More certain than ever that I want to Home Ed- help me work it all out please(5 Posts)
DD is 8 (yr3) and has SEN. School has been tricky to say the least since yrR. She is behind in all areas except reading and making little progress. Her self esteem is low, she has major anxieties in school and is also often bullied, although school refuse to recognise it as such. I have been considering home Ed as an option for around a year now but recent events are making me lean towards it ever more.
Increasingly I feel as though i am sending DD to school to be 'babysat' for 6 hours per day, just because she has to be there, rather than because she is going to learn. I'm pretty sure school are just focused on getting her to behave, educating her is a secondary concern. She has very few behaviour problems outside of school. DD is primarily preoccupied with the social aspects of school. She finds them confusing yet intriguing (has the tendency to obsess) and seems to have lost any interest in learning. She often comes home exhausted.
Whilst discussing DD's problems at school with a specialist this week, she has suggested that it may not be DD that is the problem and instead this is the wrong school for her. It has backed me up in my belief that school (the whole system, not just this one) is just not suited to my DD. i spoke to her keyworker about it but she was fairly negative. Mostly from the viewpoint that it would be a shame for DD to miss out on the social aspects. I'm more concerned about her missing out on an education.
DD does Brownies and swimming clubs outside of school currently which she obviously would continue. She has music lesson during school hours but provided by LA, which i pay extra for. I'm not sure if these could continue or even i would need private lessons. In addition to this she often sees friends out of school anyway and I am also hopefully going to be startinf work for an after school club (non-school based) soon which DD would also attend. She would mix with many other children here, from her current school and others (plus 3 other Home Ed kids AFAIK) Am i wrong in thinking this is plenty of time spent on socialising and it would free up the day time for actual learning? With the 1 to 1 I am hopeful she will soon catch up with what she has missed the past few years.
My plan so far is to leave her in school until the end of yr3 and if nothing has radically improved, take her out from that point initially for a year depending on how it goes. in the meantime I feel I need to plan some kind of structure. This would be more for my benefit I think, just to get things organise to start with at least. I want to make sure she gets a good grasp of the basics (writng and maths) but also want to allow DD to take the lead in choosing subjects she is interested in also. I'm prepared for it to go more free flow as time goes on.
So does this sound like a crazy idea or something that might actually work out in reality? Any and all advice on what to do next welcome. TIA.
I don't think it sounds crazy at all. I think you sound very conscientious. And school isn't for everyone. there are enormous benefits to home schooling. The only drawback, if a good education is provided by the parent, could be that the child isn't socialised. But what you describe seems ideal, with one proviso, which is that you will also be at the after school club, so her core reference for authority will be you, except a couple of hours at Brownies. I'd look for a few more adult role models in her life, as well as the childhood socialising. Maybe a drama club or similar.
Also, Google home school groups in your area, as lots of H-ed parents meet up and pool expertise/go on trips together. I'm only speaking as someone who has done extra tuition for home-edded children and who has friends who home-ed. It seems from the outside like a pretty idyllic childhood, particularly for children with any sort of needs or personalities which make them stand out from the crowd.
We home ed our DS(7) who has SEN. Took him out last October. Best thing we could have done. We are teaching in a very similar way in that we do structured reading and maths(although if can be incorporated into play then it is), and then go out every day and also go with his interests. We have met a couple of families locally and also go to group meetings as and when. I hate it when people go on about the social aspect of school-being thrown into a room/ playground with 30 or so more children does not make a child sociable. Our way, we meet people 1-1 or small groups and if my son isn't being involved then I intervene and teach him the social etiquette required in order to be involved (which is more than what was happening at school).
You are right regarding the babysitting aspect, as a teacher I've seen too many children with SEN just plonked on the carpet with their 1-1 behind them and as long as they are sitting quietly they are happy, regardless of the fact that what the teacher is saying is going over their heads.
In the months since coming out of school my sons reading level has improved by about 1-2 years. Quite amazing.
Anyway,, I'll stop waffling now but I would definitely go with your instincts. I agree that the whole school system does not work for everybody and those that criticise are afraid of anything that deviates from the 'norm'.
Thanks for the advice. I'll take on board the comment about making sure DD gets other authority figures, apart from myself. She would love to do a drama group, if I can find one who will take her! At ASC she tends to head straight for the arts and crafts tables so I'll try to stay clear of them (nothing to do with my total lack of ability in those areas) so the other workers can be in charge of her. Its very child-led setting though so may not always be possible.
So next I need to think about what I will actually do with DD all day at home. Like I said before I think I would like to begin with some kind of rough timetable, just to get us started, which can possibly be abandoned once we get into the swing of things. Maths and writing are the main things I'd like to focus on and are the subjects DD has fallen behind in the most too. Maths I have no problem with but I'm a bit confused about how I would teach writing so I would definitely welcome some advice in that area.
DD also really hates writing, though I think this has a lot to do with being forced to do it in school despite not being able to physically hold a pen to begin with and later being asked to do work that she didn't understand (down to what she missed all the time she couldn't write)
We have handwriting workbooks, which she is happy to do at home to improve those skills, but how do I teach her to do things like write stories etc? I think part of the problem here is I don't know what I am expecting to be achieved so can't make a plan. also part of me thinks just writing for the sake of it is a bit pointless. Would it work out ok if I just let her write bits about topics she has an interest in (at the moment she is obsessed with WAR!) while learning about them? What about learning stuff like grammar, spellings, adjectives, similes?
So would a timetable along these lines work?
Breakfast, get washed dressed etc
Some handwriting practise followed by maths
a break to have a snack followed by reading- maybe on a topic of her choice, or doing some research online, then doing a bit of writing related to what we found out
music practice (20 mins)
choice of what to do for the afternoon- I can happily explain most science topics (also have a good stash of things that go bang too), and DD is quite keen on learning French at the moment so we could do those or go out on visits/park/beach/woods depending on the weather
After school club for 3 hours, total free choice to do anything including art stuff, sports, cooking, chatting with friends, watching films and most importantly JUST PLAYING!
teatime then wind down before bed as usual, bathtime and reading together
Actually sounds like a lot writing it all down but I don't want to push DD too much as that has caused a lot of problems for her at school. Want to take things at her own pace and stick on a subject for as long as she needs to grasp it. If something is stressing her too much I'd be keen to drop it for a while and do something different until she was ready to work on it again. does this sound ok?
Honestly? Take at least a month for every year she has been in school, and use that time to "de school", both of you. Bear in mind that a month per year is the rule of thumb for a child who has suffered no trauma in school. She may need longer. Treat all of that period like the middle week of the summer holidays. Go on fun trips, meet some other home edders, play play play.
Observe. What does she enjoy doing given free rein like this? What feeds her soul? Help her do more of those things.
And then, incidentally, notice how the story telling begins to be integrated into her imaginative play. Write it down for her if she wants you to. Or, notice how she is starting to want to talk about the patterns she sees in th numbers she encounters. Just follow her. She will show you where to go!
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