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Ds2 wants to stop going to school. I don't know what to do.

(32 Posts)
Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Thu 07-Feb-13 12:34:31

In theory I'm immensely in favour of home ed but mainly because I had a hideous time at school and always wanted it for myself.

I've always been open to it with my children - we did it for a term or so with ds1, when he was 5, but since then he has loved being with his school friends and is unbothered by the darker aspects of school, as I see them - being told off, horrid teachers occasionally, hard work. He's 9.

Ds2 however has started saying he doesn't want to go any more. He's 5. Totally different child, super smart (though I say so!) and a bit of a snitch as well grin so the other children kind of annoy him a lot.

I've just had ds3 who is a month old, I think it's something to do with this - he wants to be close to me, feels neglected, etc. but he isn't unhappy at school - just wants to be at home.

I don't know what to do - if he leaves this school he probablywon't get place if he then wants to go back as it's very oversubbed.

Also I'm not sure if I'll have time to teach him things at home, with a baby to look after.

I just don't know what si best. I always thought, the scenariowhen one of thm is really miserable and begs me to take them home, I'll do it no question - but this is so moderate and I am not sure if it will live up to his expectations if I do what he suggests.

Any thoughts welcome smile

OutsideOverThere Tue 26-Feb-13 07:36:57

Thankyou Saracen. Yes it does feel strangely like the right thing just crept up on us.
I always had it in my head that if they ever were really unhappy I'd not hesitate, but the thing is, it never got to 'really unhappy' for him - and it didn't with me, well excepting the early days of primary, till about y3.

because it's a gradual thing, it's very hard or a parent I think to choose the moment to say 'well actually enough is enough' rather than 'I wonder if it's the right thing, they are clearly coping'

I can see why my folks never did it now, and don't want to repeat that mistake. I think children shouldn't have to 'cope', they should be as happy as possible and so despite not having that epiphany, that massive relief after an intolerable situation has gone on for too long, it's just been a 'yes Ok let's try this' without the huge drama.

It's much easier to know what to do if things are dreadful. But thankfully they never got that bad.

Saracen Mon 25-Feb-13 23:57:14

Fantastic. I am really glad that you have reached a decision you're happy with, and that you have the definite support of your mum.

It sounds like you are very clear in your mind now about how things are for your son and why you've taken this decision. I imagine that is a big part of the reason why you were able to have a productive discussion with the school in which, apparently, both of you felt comfortable with the outcome.

Have fun!

OutsideOverThere Mon 25-Feb-13 19:48:16

thankyou so much everyone. I really appreciate your replies and perspectives.

I will keep an eye on his social development. I suspect I am somewhere on the autistic spectrum, though this was never diagnosed formally. So it's possible he is too - we're quite similar and I can really understand the issues he is having - no one to play with at playtime, people copying his work, children telling him things that he does not believe, etc. He isn't like his brother who is socially adept - he just doesn't see the need for these friends, though he likes some of them. It really perplexes him, how they behave.

It's been an interesting day as we all process what's happening. me and ds had some good conversations, he did some computer stuff, he told me some things he'd figured out. We didn't annoy each other too much smile

I rang my Mum this morning expecting an earful - last time I tried to HE (with ds1, 4 years ago) she was on about social services as it seemed like neglect to her. hmm
This time she was amazingly pro - she agrees ds2 is a very different child who doesn't have the same needs, and offered to help with anything if I needed it. shock smile so I have some support, Oh yes grin that was enough to settle it in my mind tbh.

I wrote the dereg letter off UKHE site with ds3 on my lap, so it was a bit higgledy, but then I wrote a long friendly email to the HT explaining how much I like the school and all the reasons I'd decided to take him out.

I got a call from the liaison woman later (the one at school who deals with problem families etc) and she wanted a meeting, but I said can we talk on the phone as ds3 was sleeping then. she really wanted to stress that he is really happy in school and always playing with loads of friends.
I know she said similar things about another situation with ds1, a few years back - she had missed an awful lot of incidents in that case, so I don't believe she is aware of how ds2 behaves at all times. He says he is often alone at playtime.
I said to her that I know he copes really well at school but then he would, he wouldn't tell them he was finding it really hard. But he tells me.
I also told her that he's made his mind up and nothing they can do/could have done will really change that - it's not a problem they can solve, just a mismatch between ds and the environment. She seemed very happy by the end of the call and I felt I'd been clear and honest.

HT is currently away but I cc'd his class teacher in to the email and told liaison person to go and read it too.

So all well and good so far. I am sure now that at least for the moment, this is the right thing for him.
thanks so much for your support - I will look at the support thread you mention,

Chocolate - you have described in one little paragraph why I am doing this. I was miserable at school, I remember it so well and it did so much damage, I never want one of my children to feel that way.

chocolatecrispies Mon 25-Feb-13 19:12:12

I agree with morethan, you can make the decision to HE for positive reasons, it doesn't have to be because school is so terrible it's unsustainable. For support though I really would try Facebook rather than just here, there are lots of groups including local ones, and they are very supportive. They are worth joining Facebook for. And for what it's worth, I hated school when I was 5, my parents made me keep going for a term (and then moved me to Steiner school) - I still remember that term as one of the most lonely miserable times in my life and I would never make my children keep going to school if they told me repeatedly they were unhappy.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 25-Feb-13 14:32:33


Hello, I'm not sure if anybody has said this yet. I know your ds isn't happy at school and this is what you are addressing, but H.ed doesn't have to be the result of school not being right.
There are many reasons people decide to take this route and at least if your ds is at home with you there is a chance of finding out why he feels like he does.
There were comments about having time to plan and make schedules etc. Well one of the advantages of H.ed is that you don't have to plan, follow any particular curriculum and they can learn what they like, when they want to.
Please keep on the board and let us know how you are doing, there is a support thread here as well, started by Toffeewhirl.

mummytime Mon 25-Feb-13 10:55:46

I think in your circumstances you really need to find your local HE group, and other activities for him to do outside of the home with those his own age. I would also suggest you do keep a "watch" incase there are later signs that there could be an underlying SN causing his problems with school/lack of friends.

OutsideOverThere Mon 25-Feb-13 10:47:31

That's not it exactly. But yes to an extent I only know he isn't happy now, and hasn;t been for a few months - and he isn't causing hassle as such. He just doesn't want to go.

I don't have a strategy for making him do something he really doesn't want to do. Not in this context anyway.

SummerRainIsADistantMemory Mon 25-Feb-13 10:29:44

Ds1 hated school when he was 4/5, then suddenly halfway through last year a switch flipped and he suddenly got excited about going in and much more enthusiastic about the whole experience.

I personally think you're making this decision far too quickly without thinking through the long term ramifications. HE can be a wonderful thing if done correctly for the right reasons but I get the impression from your posts you're only thinking of the short term benefits of ds2 not causing hassle every morning before school and don't seem to have really considered the long term practicalities.

OutsideOverThere Mon 25-Feb-13 09:52:34

Oh hello...I'm the OP but have namechanged since starting this thread.

I seem to have ds2 at home today. His brother has gone back. And very willingly and full of excitement - while ds2 has repeated, every time I've mentioned it for the last few weeks, and sometimes when I haven't, that he doesn't want to go any more.

I was rolling with it and taking every day as it came but tbh, today I didn't know what to do.

He really find school difficult. He says the work is hard - for him - and he hates coming last. This isn't true, he isn't last, he's a clever little chap. But the stories he reels off about the other children being horrid to him, having no one to play with at playtime and so on make me think he really does struggle socially with the whole thing.

I just want to say, Isla - I explained my comment was meant to be tongue in cheek, suggesting that ds might complain about the 'hard work' but actually it's other issues he finds hardest. I certainly found the social side very hard at primary, the work was a piece of cake. So not projecting that anyway.

I love his teacher, she is fantastic and this morning when I asked to see her and told her the predicament, she cried. I felt awful, because it's not her fault, and also because we had parents evening last week and I mentioned that he wasn't keen on coming to school, then, but she didn't take it very seriously. So she feels like she has had no real warning of this.

Honestly I am worried because my feeling is that he really isn't happy at school. He is overjoyed to be at home today. Ds1 missed his mates. Ds2 doesn't miss anyone. And I feel like I don't mind if he goes or not - I'm not frightened at the idea of HE, I'm excited by it (if a little apprehensive).

But his teacher said a few things- one, she said legally I can't do this. I know that's not the case - I'm planning to take in the dereg letter later on. Secondly she got down and spoke to him, I wish he'd not been there but anyway, she told him that he is a clever boy etc and also that mummies have to send their children to school, that's what makes them good mummies hmm so I kind of felt embarrassed for him having to be put on the spot.

HT wasn't there but I'm going to email her I think and let her know. I am feeling less sleep deprived now - ds3 is really improving. And we have some maths games and so on that ds2 loves, online - but I hate to be seen as a 'troublemaker' and also I'm a bit nervous about managing this whole new set up, which I'll have very little support for from my family (or anyone else barring MN I guess). I don't want to do the wrong thing.

I suppose there is also the option of a different school if he does want to go back, which he said he might one day. But they're not very nice, the other schools round here.

Basically - I know it makes sense logically to keep him there. But he seems definite about hating it. And I believe him, I really do understand it, I think.
So to keep sending him in 'just for another few days' seems very wrong of me.


IslaValargeone Fri 22-Feb-13 13:38:28

It was the 'special needs' comment I was particularly taking issue with, obviously school might be hard when a child is already battling other issues, but that didn't really need pointing out.
Unrealistic to preface every reponse to an Op with 'providing there is no sn, dyslexia..'

IslaValargeone Fri 22-Feb-13 13:29:00

He isn't finding it difficult though.
IT was Op who had 'a hideous time' at school and what she sees as the darker aspects might not be the way her son sees it. Plus the fact he is only five and with a new addition to the family is bound to be feeling a bit clingy.
I don't believe this is a reason on which to base the decision to home educate.
I speak as a home educator myself, I'm not anti HE by any stretch.

julienoshoes Fri 22-Feb-13 12:57:45

and of course you can question it, but I can then counter your argument, as I see it too.

julienoshoes Fri 22-Feb-13 12:56:18

"but the reasons have to be sound."

and in my very very long experience of home educated children-children finding school work difficult, is an EXCELLENT reason to home ed.

when you HE, you can find ways to personalise the education to make things so much easier for the child.
learning doesn't have to be so difficult it becomes 'darker' at all.

IslaValargeone Fri 22-Feb-13 12:24:31

julie The Op's initial post made no mention of dyslexia, sn or anything else.
She referred to the darker aspects of school as 'she saw them', hard work being one of them.
I see no reason why I can't question that. I'm well aware of how people might struggle with aspects of school, but I also feel that people shouldn't be encouraged to give up out because something is 'hard work'.
There are many great reasons to home educate, but the reasons have to be sound.

lljkk Tue 19-Feb-13 10:27:15

I think you are too tired with small baby to make a proper go of it right now. I would ask him to finish out the year and then see how you both feel. It's a lifestyle choice, that's what I think you're unsure about.

chocolatecrispies Mon 18-Feb-13 16:12:35

OP if you are really thinking about it I would come over to the Mumsnet Facebook page, there are lots of established home educators there. We HE with a nearly 5 year old and toddler and we just play all day, every day.

julienoshoes Mon 18-Feb-13 13:17:00

and IslaValargeone
"A darker aspect of school is 'hard work'.. really?"

yes for a child with dyslexia or other SEN, then hard work IS ONE of the darker aspects of school

julienoshoes Mon 18-Feb-13 13:14:51

I agree with Fishlegs and MrsBradleyJames
"I am not sure if it will live up to his expectations if I do what he suggests."
What are his expectations and what are yours?

Knowing what I know about how much happier a life can be had outside of school when you autonomously home educate-learn through life, without curriculums, lessons, workbooks or any formal work at all, unless/until the child requests it-I would never ever have sent mine.
Essentially living life like it's a school holiday...until your child wants something more formal, is what we did all the way until the children took themselves to FE College or did an OU course and then onto Uni level.
JoyFully Rejoycing may give some ideas of the sort of life I am talking about. An efficient and lovely way to learn as you go.
Alan Thomas talks of such informal learning here

Many many home ed families home educate with young babies, I wish I had done it, it would have been a whole lot easier than trying to do the damn school run with a baby in tow, and children who didn't want to go.

MrsBradleyJames Sun 17-Feb-13 23:05:41

Sowornout said up the thread that your son probably thinks he could stay with you and the baby and play all day......well, yup. He could do that. Why not - he is 5. He could well do that for a couple more years at least before you need to even think about any more formal learning.
And I agree with all that fishlegs says.

Fishlegs Thu 07-Feb-13 21:16:35

I think you should make the decision to HE based on other factors, rather than the new baby, as I can only see pros for that. I HE my dc, and have a similar age gap between my ds1 (now 6) & dc3, and it's been lovely to see how close they are, having spent so much time together. He also knows tons about baby care & human biology, just from chatting about these things as they arise. As I'm sure you know from last time, the HE world is geared up for families, whatever groups or activities are going on, there's usually a handful of babies & toddlers tagging along. You say you're (of course!) chilling out on the sofa with the baby, well that's a perfect time for chatting (I find most of the dcs' learning takes place through conversation) and reading together.

Most families I know wouldn't be doing much structured work at this age, we did (do!) maybe 10 min max a day of reading, then we do games for maths, writing comes up for shopping lists, letters to Santa, birthday cards etc. So no need to find time to prepare reams of stuff.

A lot of time is spent playing and meeting up with our local HE groups and ds does a fair few after school activities (mostly sporty stuff).

Having said all that, I guess you need to figure out whether this is a whim which will be gone in a week or two, or whether your ds is serious about it. If it were me, I'd spend the time till Easter (when the weather's better!) researching local HE groups and chatting to local HE families, and see how your ds's feelings go. Also if you wait another month or so, you'll be getting that bit extra sleep which can help clarify your thoughts. And whatever you decide, t's not irrevocable, HE/school will always be there.

madwomanintheattic Thu 07-Feb-13 16:08:08

Mariscal, dd2 was assessed as HG at 5. She's got her entire argument as to why homeschooling (specifically unschooling) is the answer, and exactly how and why her current schooling situation isn't meeting her needs.

But it doesn't matter how bright your kid is, if homeschooling doesn't fit into your current family life, then barring an issue with school (unhappiness, bullying, unmet needs from an sn perspective) a year or two to get out of the newborn high needs phase might suit the family, and isn't going to scar a 5yo.

Our personal issue is the requirement to pay the mortgage. grin otherwise I would hs in a shot.

MariscallRoad Thu 07-Feb-13 14:55:38

I understand he is bright. He could read independently at home. and many home educated children do so. I would trust him.

madwomanintheattic Thu 07-Feb-13 13:43:53

My 9yo dd2 is currently going through this. No baby at home to blame it on though. She's been discussing it with her teacher, who emailed me to say she doesn't think school is meeting her needs.

At 5, he has barely had time to get institutionalised and work out what he needs, so if you aren't prepared at this point, I would be ignoring it for a while.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Thu 07-Feb-13 13:38:43

better idea not I'd

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Thu 07-Feb-13 13:38:08

I would delay any decision for a while. He is clearly doesn't have a major problem with school. It may be that HE would be the right option in the long run but I don't think when you've got a very young baby is the right time to make the decision. Right now if DS2 was at home you would probably not be able to give him the quality of attention that both of you would want so it wouldn't necessarily be the most auspicious start to HE.

Give him some one-on-one time when you can. I'd also play down the fun aspect of staying home with the baby e.g. its not very exciting DS3 doesn't do much etc. Don't mention having a new baby as a reason why he should stay in school as that might lead to some resentment (I'm sure you weren't going to anyway).

You'll have a better I'd of how you might cope with him and DS3 at home after the summer holidays.

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