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Need To Decide By Christmas...

(11 Posts)
LIttleMcF Tue 13-Nov-12 10:47:05

I'm in a dilemma and I'm getting to the point where I can't see the wood for the trees, if you know what I mean.

DD is in reception at lovely, high achieving, ideal little school just at the top of our road. No problems, all good; but I still feel as though we should be 'doing' home ed. DS is 3 and I strongly feel that when he turns 4 in August and is the youngest in the year, I will greatly regret not biting the bullet now. I'm driving myself barmy. We've set Christmas as a 'cut off' date for making a decision.

My main worry I suppose is that IF it doesn't work out, and IF DD or DS want to go to school then we'd never get into one around here as they're all madly over subscribed. Also, it's all so 'perfect' if we don't home ed; no issues, all easy, lovely teachers etc., and yet I fundamentally don't agree with children being in school at such a young age.

I feel like a fraud for wanting to home ed for my flimflam 'we could do it a different way' type reasons, when they could just have a 'normal' route through school, in a school which is in the the top 5 in the country.

I'm terrified I'd be making a hideous mistake and taking them out of a wonderful school to mess up their lives/future education/everything.

There is a good home ed community around here and I would engage them in groups and projects etc. as well as our own 'work' at home.

I just don't know what to do. When I talk about my reasons for wanting to home ed, I really feel passionately about it; but I have such worries that I'm making a terrible mistake which will harm my DC happiness.

I'm also worried that part of my reason for not wanting them at school is because I want to be a bigger part of their lives during their childhood. I also hate the idea of them going to school all day, slumping in front of the TV when they get home because they're exhausted and not having any quality sibling time together during the week (they're very close now). Am I being selfish?

Sorry for the stream-of-conciousness post. Hopefully you can hear where I'm coming from. A mixed up place of confusion and worry...

Saracen Tue 13-Nov-12 11:06:58

That is a difficult one. I can see why you are torn.

But why put pressure on yourselves to decide so soon?

Your dd is happy enough so I guess there is no urgency about when/whether she leaves school. There must have been reasons why you sent her to school in the first place despite feeling passionately in favour of home ed - has something happened to change your mind?

As for your son, I get the idea that you expect he won't thrive at school next autumn. But you don't have to send him to school then in order to secure the school place and keep your options open. What about accepting his school place and deferring his start as long as you are allowed, which for a summer-born child is the end of his Reception year.

That gives you an additional 18 months beyond the Christmas deadline you have set yourselves to make a final decision. Meanwhile you could keep your daughter at school while getting involved in the home ed community with your son. You can have a foot in both worlds and see how they compare. It might even happen that you eventually decide to have one child at school and one at home, if they appear to need different things. During that 18 months something may happen to give you a good shove in one direction or another. Even if nothing dramatic happens, it may just all become clearer in your minds and you may feel more strongly which way you should go.

LIttleMcF Tue 13-Nov-12 11:20:33

THanks Saracen, I appreciate the points you make.

I think part of my sense of urgency is so taking DD out of school is less of a wrench for her if she's been there for a shorter time; also that at the moment, she's only doing half-days which will cease at Christmas, so it was a kind of 'natural' point in time to make a decision, but you're right; we don't have to.

A friend is already involved in home ed, so her input is useful.

I've got to pop out so thanks in advance for any replies - I'll be logging on as soon as I'm back this afternoon!

chocolatecrispies Tue 13-Nov-12 19:09:01

I agree with Saracen, why the artificial deadline? If you don't think your son will thrive, don't send him. Even if the school is oversubscribed some children will leave at some point and you live at the end of the road, plus your dd is there - he would get a place if you wanted it if you were prepared to wait a while. You could have her at school and him at home - if he was a week or so younger that would not even be delaying school. Don't let school deadlines become yours. If your daughter is happy and wants to go to school, let her go - you can let her know that if she wants to stop she can which will make a huge difference to her. We gave up a place in the 'ideal' oversubscribed school at the end of our road, for me it was important not to hold a place as that does prevent another child from starting and also I felt it would prevent me really committing to HE. Life would have been simpler with school but that's not the most important thing!

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Nov-12 23:14:19


I too agree about the deadline and think maybe if you remove this you may come to a conclusion quicker.
I understand your dilemna, there are not always so many fantastic schools that are a good fit .
Our eldest was an August baby and we were allowed to defer until the January but he still had to join the same year, if that makes sense. In all honesty he was the least able out of all 3 of our dc to settle at school and was just not ready. I'm glad he went as H.ed would not have been a good choice for him at the time.
If you did H.ed for a while and your dc wanted to go to school could you be placed on a waiting list for places? I ask as even in small rural areas places become available as people move homes.
I also think you sound very determined in your views and you shouldn't under estimate your gut feeling and your philosophy to schools.
Good luck with your decision. smile

mummyinthemiddle Wed 14-Nov-12 23:34:18

Hi LIttleMcF, I am in a kind of similar position, as I have posted before. We have a place at a little, over subscribed, village school that we have deferred. If we don't take it up by Easter we will lose it. Also, we are new to the village and the area. I don't really have any advice to offer but just sympathising really. I feel very torn. In some ways I really want to HE but I am finding the idea of the commitment for me hard.

We are trying to get to know our local H.ed community in the mean time and I am really enjoying DD's company (although she is still in nursery 3 mornings a week).

I would just say though that I don't think there is anything wrong with one of your reasons wanting to be a part of their lives during their childhood. I can't help thinking that ultimately children will benefit from being around people that love them and I hate the idea of sperating my dd's from each other as they are such good friends.

Anyway, that is a few of my thoughts, I will watch any other responses with interest.

Saracen Thu 15-Nov-12 00:51:36

mummyinthemiddle, you said "I would just say though that I don't think there is anything wrong with one of your reasons wanting to be a part of their lives during their childhood. I can't help thinking that ultimately children will benefit from being around people that love them and I hate the idea of sperating my dd's from each other as they are such good friends."

I agree! I am often puzzled that people so often seem to set parents' needs/desires against those of their children. I'm sure it sometimes happens that what we want is not what is actually right for our children, especially if our relationship with them is dysfunctional. But usually, no. Where there is a healthy relationship, I think that parents' inclinations simply reflect their deep understanding of what their child needs. It is not selfish to act on these feelings; quite the opposite.

When I wanted to hold my young baby and play with her, it was because on some level I knew she needed me to hold her and play with her. It felt wonderful for me too. But did that make it a selfish thing to do? Nature is clever that way - she rewards us for giving our children what they need by providing us with warm fuzzy feelings when we do. Now, LIttleMcF, you say you "want to be a bigger part of your children's lives". Is it possible that what you really mean by this is "I sense that my children still need me to play a big part in their lives"? And that you would enjoy the positive feedback from Nature when you give your children what they need? That isn't selfish.

My 13 year old now does many things away from me. I get warm fuzzy feelings about that too, because it is what she needs at this stage in her life. The other day she came bouncing in all aglow after a day out with friends, and I felt wonderful about that. If it feels right to treat your children in a certain way, why not assume in the first instance that it is right?

volley Thu 15-Nov-12 07:34:36

Beautifully put saracen smile

OP I pulled my DD out 5 weeks into the term because she was very unhappy (so from that point of view it was an easy decision to make) she had been very happy at her nursery and everyone, including us thought she would also love school, but she does not.
We have managed to get her back into her beloved nursery 2 days a week and she is so happy, it is not widely known that you are still entitled to 15 free hours until the term after they turn 5 and that also most nurseries will take your child until the August after they turn 5, had I known these things I don't think I would have sent my DD in the first place, I would have given us more time to see the best choice for us.
We are HEding the rest of the week with her younger brother and going to HE group one day a week.
So in my longwinded ramble I'm trying to say, give yourself breathing space, sometimes options and choices aren't obvious, or you think they are not possible, but sometimes just waiting and allowing yourself time means the path will become clearer smile

LIttleMcF Thu 15-Nov-12 11:31:37

Thanks so much everyone; this is really helping to straighten my head out a bit. Your comments are helping me loads - much appreciated. I think part of the deadline thing was to MAKE myself decide, but you're right, if we're not completely ready,we can continue at school after Christmas.

A factor though is pressure from school to step up to full days (which the other kids are now doing), despite their initial 'no pressure' promises. DD only started at the beginning of October, so barely six weeks in. Although DD is not saying she doesn't want to go to school, she's very shy and quiet (though never at home), thinks that the other children are cleverer than her, finds it hard to express herself in a room full of others, and really needs a lot of coaxing to 'engage her' (this from her teacher yesterday). I know some would say that if she's there for full days, she'll get used to it and it'll get easier, but I think that's more about learning how to fit in, and I don't want her to feel as though she needs to fit in, that's she's fine the way she is. I genuinely don't believe there's anything wrong with being shy and quiet, at any age, and I get slightly cross at the idea that it's something that needs to be 'sorted out.'

Her little brother misses her like mad, and I'm dreading full days, then homework in the evening and their sibling relationship suffering. THat is a big deal for me - friends just say 'well that's how it is, they get their own friends then they stop being close etc.' and I kind of think that it doesn't have to be that way... In some ways I think the idea of the two of them learning together is great; their interests and approaches are very different but in a good way - they learn loads from each other all the time.

I had a 'moment' yesterday when I felt strongly that I don't want to push my little girl into the right shape for the school...I can't convince myself that institutionalising (I know, strong word, but I'm feeling it at the moment) little ones at 4 and 5 is a positive thing. DH is challenged by the idea as he thinks children go to school and that's it, but he's really listening and trying to get his head around it all.

I sometimes wish I'd never heard of home ed. Messing up my head like this. wink

volley Thu 15-Nov-12 15:20:02

Oh sweetie it is a really tricky thing to get your head around! When is your DD 5? I had alot of comments from people saying my DD would just 'get used to it' but I felt really strongly that I didn't want her to get used to it, that it shouldn't be something you have to get used to, if you're happy and settled you would be just that IYSWIM!
My DS missed DD desperately the 5 weeks she attended school and now she's home they're even closer, playing together and giggling at everything, I love seeing them so close, I totally understand you wanting to preserve that.
I think your heart is saying you really want to HE but your head is questioning it all - it is a very hard mindset to shake, especially if you had always thought school would be your route.
I find it hard to believe now that 2 months ago I knew nothing about HE, no idea it was an option and that we could do I'm blown away by it all and the freedom and choices it holds to give my family the best life for them as individuals, and for us as a family.

mummyinthemiddle Mon 19-Nov-12 10:05:37

LIttleMcF just to let you know I have PM'd you.

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