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Dealing with HE criticism

(20 Posts)
lupielou Mon 14-Jul-14 12:32:34

Hi, everyone. I am new and value your input! I withdrew my daughter from school a while ago as she has disfficulties learning, processing and seizures and was struggling to get through each day, every afternoon she would gradually thaw out after school but panic at night about going back the next day. She begged to be home educated and people were relatively understanding because of her needs. My son who is a year younger (11) also made the decision to leave his primary a couple of months early but we have encountered far more critism because he is very bright and people think we are "scuppering his chances of a career and qualifications" by keeping him at school for now. Even very close friends have been negative and comment that the children are "playing too much" and although the family admit the children are happier (they were bullied at school and were very withdrawn) we are constantly being asked to justify our decision. I breastfed my kids and noone questioned that and I don't recall anyone judging us when we enrolled them at school! People are constantly asking them to "show what they've learnt, what they've been up to"
How do you seasoned HE's deal with this?

Velvetbee Mon 14-Jul-14 12:55:58

Airily, with a look straight in the eye, 'Oh, we find it works really well for us, the children are so much happier.' And change the subject. Few people will push beyond that if you come across as confident.
Arm yourself with some phrases for the others, 'Research shows that home education is an incredibly efficient way to learn'.
'Yes he is bright and of course home education means he can take GCSE's early/have a wider choice of GCSE's.'
Smile and dare them to pick holes

Saracen Mon 14-Jul-14 16:20:01

he is very bright and people think we are "scuppering his chances of a career and qualifications" "It's great that he can now work at his own pace without being limited to what the curriculum dictates a child of his age should be doing. He can take exams at whatever age he's ready or even do some courses with the Open University. If there's a subject for which he has a passion, he can immerse himself in it."

the children are "playing too much" "Yes, it's a great benefit of HE that they have so much more time to play now. School may be economically efficient - you only have to pay one teacher to educate 30 kids - but from the point of view of the child's time it's far more efficient to enjoy one-to-one or one-to-two attention. Did you know that when a child is off school ill for a long time and the LA sends a tutor out, they only have to provide five hours a week of tutoring, and that tutors report that's usually plenty for children to keep up with their class?"

People are constantly asking them to "show what they've learnt, what they've been up to" Try jumping in and turning it back onto the questioner. "Oh, great, a quiz! Let's all play. I'll ask you a question next." And then ask them a question which you think might be just slightly embarrassingly difficult for them: "You did French O level, right? What's the past imperfect of 'to have'?" or "Can you solve this quadratic equation?" or "Explain the uses of a semicolon" or "Let's check your handwriting. Copy this sentence out in the style you were taught at school."

lupielou Mon 14-Jul-14 16:49:33

Guys that's awesome! Saracen that's spot on, I wouldn't dream of interrogating friends on what their child has done at school, yet it seems socially acceptable for them to question our choices. This is the burst of assertiveness, reassurance and proactiveness I needed! Keep it coming! Very grateful for your comments, I was almost doubting myself.

maisiechain Mon 14-Jul-14 18:40:14

Saracen, love your last idea, quizzing them:D Can't wait to hear how this goes down for you lupielou!

I think as time goes on and they begin to understand it more, or see it working, they will quieten down. I don't find it ever really goes away, but I am able to answer any question thrown at me these days. Most parents have some misgivings about their child's experience in school, but I bet they won't share it. At the end of the day most hassle I get comes down to ignorance of how HE works.

Good lucksmile

Thinking2014 Tue 15-Jul-14 06:47:48

Hi OP, I loved Saracens comment, spot on. Definitely will remember these ;) I'll admit I've only told 2 more people beyond my friends what I plan to do & so far they've been fine, not that I'm looking for approval, I only told them because I keep in contact with them so they might wonder where we've disappeared to come September!

I would agree that so long as you're confident you should be able to shoot them all down. In the end I've avoided talking about HE with my close friends because some of the comments I received were so idiotic it annoyed me! I know what I'm doing is the best choice for my children so I will continue regardless of what they say.

Good luck! smile

Delphiniumsblue Tue 15-Jul-14 06:55:05

Velvetbee has it right and is much the best way.
Do not give them a way in.
Saracen's way may make her feel better but is pointless because it doesn't change any minds or even make them think.It also gives them chance to come back with a counter argument.
All you need to say is 'it suits us at the moment' and change the subject. If they get back to it repeat as necessary. It gives no way in.
People are way too polite, they are programmed to think they have to answer questions or respond to criticism and they really don't!
You will not shoot them down- so don't try- just be confident and dismissive.

Saracen Tue 15-Jul-14 16:48:42

Don't you think it changes minds, Delphiniums? The approach has worked well for me and has been the start of some very fruitful discussions.

You are of course quite right that the OP shouldn't feel the need to justify her decisions. But in the case of close friends or family, she may possibly want to discuss her choices with them and try to give them another perspective.

Velvetbee Tue 15-Jul-14 17:16:05

I'm impressed by people who start conversations to change minds, I just want peeps to bog off and leave me alone!

Delphiniumsblue Tue 15-Jul-14 22:06:50

I have never known anyone change their mind- very impressive if you have managed it!
The one thing that changes it is doing it successfully- that takes time.

Wackymummy Wed 16-Jul-14 02:57:47

My son has a brilliant response if anyone tries to 'test' him. He first said it when he was 3 and to this day I still have no idea where he picked it up/ heard it. He's almost 6 now.

"I am not a performing monkey!"


Delphiniumsblue Wed 16-Jul-14 07:06:04

Well done him! He is learning early on that just because people ask the questions you don't have to engage with them or prove anything.

lupielou Tue 18-Nov-14 15:05:38

Your advice was spot on ladies! But now...a new challenge! We've been home eding for a while now and the Elective education officer really wnts some kind of report on how my two children are doing. I declined a visit to the home, and said I didn't feel I needed any support right now thank you etc but he's asked instead for a report.....HELP! How can I put a summer of amazing experiences, asking and finding out the answers to so many of lifes' mysteries in a report!

ommmward Tue 18-Nov-14 16:14:02

Give a list of things they couldn't do at the beginning of the summer and now can
A sense of those experiences, couched in educational terms (i.e. not "tried abseiling" but "PE: Abseiling on three occasions")
And maybe a sample of questions asked by the children on one day, just to give a sense of the kinds of interests they have?

lupielou Tue 18-Nov-14 16:37:09

Thanks ommmmmward, that's great. I've just sent him an educational philosophy for our family, our values, a list of resources we use from the obvious to things like library to things local historian specialising in Roman Archeology, native french speaker etc. I've just written a quick update about my son and daughter individually saying how confident they have become, how my 10 year old daughter has gone from being unable to add even basic numbers together or even write them properly to now being able to shop and work out her change etc. Is this likely to be satisfactory for them in your experiences?

ommmward Tue 18-Nov-14 17:21:59

I don't know because we are currently under the radar, and don't have to tell the LA anything. If we wait a bit, I expect someone will be along who knows from personal experience!

Saracen Tue 18-Nov-14 20:54:02

That sounds more than adequate to me. A few sides of A4 should be enough. Remember that legally you don't have to provide anything whatsoever at this stage.

If it did go to court, you wouldn't have to prove "beyond all reasonable doubt" that you were educating your children adequately. The bar isn't very high. You'd just want to provide enough information to persuade a reasonable person that on the balance of probabilities, you are educating them suitably.

So what you are giving your LA ought to be enough to convince them that they don't need to take any action. If they have concerns after receiving what you sent, they should be very specific in their questions and you'll be able to address them.

streakybacon Wed 19-Nov-14 08:41:12

For future reference, I keep a daily record of what ds has done each day - nothing big, just bullet points - and it comes in really useful as a memory jogger when it comes to writing my report to the LA. It's easy to forget all the stuff we do and for the sake of a few seconds each day, I think it's worth it.

I also write my report in advance so it's ready to send when the time comes. I send it before they ask, which keeps them off my back as they just acknowledge receipt and go away.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 19-Nov-14 22:14:05

as an ex teacher, teaching a whole class at several different levels, means that each child could receive the same input while being home edded in a fraction of the time. (very small fraction of the time it they are not dead on average in everything) eg a child will read with the teacher once a week, for twenty mins max, in a group of six or so...

morethanpotatoprints Wed 19-Nov-14 22:29:51

Hello OP

Our authority send out a sheet with a few questions.

It basically asks to say what resources you use, subjects you cover, etc.
Its nothing much.
Our first year I supplied 2 paragraphs of a philosophy and it was fine.

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