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worried all the time

(53 Posts)
cowbelle Thu 09-Jan-14 14:50:48

This will be long but I hope someone can help.

I have been home educating my 4 children for 3 years.

My DH and I have tried to follow an autonomous approach, I have suggested and tried lots of different activities with the kids hoping that something would stick,from drama to martial arts. Only my dd plays a sport and an instrument, my boys do nothing outside the home.

I took them to the local home ed meet ups for 2 years and they haven't made any friends, everyone is an idiot apparently, and now they wont go at all.

My DD is the eldest at 15 and I am trying to encourage academic study, at one point she was keen now she says she doesn't want to do GCSE's at all

They do seem mostly happy though. They play a lot of minecraft and play games over the internet with a few other homeschoolers, I think my dd would like more friends but doesn't seem to meet anyone that she has a real affinity with.

They seem to lack passion for anything besides computer games and don't want to go out, and I am finding it difficult to inspire them.

Do I need to restrict computer time completely, or do I just go with it and hope that the autonomous approach will work, I am really worried about the future.

ChilliQueen Thu 09-Jan-14 15:07:47

You say you've been home educating for 3 years... what happened before that? What do they do all day (apart from computers...), what are they going to do in the future... especially if they decide not to take their GCSE's... I'm a bit organised and do things by the book (i.e. school!), but understand different things work for different people - I'd be rubbish at home educating - wouldn't know where to start... Gosh, I've no idea... am sure someone else will though.

EauRouge Thu 09-Jan-14 15:08:20

It's hard for anyone to judge the whole situation from one post. It sounds like you don't feel like the autonomous approach is working- your eldest at least sounds old enough to chat about it. Maybe you could give them the option of limiting screen time with the condition that if they don't, you will.

They won't meet anyone they like if they don't go out! Is there nothing at all your DSs like doing apart from computer games? Is there a computer club they can join?

morethanpotatoprints Thu 09-Jan-14 15:21:56

Hello cowbelle

I agree it is difficult to tell from one post, but will try and help.
The completely autonomous approach didn't work for us either and now We try and provide structure for the subjects we feel our important that our dd wouldn't do otherwise. Things that aren't so important or won't matter we tend to leave up to her.
You should be able to talk to your 15 year old about what type of job she would like to do and what type of quals she thinks she would need.
Maybe get her to do some research on courses for college or igcse's.
The younger ones perhaps ask them what they would like to try themselves and maybe not try to encourage different things, letting them decide for themselves.
I am sure they are learning a lot from minecraft and similar games.
There was somebody on here once who gave a full account linking to the nc all the skills their dc had gained through games, I will try and find it for you.
It is normal to worry, I think. We seem to go from really good/perfect days to wondering why we ever started H.ed, so I know where you are coming from. When its good its brilliant grin

cowbelle Thu 09-Jan-14 15:48:09

Thanks for the replies, I think what I am asking and I know this is difficult for others to decide, is how much longer to carry on with the autonomous

If I wait a year will dd and boys be more mature and more focused or will I have just wasted more time. At what point do you force them to do igcse's?

I don't want to force them, I believe intrinsic motivation is the best way but if they aren't motivated to do anything then what do you do?

I think they are happy not meeting others, they like their unit of 4, they follow the path of least resistance, before home schooling we did spend 2 years abroad and that was hard for them, they had to learn a new language and went to the local, school and they only had each other.

cowbelle Thu 09-Jan-14 16:10:00

morethanpotatoprints if you could find that link that would make me feel a bit better, thanks.

ILoveMyCaravan Thu 09-Jan-14 18:35:25

OP I could have written your post! I have two DS, HE'd for nearly 4 years now. They are 13 and 10. We have also stuck to an autonomous approach. We seemed to de-school for ages and it's been hard trying to get them to sit down and do any formal work since. They both hate writing with a passion.

If we let them, they would spend all day on Minecraft and other games. They are both very PC literate though, particularly DS13 who is very confident and will teach himself anything he wants to know on a computer.

We let them on Minecraft first thing in the morning until mid-morning, and then again between 4pm-6pm. The know that's their set time but it's a battle to stop them sneaking back on in between these times. During the day they will read quite a bit or watch TV (hopefully something educational). I have signed them up for an online maths website which they will do under pressure from me but I do have my doubts about what information they are retaining as they really don't want to do it.

We do try and go out a fair bit, but they feel the same as yours about most other home-ed kids they meet. My youngest has friends at his football club and I think he misses the friendships at school (even though he was bullied by most of them when he was there).

DH is more bothered about the lack of formal work, but I'm a bit more laid back as we have lots of discussions during the day about lots of different subjects so I feel they are learning and picking up things in a natural way, as it's usually them who are asking the questions of their own free will.

I too am getting worried about the future now DS is 13, and I would also be very interested in the link to how Minecraft links in with the NC.

They both seem very happy and cringe when we go out and see groups of schoolchildren being herded around.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 09-Jan-14 21:13:16

Hello again cowbelle

I have been out quite a bit today but did have a look before, I'm sure its a H.ed thread from last year, I'll keep looking and if anybody else can help as well. There were quite a few at the time as it seemed to be a common thing.
My dd doesn't game really so I didn't pay too much attention, but was really surprised at all the connections to nc there were and what skills were gained.
Off the top of my head.

communication - if they are playing online with other people (friends)
problem solving - within the game itself.
Links to lots more though, will try and find grin

cowbelle Fri 10-Jan-14 09:59:11

Thanks morethan, that's really kind of you. I will have a look through as well.

cowbelle Fri 10-Jan-14 11:41:39

ILoveMyCaravan, I found this thread.

ILoveMyCaravan Fri 10-Jan-14 17:19:00

Thank you cowbelle that's a very interesting thread! Have you taken a look at the home ed facebook page which is mentioned? Might have a look over there myself later.

aaabbbccc Sun 12-Jan-14 13:23:27 is brilliant, my DD is so's about $10 for 5 weeks if study i. Which you can get graded for. It's mainly US kids in there, but my UK girl loves it.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 13-Jan-14 21:49:55


I'm so sorry, have looked through the threads and can't find it.
I am gutted as it was so good.
I don't even remember what the title was, although it was something about children not learning or moreover, the parent questioning what their child would be learning.
Sorry again.
You never know, hopefully the person who wrote it will find this and do a link or tell us all again.
Please keep posting though, there are lots of people who can help.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 13-Jan-14 21:52:29

Ha, just seen the link above, if it wasn't this one it was very similar.

cowbelle Tue 14-Jan-14 15:51:10

Thanks morethan.

I will have a look at minecrafthomeschool.

cowbelle Mon 20-Jan-14 11:51:30

OK, just thought I'd post again, still finding things difficult.

I am wondering if my attitude is just wrong! When we started home educating we really believed in the autonomous idea, my dh even went to a lecture in London by Sandra Dodd and Alan Thomas. He was really inspired.

Now after 3 years he seems to be rejecting the idea and I have my doubts. So there were obviously some expectations that we had about our children's achievements that haven't been met. Is that our problem.

It hasn't worked in our arbitrary time scale we are re thinking the whole idea.

Now autonomous education seems almost like a religion to me. I had faith but I am losing it, do I need to keep the faith for it to work! aaagh.

My dh is worried, he says "when are they going to do something, I can't support them into their 20's, you can't all live off me forever."

If they were studying for exams, he would feel better. The children say everything is boring except computer games, of course.

I have told the children that it is their life to make of what they will, but I am not sure they understand how hard it is in this climate.

Are they all destined to be loser drop outs, who never fulfill their true potential? Going back to school is not an option. I just want some spark of enthusiasm from them for something other than a computer. Am I wrong to want this. I blame myself too, maybe I am not inspiring enough, passionate enough, or maybe I am just worrying too much and putting pressure on them to do something that is valid in my opinion.

They are great kids by the way, it isn't all bad.

Anyway, any insights would be welcome, thanks.

EauRouge Mon 20-Jan-14 12:37:26

Could you organise some work experience for them maybe? Not boring office stuff where they'll just be photocopying, something where they might actually learn something and maybe be inspired to work towards a goal.

EauRouge Mon 20-Jan-14 12:37:44

Sorry that this is stressing you out so much thanks

cowbelle Mon 20-Jan-14 15:01:27

Thanks EauRouge

ommmward Mon 20-Jan-14 17:21:28

I think a lot of us think "ah yes, autonomous education, splendid", and we are persuaded by the logic of it, but in our heart of hearts, we want and expect our children to do something that looks like academic work.

I can't really answer with knowledge for teenagers. Certainly, with younger children, I get astonished at the speed with which the computer games get abandoned when I myself start doing something active that genuinely interests me, whether that's cooking or gardening or hammering nails or sewing something. I just don't know whether that works with teens. It certainly rarely works if I say "I'm going to do X, do you want to join in?"

With a 15 year old, can you start having discussions about how she'd like to support herself in future, and whether there are things you can help her with to get herself in a position to make that possible? I mean, if your Dh is beginning to want to put a time limit on supporting the family, talk with the children about that time limit, and whether it's reasonable, and what they might want to do in order to grow towards independence within that time frame?

flowerlights Tue 21-Jan-14 15:04:10

Thanks ommmward

I think you are right, I will find some activities I like doing and act casual!
I think any attempt to talk or suggest new things is met with an instant shutdown by them. I am getting desperate and they can smell the fear!
I suppose that I am undermining their confidence because they know I am worried. I am showing lack of faith in them.

smee Tue 21-Jan-14 15:10:02

I know nothing about homeschooling, but you do sound like such a lovely mum. I just thought EauRouge's point about getting a part time job for them is interesting. I disagree that it shouldn't be boring though. There's nothing wrong with showing kids the reality of the world of work. I know working as a waitress from 13 made me appreciate that I might need to do some school work if I wasn't going to be stuck as a waitress forever. Part of growing up and finding your way is surely discovering that the world won't just come to you.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 21-Jan-14 15:34:03

This is such a good topic as we too struggled with an autonomous approach, even though it seemed to be the best type of education for our dd.
We thought the lack of structure would allow the freedom for her to pursue her interest and future goals in performing/singing and her music.
I knew that the academic motivation wouldn't be there, because what child would choose to do this if they could do exactly what they loved all day, so we were prepared for this. However, not only did this happen but the discipline she once possessed to be able to get on with constructive practice disappeared almost over night.
I know that it would be beneficial in the long term but can't see how she can progress in the short term, which is what she wants now.
I know where you are coming from, maybe it is different personalities or if somebody could shed some light?

flowerlights Tue 21-Jan-14 15:37:08

Thank you smee.

flowerlights Tue 21-Jan-14 15:39:03

Ooh I have changed names, forgot to change back.

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