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I know nothing about - possibly - HE for my 4-year-old, advise me please?

(6 Posts)
wonderingabout Thu 11-Oct-12 21:22:19

I am only beginning to look into the choices for my DD - she is two now. She was a June baby. She is eligible for a funded nursery place starting next autumn, for which I need to apply by January. The following year, she would - if I chose to follow the normal practice here - start at proper 'school'.

Where we live (Northern Ireland), compulsory education begins at 4. DD would be only just 4, as her birthday is June. It is my feeling that this is too young. The law allows for her 'compulsory education' to be provided at home. I do not intend to HE beyond this, but I am in a position to be able to at least consider HE for the year that she is 4. I have been looking at the legal requirements and guidelines, such as they are, and it appears that there are no curriculum requirements or tests. I would like to be able to work with her at home on her basic skills, and keep her at nursery (part-time) for socialisation.

The following year (when she is five), it is highly likely that we will be relocating abroad and will be in a completely different system - so in a way, I'd prefer her to simply start out her school career in that system, at five.

I am not from here originally, and so I have had a lot to learn about how the school system works in the first place. (I teach myself, but at the university level.)

I'm not quite sure what I am asking, even! Are there others here who have chosen to HE for the first year, on the basis of age/readiness? What do I need to know to help me make this decision? Are my reasons 'good enough'?

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 21:35:26

Four years is very young to start school-if you are moving when she is 5 yrs anyway it seems a good idea to continue with nursery and keep at home. On the continent they start formal education at 6 yrs-far more sensible.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 21:35:51

Sorry-to answer-your reasons are good enough.

wonderingabout Thu 11-Oct-12 23:09:39

Thank you! I really just feel totally at sea with the whole thing! I know I have time still to figure it out, but it is such an emotive topic and even asking for advice is tricky, isn't it?

Saracen Fri 12-Oct-12 00:07:02

They sound like good enough reasons to me! I do think four is very young to start school and that was the main reason I first became interested in home education. I thought I'd just use home ed as a way to delay school start to an age I felt was reasonable for my child to go to school. As it turned out, we decided to stick with home ed in the long run because it had worked so well, and we didn't bother with school after all.

The only thing I would be the least bit concerned about is this: if you do end up staying in NI after all and you have not applied for a school at the same time as your child's age peers did (i.e. to start at the age of four), will you be disadvantaged in trying to get her into a popular school the following year?

At application time, you might want to have a look round to see whether your local school(s) are oversubscribed, how mobile the local population is and whether you'd be likely to get your child in via the waiting list if the school is full when she's five, etc. You'd want to consider whether it would be a total disaster if she doesn't get into your preferred school and gets shipped off somewhere else, and whether you'd be willing and able to continue to HE beyond her fifth birthday if you don't like the school you are offered. By then you may know for sure whether you will be moving abroad - I guess if you are definitely leaving then it doesn't matter whether there will be places in a good local school when your dd is five.

Aside from that one issue I can't see any reason to hesitate over home educating for a year.

You might want to join this group to learn more about home education in Northern Ireland: hedni.org Perhaps you can go along to some local home ed groups now and chat with others who have chosen this path. Where I live, it is not at all unusual for parents to come along to home education groups with toddlers, babies or even the occasional "bump" as they start to consider their options.

wonderingabout Fri 12-Oct-12 11:06:14

Thanks, Saracen. That's very helpful...I hadn't really considered the possibility that she'd have trouble getting into the school the following year if we don't go abroad. I'm going to have to find out more about the oversubscription issue - and I guess even start thinking about what our preferred primary school would be!

I'll definitely join the hedni group and see if I can go along to a group - I think that would be really useful. Thanks again.

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