelstar Wed 10-Nov-10 16:02:25

They both have asked to be home educated. My daughter begged me to do HE and didn't want to go to secondary school but I was too worried she would be missing out if she didn't go. The school has so many different facilities and resources. I'm just beginning to realise though that she never gets to use most of them. Since she has started yr7 in sept she hasn't mentioned HE really, she says her school is rubbish but she likes it because her friends are there. I don't really want to mention it to her again unless I am certain I will do it as I don't want to confuse or upset her when she seems to have resigned herself to school and is getting on with it. There are activities in the are and I could find dance/ drama for ds but the hockey and netball are only done at after school clubs. I have considered asking school if they would still let him go to the after school clubs.

musicposy Wed 10-Nov-10 18:09:11

Well, she could still see her friends - my DD1 is still very good friends with some of her friends from school. It just takes a bit more effort. Most of what happens in school isn't exactly quality socialising anyway - it's the meeting up outside that cements the friendships.

I felt the same about facilities. DD1 was very excited about secondary school because of the lovely dance studio, gym and music facilities. But in reality there weren't enough keyboards to go around and certain children always grabbed them in class. She hardly got to use the dance studio at all.

My DDs have definitely had more opportunities since coming out of school...only downside is it's probably cost us more money to do them.

chaleyannscott Thu 02-Dec-10 23:25:55

I would say once I started HE doors opened rather than closed. They do lots of social activities with kids of all ages groups rather than just those their age.

Their opinions are important but they may also think that the only way to learn is through school - mine did. We all needed a period of deschooling so we could all see that learning happens all the time naturally without having to package it up.

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