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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 Fri 23-Nov-12 13:40:53

Helen and morethan - congratulations both of you on your clever DDs! You are right to be proud of them. And you should be proud of yourselves too, as they are obviously thriving in home education. grin

Helenagrace Fri 23-Nov-12 14:24:13

morethan she's 11 and would be year 6.

Congratulations on the solo - fabulous news!

morethanpotatoprints Fri 23-Nov-12 17:18:36

Thanks toffee and helen.

I know its a bit boastful, but so miss being able to tell my parents and face to face with other mothers of dds friends, it sounds conceited. So virtual boasting is good I think. smile.
Dh has warned me to take tissues for him, what a big softie.

helen, I don't think my older 2 were doing anything like that work at y6, I bet you are proud. Is this the level of the 11+ you were aiming for? She sounds very clever and of course Maths is so valuable, well done to you too.

Toffee smile at your household. Do you think Ds 2 is trying to pull a fast one or did his illness really materialise. Maybe he wants to be like his big brother. grin. Alot of dds schooled friends are getting past work now and just going through the motions until they start doing xmas stuff.

Hello Foxy, I hope all is well and you had a good week.

Have a good weekend everyone. smile

Helenagrace Fri 23-Nov-12 20:38:43

morethan yes we've worked our way through the 11+ syllabus to consolidate. She is dyslexic, dyspraxic and dysgraphic so we're trying to improve her maths confidence so she feels more capable of going down the science / maths route. I can't see her ever coping with a heavy essay workload or a lecture based subject at uni. Of course I'm happy to be proved wrong smile. I think the 11+ syllabus contains quite a bit of stuff that isn't in the KS2 curriculum which is very mean on parents who can't afford tutors. Selection by income again!

DH is an actuary and I did health policy at post grad level so I did lots of stats and economics. Not being mathematical isn't really an option here! Both DH and I regularly shout at the radio and TV about their use of stats and I pity the poor guy who did our interest rate calculation when the bank cocked our mortgage up - DH scrawled on it in green ink, gave him a D- and sent it back. We got a cheque a few days later for the amount DH had calculated and no further word was said grin.

Colleger Fri 23-Nov-12 22:04:34

Sorry, I'm not on here much - too exhausted!!!

Morethanpotatoprints, how fantastic for your DD. Let her enjoy a little status for now but such success should make you aware that it's time to be looking for something more, even if she goes back to being a small fish for a while!

ToffeeWhirl Sun 25-Nov-12 17:28:30

Just had a visit from a family member. She asked DH if I ever had anything interesting to talk to him about these days now that I was "stuck at home all day home educating"? She also said that DS1 would be "socially inept" by the time he was ready for sixth-form college.

She has form for these sorts of comments, so I was amused, rather than upset.

Colleger Sun 25-Nov-12 18:19:39

She sounds socially inept!

Helenagrace Sun 25-Nov-12 19:22:08

And incredibly rude!!

ToffeeWhirl Sun 25-Nov-12 19:38:32

That's a good point, Colleger - yes, she is! She always says outrageous things. And yes, Helen, she is rude. She is also very conventional and doesn't understand anything about home education. But she can be kind and well-meaning too, so I can forgive her.

Helenagrace Mon 26-Nov-12 10:23:14

DS should be in year two but is doing year 4 maths. He just got 80% on a year 4 maths test!

Only doing two hours HE a day this week whilst we get ready for our move.

So many boxes, so little time...

Colleger Mon 26-Nov-12 18:13:51

Well done Helen's son!

HE makes it so easy to make fast progress. I have noticed that a one hour conversation with tutors is enough for my son to retain stuff without the need for any homework. This will change over time but it's working for us at the moment. smile

ToffeeWhirl Mon 26-Nov-12 19:02:20

You obviously have very bright children, Helen grin! Well done to them both.

DS1 can only learn properly with one-to-one tutors, Colleger. He could never really manage in classrooms.

Have just finished the first lapbook. It's so neat - I love it! I keep looking at it <sad emoticon>. Have downloaded another on 'A Christmas Carol' for us to do in the next few weeks.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 26-Nov-12 22:31:47

Hello all. I know its late but still buzzing.

Helen your dcs are very clever, I don't think we will get nearly to that level, you should be proud of them, still can't get over how organised you are. I am being really bad with H.ed atm, as lots of music sctivities happening. I hate to think what her maths and English will be like.
Well tonight went well in the end. First of all another girl got up to sing dds solo and had to be sent back. Then dd started her song and mic went off, they gave her another and asked her to start again. By this time anybody else would have been really ruffled. Not dd she started again, sang like an angel and got such tremendous applause. I am a proud mum. There were 600+ in the audience. I will post the edited performance on fb when its done.

Toffee. I'd have told her to sling her hook, but I suppose if she makes up for it in other ways, you could forgive her. Just make sure you have lots to tell her next time, and tell her how boring you find coventionality.

ToffeeWhirl Mon 26-Nov-12 22:54:53

Congratulations to your DD, morethan grin. You have every right to be a proud mum. I don't think you need to worry about Maths and English for the moment - there's plenty of time for that later and it sounds as if your DD is concentrating on what's important to her right now. This will do her confidence so much good. Lucky her to have found her gift so young.

I won't even try to tell said family member anything about home ed next time, morethan. She will only find more to criticise. I was going to show her some of DS's work, but realised she'd only find something wrong with it.
She thinks home ed means you sit at the kitchen table all day, cutting your children off from other children and the rest of the world. As DS1's main reason for not going to school is anxiety, we are not in a position to disabuse her of this notion, but I wish we could.

Colleger Tue 27-Nov-12 08:47:09

Congratulations morethans DD! :D

I have a worn out son. He's had some really intense auditions and he and I have no motivation to do anything! I'm having some challeneges with his behaviour at the moment but it such a rubbish time of year. Dark days, freezing etc.

However he has been very successful on the music front. He's playing in two orchestras in Jan with one performing at the Barbican and he's playing alongside conservatoire students on another course and starting a junior department.

No work though...

ToffeeWhirl Tue 27-Nov-12 10:27:10

That's wonderful news, Colleger smile. Well done to your son. It sounds like you both deserve to have some time out to rest and recover.

Sympathies on the challenging behaviour front. My DS is also being tricky at the moment and I do wonder if this is the start of puberty. He says he feels moody and he is doing a lot of boundary pushing and arguing, which is getting me down. His anxieties and OCD make him tricky at the best of times, so I am not looking forward to adolescent turmoil thrown into the maelstrom.

He is having his Maths lesson at the moment. That's still going very well. The teacher set homework last week and we did all of it and more, so she is very pleased with him.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 27-Nov-12 22:58:41

Hello Colleger.

Just a thought but maybe behaviour is challenging atm because of his success. He is doing so well and the opportunities he has are great, maybe he is a bit like my dd. She is terrible atm and I'm sure its because they psych themselves up for confidence to perform, especially auditions. It must be hard for them when so many people tell them how great they are.
We are really stuck now and as you suggested time to step things up, you are so lucky in your area. DD is nowhere near audition standard for jd and there is nobody we can find to get her to the level in the time scale she wants. So dh is making most of contacts he has, but no luck yet. The local peris are not really up to it and privately its hit and miss. I'm being optimistic for her sake though. So happy for your ds, I know he works hard for it, has talent and deserves to do well. Please keep posting his achievements I am interested and it is so nice to hear H.ed dcs doing well.

They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, I'm sure your relative will eat her words. Perhaps you are right not to say anything as the satisfaction will be great when the realisation dawns that your ds is thriving. I'm sure it will happen, but doubt she'll ever admit it. My fil is like this and the only person to be negative, even my sister is seeing the positive and she is naturally pessimistic and very critical.

Colleger Wed 28-Nov-12 19:35:27

She has loads of time morethan to get to an appropriate standard. They also look for potential. I know kids with low grades compared to their age being offered places. It's clear they have something special and the JD's are happy to offer places.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 29-Nov-12 22:12:47


I know you are right, I do panic somewhat. I think its with her exam coming up and know that she won't get the mark she deserves as her teacher has miss informed her on a whole section.
Its stupid really because a merit at the low grades I guess is acceptable. Needless to say we are looking for new teacher.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 29-Nov-12 22:20:39

How is everybody today.

I know it was Collegers good day yesterday and mine today.

Helen have you found enough boxes and how are the dc ? Please tell me they are not still working.

Toffee have you started your Christmas Carol yet. I grin about your puberty comment because I had the talk with dd this week. I know she's young but (long story) it is necessary in her case.

Anyway, we are all sat watching tv and she said can I talk to you in private mum. So I said whats up, her reply. "I think I have those eggs in my tummy, the ones you told me about".

Colleger Fri 30-Nov-12 08:48:25

Morethan, for your child to be great you should consider fewer exams. It's a waste of valuable learning time and means nothing to conservatoires. Let her sit an exam when she could do it in her sleep and only needs two weeks to work on pieces. DS next exam will be grade 8. I know he could have sat it this term and probably got a low merit but he probably won't sit it for two years as the teacher wants him to be the best musician he can be. He'll probably be given one month with the pieces and then go straight into a diploma without having to build up for it.

Today is a nightmare: French tutor, Organ lesson, Latin tutor, piano lesson, swimming, choir and he's got a bassoon audition tomorrow so I better go and tell him to get a short practice in!

Helenagrace Fri 30-Nov-12 08:52:54

We we HE until yesterday but I've got Pickfords in doing the fragile pack today so I think we'll call it quits until after the move. Maybe some times tables and mental maths practice in the car on the way down. Well we have got 300 miles to fill!

ToffeeWhirl Fri 30-Nov-12 09:44:38

morethan - yes, we are reading 'A Christmas Carol' every day and I am we are thoroughly enjoying it grin. We went through some vocabulary together yesterday - the story is rich with words that DS doesn't know. DS also wrote a short biography of Dickens. We spent some time reading about the prisons and the plight of the poor in Victorian times, which I think he was genuinely interested in.

Oh, and well done, more, at fitting in the PHSE lesson on puberty!

morethan and Colleger - your DC sound so self motivated envy. If I left DS1 to his own devices, he would just stay on the computer/XBox all day.

Helen - you have done amazingly to keep going with the home ed this long. Am not surprised you are calling a halt to it for now. Best of luck with the move.

Colleger - I'm really glad to hear how well home ed is going for your DS - it's great that he is now able to concentrate on his main interests. Good luck with your busy day today.

foxy - how is the home ed going?

TBex - how are you finding the 10ticks Maths and Muzzie French? Are you still planning to quit your school job in February?

Planning to get DS working hard today as we have been taking it a bit too easy this week and I have allowed him to get away with not doing the regular stuff every day. So we have some catching up to do. So today, he will be doing: English (Dickens again); Maths (homework); handwriting practise; and History (Henry VII). I have decided we are going to make up a Tudor lapbook as well. When I looked at the dry Galore Park History textbook I bought for DS, I know that he will really struggle with it, so am hoping I can make it a bit more interesting for him.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 30-Nov-12 12:10:28


Hello again, oh do I know you are so right and you seem to practice what dh preeches (is that right?) preaches? The only problem is I do agree but don't practice it myself.
I suppose its trusting that this way will work and not worrying in a few years time that I dh had it wrong. I am going to have to stop it because I know he knows what he is talking about and he will only take so much before He's offended, and who could blame him.
I promise I will try, lol. I'm so pleased for your ds hope the audition went well, what was it for? Orchestra or choir?

Good luck Helen, hope it all goes well. I'm still very impressed with how long you kept it up for. Fist sign of anything different here and H.ed is put on hold.

Toffee, I never thought of PHSE thanks, we did something else other than music lol. grin. As for motivation if I dared suggest anything academic atm she would think I was mad. As the reason for H.ed was because she was so tired after performances, exams and general music and dancing activities plus wanted time to practice, I can't really complain. I still worry, today she wrote a list for us to help dh get ready for a gig. Sosages, bacun butty, broo, watter, blakcrrant, oh dear!

Colleger Sat 01-Dec-12 10:50:37

Sorry, I wasn't preaching at you morethan and it was orchestras.

Toffee - my son is not self-motivated. His mother is!!!

Good luck Helen xxx

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