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Does anyone HE and work part time?

(10 Posts)
Mij Sat 08-Oct-11 17:10:45

DD1 is 5 and just started Y1. She's always been very lively and the kind of kid who just needs 'more' of everything. She loved her Montessori nursery and was initially excited about starting school (in January) but the novelty wore off and she quickly became so emotionally exhausted that almost all her time out of school is spent with her in tears, or in tantrums. She can't cope with the slightest upset or disappointment. She's always been a demonstratively emotional child but not at this level, for this long.
She's enormously sociable so likes having lots of friends to play with, and the school were totally shocked to hear of our problems because she is - to them - a model pupil: engaged, bubbly, a joiner-iner, appears to be happy, contributes, tries hard etc etc. But I've got to the point where I'm asking 'at what cost to her/everyone else around her'?
I initially raised the possibility of flexi-schooling but the head pretty much shut the idea down, and it was at a time of professional turmoil for me so I didn't have the headspace to pursue it, and we just tried to get her through to the summer holidays. And now in Y1 where there's more structured progression I'm not sure that's the right answer either. But I work two days a week and I'm not sure we could manage financially if I stopped, plus I do really value that time where I can think of something other than children. We own a house or anything substantial we could sell to fund her going somewhere private (not that there's a Steiner or other 'alternative' place around here anyway, but...)
So - has anyone done this part-time and have a magic wand they could lend me? Or have any other solutions? There is quite an active HE scene locally which I'm going to try to tap for ideas too, but starting here first.
Finally: for those who left formal education - what did it take to finally make your mind up? I keep reading stories of really terrible experiences which I can totally see would lead to taking a kid out of school, but what about this general, low-level unhappiness that builds as each half term progresses? I spend a lot of time thinking and thinking and thinking about this, and never get anywhere.
Thanks for reading.

greenbananas Sat 08-Oct-11 19:17:30

The question about HEing while working part-time has come up fairly regularly during the time I have been lurking on the HE threads.

I'm a childminder (newly registered) and would love to take HE children during school hours as I am planning to HE my DS who is 3. There must be others like me around...

Sounds like you and your DD are going through a difficult time sad. FWIW, my own experience of primary school (30-35 years ago!) was much like your DD seems to be experiencing. I didn't mind having to go sometimes, but the relentless nature of it ground me down. I was bored, bullied and generally miserable in a 'low-level' sort of way for most of my early childhood. My mum knew I was always sad, but didn't see what she could do about it. I think it's great that you are trying to find the best solution for your DD - whatever that turns out to be.

Good luck with all this.

catnipkitty Sat 08-Oct-11 19:59:18

Hi Mij
I have just (as in yesterday!) removed my twin daughters from school year 2 for exactly the reasons you have talked about. Wish i'd done it sooner but even tho I'd been thinking about it for years, since the girls started yr 2 things have deteriorated. I would also like to HE my yr 3 daughter but she wants to stay in school at the moment. I wish I'd never sent them to school but hindsight is a great thing!

I will be working part-time while HEding - I work saturday mornings and my DH looks after them, and monday and friday mornings when he works from home and they know they'll just have to get on with a quiet activity, which they are very good at doing.

I looked in to using a childminder but expensive for 3 kids, and we have no local family to help so i'm really lucky that things have worked out for us. I would be sad to give up work but I think I would do it if I had to.

Do you have anyone who can help you out with childcare or can you work from home?

If you have a good read through past posts on this forum you'll get loads of advice, ideas and tips. This forum is fab!

Mij Sat 08-Oct-11 23:36:43

catnipkitty I also have a 2yo so even if I could work from home (in theory I could some of the time) I don't think I'd actually, y'know, get any actual work done. I could do some work at weekends, but then me and DP end up tag teaming the whole time and hardly see each other.

My OH can be a bit flexible in his work, but there are chunks of time when he can't, or is away completely, and we work together and do need to liaise from time to time. We don't have family close by and our only serious childcare possibility is a childminder. I haven't got close enough to knowing what I want to do to ask our CM if she'd have DD1 back (they have a great relationship) but paying for both kids, before DD2 is 3 and gets her vouchers, would effectively wipe out my salary. I know it wouldn't be just about the money, it woud be about me still having a professional life, but long term it might start to feel rather pointless.

I somehow feel it needs to get to some kind of crisis to force me into a decision. But by then DD1 will have really suffered, in which case I'll have left it too late. It's not helped by the fact that all the schools in our area are wildly oversubscribed, and I have this fear of leaving the system and not being able to get back into it if/when we want.

Saracen Sun 09-Oct-11 06:54:15

That is a hard situation!

I used a CM when I worked from home when my dd was 5-6 and there was no way she'd occupy herself quietly while I worked. She loved it and so did I. And so did the other family, who were home educating and had kids who liked to play with mine. But I only had one child at the time and it made sense financially. I also looked into the possibility of getting a teen babysitter who would take dd off to the park or library or entertain her in another part of the house while I worked from home, but the only two girls I ever found who were keen weren't allowed to do it by their parents ("You're only 14, think how awful you'll feel if something happens while she's in your care."). When dd1 was a baby I did have some success with preteen "trainee babysitters" who came to my house and played with dd in another room while I worked, just for a couple of hours at a time. They liked the chance to feel responsible and start earning some money and getting some experience and a potential reference for when they were older and ready to work solo. And they loved an excuse to play!

Later on, I used to do a childcare swap with another local HE family: they had all the kids one day and I had all the kids another day. This was great for my super-sociable daughter. Having five kids in my tiny house was easier than I'd expected: to my surprise, they didn't fight. I always meant to "escape" from the house by taking them all to the park but they rarely wanted to go, often being engrossed in some complicated imaginary game or project together.

Have you looked into your eligibility for the childcare element of Tax Credits? I guess if you have a 2yo being looked after by a CM already then you probably have, but maybe it makes a difference to the amount of subsidy you would get if you have two children in childcare?

Depending how flexible your work hours can be, would "after-school club" childcare work for your older daughter (it's cheaper than a CM, isn't it?) while the younger one carries on at the CM? Some kids who don't like being a crowded environment for six hours a day can enjoy two or three, and afterschool club is probably more active and free-flow than a structured classroom.

It's complicated. There probably is no perfect solution, but maybe you can find a way to make it work. I admire you for thinking of making this big change when your daughter is experiencing ongoing unhappiness. Often, parents are only spurred into action when there is a dramatic crisis.

ommmward Sun 09-Oct-11 10:09:46

We live by tag teaming. We talk on the phone while I am commuting to and from work; we see each other when we go on holiday; we snatch an hour when the children are all asleep.

Maybe it's not ideal, but the children only get their childhood once - we'll have years and year of empty nest in the future, DV WP.

Mij Sun 09-Oct-11 22:39:21

Saracen the child swap thing was what I was wondering about, and what I hope to check out when I finally meet up with the local home Eders. We're not eligible for the childcare element of tax credits (which I know makes us minted in comparison with many, so v lucky) though we do get other TCs. I'm not sure our after school club is open to non-attendees though it's worth thinking about.

ommmward I'm not sure how much more tag teaming we can handle. I've been co-sleeping and bfing with one or both girls for over 5 years, they're not easy sleepers so we often get little or no evening and what there is, is full of jobs. One or both of us work part of the weekend on a sporadic basis already, our only holidays are family visits except for the odd 3-night camping trip, and we'll both be over 60 by the time our nest is empty even part-time I reckon, so while I'm not one for feeling overly entitled to 'me time', I do have to at least consider how our relationship would cope with even less time together that doesn't involve conversations about either work or the washing up. I admire you for making it work, but I'm not sure that is a long-term solution for us.

I think the biggest problem is that I'm choosing between two far from ideal options: I'm actually not convinced that HE is the right choice for DD1, now she's been in school and experienced the endless parties, the choice of friends to play with, the discos, the feeling part of something. Plus I'm not sure I'm the right temperament to home school. But the schools available to us are not right either. Aaaaggghhhh I'm driving myself mad thinking about this. I can think of almost nothing else. But that may say more about me than the problem...

Tarenath Tue 11-Oct-11 17:14:58

Hi Mij,

We HE and both DH and I work full time. I'm in a rather unique situation in that I work as a nanny and DS (age 4) comes to work with me in afternoons. He spends the mornings with his stepmum but if she wasn't able to have him I would probably put him with a childminder. I'm the one mainly responsible for his education and I make it fit around work. I also sometimes set work for him to do with stepmum. When children are younger education is still mostly about play so fitting an education around working is relatively simple.

doigthebountyeater Tue 11-Oct-11 20:42:46

How does your daughter feel about coming out of school? That is what swung it for me. DS1 was in Year 1 this year but I pulled him out as he was begging to be home educated and there has not been one day yet where he regrets it (it's been about a month now!) I am hoping to get a job in Jan which is 3 days a week. If I get it, DH will go down to 4 days a week and we will get a nanny/ child minder to look after the boys in our house. That will cost me half my wages but we are skint so it is still a profit for us. I feel that 2 days with someone else can't affect their education very much. Even if they did nothing at all with the childminder (unlikely) then they'd still have 5 days with us.

doigthebountyeater Tue 11-Oct-11 20:46:50

Oh and DS1 was not bullied or intensely miserable, just low level stuff.

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