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Need some Honest thoughts/views/opinions on HE....Please!

(21 Posts)
bizzey Mon 21-Oct-13 19:31:00

For various reasons I an thinking of HE. I have read allot of the positives of it and I know the positives it will give my ds aged 9 but......

I really need to know the negatives to get a clearer picture.

Sorry for not telling you our background ...but I feel it might influence you ??

I know this might sound like "research" sort of thing (well it is I know !) but I am just a mum needing two sides of the story !


AMumInScotland Mon 21-Oct-13 19:41:13

The tricky thing is, you won't find many people who have tried it and didn't like it! Often the negatives from people who have never actually done it are just what they imagine might happen, IYSWIM?

I'll try though...

If you need to go out to work, it can be trickier to balance up work and HE than work and school.

You have to put more effort into making sure your child gets opportunities to do things with others their age, team sports, music groups, etc.

You have to pay if you want them to do qualifications like IGCSEs at the 'ordinary' sort of ages.

You find people expecting you to justify your choices in a way which you don't have to if you send them to the local school.

Rakoshi Mon 21-Oct-13 22:38:04

For me personally the negatives are mainly the cost of private lessons with various tutors. This is only because my ds much prefers this way of home ed.
If I have any spare cash though then I do love to spend it on home ed outings and field trips so its not such a negative.
I am sure it's just as effective to home ed on a lower budget without tutors.
Also there are the nagging worries, especially in the early days after the initial euphoria wears off, of whether sufficient progress is being made, or wide knowledge gaps being created. That wears off as you get settled and develop a new philosophy of education.
I honestly can't think of any other possible negatives.
It is a joy and a privilege to have taken charge of this alternative approach to ds's education.

bizzey Mon 21-Oct-13 23:35:58

Thank you both for your try and answer you both ...

I dont "work" but I look after my dad so things could be worked around this (he will be an expert on medical issues and where the differenet clinics/out patient departments are !!)

He has no friends at school...
He hates the noise at school
He hates people "touching" him at school when he wants to get his school bag or something (the normal bustleing)
He is yr5 but on a L2 so at the moment I think I can cope with that I would be teaching him yr2/3 work....but his interests lie much bigger

We live in London so have lots of easy oppertunities for extra "stuff"

Worried about the euphoria wearing away

Worried that we are going to spend so much time with each other ...we will ...well you know what !!

And why would I need Tutors ??

Rakoshi Mon 21-Oct-13 23:52:52

Year 5 is a good year to start home ed. They miss out on all the sats cramming, and if it doesn't suit you there is still the opportunity to start year 7 afresh.
Being in London is a bonus as lots going on there home ed wise or so I have heard anecdotally. I'm miles and miles away.
You would only need tutors if like us your ds was a toad at doing anything remotely parent led. Even then you could take an autonomous approach and avoid tutors. Absolutely not imperative to have tutors.
Being together all the time hasn't been a problem for us at all. The time we have together is more relaxed, less intense, than than it was when stressfully bunched up at the start or end of a school day. Plenty of time for doing our own thing uninterrupted, time with tutors notwithstanding.

maggi Tue 22-Oct-13 09:31:07

The negatives are:

You worry you are doing the right thing
Other people can be very rude
Cost = difficult to work but not impossible
Cost = if you chose to buy tutors(eg foreign language) or curriculums
Visits from the council could be stressful (depends on which council)
If you chose to simulate a school environment then child may not want to do it
If you don't like the families at your local HE group you'd have to travel
Have to pay for exams
You need to be patient for the first few months to deschool

Spending lots of time with your ds is a bonus not a negative! You will have a close relationship like you had when he was a toddler.

ommmward Tue 22-Oct-13 11:56:07

I've got three negatives to offer.

One is that you all get so used to the gloriousness of not needing to set an alarm clock for 95% of the time that (a) you all get jet lagged on the rare days when an alarm clock needs setting, and (b) your body clocks drift in and out of synch with each other and with the rest of the world, compounding the extent to which everyone thinks your family is weird. At least, that's what happens to us.

The second negative is the way that, because you have so much freedom, it can be easy to let the days and weeks drift by without ever quite getting yourself to that art exhibition or this drama group or whatever. Again, I encounter lots of he families who seem to manage to have themselves quite astoundingly well scheduled, but we are in the drifter category. There are big advantages to being flexible and responding to everyone's needs and preferences in a more ad hoc way, but it does mean we miss out on various things (we can't cope with much more than one regular long term commitment per week, or maybe two).

The third negative is that you almost certainly find yourself feeling more and more like a political and social dissident. However conventional you feel inside, home educating is, automatically, a strong statement that you don't think that school education organised by the State is the best solution for your children. But you clearly can't be categorised as a toff who sends their children to private school and can be pigeonholed that way. It's actually easier, IMO, for families where one or more children are disabled one way or another, because most people can then quite easily pigeonhole that without having to identify their actions as critical of society more widely and their own personal choices in particular.

And I wouldn't change our home edding lifestyle for the world - unless and until any of my offspring show an interest in trying school (no sign of that yet)

bebanjo Tue 22-Oct-13 15:35:14

The biggist disadvantage for use is having to explane and justify all the time, is it legal do you need to be a teacher ect.
It's funny how shop staff you've never meet feel they know better than you what's best for your child.

Saracen Tue 22-Oct-13 16:43:50

My main drawbacks are

Lack of free childcare. When I worked, I paid for my dd to go to childminders. But then, I don't think school is great in childcare terms anyway. The hours are inflexible, conditions aren't what I'd want for my children (e.g. very poor adult:child ratio, crowded conditions, lacking in free play opportunities), and school puts extra demands on the family.

People can be negative about home education. I have found this is less of a problem if you are very sure it is right for your child (say, if your child had been miserable at school and is far happier after coming out) and if you mix often with other HE families for support, ideally in person but alternatively online. The longer you do it, the less negative people are: they may think it is fine to advise you that what you are PLANNING to do is a bad idea, but they realise just how much ruder it would be to tell you in retrospect that what you've been doing for years has ruined your child's life - besides which, it clearly hasn't! (Just like a busybody might tell her brother that his new girlfriend isn't right for him, but she'd jolly well better stop criticising the brother's partner once the two of them have been in a happy relationship for a few years!)

morethanpotatoprints Sat 26-Oct-13 19:20:28

Hello OP.

I can't think of many negatives tbh, but sure there are somewhere grin
We too use tutors for dd but most of them are music and we had these when she was at school as well.
We also have a teacher for Italian as dd wanted to learn this, she is a specialist in charge of about 50 secondary mfl teachers, so we are very lucky. It isn't a negative though as the lessons are free/ bartered against services provided by us, iyswim.

Liara Sun 27-Oct-13 20:07:29

I'd say the negative for me is that your children are with you all the time. I personally would quite like some time when they were somewhere else, interacting with other adults (they do interact with other adults and children, but we are always there).

That has a lot to do with our setup, though, and if we were in London I can imagine there would be opportunities to arrange that. They would cost a fair bit of money, though, I suspect.

I don't do most of the teaching (dh does) but if you have eager children this can be fairly demanding. Dh spends a fair amount of time preparing stuff he is going to teach ds1.

LittleSiouxieSue Sun 27-Oct-13 20:48:43

OP. I think my biggest concern would be that your DS is not liking normal things about primary school which will be even more marked at secondary school. Are you able to home ed for the secondary phase as well? Is HE really the best way to help or is it likely to give even bigger problems in the future? I am not against HE but it worries me that children who find normal life challenging are removed from it even more by being taken out of school and how do they then develop coping strategies? When and how will he make friends and accept the hustle and bustle of life? Is this not part of sport, play and growing up? It sounds as if he does not want to mix with other children at all so can you spend all your time with him? It does not seem to be an educational issue that is driving you to HE.

notagiraffe Sun 27-Oct-13 21:00:48

Two friends of mine home ed, together. From the sidelines, I'd say it looks like a very happy and good way to educate a child. They aren't nearly as isolated as you might think. Lots of home ed get togethers and group activities. It looks a lot of fun.

The only two downsides I've seen are:

They lose touch a little with where other children, in school, are at, at that age, and they tend to play to their children's strengths and let their weaknesses slide a bit. (Eg two of them have illegible handwriting and very phonetic spelling. That was OK age 7 but is less OK aged 12. They are very bright children but they don't like to be challenged. They want to do things their own way and it isn't always necessarily the best way for them to get to where they need to be academically.

They find it harder to take turns. They're used to close attention and fast attention. In groups, they are a bit less able than others to be last in the queue. But my own DC are a bit like that too, and they have always been at school.

chocolatecrispies Sun 27-Oct-13 22:05:34

OP I would join some Facebook groups - for example Home Education in London - and ask people there. If your son is struggling with the social side of school it is not surprising the educational side is difficult. By removing that stress you may allow him to blossom. I would not feel you have to keep him in a system where he is unhappy just because he might not want to go back once he realises he doesn't have to go. I think the opportunities for social learning at school are vastly overrated and school is really not like any other aspect of normal life I have ever come across - not coping with school does not mean you will not cope with life.

Saracen Mon 28-Oct-13 08:07:18

LittleSiouxsie: " I am not against HE but it worries me that children who find normal life challenging are removed from it even more by being taken out of school and how do they then develop coping strategies? When and how will he make friends and accept the hustle and bustle of life? Is this not part of sport, play and growing up?"

I don't think so, no. The things which are bothering bizzey's son are not half so intense or prolonged in daily life as at school. Unless of course you choose particular careers, hobbies etc... but you won't do that if those things bother you. School is not "normal life". In many ways it is very different to the rest of life.

I can sympathise with the OP's son. I went all through school being bothered by the same things. Probably my reactions weren't as strong as his: I don't remember ever complaining to anyone very persistently about them; I just accepted them as an inevitable part of school life and was quietly miserable, occasionally faking illness to get a day of peace. When I left school I was overjoyed to find myself free from all of these things which had stressed me for years. Having to put up with them hadn't developed my coping skills at all. It was rather the reverse. How could I have developed coping strategies in a place where I had no control over my environment?

Friends, for instance. The real-world social environment in which I made friends so easily after leaving school was quite different to the school social environment in which I had been rather lonely.

Likewise, noise. I am not supersensitive to noise but the level of noise in a school playground far exceeds what I regularly encounter elsewhere. I do occasionally experience something similar: big parties, crowded buses, concerts, indoor children's parties with 30 guests. Those loud experiences tend to be brief, rare and mostly avoidable. Sure, if I chose to be a stockbroker, a pop musician or a kids' party entertainer I would have to put up with a constant assault from noise, but I don't!

Everyone accepts that many adults (like me) dislike a loud and busy environment and that it's OK for such people to spend their time as computer programmers instead of party entertainers. Children deserve the same respect for their differences. Why do we try to turn all of them into party entertainers? It isn't possible. 30 hours a week in the wrong environment won't mould them into different people; it simply makes them suffer.

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 28-Oct-13 11:42:54

Yup to what Saracen just said.

The main negative for us was that my children didn't have many really good local friends. They had people that they saw most weeks at groups, and would play with and be friendly with there, but there was very little proper 'clicking' with them, and dd2 in particular would have really liked a best friend nearby. Their best friends were all over the country, the children of my online friends.

I wonder if this was partly because I was always much closer to my online friends (who we actually saw irl quite a lot!) than local friends - if I was looking for HE/other emotional support, I would ask my online friends more. And so I didn't have the need to get really close to my local friends (I do have some very good ones though!), and so my kids weren't thrown together with them so much?

They weren't unhappy, and they are a tightknit foursome even now, but I think that's the one thing that could have improved things.

picnicinthewoods Mon 28-Oct-13 19:20:14


The biggest one for our family is MONEY.....lack of a second income that would come from me being able to work.
This is probably the only thing that could eventually mean our children end up in school down the line.

The other things, which aren't such a big deal, but which wear you down over time are: other people's assumptions/comments all unfounded and based on ignorance; the lack of time for yourself or time to pursue your own interests/career.

I can't think of anything else, but a lot depends on where you live. As you live in London, you will find loads going on, so the only other thing I can think of is that sometimes having so much choice means you need to try lots of groups etc out first before you find what suits you and your son. Therefore expect the first year to be the hardest, whilst he adjusts and you adjust and he forms friendships which take time.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 28-Oct-13 21:17:40

I think its important to remember that one families/persons negative could well be a positive for you/your family.
There are several points above that people have as negatives that I find as immensely positive.
I am also sure if I posted our main positives they would be other peoples negatives.
Also depending on your situation/lifestyle you may find that one of the biggest negatives people find, really doesn't apply to you at all.
We find this with socialising, friends etc as dd is never really at home much grin

streakybacon Tue 29-Oct-13 07:15:02

I second what AtiaoftheJulii said about friendships. Where we live we don't have a huge HE network (especially for teens) and ds doesn't have any real friends close by. It's a major organisational challenge to get him together with friends - one boy that he's particularly fond of lives an hour away and they make do with occasional Skypes, but it's not a substitute for proper friendships of the 'I'm just popping to Sam's' type. It doesn't help that ds has autism and isn't particularly active about developing friendships - ideally they'd happen naturally but in HE that isn't possible for him.

catnipkitty Sat 02-Nov-13 10:17:31

We've been HEd for 2 years, girls came out of school in years 3 and 2. We have become less and less structured with time. The positives far out weigh the negatives for us, but there are a couple of negatives:

-I work very part time; if they were at school I could work a lot more and earn more money. We get by OK but I'm aware that we can't afford many clubs etc., days out etc.

- I have very little time for myself which for me means no swimming which I used to do when girls were at school, and I pretty much wasted by the evening and spend an hour collapsed on the sofa before going to bed early! I often can't even go to the toilet in peace!

- It can be stressful in that I worry a lot about whether they're getting enough socialisation...whether they're learning the right things...whether we should be doing more maths etc. etc.

But there are too many positives to list! The girls are doing really well, are happy, learning, following their interests. We live in south London and there is SO much going on, lots of groups, lots of outings, all the museums...

We cope with lack of money by shopping in charity shops, Ebay etc. Books are from the library. We have cheap camping holidays. And having to discuss what we spend our money on with the children has given them a good appreciation of the value of money.

As far as the worrying goes, I have to remind myself that I worried a lot more about them when they were at school! The Facebook pages are a great source of support too.

And I do get some time to myself during the day when they're busy doing things, absorbed in reading etc, and if I'm desperate I put a film on for them and shut myself in the kitchen with a cup of tea!

Good luck with your decision!

TickTock123 Mon 16-Jun-14 02:39:57

Possible positives

Very happy children
Very easy to talk to home edd'rs both parents and children
Positive thinking attitude
Learn at child's own pace
Learning children's own interest
Stress free, relaxed easy going
Make new friends meet all different walks of life
Meet more down to earth,
Join in fun activities
Learn new skills
Visit more places of interest
Learn quicker as when one is enjoying oneself it is easier to pick up skills
No uniform saves a few £££
Eats your cooked food, so u know what they have inside them
Save of school photos

Negative possibilities- please note every family and people situations are.
All different, therefore this may not necessary.
Happen to you, it may only be a big maybe

Possibly might happen

Loose close family members?.?
People will judge you
Negative vibes from most non HE at parks etc
Loose play ground chats and school contacts and friends and associates.
Cost of petrol
Travel more /further afield
Test / exams paid can cost upto £150-350pounds GCSE
Tutors if chosen
Extra lessons cost of insurance and price per child if joining an activity that involves physical
Worry if you have done the right decision
Worry that you are doing it all wrong
Do have the odd worry that maybe school can do it better
Lasts a second thought ?.?
Ok maybe 5 mins tops but you nearer go back

PleAse fell free to add more

The lessons will also be paid for also at school
And school ain't free, always begging for money, food, items,

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