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Home educating a teen 14yrs and up.

(16 Posts)
TheOriginalNutcracker Wed 12-Feb-14 14:04:34

Hi, I am considering home educating my dd2 who is 14. She is currently in a good state secondary school but she suffers from depression, anxiety, self harms and has an eating disorder.

School doesn't seem to be a cause of her problems but certainly isn't helping either.

I know she can do gcse's at home, and have been looking at the oxford learning site for that, but tbh the whole thing really confuses me and i'm not sure I m up to the job.

The last thing I want is for to get to 18 and have no qualifications because I cocked it up.

stilllearnin Wed 12-Feb-14 19:16:03

Hello I am in a similar position with ds(13). He also wants to get gcse's so that he can go to college. He uses an online school at the moment - it has its pros and cons of course and we are keeping it under review.

It is a big step and I imagine almost anyone would feel a bit confused if not overwhelmed - what is it that confuses you? I may not be able to help but others will

stilllearnin Wed 12-Feb-14 19:17:34

I do realise that he doesn't necessarily need exams to get

stilllearnin Wed 12-Feb-14 19:21:40

Into college but he is keen to have these up his sleeve. Also wanted to say- poor you and your dd- I don't have that to deal with but I can see why you are looking at home ed

FionaJNicholson Thu 13-Feb-14 15:25:47


There's lots of help and information for parents of children who are taking exams, although of course exams aren't the be-all and end-all (my now-20 year old didn't do any exams)

Suggest you look at the home ed exams wiki and join the home ed exams yahoo group.

saintlyjimjams Thu 13-Feb-14 20:51:17

Have you looked at interhigh? (Online school).

TheOriginalNutcracker Sat 15-Feb-14 14:21:41

Hi, thanks for all the messages.

I've had a look an interhigh and I like the look of it but can't afford it really. Going to have a look at the other suggestions and have another think.

Tinuviel Sat 15-Feb-14 15:34:00

We HE our DSs and DS1 has done/is doing English, Maths and Science GCSE at our local sixth form as evening courses. DS2 will hopefully start doing the same in September. They are adult courses and are cheap as the govt wants all adults to have GCSE English/Maths. It might be worth enquiring at your local colleges. DS1 has sat/is sitting a couple of other exams as a private candidate at a local private school.

The other great advantage is that as DS1 is wanting to do A levels at the sixth form, he is already familiar with the building etc and the staff know him.

Floralnomad Sat 15-Feb-14 15:40:18

I HE my dd(14) and we plan on doing at least double English , maths and IT at IGCSE . We are doing Edexcel and have just bought the course books and downloaded past papers ,seems to be ok at the moment although we don't do much because my dd has CFS which is why we are doing it this way. I'm not overly concerned about GCSE level but we do plan to do A levels as well which I think are more important long term.

jesswallbanks Tue 25-Feb-14 20:32:14

ThreeTomatoes Wed 26-Feb-14 07:38:18

Is that your blog jess? I might PM you if so.

Considering HE'ing my dd, who is due to start secondary in sept.

Can I ask, do they HAVE to get qualifications by 18? Supposing they don't, and you purely give them the opportunity to follow their interests, learn about what they want to learn about, and get out in the community in the many different ways possible?

I ask because from what I can see firstly GCSEs are expensive so I'm not sure I could have dd doing more than a couple. And secondly as a teen I had ZERO interest in GCSEs (in fact i'd go so far as to say they were bad for me wink) and as it turns out, I didn't need them. After A level I started off volunteering and ended up with a job there, and subsequent jobs had nothing whatsoever to do with my education either, it was the experience i'd had (& attitude) that got me the jobs - oh, and fast typing skills were crucial, and those I got outside school and was unusual for my generation!! I have a feeling that if i was 'unschooled' I would have had MUCH better prospects, confidence, drive & ambition etc than i did (& do) have.

Fiona I'd be interested to hear about your 20 -yr-old, what h/she did and is doing now, intends to do etc.

OP to me it sounds as though GCSEs and other qualifications are the last thing you need to be thinking about - I would focus on getting your dd back to feeling relaxed & good about herself, discover what it is that interests her and makes her feel good. 'Deschool' for starters - see here

Saracen Wed 26-Feb-14 22:52:21

Hi ThreeTomatoes, crikey, you aren't even home educating yet and already you are on the radical fringe, LOL.

No, there is no requirement to do qualifications. What you are saying makes perfect sense, and many home educating parents agree with you. My 14yo is not looking to do qualifications at this time.

And yet, I find that the vast majority of teens we know DO have an interest in getting qualifications. Many are doing it for a very specific reason, for example because it seems the best route to something particular which they want to do later on. Some are doing it to prove they can, or to get people off their backs: I knew one 14yo boy who hadn't seemed very academic and had endured years of relatives questioning his prospects. He took great satisfaction in being in a position to casually mention (when they asked yet again how on earth he was going to get through life without GCSEs) that he had actually already completed two. It must have been a delightful bombshell to drop. Who can blame him?

My own daughter is feeling a bit of peer pressure to join in, even though exams clearly aren't right for her at this time. She keeps asking me whether I don't feel she ought to be doing IGCSEs, and I always say, "yes, if you actually want to and have a reason to". Which she doesn't, it's just that it's what her friends are doing. Her friends certainly aren't pushing her in that direction - they are very nice and supportive - but there just seems to be something in the air, an expectation that this is what teens do. Nor am I immune from peer pressure myself! My friends are enthusing about a study group their kids are joining, or the Duke of Edinburgh award they are working towards, and I do have my moments of feeling that I could easily be swept along by it. Maybe I should get you to give me a pep talk now and then.

But I will say that I think you may be overestimating the cost of exams - it is sometimes possible to do them quite cheaply, and you don't have to use a course or a tutor - and that it might turn out that your daughter does want and need them for some purpose after all. So I don't think it is sensible to rule them out. It might even be wise to start setting aside a bit of money in case she wants to go that route.

FionaJNicholson Thu 27-Feb-14 06:35:55

For Three Tomatoes My 20 year old is a one-off really (as those who have met him will attest) and his experience doesn't prove to the sceptic or the anxious that not-having exams is OK. He spends a lot of time playing music (banjo, guitar and fiddle mainly) and also writes software. The latter kind of subsidises the former. He mostly lives at home but sometimes goes travelling.

ThreeTomatoes Thu 27-Feb-14 15:40:40

grin Saracen yep - I'll post on my own thread where i'm at now!!

Thanks for your stories here. smile

anorexiamum Thu 27-Feb-14 15:54:03

OP I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. Several years ago I was in your position where my teen had an ED and was self harming. She was in the private school system and so I was able to move her from one school to another without having to HE. It transformed her. With hindsight, I think school issues were causing a lot of her problems.

I think that you need to concentrate on whatever will make the ED and self harming better. Worry about exams later - there is always time and really your DD needs her health above all other things. I gave up even caring what GCSE's my DD got, took all pressure off her, and genuinely only cared that she lived. She now has a place at Cambridge despite that all.

You may wish to read about my journey at as it may help you with yours. I am so glad you are there to help your DD. Good luck. Feel free to pm if you like. I don't normally post under this name - only when talking about ED.

NB the family therapy at the Maudsley that we had (the best in the world for ED and self harm) placed a lot of emphasis on my DD becoming a normal teen. you need to consider carefully whether HE will help your DD achieve that or whether a "setting apart" might make her more withdrawn. Sorry, just a thought - you will know what is best.

stressedHEmum Thu 06-Mar-14 10:28:44

OP, I HE my teenagers. DS2 is now 21 and is at uni in St. Andrews, doing an MSci(Hons). he didn't have any formal qualifications by 18. Instead, he waited until he felt ready and then went to college and did an Access course. He is the only student that SWAP(West) have ever had, who has been accepted onto a science course at St, Andrews. He has Aspergers' and would not have been ready for uni at 18.

I have another Ds, who is almost 17 and has dyslexia and dysgraphia. he is off to college in August to do an introductory course. His plan is then to do an access course and go to uni that way.

DD is 14 and will follow the same route when she thinks that she is ready.

DS4 has ASD, and it remains to be seen what he will do, but there is a college course in Glasgow, especially designed for youngsters between 16 and 20 with ASD, which helps them develop the skills and confidence to go on to further education. I am hopeful that he will follow that path.

All of them have been unschooled and yet are at the very least on a par with their schooled peers.

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