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Home ed question

(4 Posts)
musicposy Fri 02-Aug-13 21:56:46

Can I just warn you that you may not get a true picture over the summer? Children know it is meant to be the summer holidays and they expect to be allowed to do their own thing and not work. If she won't comply that doesn't necessarily mean that home ed won't work.

I actually think the only way to try it is to do it properly, in term time, for real. Believe me, I know what a big step that can be! But I would back up everything Saracen says, especially about family relationships improving unrecognisably. Once your daughter feels you have listened, are on her side, have taken her away from school where she is unhappy, I suspect that alone will make a huge difference.

Families, I wouldn't worry about. In my experience even the most cynical come round wink Oh. and my eldest got 10 GCSEs as a home ed child, mainly A and A* grades. She too had been at a good secondary but I doubt she would have done better staying there. Even if she had done, I still made the right choice - she's a happy, independent, well balanced 17 year old who is thriving at college and her part time job and we get on better than any other mother and daughter I know. I would go with what your daughter says she wants. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Would type more but I'm on stupid tablet and after a paragraph it starts hiding my text, grrr!

NettleTea Mon 29-Jul-13 22:07:44

Thanks Saracen, I think that does sum it up perfectly, and without the guilt or emotions that I attach to the thoughts or fears of it all.

I have decided to give it a bit of a try over the summer, just to see if there are clashes, etc. I dont really want to tell DD that's what I'm doing, as she will jump on it like anything, and I wont get a true picture of whether we could do it as she would be on bestest behaviour ever, and that is sometimes unsustainable. I am just going to let her roll with stuff she seems keen on and see if she is able to at least begin to take steps with my support and encouragement. Already she has started talking about projects that she wants to do, and I have said I will help teach her how she can do them herself. MIL taught her crochet today and she said she found it therapeutic.

Now the trickyest bits of all. My family....... MIL I think is OK. Our friend Susie HE'd her son and he is a wonderful boy, and we have discussed it a little, and she seems supportive. She isnt well, has Parkinsons, so I think she fears being left with childcare while I have to work (I cant really have DD and DS tag along when I run forest school groups for particular school groups, I can for 'open' groups and for helping at the campsite) I am wondering what you do about that. I feel DD is probably old enough at nearly 13 to perhaps look after DS during these periods sometimes but I need to know she is not going to provoke him and set him off crying and running to find me in the middle of my session. I also know I really resented being used as free childcare in the school holidays by my mum, it was expected rather that asked and I ended up tied in a rural location every day alone with a minimal social life which was always presented as a major inconvenience for my parents. I also wasnt able to get any freedom myself, like a job, because I had to stay and look after my sister....

I think DP would support it if he knew that DDs behaviour and attitude to me would improve and I do wonder that with more positive time and attention it may. A big concern is my side of the family who will def not approve in regards to either child, but especially DD. I KNOW that their approval isnt necessary, but I still have the remnants of emotional abuse going on there, my mother is certainly heading down the narcissistic road, and even understanding the why and wheres, she isnt going to change. I will have to face MASSIVE disapproval, being accused of selfishness, of risking my children's future, ruining their lives, etc etc, and I suspect that sister will follow rank (even though her school life was awful and she was bullied and had years of therapy and ADs)

I do worry because DD is coming to the age where she will be heading towards exams even though I know she can take them with HE. I do worry because she is in one of the best state schools in the SE, just got outstanding in every aspect on the new tough OFSTEDS (yes, I know, I know......but....) and that she REALLY loved her primary and seems to be on the cusp of finding her feet now she has begun to immerse herself with finding new friends. there are teachers she really likes alot. I am unsure whether her statement of 'hating' school actually rings true, or is something she said whilst in the midst of school refusal and she is maintaining because she doesn't want to be proven wrong when she actually doesn't mind it. The problem is that Ive lost a bit of trust in her to tell the truth this last year (not only related to school). She has a tendancy to exagerate and lie and is quite manipulative to achieve her purpose, which doesnt bode well and drives me to distraction. She is also VERY jealous of DS, even though she gets far more stuff and far more attention than him (good and bad) Its all a bit difficult.

So with that in mind I am taking tentative steps over the summer. I agree so much with the HE theory. I really agree with the child led, follow your passion, learn to be independant, creative, the whole shebang. Im also bloody scared in case Im wrong and I fuck it up for them. And I know Im going to have a fight on my hands with my side of the family which also scares the bejeezers out of me.

Saracen Mon 29-Jul-13 15:44:29

OK, can I have a go at summarising?

For the last two years your son has hated school. It seems possible that next year might be better. But if it isn't, then you might want to HE him.

Your daughter has also hated school for the last year. It used to be intolerable for her and is now bearable. But she still doesn't really want to go.

Because your daughter isn't terribly compliant and often rubs other family members up the wrong way, you are reluctant to HE her. But she says it would be unfair if you HE her brother and not her.

Is that accurate?

Well, I can certainly see it from your daughter's point of view. Both children have both been extremely unhappy at school. Why should she have to carry on at school if you are prepared to take him out?

At the same time, I can see why you are going quite pale at the idea of spending so much time with your daughter when she can be so trying. I can't say I would be leaping forward to HE if I were in your shoes either!

What if you had reason to believe that your daughter's attitude and behaviour might improve as a result of home education - would that make a difference?

The thing is, many parents report that their children's relationship with parents and siblings improves dramatically after they are withdrawn from school. Those "normal" teen/preteen dramas and attention-seeking and unpleasantness... not everyone agrees that those behaviours ARE normal. They may be a symptom of school-related problems, problems which are so nearly universal (because nearly all kids go to school) that they seem normal. Adolescence does have its tricky times for everyone. But I for one feel that many teen problems are created, or made far worse, by forcing young people to spend many hours of the week somewhere they don't want to be, in an academic and social environment which isn't right for them.

So, there is a ray of hope. Would you feel able to HE your daughter for a year, or six months, to see how it goes? What if you even volunteered to home educate her BEFORE her brother comes out of school? You could leave him in school for a few weeks to try how the autumn term goes, but not make her return to school at all. That would surely send her a very positive signal, that you are listening to her and want her to be happy rather than allowing yourself to be guilt-tripped under duress into home educating her reluctantly. The two of you could have a little time to be together, just the two of you, without the distraction of her brother. You could take her to places she likes, and enjoy being with her, and see how she responds.

What do you think?

NettleTea Sun 28-Jul-13 10:10:40

Think this is going to be a long one, so apologies in advance!

I have 2 DC, a 12 year old DD who has just finished yr 7 at secondary, and a DS who will be going into year 3 after the holidays. They have different dads and have very different personalities.

I will start with DS as he is the simplest. He is a clever boy (although scored a resounding 'average' across his school report!) but extremely sensitive. He flourished in a wonderful nursery which was very nurturing, and enjoyed reception in a small rural primary despite my fears that he would find it all a bit old, rough and chaotic for him. The move to year one created a huge upset for him and he started to really have meltdowns about it being a school day, and throughout transitions in the school day. He was put into a nurture group because of his emotional needs and during conversations with the SEN over the following 2 years she has commented that she wouldn't be surprised if he had a diagnosis of some sort, though exactly what she couldn't say. His emotions seem overwhelming to him, and the SEN supported the fear that his hatred of 'school' may start to impact upon his learning at some point. It took him nearly the 2 years he was in his class ( mixed ages) to come round from hating the teacher for some things she did within the first few weeks. The staffing at the school has changed a lot since DD went there, from the head down. The nurturing aspect of the school seems to have been lost and the results driven emphasis has been prioritised. DS only has 2 terms of nurture group before it was withdrawn from KS1 altogether, leaving those kids without any support.
I have been to see the new teacher and I am keeping an open mind. She seems a different personality to the previous one, and one that DS has a chance to relate to if he makes a connection in those first few weeks. It's upsetting to see him so upset and angry about it being a school day every morning. Recently it's been realised that DP ( DSs dad) is most probably Aspergers, and many of the things he says about childhood and school seem to correspond directly with what I see in DS. I have been considering HE, I M just waiting to see how next term pans out with regard to this new teacher.
DD is a different kettle of fish. She loved primary school, was popular and part of a happy peer group. She has a long term chronic health problem, and sadly her transition to secondary coincided with her not being well and missing quite a bit of school due to hospitalisation. Also secondary was not the high school musical adventure she had imagined it to be, so she was disgruntled with the experience. Due to one thing and another she developed school refusal which took a fair while to realise because of her underlying health issues it was not always evident that the illnesses she was claiming were psychologically based rather than a side effect of her condition or medication. She was feeling that she didn't fit in and that she 'hated' her new school. However she hadn't actually been present enough to have built up the strength in friendships that she had established during primary, but that I feel she will have if she gets a chance. Since this problem has been recognised she has been to school every day ( apart from one day when she pulled a sicky as a result of jealousy because her little brother was off because he had chicken pox) and she has started to develope friendships and become part of a group of kids. She still says she hates the school but we haven't been having the trouble with her refusing to get out of bed or screaming blue murder at me. Personality wise she is a very different child - she is again very bright, and she is also very astute at trying to get her own way. She has had a lot of attention because of her condition and in some ways often acts as if she deserves special treatment. She is going through the normal preteen hormone surges and boundary testing, she is insanely jealous of her brother and she seems to enjoy provoking him, which unfortunately is quite easy.
Of course any talk of HE DS has been met with absolute indignation by DD, who maintains that SHE hates her school and so she shouldnt need to go if he doesn't. I love her to death, but the thought of HE her fills me with horror. She will have a screaming fit if I ask her to pick up a hanger she left on the floor for 3 days and so the thought of her taking instruction from me seems impossible. But it leaves me in a tricky situation regarding DS if next year proves to be as miserable for him as this one was. I cannot see DD accepting DS being homeschooled without there being major repercussions for us all as a result. Just to add that DDs dad is most probably NPD, she has supervised access for a couple of hours once a fortnight for her own safety. I don't know how much of personality is nature or nurture.
My best hope is that come next year they both settle in, DDs friendship group strengthens and she feels happier as a result, and DSs new teacher is as kind as I hope her to be. But has anyone else experienced this kind of situation - where you feel that HE would help one child, but you feel the other will resent it?

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