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Help me prepare to suggest HE to reluctant DW

(107 Posts)
confidence Sun 09-Oct-11 22:01:04

My DD (5) is currently in a local infants school that we are pretty happy with. When she leaves there at the end of year 2 (in just under 2 years) I would really like to consider home educating her. Primarily because:

- the junior school alternatives here are pretty dire

- she is academically MILES ahead of any of her peers, and going by my experience with her older brother, I just don't trust state primaries like those around here to actually educate her.

- she is extremely able and motivated at music, and I'd like her to have some time during the crucial early years to put her very best into that without going to school, wasting the best hours of every day and getting knackered in the process.

Both DW and myself are self-employed and make our own hours around parenting duties, so in a sense we're in an ideal position to do it. The problem is that DW is much more conservative than me and tends to be reluctant to challenge the status quo. We did discuss this before when DD was a toddler and her main objections were the old saw about socialisation, and the fact that teaching requires so much preparation, and she wouldn't have the time to do it properly and doesn't really want to be her daughter's teacher anyway. TBH though I think the root of her objection is more of a generalised desire to follow the crowd and she'll always find arguments to justify that.

However we just had a conversation with a friend, also a parent, the subject of poor school choice came up and DW seemed very unhappy with any of the possibilities. I made an off-hand comment that "perhaps we should start a free school" (although I don't honestly see this as an option) and both she and friend made very positive noises about the idea. So I'm sensing a chance. One factor is that we are in a grammar area, and DD looks already like she'll walk the 11+. So I could sell the fact that she'll end up with a "normal" secondary education, as making it easier to swallow a bit of risk and experiment at this stage.

TBH I've been thinking about this for ages without mentioning it to DW, because I know there's just be a kneejerk reaction against it and I want to be prepared, and do it at the right time armed with the right counter-arguments. Did anyone here have to convince a reluctant partner who just wanted to do things the "normal" way? What sort of objections did they bring up? How did you bring them round?

Thanks in advance.

aviatrix Sun 09-Oct-11 22:11:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Giddly Sun 09-Oct-11 22:12:21

You seem rather damning of her reasons, but maybe she just doesn't want to be her daughter's teacher as she said. You seem like you'll be wanting very conventional academic outcomes from the HE, so that will involve teaching a child to a curriculum in order to pass exams (am making an assumption here). I wouldn't want to do that with my DD1 - I think it would damage the relationship I have with her on a number of levels. It works fine for some but wouldn't for us. I'd consider it in extremis, but you don't seem to be there yet. Obviously no harm in talking to her, but please don't discount her reasons as "wanting to follow the crowd".

Giddly Sun 09-Oct-11 22:20:50

Also do you have any other options if she really isn't keen - moving nearer to more suitable schools (which may also benefit your son)or looking into a bursary / scholarship for a private school if she's very able?

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:24:34

I can see her point entirely-putting yourself as teacher isn't something that I would want to do. She seems to have very valid reasons and it isn't going to work if you try and force it. I can't think of anything worse than DH trying to get me to read books-to force me to his way of thinking. I think it very patronising to say that she wants to follow the crowd-maybe she thinks the crowd are very sensible. It is only something that works if everyone wants to do it. Have the DCs mentioned it? How sure are you that they are miles ahead? Most schools have very clever DCs and can manage!

confidence Sun 09-Oct-11 22:25:55

Fair points, thanks.

It's true that the approach I'd take with it would be more on the structured side, since DD works well that way and the point of doing it would be to provide an education at the level she's up to, not because she has difficulties with school or anything.

However I probably wouldn't focus on core literacy and numeracy too much, simply because she is already a long way ahead and I'd be worried that if/when she rejoins conventional schooling she would be unbelievably bored. But she's very into music, art and dance as well, and has just started learning a foreign language and taken well to it. So I could imagine using the opportunity to provide loads of opportunity to let these areas blossom without the normal constraints on time and motivation of conventional school.

CERTAINLY I would imagine discussing it with DD and wouldn't, for a moment, force her to do it if she didn't want to. However that would have to come after discussing it with DW, since if she's not up for it there's no point putting it to DD.

Son is at (grammar) secondary and doing well. No reason to take him out, and his areas of interest and expertise are much more different from ours so I wouldn't feel at all confident of teaching him. DW did mention another potential difficulty when we discussed it before though: Might he feel pissed off because DD got to get out of school and he didn't? I suppose if he did, we would emphasise that it's only temporary and she'll end up having to go to secondary like him. I have to admit though that it could potentially be an issue.

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:25:59

Move area seems a better option. If they are academically MILES ahead of their peers I am sure they could get a scholarship.

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:27:56

Music, art, dance and foreign languages are all things that she can do outside of school-lots of choice for any of them.

aviatrix Sun 09-Oct-11 22:31:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

aviatrix Sun 09-Oct-11 22:33:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

confidence Sun 09-Oct-11 22:35:01

Giddly - Moving isn't really option during this timescale, mainly because of DS who found the last move quite difficult and has finally settled in well. Difficult also because it's a selective are, he's in a grammar school and you can't just presume a space will come up in another one.

Exoticfruits - Some schools "manage" with very bright DCs; some just let them coast so they can focus on the middle. Unfortunately my experience with DS's primary was very much the latter, and most of the schools around here are likely to be similar. There are various other problems as well with the local schools that I don't want to go into too much here.

I take everyone's point about respecting DW's objections. That's absolutely fair and it won't work unless everyone is happy.

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:36:02

Flexi school is the worst option-terible for the DC. At least do one or the other and don't leave the poor thing not being a proper part of either. I think that DW has at least worked out that you would need to be socialising fully with other HE families.

aviatrix Sun 09-Oct-11 22:37:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:37:41

No chance of moving?
As you have grammar schools and think she would get a place how about some extra tutoring if you are not happy with the junior?

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:38:39

I wouldn't do it to a DC aviatrix-the rest are not in a cupboard while they are missing-they are forging ahead with friendships etc.

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:39:47

Sorry-I would only do it if I had a very bright, popular, self confident leader type DC. (flexi school I mean)

seeker Sun 09-Oct-11 22:41:13

The local primary school can't have done too badly by your ds.........

QuintessentialDead Sun 09-Oct-11 22:42:02

You seem to have a clear view of what you want to do in terms of your dds education. Can I ask why it is that you want your wife to do this education, rather than doing it yourself?

Is it you or her who normally spend time with your dd on homework?

confidence Sun 09-Oct-11 22:51:23

Exoticfruits - are you opposed to HE in general? You seem to have a lot of arguments against it here, I'm not sure why. That's the only reason I can imagine you insist on moving house as a better alternative to doing it.

I don't really want to get into an argument about it as a general concept - had posted here because I presumed people would be amenable to it in that respect. Maybe you've got the wrong board?

Moving is not really an option within this timeframe, although it is something we're discussing as possible down the line, when she goes to secondary and DS to university. That of course has to do with jobs, houses etc as well.

Most scholarships to private schools seem to be for a tiny proportion of the fees so I'm not sure that's the answer. And there seems to be fewer available for primary than secondary. Actually for secondary that may well be the answer because of the strength of her music, although with grammars here it's not such an issue anyway.

Yes, music, art, dance and languages can be done outside of school. But 7-year-olds are knackered after a school day and their best is out of them, largely reducing such activities to a bit of supporting fun and that's all. One thing my DD has is an extraordinary ability to focus on tasks and work methodically at them, and I want her to be able to spend whole mornings doing that in her freshest state of mind, rather than in a school watching a frazzled teacher deal with behaviour problems before finally settling down to deliver a lesson she knows all about already.

This isn't really as serious and presumptious as it sounds. We actually bring her up by encouraging things as fun, providing structures in which to explore them her own way etc, not by dourly sitting her at a desk and forcing her to learn her times tables. It's just that we've found that by doing this, she learnt to read fluently at 3 and is now about two years ahead at school, plays the piano beautifully and can happily practise own her own (properly) for long periods and so on.

LastSummer Sun 09-Oct-11 22:51:53


Primary school can be an awful squandering of a bright child's early years and damaging if the child feels held back, frustrated or unfulfilled. Because she's musical, you have a very strong argument for removing your daughter from school to develop that talent while preparing her for a rigorous secondary school education. Your plan is eminently doable and desirable, in my view. But put some flesh on your ideas before putting them to your wife. What concrete proposals can you make for developing your daughter musically? Are suitable teachers/music and dance schools available? You'll certainly have a far wider choice of music tutors if your child is available for lessons while others are at school. Similarly, by the way, language tutors will also be more readily available. Pointing out to your wife that music and perhaps language tuition will be available to your daughter say four or five mornings a week, if you can afford that, will help to sway her. Also, take a look at the superb textbooks for the primary years offered by Galore Park ( ). Using these, you and your wife can between you very easily provide a far better formal education for a bright child than the average primary school. Your wife will come round when she senses the wonderful opportunity home education can be for your daughter, and her parents, in these so important formative years.

confidence Sun 09-Oct-11 22:52:57

Aviatrix - yes, flexi-schooling is an option to consider as well. It depends though on whether the school will agree to it, for a start.

musicposy Sun 09-Oct-11 22:54:48

We took DD2 out of school at 8 for lots of reasons, mainly unhappiness. However, she too was ahead of her peers (they put her in with the 11 year olds at 8) and she was very miserable because at school it's so obvious who is where academically and she stood out like a sore thumb.

One thing you wrote struck a real chord with me. I was forever pulling DD2 off the piano at 8.30am because she had to go to school. It struck me as such a waste, all of a sudden. Why was I taking her away from something she loved to do something she didn't? Now she plays the piano and keyboard all she likes and it's been brilliant for her.

As for your DW, I think you should suggest doing sole teaching. If she doesn't want to become your daughter's teacher it's not fair to make her -because it probably will change their relationship. It would be very possible to do it yourself because even if you are very structured, you won't need long at this age. They get so much covered, so quickly, on a one-to-one. We were pretty structured at the start and still DD2 did only an hour or so of work every day. Within the first half a term we'd covered a whole year's maths work and realised we needed to slow down a little! Even now, at Year 8, she only does a couple of hours. The rest is spent doing whatever she likes, so is no hassle at all. Your wife might be happier if all she had to do was have fun with her.

Be prepared for your son to want to come out of school. I home educated DD2 for a year on her own and then DD1 came out of secondary. It was a huge leap in the dark, but it is unfair to agree to do it for one and not the other. At his age, if you explain what you think the benefits of him staying at school are, he's old enough to understand, but he may still not agree he should stay there. I think if you start one you have to be prepared that you may have to do the other, or risk lifelong resentment. However, if you can do one, you can do the other - secondary education is not nearly as hard as you think!

confidence Sun 09-Oct-11 22:57:51

Seeker -

DS actually went to primary in a different area. We moved here largely because the secondaries there were also pretty poor, and this area offered the chance for him to go to grammar.

At the time that was the main consideration, and we'd also checked out the Infants that DD is now in and liked it, so we didn't worry too much or look too closely at what was in between. And of course at the time, she hadn't even entered school, learnt to read or started music yet so we didn't know she would bloom so quickly.

seeker Sun 09-Oct-11 22:58:54

I.m not opposed to HE in venal, although I have many reservations about it. In particular, I think that the reasons for doing it need to be examined carefully. And taking q child out of school because she is perceived to be bright than her peers at the age of 5 strikes me as being extremely risky. In particular, a very bright child is set apart in some ways from her peers anyway. Is it a good idea to do something that would set her apart even more?

seeker Sun 09-Oct-11 23:00:27

General, not venal. What a bizarre auto correct that was!

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