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Seriously considering HE

(21 Posts)
Lozzywozzy Wed 25-May-11 10:12:01

I am seriously considering HE my two children who are 13 and 10. I have thought about doing this on and off for a couple of years, but am very nervous and don't want to let my kids down.

The youngest daughter (10) year 5 primary school, has just been coasting the last year, although pretty bright, she seems bored at school, doesn't want to do homework and generally seems to have lost interest.

The older daughter (13) year 8, is very good at english and art, but struggles with maths. She goes to a very good school, but hates going. I don't know if its a good enough reason to HE, just because she doesn't like school, what child does?

I don't particulary like the state education system, the one size fits all approach etc, and I don't like the peer pressure. I can also remember that gut wrenching feeling of going back to school after holidays.

I work for myself apprx 25 hours a week, husband works 4 days a week, and grandparents are willing to help. Of course there is always the weekends as well. I worry that I won't have enough time though to do this successfully.

Our children have overheard myself and hubby talking about it, and are both pleading for us to do. I am so worried about letting them down though.

Would appreciate any thoughts or advice.

Thanks for listening.

AMumInScotland Wed 25-May-11 10:31:33

If they hate school, you could just as easily argue that you'd be "letting them down" by not paying attention to the problems they have with school. grin

I don't think you need to worry about the time aspect - by 10 and 13 I'd assume they'll be spending time working on stuff without needing your involvement every minute.

What can you lose by giving it a go? You could do it for a year and see how it goes, and still have the option of the older one going back into school for Year 10 onwards if you feel its really not the best option for her.

Lozzywozzy Wed 25-May-11 15:21:05

Thanks for your response, spent most of today reading the posts on here. Its certainly given me a lot to think about and answered so many questions. Feel very nervous, but also excited at the thought of HE.

I really do think, this would be right for my children, I know them so well and I feel sad that over the last few months, they both seem to have lost their sparkle.

Will be doing a lot more research, but think my minds made up smile

ommmward Wed 25-May-11 16:15:25

Oh, go for it :-D

If they don't really like school, then dip your toes in the water!

Toffeefudgecake Wed 25-May-11 16:42:34

If your children are 10 and 13, it sounds like quite a good time to try it.

I took my eldest son (11 and in Year 6) out of school four months ago because he was so unhappy. He was begging me to home educate him. He has actually been allowed to stay off school sick (officially this is down as 'anxiety'), which means that he still has access to school activities if he wishes. We have had a lovely time at home together and feel a lot closer because of it. He is much more relaxed that he used to be because he is no longer under the constant pressure he felt under at school. Also, I feel far more in touch with his learning than I used to. I have been able to spot what he needs to work on and help him with those things.

It seems to me that a lot of Year 6 is spent revising for SATs, which can be incredibly boring for all the children and probably particularly for the bright ones who already know it all. That's why it might be a good time to take your youngest out for a year. And your oldest still has three years before GCSEs, presumably.

However, I have found it hard to combine working with home educating. In theory, I should be able to work from home whilst DS gets on with his work, but I tend to find that he drifts off to do other things and I feel guilty that I'm not helping him more. On days when I have a deadline, I really can't do much with him and have to trust that he is not just spending all his time playing his favourite computer games (more than likely wink).

My son is going to secondary in September - he wants to go - but I will always treasure this time we've had together.

TooJung Wed 25-May-11 23:27:22

I think 'sparkle' is the key thing, together with being at the centre of your child's world when they want you to be at the centre of their world. That feeling of rightness.

Now ds2 is 13 he is much more off in his own world and doesn't need to be around me in the same way as 3 years ago when we started to HE.

He still tells me regularly that 'home ed rocks' which is very happy making smile He can tell when I'm getting cross and am secretly longing for him write a blog for all the world to see, which I can then boast about...That's when he comes out with these gems. He is a psychologist or wise man in the making.

Ds2 is at the hoovering up information stage, so reads up on anything he fancies on the web. I can't remember the last time he didn't understand what I was talking about or misunderstood a word. His grandmother admitted the same recently.

catnipkitty Thu 26-May-11 10:25:45


I have been watching this thread with interest - I have a similar dilemma. My DDs are 7 and twin 6 yr olds and while they aren't unhappy at school and they do well academically and there no specific reason to take them out, they often come home exhausted and say they're 'bored'... and TooJung, you have hit the nail on the head when you say 'sparkle is the key thing'. That makes so much sense to me, they regain their sparkle and 'joie de vivre' in the school holidays and during term time just seem 'flat'. I have read loads of books on home ed and thought about every aspect of it but my husband is less than convinced (he just doesn't seem to 'get' the sparkle thing) plus I just want to do the right thing for them...there is that niggling doubt about whether I can do them justice at home..

So how do you persuade a reluctant DH...and how do you make the decision???

julienoshoes Thu 26-May-11 12:15:54

Where abouts do you live?
I'd suggest making contact and going along to local home ed meetings and chatting to people who home educate, in real life.

There are also some books that might help......I'm thinking in particular of Free Range Education, which has chapters written by home ed parents, about how it all works for their families.

that and one (or more) of the books about how children learn at home, by Alan Thomas.

Both books can be found in the books about home ed thread, and we also have a thread about finding local groups.
I'll bump both those threads and other potentially useful threads.

wordsmithsforever Fri 27-May-11 08:55:04

As Too Jung says, sparkle is the key thing. My DC are definitely happier being home educated (and so am I!) and I think many of their school going friends would be too.

It is so natural to worry about letting your children down especially when people (often the ones who know least about HE!) are terribly negative.

However, HE has been a breath of fresh air in our lives and honestly my children are happier and strangely, even physically healthier, than they were before. We seem to see the doctor much less than before.

Finally, on the academic side, I had a lovely chat a few weeks ago with a home edding headmaster that I met. He was telling me how he's currently having some building work done and his house is a bit upside down. His wife was getting worried about the disruption to their DC's HE and he said to a group of us: "If you knew how much time is wasted in the average school day, you really, really wouldn't worry so much." He says that HE is so time efficient that children can make great strides because of the one to one aspect (or four to one, or whatever, depending on how many DC in the family) and the lack of other stuff that schools have to find time for, eg assemblies, etc.

I stewed over our decision for so long - years! Eventually a few factors came together at once to give me the push I needed when my DD was 8 and my DS 5, but I think the key issues were the sparkle factor and the fact that schools aren't going anywhere. If it's not for you, you can always go back. Think of it as trying out a new school!

Having home edded for just over 2 years now, I hate the idea that we should all just accept that children won't like going to school (where they spend most of their waking time) and that they should just have to put up with it. Life is short and childhood is even shorter. If children are thriving at school and truly happy, then great, but if not there is a viable alternative to the system. Whew - this has turned into a bit of a marathon post! smile

picnicinthewoods Fri 27-May-11 15:27:31

catnipkitty.....its taken me 2 years to persuade my DH. Ive done it via a kind of drip, drip effect, never banged on about, not engaged in rows, just drip feeding info over time. In the end though I wrote him a 4 page email and he came home from work and just said 'ok, lets try it'. My two are younger though (5 and 4), so I havent got to take them out of school, just not start in the first place. Its an incredibly hard decision to make, but as someone else pointed out, schools arent gooing anywhere, the decision isnt set in stone! Good luck.

catnipkitty Fri 27-May-11 16:37:03

Picnicinthewoods - Thanks for the message. I too am trying the drip, drip effect! DH is aware of my interest and the fact that I've been reading loads of books. He even picked up a HE book himself the other day - it's not happened again since! hmm. He is naturally a rather cautious and conventional person so it's a bit of an uphill struggle (sigh). Writing it all down is a good idea, think I'm heading that way!

Lozzywozzy Fri 27-May-11 18:44:15

Thanks for all your posts, and thanks for the bumps julienoshoes.

Feels like the last few days I have thought about nothing else smile I have read so many blogs, views and articles, my head is spinning smile In the process of finding local HE groups, would certainly be good to chat to people who HE in real life.

I wish I could make the decision now, I seem to veer from 100% yes yes, lets do it, then the doubts creep in....sigh. I should just trust my instincts and go for it, things always have a way of working out!

threesnocrowd Fri 27-May-11 21:27:01

Lozzywozzy, this could be me writing this. I have also thought about nothing else for ages. I love this HE board. Everyone is always kind, encouraging and supportive. I have made a decision though now that has really helped to relax me. I have decided to leave DS1 where he is and let DS2 start in September. However, if his next class doesn't help to improve the social side of school for him (which at the moment is pretty dire), then I'll come back to HE as a very serious option. Like I say, this has really helped to put me at ease for a while and I needed that. I'm not suggesting for a second that you make the same decision, but making any decision is good!

As always, its the first day of the holidays and the boys stress levels have dropped already and that sparkle is back. I am looking forward to spending a happy week with them. Happy holidays and decision making! smile

FionaJNicholson Sat 28-May-11 06:45:18

I've been in touch with hundreds and hundreds of home educators over the years. None of them ever say "I wish I'd left it longer before I started home educating."

For my family, home education is the single best thing we ever did and I've never regretted it for a second. I know this doesn't necessarily make it the right choice for anyone else and I would never seek to persuade anyone to home educate but for us home education has been brilliant.

Saracen Sun 29-May-11 04:39:30

Fiona said: "I've been in touch with hundreds and hundreds of home educators over the years. None of them ever say "I wish I'd left it longer before I started home educating.""

Likewise, of all the hundreds of HE families I have known, there have been many whose children have gone to school (or back to school) after being home educated for a while. I have never met anyone who says they regret having tried home education. Home ed may or may not be the way forward for your family in the long run, but it is bound to be an interesting experience which gives a new perspective on school experiences.

So I think that if you try HE, it will either be a wonderful thing which you'll want to continue, or else it will "just" be an interesting diversion from your usual path, a time when your family sampled a different way of learning before returning to school with a clearer vision of what matters to you.

But if you don't try it though you are tempted to do so, you may always wonder whether you passed up a fantastic opportunity, and why you stood by and watched your children lose their sparkle without putting up more of a fight to keep them happy.

What do you have to lose?

Lozzywozzy Tue 28-Jun-11 10:38:17

Just a quick update, youngest child was removed from school a couple of weeks ago and already we can see her confidence improving. We are following a structured approach for science, english and maths, the rest of the time we follow her interests. She does miss her school friends and the clubs, but loves learning at home. School has been very good and supportive and offered flexi schooling, which may be an option as gives her access to the activities she enjoys doing. At the moment though we are just enjoying spending the time together, and my daughter seems so much happier and relaxed.

My older daughter is still at school, she would like to be home educated, but she copes with school a lot better than the younger one and she wants to do gcse's A'levels, Uni etc. She also has a nice group of friends at school and a good social life with them and I am worried that she would lose this, if she left school. There are advantages/disadvantages to removing her and although I think she will do well being HE, still not sure about removing her. Some days she doesn't want to go at all, and its very hard to send her when she clearly doesn't want to go. She has begged me to HE her, and I feel very bad that at this point in time I can't make that decision. Our younger daughter had more issues with school, which were becoming quite serious, and I have explained that to my older daughter.

Thanks everyone for your posts, this site has been a godsend!!!

TimeWasting Tue 28-Jun-11 15:05:52

Hello Lozzy. Sounds like it's going really well with your younger daughter.
Why does your older daughter say she doesn't want to go?

seeker Tue 28-Jun-11 15:11:07

"She does miss her school friends and the clubs, but loves learning at home"

Don't neglect the friends and the clubs bit - make sure that she goes to Brownies or whatever, and help her keep in touch with her school friends. Be careful not to lose alll the good bits of school along with the bad!

Lozzywozzy Tue 28-Jun-11 15:50:12

Older daughter loves english, and is forever writing poems and stories and posting them on the net. Shes very good at English and I think she would like to be at home writing all day.

Seeker, we would never neglect the friends bit, we are always inviting her school friends for tea etc, but she doesn't see them every day, (apprx 3-4 times a week) she does miss them on the days she doesn't see them. The clubs she went to are all school based, she was never interested in brownies etc, but likes dance, and wants horse riding lessons which I am in the process of sorting out.

Shes very sociable and may take the option of going back to school in September a couple of days a week. For the moment though and until our GP has finished assessing her, its not a good idea for her to be in school.

TimeWasting Tue 28-Jun-11 15:57:29

Lozzy, if she wants to be a writer, she might be better off at home writing all day. If she's Year 8, then HEing her for a while to see if she does get on better wouldn't impact on GCSEs etc.

CheerMum Tue 28-Jun-11 16:20:45

Hiya. Just to add that there doesn't have to be a problem with school in order for parents to decide to HE. My dd loved school but due to other factors (long story) we decided to try HE. It is the BEST decision we ever made and dd is much much happier than she ever was at school x

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