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Support thread for new home educators

(591 Posts)
ToffeeWhirl Sun 02-Sep-12 12:53:17

There seem to be a lot of us around at the moment, so I thought it might help us all to have a place where we can swap ideas, chivvy each other along on the bad days and cheer for each other on the good days.

I have two boys, the oldest is 12 and is just starting out in home education. My youngest is 6 and is still at school. Fortunately for me, he has just told me he's missing school and looking forward to going back <phew>.

We have had a good summer, with lots of dog walking, excursions, get-togethers with friends and family and minimal rules on television watching and computers. I have had a lovely time ordering books for our home ed library (failed to reign myself in on this blush) and planning what we are going to study grin.

The plan at the moment is for DS1 to do a bit of Science, Maths and English every morning. He has a tutor for English once a week and we are going to get him a Maths tutor too. We will spend the rest of the time doing projects, reading together, practising handwriting, art, etc etc. Fridays are going to be 'free' days for informal learning, such as excursions.

I have been in touch with the local HE groups and we are planning to meet up with other HE families.

I'm spending some time today organising everything - plans, timetables, files, folders, lapbooks, etc. We have a visit from the LEA next Thursday, which gives me a good deadline to work towards.

I would love to hear how the rest of you newbies are getting on. And words of wisdom from the more experienced home educators are very welcome too!

ToffeeWhirl Sat 01-Dec-12 18:11:20

Ah, that's quite comforting to hear, Colleger (about your son not being self-motivated). Not for you, of course, but it makes me feel a bit better about my own son.

I suggested to DS1 that he complete his Maths homework this weekend as he didn't do it last week - the look of horror on his face!

morethan - at least your DD is self motivated in music, though. My DS is only self motivated if it involves the XBox/computer. I love your DD's spellings, by the way. I can't remember how old she is, but I'm sure it will all come right in the end.

Hope the packing up is going well, Helen.

DS1 coped with having the boy next door round today. He finds socialising so stressful that I have pulled back on everything, except his best friend, but I felt that he would be able to cope better now as he is less stressed out overall, thanks to not coping with school. The visit went well and I suggested we do it again. Phew.

ToffeeWhirl Sat 01-Dec-12 18:17:04

Forgot to say, I have booked us into The Big Bang Fair in London next year. Thought some of you might be interested too. It's free!

Obviously, DS1 immediately panicked and said, "I'm not going!", but we have over three months to prepare him and it is a good opportunity to push him out of his comfort zone for once.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 12:38:56


Hope you and yours are well? Hey, I never thought for one minute you were preaching, and even if you were I know you are far more experienced in this than we are. I know dh and I have musical knowledge and dh teaches tons of kids etc but its different when its one of your own. The decisions and management of their talents isn't easy and at times alot of responsibility, you have helped me no end just by telling me your experiences thanks

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Dec-12 21:09:18

Hi Toffee.

Didn't mean to ignore your post. DD is 8 and will be 9 in January.
It has all gone horribly wrong today with a music exam and me and dh decided to withdraw her. So tomorrow we are back to English, Maths and a subject of her choice. We'll see how motivated she is then, lol grin. I wouldn't imagine it will be much smile.

Colleger, will pm you with musical details sometime if poss. I would love your take on it, but don't want to post here, in case.

BeginningtoffeealotlikeXmas Tue 04-Dec-12 19:33:05

No problem, morethan smile. Sorry about the music exam.

Have done nothing with DS1 today as we both have colds and feel grotty. He managed his Maths lesson this morning, but we had to cancel the farm. However, he spent ages working on computer coding during the day and was so delighted when he finally made something work, so that counts as education, doesn't it?

SDeuchars Tue 04-Dec-12 20:43:46

I have booked us into The Big Bang Fair in London next year.

Two HE boys were among the prizewinners this year. There is a thread about it with links.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 04-Dec-12 22:20:03

Hello all.

Well looks like somebodys on dds side. Music exam back on and after so many catastrophes on so many levels. Nothing to do with us or dd, we have managed to come out of it with what sounds like a fantastic deal and hopefully no penalising for dd.
So sorry Toffee, I can't post about Maths and English, but dd has a tidy bedroom as I flipped today. She has also turned into a little cow bag that I could throttle. She is really trying my patience and is a jumped up little squirt, who is definitely getting put in her place.
It was far easier with the boys, but she has to have the last word and her mouth and manner are appauling atm, if she was somebody elses child I would be so judgemental. Arghhhhhh.
It doesn't help with most of our music service teachers and managers praising her everyday, because of cock up they are all being so helpful and supportive and she thinks shes the next bloody Katherine Jenkins. Sorry for the rant, but I am really waiting for the comment "Do you know who I am?"
angry. Thanks for listening y'all. smile

Colleger Sat 08-Dec-12 17:19:56

Post anytime you want morethan. You know I love talking music! Tres sad! blush

BeginningtoffeealotlikeXmas Tue 18-Dec-12 10:09:45

Hope you are all coping with the pre-Christmas preparations. It is all getting a bit frantic in the Toffee household. We have a visit from the LEA on Thursday and yes, I know the woman has no right to judge our work, but I am still panicking a bit. I am surprised at how much work we have to show her though, especially as I often feel we aren't doing very much.

We have three lapbooks to show: one on animal classifications; one on 'A Christmas Carol'; and one on Spain. They are a really good way of displaying work.

Helen - I hope your move is going / has gone well.

morethan - how is your DD? Has she finished her solo engagements for now or is she performing over Christmas?

Colleger - how is home ed going?

SDeuchars - I read your links - very interesting, thanks. Those two boys did brilliantly.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 18-Dec-12 22:28:29

Hello Begging.

Yes thank you, all done now and a more grounded down to earth dd where behaviour is concerned. However, the latest idea is she wants to go for BGT because if she gets anywhere she could sing with Katherine Jenkins.
She's too late for Manchester but she really wants to do it. Me and dh really don't like it because of its similarities to a circus, lol.
You are well prepared for your visit. Looks like we are having one New Year as they just got in touch. I was so right though her last school did not inform the LEA at all. I knew they wouldn't, it was one of my first posts. grin
Good luck, please tell us how you get on as I don't think we have nearly enough to show. Been too busy with music.
Colleger, hope all is well have you finished for xmas now?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 18-Dec-12 22:37:34

Sorry Toffee, I meant beginning. It must be the Baileys

AmberSocks Wed 19-Dec-12 14:26:59


i have 4 children,all under 5.always planned to HE,but tried out school for my eldest and pre school for my dc2 in september,has been ok but ok is not good enough so decided to HE after would rather be at home so all is good.they are finishing this week and will send letter after christmas.

I think HE will be easier now i school isnt easier/better and the kids wont be happier/learning more there.

BeginningtoffeealotlikeXmas Wed 19-Dec-12 18:19:45

Amber - Congratulations on making the decision - that's often the hardest part, in my experience. Let us know how you are getting on.

morethan - excuse my ignorance, but what is BGT?

LEA is here tomorrow at 2. I have a big pile of files and lapbooks to show her. Am not doing any more preparation - in fact, we will spend the day decorating the house for Christmas smile.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 19-Dec-12 20:07:57

Beginning Hope the LEA visit was helpful, I'm still not sure and think I'll reply we don't want one. They have sent me a proposal form to complete and said a H.ed parent does the visits. I'm really not sure I believe this... What was your person like?

BGT - Britain's Got talent.....

I have read revues and been on various forum (fori?) that discussed what it was like and it sounds dire.

We are trying to put her off it, we could just say no / we know best, but don't want her growing up believing we stopped her doing things.

Amber Hello, and congratulations. I think it's great you gave school a chance, especially as you wanted to H.ed from the beginning.

richmal Thu 20-Dec-12 09:20:12

It's official; I've put the letters in. Tomorrow is dd last day at school. Luckily it's Christmas so I'm too busy to panic.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 20-Dec-12 20:42:56

Many congratulations hope your dd will be very happy at home. This thread has quietened down a bit now but its usually quite vibrant so no doubt you'll have lots of people to bounch ideas off. Really pleased for you and don't worry or panic I'm sure you'll be fine.

richmal Fri 21-Dec-12 09:46:19

Thanks for your reply. In some ways I'm looking forward to getting started. I've given the decision a lot of thought and I'm sure it's the right one.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 21-Dec-12 15:02:25

Oh well. Thats it, nearly Christmas, yipeeeee!

Just listening to smooth fm whilst cleaning kitchen - Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow.

If anybody is still lurking around here, I'm off now till new year.


BeginningtoffeealotlikeXmas Mon 24-Dec-12 00:59:49

richmal - it sounds like the decision has been a relief to you and it's great that you are looking forward to getting started. How old is your dd?

more - hmm, I would feel like you about BGT. As for my visit from the LEA...

... It was really good. I think I've been lucky because the LEA woman is absolutely lovely and so encouraging. She liked everything I've been doing with DS, but was particularly taken with the lapbooks and now wants to try them with the children she teaches. She also promised to arrange some help for DS with his Raspberry Pi and, true to her word, has persuaded one of the department's IT men to come round and help with it. She would have been happy to wait a year before her next visit, but I suggested six months, which means the end of this academic year. She also gave me some advice about helping DS work more independently, which is an important skill for him and would also free me up a little.

Am in the midst of pre-Christmas stress now <sobs>, so probably won't get back here for several days.

Happy Christmas!

smile smile smile

richmal Mon 24-Dec-12 08:41:06

DD is 9. The LAE woman here too seems pleasant, (from the little I have spoken to her so far)

DD too has a Raspberry Pi, but also a very nerdy dad.

I'm off now as well, so I'll just wish everyone a Merry Christmas.


BeginningtoffeealotlikeXmas Fri 28-Dec-12 21:31:53

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.

Have done some bargaining with DS1 and he has agreed to take up a class in the New Year. He has chosen climbing as he tried this on a school trip once and enjoyed it. I really want him to start being with other children and adults again, not just me. His confidence was so low that he only trusted me, but I think it's time for him to start to venture out.

richmal - lucky for your DD that she has a nerdy dad to help with the Raspberry Pi grin.

betterthanthat Sun 30-Dec-12 19:44:02


Just creeping in quietly to say hello. We've just moved to a new area and although dd1 has a school place, dd2 (4, but had started reception in reception in the old area) hasn't got a place so I've opted to HE until a place at the same school comes up. I've always been interested in HE and am in many ways looking forward to it. But equally I'm a little daunted, more by the knowledge that I need to roughly keep pace with the EYFS as she will in all probability need to slot back into school at some point. I'm in the process of trying to make contact with local groups but other than that I'm hoping to pick your collective brain as and when I run into hiccups! One question was suggestions for 'physical' stuff to do to make sure she runs off steam - although I'm into walking she isn't much, so other than swimming and soft play I'm a bit stumped. Any creative suggestions?!


ToffeeWhirl Mon 31-Dec-12 12:26:21

Welcome, betterthan. Nice website here on activities for four-year olds. Am sure others will have other suggestions. Maybe you should post a general query on the home ed boards (sorry, am a bit rushed and braindead this morning, but I sympathise with the running off steam bit).

Wanted to just share some good news with you all, to show how far DS1 has come since we took him out of school this time last year. At that time, he was unable to leave the house or meet anyone because he was so anxious. He has OCD, which was running riot thanks to his high anxiety levels.

Fast forward a year and he is now able to go out without worrying, although he still panics if it involves a lot of travel. He has also enjoyed some sleepovers with his best friend. However, he avoids groups.

Yesterday, he was invited to go swimming with his best friend and then stay overnight. I could see him worrying, but he made himself go anyway. BF's Mum just rang me to say that lots of DS's year group were at the swimming pool yesterday, so he suddenly had to cope with being in a group of boys. She said he joined in and seemed to enjoy it. He still went home with her and his friend, but then had an upset stomach. However, instead of panicking and ringing me, he decided to stay overnight regardless. He is still there smile.

Am so proud of him.

hamstered Mon 31-Dec-12 21:58:19

Hi all, Sorry to interrupt. I'm definitely a newbie here. I've just decided to pull my two girls out of school and embark on the journery of Home Ed. I just wanted to say hello to everyone and thank BeginningtoffeealotlikeXmas for pointing me in this direction. It is all daunting and I'm just letting my daughter destress and unwind after a traumatic experience at school.
Wishing you all a fab and wonderful new year. May 2013 bring lots more parents towards the world of Home Ed....!

ToffeeWhirl Tue 01-Jan-13 22:01:15

<packs away Xmas nickname and puts on usual one>

Hi hamstered. You will feel a lot less daunted once you have chatted more to people in the home-ed community and realised that you are not alone. The main thing you and your daughter should do for now is relax and have fun.

Happy New Year to you - and everyone on this thread.


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