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The one concern I have is the social aspect, if they're not at school.

(33 Posts)
organiccarrotcake Thu 04-Aug-11 17:02:11

Now then.

I don't home school (yet). But I've been doing a lot of research, and talking to a lot of people, both HE and not.

And already, just a couple of weeks in, I'm ABSOLUTELY SICK of people saying this to me. Obviously the non-HE-ers.

Top tips for responses, please? Preferably polite grin.

AMumInScotland Thu 04-Aug-11 17:33:39

Well, how do you intend to make sure they have plenty of chances to be with other children? If you've been looking into it, you probably have some ideas about what you plan to do - HE groups, Brownies, football club, local friends, etc, etc. Smile and tell them about the things you expect you'll be doing.

You have to remember that most people haven't ever really thought about HE, know nothing about it, and are asking the first question which pops into their heads. They don't mean to be rude, but their memories of childhood are going to be largely about friends they made at school - even the people they met in other places may well have been people they also saw at school. So they see school as the centre of a child's social life, and need a bit of help to see that it's not the only thing out there.

MountainDew Thu 04-Aug-11 23:55:05

Come and hang out with me and my buddy MoonfaceMa! waves I know you live near us (not stalking though, honest! grin She told me.)

Then we can all say in unison "Behold! They are many. They have friends."

LawrieMarlow Fri 05-Aug-11 01:02:19

I was HE for a year when I was 12, although it was as a means to an end (my getting a place at the school where my dad taught). I did go to Guides, and church youth group but it did have a big effect on my socialising ability. We didn't have any contact with anyone else HE and although it was very good for my educational standards it wasn't so good for the nearly teenage angst part.

But hopefully other people would do things differently from the way my mum and dad did, and they did feel it was the right thing to do.

LastSummer Fri 05-Aug-11 05:16:45

I'm home educating my 12-year-old daughter and inevitably she socialises less than is she were at school and had 20 classmates with whom to interact and 200 to play with during breaks. My daughter has playdates and sleepovers, takes part in after-school activities like other kids, but she's an only child and I'm acutely aware of the sense of isolation she sometimes feels. We're doing this only until she can go to boarding school but the sacrifice in terms of loneliness still sometimes troubles us, though not as much or as often as it did at first. The decision to pull out of the local school and home educate was tough and widely condemned. . . yet it was the most mutually enriching choice we ever made. In difficult circumstances, it was the right decision. Everything, I suppose, comes at a price.

streakybacon Fri 05-Aug-11 06:52:26

Personally, I find the hardest part of HEing my 12 year old to be fitting in the education part smile. The diary is so full of social and leisure opportunities that we struggle to find time for work some weeks. The reason for this is that, as a child with AS, he had such a hard time trying to cope in school without the necessary support that he hadn't the mental stability to manage a social life of any kind during those years, and how that he's well supported, calm and (dare I say it) nicer to be with, he has far more capacity to enjoy these things. He has much more of a social life now he's HEd than ever before.

You are new to HE, OP, so may not have made many enquiries to what's available in your area - I don't mean just in HE circles but general, open-to-all social stuff that your child/ren can join.

Try not to bother yourself too much with what other people think. It's really none of their business and you don't have to justify yourself, and it's not worth stressing about. I just smile broadly and "Oh don't worry about that, we manage just fine!" and that tends to take the wind out of most people's sails grin.

Good luck!

exoticfruits Fri 05-Aug-11 07:17:25

People will always say it-what I don't understand is why you have to reply! You won't change any minds.
I don't think there is a problem with socialisation at all, there is plenty they can do. The problem as I see it is that the parent has control over who they see and when they see them and they lose seeing someone everyday. But that is just my view-I don't know why it should bother others.We are all different.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Aug-11 07:18:43

Sorry-hadn't read streakybacon's post. She has the perfect reply! There is no point in justifying or defending-all you do is give room for further comment.

TimeWasting Fri 05-Aug-11 08:17:57

I'm going to be sending DS to school nursery half days in September. Hopefully not long term, but it will be the best for us at this time in these circumstances.
Feeling I have to justify sending him to school, I've been hanging round here too long. wink

Anyway, one of the things we will lose is mixing with children of different ages. He's got a little buddy he's got a real connection with. But she's a September baby, so she'll still be at toddler group.
The mixing with people of different ages in general will be severely limited too. We visit his great-aunt regularly, and he'll play happily while we natter, join in with the conversation. They lose that entirely at school.

I'll have to try and fit in opportunities for real socialising around the morning institutionalisation. <sigh>

exoticfruits Fri 05-Aug-11 08:31:48

They are only in school for a few hours a day, 5 days a week with huge holidays! They can play with all ages the rest of the time! I'm sure you can pop over to see great aunt at half past 3 for an hour-that is generally enough for elderly people anyway. My DS were out playing with the neighbourhood DCs by 3.30pm. They went to hobbies where there was a mix of ages. Even in the playground at school they mix with other year groups!

TimeWasting Fri 05-Aug-11 10:03:10

It takes an hour to get there on the bus exotic. She's not elderly btw, just older, though she has health problems otherwise she'd come to us sometimes.
Although we're suburban, our street is a nasty blind curve rat-run and I don't see young kids out playing much.

Of course, he'll still be able to socialise. It won't be at school though, which is what everyone seems to be so concerned about! grin

julienoshoes Fri 05-Aug-11 12:24:32

It does make a difference where you live, and how much effort you put into socialising.
I was pretty certian when we started to HE that I would find a way to give them a good education, it was always the social aspect that we needed other people for.
There was a small weekly meeting when we started, for local HEers, and then more people started to organise more things for others to join in with a soon we had a thriving HE group.
We also started to go to HE camps and gatherings nationally and people began to come and stay at our place and the children went to stay with other families as they got older and before we knew it our children had a social life that was the envy of their schooled peers and cousins.

I can't tell you how many teens have asked me to adopt them, because they have wanted my children's lovely lifestyle.............

I think it was part of my role of a facilitator of my children's education, to facilitate the social life they wanted/needed as well. Not all children want to sociliase in groups at all, some much prefer a one to one basis, or to sociliase with people who are older etc.

And school can be the lonliest place on earth for a child who doesn't fit in.

Nowadays I quote another home educator on this subject.

"it's like 'Alice through the Looking Glass', there is a whole world of home educators out there that people know nothing about until you step through there......"

CheerMum Fri 05-Aug-11 13:31:39

i can honestly say that my dd has more friends now, since we've been doing HE, than she did when she was at school (and she was one of the popular kids too).

As Julie said, i see it as part of my role to enable her to mix - she goes to a variety of dance classes with kids from 6 - 16 (dd is 10), she also spends time each week with my friends dd who is 3.

we are lucky in that we have some great HE people near us so we end up turning down invitations to trips/events as we can't fit it all in.

if anyone asks about socialisation i reply that she has more friends now than she ever did before. the main question we get asked is "why" are we HE - we both reply "because it is more fun!"

some people seem to think that we lock our HE kids in a dark dupboard all day long and never let them out! if people have that vision then i would just let them get on with it, dd and i are too busy having fun to worry about trying to alter other people's perceptions of HE. and as with julie, i have to say that no-one has actually ever said anything negative to my face me about HE, but i have had plenty of people ask me to educate their kids too!

Maamaa Fri 05-Aug-11 14:01:12

We're thinking about home ed for our dc, are there any things that you feel yours miss out on being home ed kids at all? Thinking in the longer term about science and language facilities, and sports? She's only 1 so it's a wee way ahead yet but we've been giving it a lot of thought lately. We also live in a pretty rural area so knocking about with other kids on the street is not really a viable way to socialise!

NotJustKangaskhan Fri 05-Aug-11 14:22:13

Maamaa The three you listed are easily acquired elsewhere. There are a lot of well-developed science curriculums out there as well as science clubs (many HE groups run them, as well as out-of-school groups run by the British Science Foundation). Same with languages - there are computer programmes, DVDs, book-based curricula, practice groups, as well as clubs in many areas. Tons of sport clubs out of schools as well. You need to look around your local area and the areas your willing to travel to see what is available, as well as look into options online for the science and languages.

OP The best polite response is to make it a non-issue - bacon's response is pretty head on. Some version of "We'll see/It's not something we're worried about/They already socialize so wonderfully, don't they" - the latter only to be used when they are behaving with others well wink. Best not-quite-polite response, for me, has been "It is hard to compete with the school for socialization - you should have seen how the local school boys came together to smash my neighbour's windows last winter..." followed by walking away or peering bemused over my glasses.

Maamaa Fri 05-Aug-11 15:01:23

Thanks Notjust. I didn't realise there were science clubs, fab idea! And why didn't I guess there would be computer based language courses!?

julienoshoes Fri 05-Aug-11 16:07:21

I didn't look into dyslexic children had enough trouble with English spelling and punctuation
I know lots of families who share tutors, there are computerised programmes, and HesFes had international vocabulary lessons for children this year. Some families use Enfamille where they go on long cultural exchanges and immerse themselves in the language by living with another family.

For science we watched TV programmes, did Robert Krampfs Science experiments attended Royal Institute Science Lectures and went along to HesFes workshops which included bee keeping/food foraging/making rockets/chaos science/human biology and science breakfast talks this year.
We also went along to the Cheltenham Science Festival each year.

Our lists of sports experienced whilst home educating is impressive:
swimming, iceskating, kayaking, bell boating, sailing, rugby, football, horse riding, rock climbing, abseiling, zip wires, fencing, team sports/sports days, hire wire/tree top activities/ orienteering and dancing-and these are only the ones that come quickly to mind!

I can't now think of a single thing we couldn't tackle as home educators, not one.
Christmas Parties (DH as Santa) Christmas Shows, you name it, we've done it in the last ten years I reckon.

CheerMum Fri 05-Aug-11 16:24:56

for sports we use local clubs, both "normal" and HE, dd has learned to ski, majorettes, ballet, tap, scottish dancing, cheerleading, latin/ballroom, street and zumba in the past year. oh, and she did her level 1 in bikeability too. she's also done bushcraft/jungle challenges and raft building.

with science, we do a lot of experiments using kits that are easily available, the Horrible Science kits are suitably gross for now, and we've just bought a chemistry kit so we shall be blowing things up in september too! we are lucky in that we live near the ThinkTank Science museum in Birmingham and they organise regular Home Ed days where the kids can try different science activities.

with languages, dd is just turned 10 (three days ago) so we content ourselves with occasional language days (French day was tres bon!) if she decides to HE through secondary school then we'll get her a tutor for languages i suspect.

to be honest, i cannot think of a single positive thing that dd misses out on by not being at school - and she loved school. we've only been HE for a year but i think it was the best decision we ever made

startail Fri 05-Aug-11 16:43:01

My HE friends DCs have lots of friends. Church, dancing, riding, neighbours, HE group and swimming which is where we met smile
But my friend is a very outgoing chat to anyone soul and she has equally confident DC's.
Having HE for primary she decided to send her DS to secondary school, he settled straight in.

organiccarrotcake Fri 05-Aug-11 17:11:45

""It is hard to compete with the school for socialization - you should have seen how the local school boys came together to smash my neighbour's windows last winter...""

Good job there's no "PMSL" emoticon, otherwise I'd have just used it.

northernmumto3 Fri 05-Aug-11 19:47:18

When I was at school whenever I was caught talking in lessons I was often told that I wasn't there to socialise ;)

Our children don't see their friends everyday like in school, but when we meet up - its for hours at a time rather than in short bursts interspersed by the bell. So they really can just hang out and enjoy each other's company. We have a few organised groups and many more ad-hoc meetups that we arrange via facebook, usually with an open invitation saying we're going to xx place and whoever fancies it will turn up. This week we've been to a wheelie disco with 5 other families and earlier in the week spent much of the day in the park with some other home ed friends while the children built dens and climbed trees.

Nevermind the children's social life, mine has never been so good!

We haven't even explored the social opportunities of extra groups like cubscouts yet as there is so much going on within our merry little band of home educators.

We've also organised Christmas parties, halloween parties, 'lets go see xxx's chickens and ducks' gatherings and a very un-competitive sports day with all the children in mixed age groups.

The one thing I love about home ed children socialising is how they are able to play in mixed age groups, rather than with other children within a year of their age. I think having friends a lot older and a lot younger helps them to be more tolerant of their younger siblings too (since there's less uncoolness associated with hanging out with younger ones), and also quite confident with other adults (obviously thats down to personality too).

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sat 06-Aug-11 08:06:03

we're just starting out on our he journey, so these comments are relivitly new to me. I do find it suprising how many people express concern about socialising, and then tell me they were bullied in school. confused

But as muminscotland says, it has never even occured to most people that there might be another way.

Hi mountaindew grin <waves> .as she says Rots, we're around if you want to meet up sometime. Our ds's are younger than yours but it might be good to discuss our concerns, ideas and resources. You have my email (though i'm prob on here more frequently than i check that blush )...tbh the social aspect is something that draws me to he. It seems very limited, even stiffling in school.

organiccarrotcake Sat 06-Aug-11 22:30:38

Yay, that would be great. moon I don't use that email anymore because I sold Makes a Change, but I will PM you my email. Bear in mind I have a 1 yr old as well as the small carrot smile

We should catch up soon anyway to talk about milk banking. I'm off on hols the week after next but shall we arrange something for after then?

I'll PM you and mountain tomorrow to discuss (must turn off PC and spend time with hub!).

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Sun 07-Aug-11 13:41:43

great. smile

noddyholder Sun 07-Aug-11 13:46:43

One of my ds best friends was home schooled. They met at the park and are both avid skaters. They are about to start the same college in sept and are both typical 17yr olds. They have similar friends and social lives so I think the hobby helped

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