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Would appreciate your experiences of home educating

(17 Posts)
lollipoppet Fri 09-Sep-11 09:31:52

I'm thinking about doing my dissertation on comparing home educating with the institution of school. I'd really appreciate you sharing your experiences with me.

Particularly, when did you decide to home school- before your child started or after they had been in school? And either way, what was it that made you decide home educating was best for your family?

Also, (you'll see I am reletively clueless here) did you have to do anything to "prove your worth" like did you have to prove you had qualifications yourself or do a test to show you're up to a certain standard (that sounds a bit patronising, i don't mean it to)?

Do you get/want support from the LEA? Do they come round and "check up" on you? Are you provided with any materials or guidance?

And the last question, which i hope doesn't sound offensive(!) what made you feel you would be able to take on the challenge? I mean (if you weren't a teacher before) did you do research into what children do if school and think that seemed easy enough? Or do you sod the "curriculum" in its entirety and just do your own thing?

Do you/will you have your child sit formal exams/qualifications? gcses etc, and if not, do you worry at all about their career?

I'd be really interested in your answers. I'm not judging either way, just want to see into home educating through your eyes. Thanks!

SDeuchars Fri 09-Sep-11 10:36:03

Why are you thinking about doing a dissertation on something about which you have not even done minimal research? Try www.education-otherwise.org and www.home-education.org.uk.

I decided to home educate well before my children were born, as I left secondary school.

lollipoppet: Also, (you'll see I am reletively clueless here) did you have to do anything to "prove your worth"

If you Google "home education UK", you'll find hundreds of web pages that will tell you that UK parents do not need to have any specific qualifications or prove themselves to anyone.

Do you get/want support from the LEA? Do they come round and "check up" on you? Are you provided with any materials or guidance?

Again, Google will answer these questions at a general level and will also give you an idea that the picture is different in different areas as some LAs indulge in ultra vires activities.

And the last question, which i hope doesn't sound offensive(!) what made you feel you would be able to take on the challenge?

I knew my time was wasted in school and I did not want my DC comparing themselves with others.

Do you/will you have your child sit formal exams/qualifications? gcses etc, and if not, do you worry at all about their career?

My DC have done courses with the OU and my older one is now in uni studying law and German law. Worrying about your child's future is in the job description of a parent. At lease, As EHEers, we and our children have control over what happens - we are not at the mercy of arbitrary rules put in by a school (e.g. you cannot take science GCSE if you are doing languages, geography and history are mutually incompatible, and other nonsense that makes life easier for administrators).

You may find www.home-educators-exams.org.uk of interest.

lollipoppet Fri 09-Sep-11 19:44:00

thanks for all those links, that's really helpful.
i'm just toying with ideas, i want to do something that will sustain my interest

just out of nosiness interest, was it just your secondary school that you felt let down by? i get that impression is all, plus the mention of subject constraints at GCSE, which I agree is totally daft and unfair.

thanks again

NotJustKangaskhan Fri 09-Sep-11 21:07:02

I don't see how you can get a dissertation out of this - to compare the two you'd need objective data and there is no data that would work for the UK. EHE don't have to take the SATS and those who choose to do GCSE or other qualifications won't be marked down as home educated, and there is no data on schooling to employment. There are EHE people in all walks of life - even an MP - but the data you'd need isn't there. You could use American stats, but they're not very reliable due to different states having different laws and most taking the tests there which would be marked as 'home schooled' (which is the American term) choose to take those tests, and are self-referring unlike school children. You won't be allowed to access kids directly (I've worked on the dissertation ethics committees - anything about access to vulnerable groups will be shot down). The only things remotely close you could do if you can get access is comparing school teachers and home educating parents in a focus group type situation, but getting people to volunteer for that would be a block for you. Or compare literature written by those groups and see how differently they discuss a topic.

To answer your questions:
- I home educated from the start, my husband and I decided to prior to having kids.
- No UK parent has to 'prove their worth'.
- I have no desire for support from the LA (they can barely keep themselves in order much less something so far outside their field of experience). I provide for them a report yearly just as a paper trail. We had a brief meeting after my details were passed on by another source and the only information given to me were leaflets of local attractions she thought the kids might enjoy. The only 'official' help that has been useful is that the local health visitor clinic assured us that they would be happy to see my children after the age of 5 to do the 'typical school checks' if I had any concerns.
- The same 'feeling' that I thought I was up to the challenge of parenting. In mine and my husband's eyes, educating our children is just an extension of that. We've both been to school and highly educated, my husband here in the UK and I elsewhere, so the idea of researching what kids do in school is mildly laughable beyond the continuous changes to the National Curriculum. It had nothing to do with thinking it was easy (nothing about parenting is easy), just a sense of obligation and confidence that if I or my husband could not do something that we were resourceful enough to find other options.
- All parents worry about their children's futures, I would think. However, I have a boat load of qualifications that do me squat (self-employed and most of mine are from abroad anyways). I expect they will likely go for a qualifications through a local college or the OU come 16 due the wide variety of options that will be available for them where we currently are (and as things stand, it will be cheaper and a lot easier to get GCSEs at the local college as no where near me takes private candidates). If nothing else, I will ensure they have the qualifications in first aid, self-defence, swimming, and BSL by 16 and the skills to get any others they desire.

bebanjo Fri 09-Sep-11 22:36:09

I find it odd that you think the subject can sustain your interest when your not interested enough to Google it.

Betelguese Fri 09-Sep-11 23:59:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LauraIngallsWilder Sat 10-Sep-11 00:05:33

I agree with bebanjo
When I thought about HEing my kids I spent hours researching the concept - I didnt imagine other people would answer all my questions. I did my own research!
Its your dissertation not ours smile

SDeuchars Sat 10-Sep-11 10:23:01

lollipoppet:
just out of interest, was it just your secondary school that you felt let down by?
My main reasons for EHE were not about being let down by school. It was a positive choice to do something that would be better for my children.

NotJustKangaskhan Sat 10-Sep-11 12:13:30

bebanjo, Laura This could start an interesting conversation on the issue with the institution of schooling and the desire to be spoon-fed information wink.

LaLaLaLayla Sat 10-Sep-11 12:14:13

I taught my son at home using the K12 system for a year. It was the best thing I have ever done. Would highly recommend it.

LaLaLaLayla Sat 10-Sep-11 12:14:53

... oh, sorry, didn't realise you weren't a fellow parent.

SpringHeeledJack Sat 10-Sep-11 12:26:38

"Its your dissertation not ours" hmm

"This could start an interesting conversation on the issue with the institution of schooling and the desire to be spoon-fed information" hmm

blimey! she only asked...

as you can probably tell, OP, HE parents are often rather suspicious and can be very wary of giving out information to people they don't know

If I were you, I'd do my dissertation on something else!

julienoshoes Sat 10-Sep-11 13:37:58

To be fair, HE parents are very often the target of people wanting to do research.....I get very tired, as the owner of a local HE website, of the sheer volume of people who ask us to be part of their research.
It's VERY time consuming.

I looked at this thread and quickly dismissed it. There are threads on here that I have recently bunped pointing to books/websites on HE, yet the OP hasn't looked at them obviously, nor does she appeared to have googled anything. She hasn't done the most basic of research.

If she came back having done proper research, I might be willing to give up my time, if I thought it might have some value to home educators.

Someone who comes asking us to involve ourselves in her research but admits she 'is clueless' won't get much back from me I'm afraid.

SpringHeeledJack Sat 10-Sep-11 14:23:29

the way I took it was that she just wanted to put some feelers out. Here would seem a good place to do so, no?

people who don't want to respond could always just...not respond, perhaps? rather than saying that they don't want to respond?

I just think that, if HE comes to be seen as a welcoming and open "scene" to those outside it, rather than a hostile and prickly one, that can only be a good thing

lollipoppet Sat 10-Sep-11 15:16:10

that's exactly it SpringHeeled, just wanted to see opinions and why it (seems to me) to be becoming a more popular choice.

i do feel like people are a little bit defensive, I imagine because you have had people question your choice and not understand why you would go against "the norm". Like i said, i am not here to judge, just interested.

i'm not actually required to do any research directly, it is just an extended literary piece, so comparing both sides of the coin, discussing it. the reason i came here first rather than trawl google is that as you are currently doing it, you would be able to point me towards sites that are relevant etc

thanks for all the helpful responses anyway

sjuperwolef Sat 10-Sep-11 15:24:05

a lot of journalists come onto mumsnet and start threads asking questions not unlike the ones asked, it really isnt that hard to google what you are looking for, maybe when you are more informed MN can help with any questions then?

NotJustKangaskhan Sat 10-Sep-11 17:07:45

lollipoppet You shouldn't be trawling google or an HE forum, you should be trawling through proper academic journals to see if there is enough sources for you to review as a dissertation, especially if you are only doing a literary review. Google Scholar can be useful for this, but searching your own library resources may be more useful as you'll be able to get everything you have there. While you could review HE sites as part of your paper, that's not really a place to start (particularly as none as compulsory so you'll get an issue of self-selection within self-selection).

Spring Coming to a forum is a terrible place to get feelers for an academic piece - the place for feelers is in the research that has already been conducted. The background data will be an expected, and large, section of any dissertation and is the expected starting point. Like sju said, people come on MN all the time and have been flamed far worse (by parents of all types, not just us "suspicious" home educators) because it is seen as basic politeness to research a topic from the many sources available rather than expect an individual to educate you just because you want to know.

And this has nothing to do with the OP, but the "seen as a welcoming and open "scene" to those outside it, rather than a hostile and prickly one, that can only be a good thing" mindset is a bug bear of mine. It's frankly a load of bollocks (and not just because home education isn't a 'scene') and has been said about every minority. Of course it isn't only good - it's a massive drain of time and energy from the minority group in question to benefit the majority when a minority group needs to look at taking care of themselves first. Historically, welcoming and open minority groups are the ones more likely to be targeted for hostility, not less likely. And really, why should a minority group be any more open and welcoming than the majority? Why are the dozens of websites and books written by home educators not open enough that an individual has to be the informer? Why should members of a minority group be seen as willing/duty bound to inform and welcome anyone who asks (since the majority does no such thing)? Will we really ever be seen as welcoming and open enough to counteract the stereotypes you have repeatedly shown? There has already been loads written in popular and academic lit on these and other issues of minority-majority interactions, but this whole 'things would be better if only you were more XYZ' has never been true and just a way to balm guilt.

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