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Why did you choose to home school?

(34 Posts)
bluetrees Mon 05-May-14 11:16:36

I am toying with the idea for my DD but I would like to know more about the reasons as to why some of you decided to home school? Please could you give me a short paragraph (or long if you prefer) giving me some idea of why you decided this route for your child or children.

Also, have any you managed to hold down a job with home schooling or do I have to be available to "school" all day every day?

ommmward Mon 05-May-14 15:14:33

Most of us call it "home education" in the UK rather than "home school", and that's quite telling - a large proportion of us don't replicate school at home in any way, preferring autonomous/child led education (aka "unschooling").

I'll bump up the thread which has websites about home ed - saves us all typing lots. The short answer for us is: I don't have school-shaped children.

streakybacon Tue 06-May-14 08:13:22

Sadly we didn't choose to home educate - it was the only option left after ds was so badly failed in school. This isn't uncommon, especially where there are special needs as in our case.

I don't work for health reasons, but would have found it incredibly difficult due to the amount of attention ds has needed, especially in the early days (been HEing for five and a half years now).

You don't have to observe 'school' hours though - you can fit your child's education around other commitments, including work, as long as you can satisfy your LA that an education is being delivered. 'Suitable' isn't quantified in law so you have a lot of scope with how and what you provide. It's your call.

Good luck smile.

NeverendingPotato Tue 06-May-14 12:29:08

First time around was because school is only one way children may gain an education, there are other, equally valid options. And indeed a mix of in and out of school is also an option.

And no you don't have to keep to school hours or deliver a specific curriculum. You don't actually have to teach, you can facilitate learning. Some childminders take home educated children.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-May-14 13:39:11

We decided to allow dd to H.ed because she wanted to pursue extra curricular activities as curricular and she was quite often too tired after school or time restrictions stopped her from attending everything she wanted to.
She attended school from yr to end of y3.
As a family it works for us.
I am a sahm, so can't help with the employment side of things, but fwiw I know people who do H.ed and work, and you will find that a couple of hours a day at home, equates to a full day at school.

maggi Tue 06-May-14 16:05:31

Ds always struggled at school. The work load of secondary was too much for his dyslexia (he was in 1st/2nd streams so didn't qualify for help but could hardly write 3 lines in an hour) and showed this stress by misbehaving (all sorts of things which make me shudder and included the police). Two years on and we have a fantastic law abiding young man who is picking which exams to study for next term.

I'm a childminder and foster carer so can work from home and also home educate very easily.

bluetrees Tue 06-May-14 17:37:35

Thanks for all your responses. I am going to do some more research and look into it as a possibility for next year but for now we're going to continue at school until the end of term and hope things improve. If anyone has the time, would you be able to give me an idea of a typical day for a child and the things that you do? My child is in Yr 1 so maybe someone who has a child in the same year or Yr 2?

morethanpotatoprints Tue 06-May-14 17:49:21

Oh dear, how long is a piece of string grin
The thing about H.ed is that it attracts families who want a different environment and experience to school, so there isn't really a typical per se.

I can give you an idea of a typical Tuesday for us.

Piano practice 9am - 9.45/ break
Italian lesson from tutor 10.00/10.30
Violin practice 10.45/11.45/ break
Singing practice 12.00/1.00/lunch
Saxophone practice 2.00/3.00/ break
Eng/maths 3.15/4.15

This is a heavy day as tomorrow she has a music lesson and then choir practice, plus a visit to hear a lunchtime concert.

Every day is different for us, some are mostly musical others more traditional academic subjects.

We will be different to many others as its a personal thing and what suits your child.

Saracen Wed 07-May-14 08:24:30

Hi bluetrees!

I initially became interested in home education because I felt my older daughter should still be spending most of her time playing at the age of four. Ten years on and we are still at it for reasons so numerous that school is almost unthinkable. I guess the top reasons we continue are these:

My 14yo is free of the heavy workload and exam stress she would get at school. Being so efficient, HE frees up vast swathes of time. Morethan mentioned this as the key factor for her child and it is the same for us even though my dd has no specific talent or great focus to her life at the moment. Pottering around, seeing friends, relaxing and sketching are the order of the day for her.

My 7yo doesn't spend every day working alongside other children her age whose academic abilities far exceed her own. This gives her a truly individualised education and strong self-esteem. And she too has masses of time to play.

Typical day for my 7yo involves a few hours of TV (some documentaries and some cartoons), going out to the supermarket or library, playing with toys at home, attempting some sort of craft, and meeting friends in the park or at someone's house for a play. All this is peppered with many discussions about how the world works. We do no formal academics.

I worked part-time when my older dd was 5/6 years old and sent her to a childminder, which was great for both of us. In answer to your question about how much time you will need to home educate, very few home educated children do more than a couple hours a day of formal learning when they are your daughter's age. Some do much less and some do none at all. There are lots of ways you can approach it. The main practical challenge for home educating parents who work lies not in finding time to educate their children, but in arranging suitable affordable childcare or finding a job which they can do while looking after their children.

PieceOfPaper Wed 07-May-14 10:43:05

We decided to HE for lifestyle/philosophical reasons rather than because of bad experiences at school - none of my children have been to school. I have a long list of reasons, none of them significant by themselves but as they added up I realised that I would not be satisfied with a school education for my children.

I have a 7yo (year 2 age) and a typical day for her might be -

Handwriting - 5-10 mins (we're focusing on handwriting right now so doing it daily)
Some kind of spelling or phonics work - about 10 mins
Reading aloud to me - about 10 mins
Maths - 15-20 mins

When she's done that, we then do what I suppose you might call 'topic' work - we're focusing on history and foreign languages at the moment but art, science, geography etc all get woven in at some point, or sometimes we do something as a one-off just because they're interested. This probably lasts 15-30 mins depending on what we're doing, but sometimes it takes a bit longer.

After all that I read aloud to them and they either sit and listen or do colouring, drawing or some kind of art. I plan to read a chapter but they usually convince me to read more!

That's our academics done for the day. If there's time before lunch they'll play or continue their art projects, and after lunch they usually watch TV for a bit (I don't allow TV before lunch). The afternoon varies - chores at home (they're allowed to play too ;) ), a trip to the park or library, seeing friends, running errands.... and some days they have classes like swimming etc.

That's a typical 'school' day, but it doesn't happen every day - typically we'll have one day a week when we have some kind of trip out, whether it's an activity involving other HE'ers, a trip to a museum, visiting relatives or just a day out in the fresh air. One great thing about HE is flexibility and I've learnt not to worry about 'getting behind' if they have a few days out in one week! We could do more academics, we could do less, but we've found the balance for us right now, as every HE family does.

maggi Wed 07-May-14 12:50:59

A typical day is VARIETY!

The main part of the day could be:
work from books/computer
a trip with home ed group
a trip with me and my mindees to a playgroup
a trip specifically for a topic ds is studying
visiting someone
watching loads of documentaries we've recorded
a trip to something that's going on locally
building a huge model
you name it...

Then also some things are on a regular rota regular:
weekly art club
biweekly philosophy
weekly lifeguarding skills
weekly swim
gym 3 times a week
daily dog walking for a disabled neighbour
computer time
school runs
grandma time

We are tied down to school runs (for other children I care for) but apart from that our days can be whatever we wish. At the same time ds is almost at the time to pick which exams to do (he's chosen a career that needs uni), so we do have to practice study skills and a bit of English + Maths.

Basically each family is different. Each family will also change how it home eds as time goes on and the child/children head towards exams (or not).

TreeMugger Wed 07-May-14 13:43:27

We chose to home ed for lots of reasons, the main one would probably be that dd1 is a very active child who needs a LOT of exercise (she's like a human cocker spaniel) and we knew that she would really struggle with being at a desk for a large part of the day. We weren't particularly happy with our local school either.

Our day today (I have a 6 year old and an almost 4 year old):

Dd's played doctors while I made some boring phone calls and read my book for a while.
We found out how different things are made (invention of factories, recycling, what different fabrics are made of, fair trade stuff, where different foods come from)
We went to the shop for ingredients that we needed for baking.
Dd1 made chocolate cupcakes, I helped her follow the recipe.
Dd2 made her own recipe up hmm chocolate apple cake. It could have done with more flour!
They're playing weddings just now then we'll be going to French class and DD1 has football training tonight.

I love that they're able to follow their own interests and do things at their own pace.

maisiechain Fri 09-May-14 10:13:35

Hi there,
We HE for a variety of reasons. My kids have never been to school. I guess initially the main reason was that I didn't want them doing formal academic learning so early, but wanted them to learn at a pace suited to their developmental needs. They are 6 and 9 now.

There is no such thing as a typical day but I will give you examples of two days this week to give you an idea:

Day at an Environmental centre doing an entire day of hands on science with about 12 other home ed families. All the kids friends were there too so they got plenty of time to hang out with their friends. Dropped my eldest at her friends house on the way home for tea. Took son to Beaver's.

Woke up with no plans for the day....bliss! Kids piled into bed with me in the morning and we had breakfast in bed and read several chapters of the book we are currently reading together. DD wanted to read to us after so she did.
Got up & showered whilst the kids played in the garden. They have about 20 snails each which they have made homes for, and DS also has a couple of worms in a wormery which he made! They spent about 2 hours doing this!
We then took the dog for a walk & took a picnic with us. Got caught in a big rain storm though, but it was fun.
Got home and DS wanted to do his maths whizz. DD went upstairs to do her own thing, listen to music etc
Both watched a documentary on the great barrier reef which I had recorded for them, followed by an episode of Scooby. I did a bit of housework & sorted dinner.
They went round to their cousins house when he got back from school for an hour & I chilled out. Their cousin came over for dinner.

In a week they also do: home ed swimming class, Brownies, home ed group & DD has a home riding lesson.

maisiechain Fri 09-May-14 10:15:21

meant to say home ed riding lesson

Nigglenaggle Fri 09-May-14 11:05:23

Sorry to butt into the thread but wanted to ask, have your kids ever asked to go to school maisie?

ommmward Fri 09-May-14 11:27:58

I have a child who has, at various times, been desperate to go to thr canterlot high school (thank you, my little blasted pony) but other than that no :-D

maisiechain Fri 09-May-14 13:52:02

Hi nigglenaggle, yes my daughter asked about 18 months ago. We had just moved, and were starting all over again with home ed groups/friends etc. We did the rounds of all the local school, and also ones further afield, but by the time a place came up she had integrated into the home ed scene & had begun to make friends & completely changed her mind.
They know the option is there, and they are curious but they say they would really miss all their friends and the groups they go to. I would be fine with them trying it out it they want to, but if I'm really honest, I do think educationally what we are doing is better than school. I wouldn't put them off though, I enjoyed primary school myself and they know that. We have a very open & honest relationship & I think my daughter is old enough now to choose school if she wants & understand what that choice means. I would be more reluctant about my son going at 6 tbh, I'd rather he waited another year before trying it, if that's what he wanted.

maisiechain Fri 09-May-14 13:58:34

...........but I am happy to HE all the way through toosmile We always take things year by year, you never know what is around the corner. For now, its a lifestyle which makes us all happy.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 09-May-14 15:30:51

I think maisiechain sums it up nicely. It doesn't have to be forever but can be.
I think most H.ed parents are open to the possibility of trying or returning to school, and I don't think I've ever heard anybody say they wouldn't consider. Although, I'm sure some have good reasons not to.
Mine is determined to go to a specialist school sometime during secondary, perhaps y8. I would miss her, but not try to stand in her way.
I hope some of your questions have been answered bluetrees
Do keep posting, I had lots of threads with silly questions on when starting out grin Not that yours are stupid.

bluetrees Sat 10-May-14 19:04:46

Thanks everyone. These answers have helped and they have definitely given me some food for thought. My main concern is that I can't give up my job as the income is required. I would have to find a way of juggling the two things if we decided to go ahead with it. I could maybe reduce my hours but not entirely.

masiechain - when you say they are doing home ed swimming, home ed riding lessons. Is this actually arranged through a home ed group or are they taking part in these activities anyway and you can class them as home ed as they are sport/pe related?

Sigyn Sat 10-May-14 19:21:29

bluetrees- why do you want to home educate?

What attracts you?

That's what matters, tbh. My day will not look like yours, if for no better reason than that I have three kids approaching secondary and you have, I think, 1 child at reception level.

What I would say is that you cannot really go far wrong at this age. There is not much that they need to know that they won't learn somehow.

I home educate because I can, and because I don't believe in educate and life being separated. The idea of going somewhere special to get educated is not one I like, really. I think it both makes education more and less of a thing than it needs to be.

I dont think the issue with working and HEing is providing education. Bear in mind there's no need for education to be 9-4 Monday to Friday, but anyway, kids learn all the time and the amount of formal input needed is quite small IME. BUT yes they need someone to look after them, they need to be supervised at this age, legally if nothing else. Basically, we manage only because I mainly work from home and a lot of it is when I can do it. DP has a job which has rigid, unnegotiable hours and all the bloody time has been known to unexpectedly overrun, so I have never been able to rely on childcare. He earns more, its life.

bluetrees Sat 10-May-14 19:44:00

Well, I don't want to say too much in case it outs me but the school is currently failing my DD and I am considering home ed as the next course of action. However, if I had to reduce my hours to home ed and then pay someone else to look after her for some of the day Monday - Friday, I'm not sure how our finances would stack up. However, if it had to be done, then I would have to make it work. And the fact that actually I could use the weekend as part of the "ed" time would probably make it work as well.

Sigyn Sat 10-May-14 19:51:01

can you work from home?

I've always worked & studied from home. Always. Since my kids were tiny.

I get a lot done early and late, and my kids entertain themselves well.

I would not worry about the education side, fwiw. She is so young, she'll be learning loads even if she's with a good childminder, just by living, and then you can work with her at weekends if that's how you want to do stuff-and you probably will, at least at first.

But I don't see a way to get around her needing someone to actually look after her during the day. (might be missing something)

Do you have a partner and is your partner onboard and able to help with the looking after kid in day thing at all?

Oh, fwiw it used to be that you could get tax credits to help with the cost of childcare, including childcare in the day for HE'd kids, iirc. Years ago though. Might still be the case? Sounds outrageous but I know people who managed to claim :-)

maisiechain Sun 11-May-14 09:25:42

Hi bluetrees, the swimming and horse riding are done as a home ed group. For quite a lot of activities you can get reductions because the facility is not being used much in the daytime. Usually what you do is if your kids want to do something particular, eg one summer mine wanted to try tennis, then organise it locally, they will tell you how many families are required to make it viable, for tennis we needed a group of 6 children, so then advertise it on your local yahoo group or FB group or amoungst friends. You can often get a group together for most activities if you live somewhere with a reasonable HE community.

bluetrees Sun 11-May-14 19:15:27

I could possibly work from home but I wouldn't be able to work whilst she was here and in my sole care. If she did leave me alone long enough to do any work then she would probably have to spend a lot of time watching TV which isn't ideal. It would give me an option of an au pair which might be slightly more cost effective. My DH works away so wouldn't be able to help with the child care.

I think the area I live does have a good HE community as close to a big city so I would imagine there would be activities on going/arrangeable.

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