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Working (P/T) alongside autonomous home education. Possible?!

(14 Posts)
CakeandRoses Fri 29-Jul-11 12:45:28

I'm really troubled about sending our children to a traditional school (ironically as we happen to live in a town packed with 'outstanding' rated schools) and have started to panic really think through the alternatives now ds is coming up to 3yo. I totally 'get' autonomous learning and have no issue with it in itself at all. My questions are more about the impact to me/us as a family.

dh is a bit confused and hmm about all of this so i'm going to need to do any research and create a case for this on my own!

I'm just going back to work part-time (20 hr pw) following maternity leave with dd (1yo). I feel strongly that I want to continue working part-time for both the financial benefits, my personal fulfilment and also as a role model to the DCs <feminist emoticon>

I also want to give the DCs the opportunity to socialise often with other children.

- Has anyone got any experience of working part-time alongside autonomous home education?

- What options are there in terms of DCs spending 2 days a week 'elsewhere'? We don't have non-working/retired family nearby to help btw.

Thank you so much for any insight or experience you can share.

fidelma Fri 29-Jul-11 22:48:54

My dc love school and have thrived in that environment. DD1 and DS1 both found it hard at first and I considered HE but I can say hand on heart that school has be fantastic for their development. (and mine)

toxicwaste Fri 29-Jul-11 23:13:36

Hi I don't have experience in home educating and working at the same time but I do home educate and I think it is perfectly do-able to work as well. I believe many childminders will take on "school aged children".

I do agree with you about going to work to show the children it's not just the man that goes to work (full feminist face on) but also so that you yourself can grow. I shall be doing so soon (especially as their dad has just lost his job and can not pay maintenance!)

At the moment I am considering night shifts/back shifts as a way around childcare (I don't want to pay out) and considering a few business start ups. What is good for you is good for the children.

Hope that helps

Tarenath Fri 29-Jul-11 23:56:23

Hi there,

My ds is 4 years old and his peers are starting Reception in September where he will be staying at home and we will be home educating. Both dh and I currently work full time. In September my hours will drop to part time. I will still be working 5 days/week but shorter hours. I'm also in the lucky position that ds can come to work with me (I am a nanny).

My ds likes doing a fair amount of academic work and enjoys workbooks etc as well as the usual fun, messy activities like painting, modelling, running us all ragged etc. We're technically autonomous because ds chooses a more structured route and academic method of learning.

At the moment I plan to do the more academic/structured side of things in our free time and everything else will naturally fit in with my charges in our work day. It's worked fine so far so I'm hoping it continues!

With regards to spending time "elsewhere", you may be able to find an open minded childminder in your area who would be willing to have your DCs full time once they are school age, or depending on your funds you could employ a nanny part time.

greenbananas Sat 30-Jul-11 00:33:14

I'm training as a childminder at the moment, and am hoping to be able to look after home educated children while their parents work. I am planning to home educate DS (not quite 3 yet), and see childminding as an ideal way to provide him with a peer group on a day-to-day basis.

Are there any home-educating childminders in your area?

CakeandRoses Sat 30-Jul-11 08:23:20

This is so helpful, thank you all.

I didn't think childminders who took school-age children existed, let alone ones who he themselves! < Clueless >

toxic I wish you all the best in making the transition to working - I hope it turns out to be a positive move for you all.

greenbanana that sounds like a great plan. Will you cm full-time and are you confident that will work around he?

tarenath that's an interesting way of dividing up the time. So far my ds also seems to enjoy quite structured, academic activities so it's good to see how you can combine different approaches

Saracen Sat 30-Jul-11 09:38:05

When my older daughter was 5/6 she went to childminders while I worked p/t from home. I used CMs who were themselves home educating, so my daughter could have older children to play with during the day. But if you can't find such a person then a non-HE CM could work too. Many of them look after older children after school and during the school holidays anyway.

If you use a non-HE childminder then you may need to reassure her/him that you will be doing the education yourself and don't expect any education to be provided. Apparently some CMs balk at the idea of looking after a home educated child because they fear they will be accountable for providing an education and fear that they can't manage it or that such an arrangement might be illegal. Of course, a believer in autonomous HE will feel that the child is learning just as much with the CM as he learns at home, but you don't have to explain your educational philosophy and find a CM who buys into it!

We used several different CMs over the course of each week, which gave me more flexibility (I often had to work at short notice, so it was good to have several people to call on) and gave dd more variety because she could go to different houses and play with several sets of children.

Depending on your working hours, another alternative might be after-school clubs, the group childcare which is provided to the children of working parents after school. Though often based at a school, this childcare is usually done by external providers who have no problem about taking on children who don't attend that school.

If you are eligible for the childcare element of Tax Credits, you can apply that towards childcare costs.

Takver Sun 31-Jul-11 16:52:56

Could you also consider both you and your DH working part time as another option (or combined with childminders)?

greenbananas Sun 31-Jul-11 18:36:21

Cakeandroses, I'm not sure yet if I will CM full time (DS might want some time on his own with me!), but am feeling fairly confident that I can make CM work around HE. In a way, I feel that childminding kind of is HE, because I will always be on hand to help all the children (including my DS) play in any way that they choose, and to help them follow up their interests. As Saracen says above, the parents will remain technically responsible for their children's education, but I will be happy to support children in whatever they want to do.

I am a big fan of the 'autonomous learning' approach!

CakeandRoses Thu 04-Aug-11 22:44:20

Thanks again everyone and apologies for the delay in replying, have just started work again this week so have been busy.

Had one of those real internal 'arrgh' moments today when an office-mate was telling me how much homework her 5yo dd gets from school sad

i realised that i would be very unpopular with the school if i do send my children to one as i just have no belief in the value of their systems and wouldn't enforce my DCs to do stuff like homework.

takver dh is pretty unconvinced about all of this thus far although generally trusts me to make good decisions so could potentially be convinced but not to the extent that he'd go part-time!

on a slightly separate note, do most/many 'autonomous learned' (not quite sure how best to say that!) children go to school later on - eg by senior school age?

organiccarrotcake Thu 04-Aug-11 23:25:24

hmm it had never even crossed my mind not to encourage force my DS to do homework.

Really, I've only just this second recognised that it's how it reflects on me, not him, that I'm bothered about. shock


Wow. sad

CareyHunt Thu 04-Aug-11 23:36:31

I don't have much experience of working while home-edding, but we are autonomous and I often look after other children from my HE group while their parents work.

I know there are legal implications, but you may be able to find a CM through a local HE group.

As for autonomous kids going to school...some do, some don't. My eldest is 13 and he won't be going, but a few of his HE fiends have gone in for GCSE's. They've tended to do well and have been great at organising their own revision etc.

CakeandRoses Thu 04-Aug-11 23:41:22

I know carrotcake, I've only recently realised that I feel almost as strongly about the school having control over ME as I do about it having control over my DCs! It's a mind-feck if ever there was one.

I was kinda unschooled for a year around 7yo because we were travelling and I remember more I learnt in that year than most of the rest of my school years put together. I also feel that school actually crushed many of my abilities and passion (albeit temporarily) rather than promoting them. I guess what I'm saying is that I bear the school system a grudge - I'm worried I might make the choice of schooling for my DCs based on my own issues rather than what's right for them.

julienoshoes Fri 05-Aug-11 12:35:35

I know of lots of parents who work part time around HE.
Some do it when their partners/family members can have their children. Some I've known have Au Pairs or Nannies or use Childminders.
Quite a large number have developed a working from home business.
My husband was at home but disabled, I had to work as our income was so limited, but needed to be the one available to do all of the activities and camps etc. So I have worked in a few different jobs, to enable me to be around in the day, weekdays when most of the activities happen.

do most/many 'autonomous learned' (not quite sure how best to say that!) children go to school later on - eg by senior school age?

I must know hundreds of autonomously HE teens and young people now. I have known a few who have entered the state system in the senior school years but the vast majority have only entered the system at college age.

Without fail every single that I know, one of them has done well socialally and academically there.

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