What should I do?..advice please!(11 Posts)
I would LOVE to HE my DDs (year 2 and twin year1s), I've always thought about it and read loads. They attend a good local infant school and they are happy enough there, but I am sure they'd do really well at home and I so want to be more involved in their education. I have so many plans in my head of what we'd do, plus i help alot at the school and see 1st hand the wasted time, the faffing, the irritable teaching staff. My eldest is often wandering around the playground looking lost and the actual valuable teaching time amounts to very little of the total day.
BUT...they themselves swing from tolerating school but looking tired and being grumpy and saying they are bored to saying they love it!!
I've tried talking the them about it but I find it difficult to explain how our days at home would be, how there wouldn't be formal education as such, how we would just live life... My eldest DD thinks she'd ne bored at home!!
So, I'm basically in a quandary. Do I make the leap to HE in the knowledge that hopefully I'll be doing the right thing for them, or will I just cause problems by taking them out of school when they say they like it?? (In this area - Sutton in Surrey - the schools are oversubscribed and there would be no option of trying HE for a while then letting them go back to school if they choose as the school places would have been filled several times over).
Any advice/experiences very gratefully received!!
If your eldest daughter isn't keen on the idea, then maybe do it for the younger ones first, then she'd be able to see what it's all about, and might descide she wants to be HE as well.
If they are all happy at school though, I'd probubly leave them there if it were me. I took my daughter out as she was so un happy. It is hard having them around all day every day. You don't get any time to yourself.
It'd probubly be easier for you as they will be able to play with each other. I don't know if it'd be worth the risk of loosing their place if they didn't like HE.
From another one who had an unhappy failing child, and little to lose, which makes it hard to get it wrong IYSWIM, but if I'd known then what I know now about h/e I'd have jumped a lot earlier and enjoyed life more.
When my son young he was desperate not to be pushed out of his school even though he was badly bullied and without friends, it still was his, and the sense that to leave would be to fail had been absorbed.
In your position I'd look hard at secondary education and how you think you'd be there, would you have that same drive to 'so want to be more involved in their education' then, and think about how you'd deal with problems as well as more positive things.
Also investigate your local h/e group, how stable, long term, in tune with your hopes, way of life etc are local h/e families? would yours fit and be equally happy there? You're more likely to find people who H/ed entirely for positive reasons from the start and they might be able to help you more.
I'd also ask myself very hard how much of what I wanted was about my children, how much about family, and how much was about me, as a way of trying to think it through.
You could join firstname.lastname@example.org and that has quite a lot of information about what kind of groups and activities there are around your area. There's a weekly meeting in Stoneleigh of the Epsom and Sutton home ed group and you could either come along by yourself and talk to other home ed parents or bring your children along in the holidays so they could get more of an idea of what home ed might mean. I found it really helped to talk to home edders in person.
Yes, deffo meet up with fellow home edders, also shadow pple who homeschool, that way you can see what pple do on a day to day basis. I run my own home ed support group in Manchester and all newcomers are welcome to shadow me during the day and go through all my resources and plans.
Ah, that is a real bind if the school is oversubscribed and the kids aren't deeply unhappy. On the one hand you don't want to make a decision against their wishes if you cannot change later and put them back into a convenient good school. On the other hand, as you say, they are young and it is very hard for them to imagine what HE could be like without actually trying it. If it weren't for the oversubscription problem, I would have suggested taking them out for a fixed period of two or three terms and promise them that they can return to school thereafter if they want to.
Maybe you just have to inform them about HE as best you can by getting to know a few local HE families, perhaps going along to HESFES or some other HE camps, and reading them a few books about home educated children. Then leave the door open and wait for them to want it. I realise this sounds negative, but I am pretty sure that given the realistic option of coming out of school, most children at some stage of their school career would dislike school enough to take the option of leaving. It's very likely that at some point there will come an unpleasant teacher, or a phase of being left behind or unchallenged academically, or some nastiness from other kids. I also strongly suspect that at soon as one child is out, her sister will follow her within a year. It isn't inevitable, but it very often happens.
I don't envy you. There is no easy solution.
I have twins plus one 18 months older. They all went to school - oldest until year 4, and the younger ones until the end of year 2. They were all ok at school - no social problems, ok academically. But we decided they could get more from home ed - we are now just over a year into it. And generally it has been great.
They are in themselves much happier, much less grumpy. They get on better with each other now - the dynamics are generally better. We have a lot of fun exploring the area around with live, from going for walks, right through to visiting museums, and everything in between. The lack of restriction to what they should be doing at a given age is what is best - you can follow your nose and cover what comes up - you wil lbe amazed how wide ranging that is.
My one proviso would be - would it be all you ? Would your DH take on any of it to give you a break from each other ? Lots of mothers are pretty much the sole HEers - and I personally wouldn't cope brilliantly with that. We both work part time and share the HE between us. Which for us works well.
I think maybe you should go for it - I don't think there is ever really no option to go back into the school system (you may not ever want to though !).
I just posted a long post back to you and managed to lose it so I am going to keep this short.
I personally would go for it. I took a happy 6 year old out of school and after a month or so of missing his friends he asked to stay home ed'ed.
You could always put your children straight onto the waiting list when you take them out so that if it really doesn't work out then they have a chance of going back in (depending on the size of the waiting list). Also, in Cornwall at least, schools have a list of criteria whereby class size prejudice (where they will not allow a pupil in to the school because they are at their maximum of 30 pupils to a class) will be over ruled if you have home ed'ed for an academic term. This is actually why I started, to go to appeal, but now have decided not to.
I hope that helps and good luck with your decision.
"Also, in Cornwall at least, schools have a list of criteria whereby class size prejudice (where they will not allow a pupil in to the school because they are at their maximum of 30 pupils to a class) will be over ruled if you have home ed'ed for an academic term."
Really? Wow, I'd never heard of that. That's very strange. I wouldn't have thought it was legal for Cornwall to do that. Under the national Infant Class Sizes regulations the class size can only be overriden for specific excepted categories of children, eg those with a statement. Home education is not one of the excepted categories.
Doesn't it get people's backs up? It doesn't seem fair to favour home educated children over others in this way.
Glad it all worked out well in your case, anyway!
I have gotten rid of the rid of the paper work now but the list of criteria was quite ridiculous, and included - coming from the criminal justice system (the child), having poor attendance at their previous school, being part of a travellers family, being a child of an armed forces parent, being excluded from their previous school.
Honestly you couldn't make this stuff up. And, I don't quite understand why Home ed for a term is in there (sorry this is for a different thread really)
Thanks SO much for your replies, it really helps to hear other people's opinions/experiences (plus also not to be told I'm mad for even considering HE!) and helps to focus the mind on points to think about.
toxicwaste why did you take your 6 yr old out of school?
I agree Saracen it is a tricky decision for exactly the reasons you say. I don't want to wish my DDs unhappy at school (obviously!) but it would make the decision easier! I sometimes wish they'd never started at school but at the time I'd only just heard of HE and just got sucked in to applying for a school place etc and now it's hard to remove them. I have mentioned HE to them, and they do have friends who are HE'd so it's not an alien concept to them, and I will do as you say, just leave the door open. They are aware that if they were ever really unhappy at school I would happily HE.
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