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Advice please.

(9 Posts)
hanreeoak Mon 18-Mar-13 18:09:50

Hi, my son is four (dec) and is due to start school in September, it's a lovely school and his two older sisters go there.

My son has hypotonia which means his muscles are lax, he gets very tired walking and is only just potty trained with wee but we are still not there with the pooing side of things, he also has allergies to milk and eggs. He is also ill often, sickness mostly, catches everything possible and has missed many sessions of preschool because of this.

He is also not good in big groups, hates too much noise and really finds preschool hard 'with lots of children' as he puts it, the preschool has a maximum of ten children at a time.

My husband and I are worried about him starting school for the above reasons and wondering if home schooling him would be better for him, I'm a childminder at the moment but I'm happy to give that up if keeping him at home would be beneficial.

I just wanted some advice from people who home school and wondered if anyone made the decision to home school because of their child's health, how home schooling one child but sending the others to school could work and if I kept him at home for a year or until we felt he could cope with it better would he fit into school ok, and would the local authority be ok with that.

We really want to make the right decisions for him, but its such a big decision. I want him to enjoy school and there was no questions with his sisters, I just feel uneasy about sending him when I'm not sure he will cope.

Any advice would be appreciated thank you.

maggi Mon 18-Mar-13 18:36:31

I childmind and homeschool - the 2 work well for me. You don't need to adopt a school type system, just keep doing what you have been, ie moving him onto the next step. My ds has hypotonia too -we didn't know until age 11, we just assumed he was a slow runner as somebody has to be last. (I was always last too so assumed it a genetic trait.) In his case it caused lots of frustration and he was bullied because of his lack of speed. But it could have been different if the school was looking out for children 'picking' on him for a known disability.
A fair number of home eders seem to have allergies in the circles I move within and have chosen home ed because of it.
We have 2 ds and only home school one. The other did need some time to adjust but has been promised the chance of HE if circumstances dictate it. Ds2 has become more independent and has joined his own clubs instead of follwoing in the footsteps of older brother. So all in all it is a positive outcome.

hanreeoak Tue 19-Mar-13 06:03:14

Thank you for your answer, it was so positive which makes me feel a little better.

We have to go to the hospital today to have special boots fitted to support his feet and ankles to help with walking, which is great but yet another thing that makes him different from his peers. I guess I worry that he is going to be the odd one and not fit in and feel that I should protect him from that, my husband feels that keeping him away from school although it will be better for him just makes him more alone and different, I think he feels if we make him mix lots he'll just get used to it.

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 19-Mar-13 06:09:24

I think you can keep a place but defer for a year which might be worth doing. Or look at sending mornings only if you want to try school. Either way it might be worth arranging to meet the school to see what provision they'd put in place to accommodate your son and how starting later would work. Just so you know the options and have a good relationship if you choose to reenter the school system.

hanreeoak Tue 19-Mar-13 13:26:48

Thank you Yellow house, defering or less hours may help, the teacher he will be having is on maternity leave at the moment which does not help, so I don't really feel I would be talking to the right person.

The school does know my son as he has been to a toddler group there and because it is is such a small school with his sisters going I have tried to make him as familiar as possible. Also my husband is a governor so it is a good relationship, in fact it's a great school I just have not got a clue how he will cope. If he was potty trained in he pooing department I might feel more confident. Or if he had more energy, I have been trying to get him to walk to school when we take his sisters in the morning instead of using the pushchair and the poor thing is exhausted.

He was positive about his new boots this morning which was great, and we go back to he hospital in may about his general health and allergies.

I was wondering if contacting a local H.E group might help for some face to face advice (I don't know if there is one), he will be invited to go to school for two days in June, would that be a good time to talk to the school or is that a bit late?

Thank you for the help, I have just sat and read through a lot of the home school threads which make me feel better as they have positive outcomes for home schooling.

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 19-Mar-13 16:45:25

I'd be tempted to make an appointment with a head or deputy in order to talk about concerns and mention that you're weighing up defering or reduced timetable and just find out a bit more. It sounds like they will be quite supportive.

I'd not leave it until an orientation day as you want a specific discussion. If you know what support would be put in place it will help you weigh up whether to defer, reduce time table or completely home school. A few schools even allow flexi schooling.

Good luck

Saracen Wed 20-Mar-13 01:20:24

I think he might well manage school, except that "He is also not good in big groups, hates too much noise and really finds preschool hard 'with lots of children' as he puts it, the preschool has a maximum of ten children at a time."

It just doesn't sound like he would enjoy it in the near future. Some children who dislike noise and crowds don't mind school so much when they are a bit older and their classmates have calmed down!

It seems to me that it would be better to wait until you are fairly sure your son will actually enjoy school, rather than risk putting him off by sending him too soon. The fact he is often ill and tires easily will make it difficult for him to handle changes now, but that may be different in a year or two.

You have the right to defer your son's start at school and have the school place kept waiting for him. To do this, you must accept the place when it is offered and then inform the school that you want to defer his start. The place will only be kept for him until he reaches compulsory education age in the term after his fifth birthday or until the end of the Reception year, whichever is sooner. So in your son's case, he could only defer for one term and would have to start by January 2014.

Is the school likely to be oversubscribed? If not, there should be no problem sending your son whenever the time is right. You'd be officially home educating him from January 2014 when he reaches compulsory education age. But if the school is full, you may have to wait for a place, and if there is little movement in and out of the area it's possible he may never get a place there and might have to go to another school.

FlyingSeagull Thu 21-Mar-13 08:39:24

My daughter had mobility issues when she started school. Although she could walk it was very tiring and we very quickly acquired a wheelchair which was left at school so that when they did trips out to the shops, sponsored walks around the school she could participate with help from the classroom assistant. On the boots front, hers were purple, pink, red, all much more interesting than school black! She has coped better and worse as her condition has changed and we have endeavoured to be flexible around that. When she started school, and for all her time at Infant school she was full-time but had an assistant who would encourage DD to not overdo it! This was particularly useful for coping with break and lunch times.

When she transitioned to Junior school she lost her support because of funding and it became necessary for her to flexi-school as she was just too tired. For that year she did mornings only, the following year we increased the number of full days gradually over the year, so is now in Year 5 she is full-time, and coping, just.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that as long as you and the school are prepared to be flexible it is possible to make school work. From experience having a family member on the governing body aids your case and decreases the likelihood of looking like over protective parents (though why not, that's our job!) or just a bit batty. We found that cutting down on times where energy was just wasted helped: using a wheelchair to and from school, sitting rather than standing at the easel, sand tray, singing lessons etc.

On the otherhand our older DS has been homeschooled for the last two years and I have loved the opportunity to spend time with him, watch him learn and share those moments of revelation. we have always been tied to the school day with one or other of them being in school but it is just something which we accepted as normal for us.

Health conditions are unpredictable in our experience, and go up as well as down! If you are able to be flexible about school then give it a fair go, but school is not everything and having a child who is too tired (read cranky, teary, short-tempered) and is not able to enjoy their time out of school hours is not a fun place for a family to be.

hanreeoak Mon 25-Mar-13 16:58:09

Thank you for your replies. I have spoken to the reception teacher today, she was very nice a reassuring that they can be flexible until jan. also he has finally after lots of work done a poo in the toilet (so happy for him) hopefully we are on the right track there.

What still worries me is though his older sisters had a open afternoon last thurs with class work on display and then a display of dancing in the school hall. He was shy but fine in the class room when we got there (early and only two other people) as the room filled he started acting strange, hiding, behaviour which just is not him, when we moved to another class room which was really busy he hid under the table. So I took him downstairs to the school hall ready to watch the girls dance. He became very panicky and could not talk to me, he also tried to kick one of the reception children (which really is not hIm). I took him outside to talk to him and he just could not answer why he had acted that way.

I also noticed today that when waiting in the playground when it was empty he was fine and when it was full up with the children going home he became the same way.

Has anyone else experienced this with their child? Should I avoid big social places to avoid the stress to him? Or should I take him to busy places to get him used to it? He seems fine in supermarkets, town etc its in places that are a bit confined.

Thank you for reading.

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