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Considering Home schooling

(10 Posts)
Kelzee1 Mon 27-Apr-15 10:46:11

We are seriously considering home schooling our 14 year old daughter, She is incredibly unhappy in mainstream school. Shes extremely academic and feels her own education is suffering due to the large class sizes and the inability of her teachers to control them, causing her to suffer in terms of her education and increasing anxiety.
Unfortunately we are completely green when it comes to doing this, so if anyone can give us some answers to a few questions it would be greatly appreciated.
As she has just done her options for GCSE I need to be clear on how home schooling works for these subjects, particularly practical subjects such as science as she has been put forward for triple gcse science.
If I just list some questions maybe a few people can help answer them

Do you structure the day as per a school timetable?
How many GCSEs can they take?
What about practical work i.e science?
What are the best companies to buy courses from?
Are tutors recommended?
Do you adhere to school holidays?
Is flexy school worth considering?
What if both parents work?(if parents cant be by the childs side at all times how do you keep them motivated)

Hope that isn't too many questions to ask, but need to get as much info as possible from parents experiencing this situation to make an informed decision.

Thank you so much in advance

Saracen Mon 27-Apr-15 12:57:42

Hi Kelzee!

My teen isn't working towards exams but almost everyone else we know is, so I have a reasonable idea how it works. I'll give my take on it and no doubt others will be along soon to tell you more.

Do you structure the day as per a school timetable? Totally up to you. We don't.

How many GCSEs can they take? Most GCSEs are impractical because it is difficult and expensive to get coursework validated. I think maths is the only exception. HE kids do IGCSEs instead because those are assessed purely on exam results. They are totally equivalent and universally recognised.

They can do as many or as few IGCSEs as they want, at whatever age they want, in any order. HE kids often take fewer than schoolchildren, typically just enough to get on to the next level of education. For instance if the college course they want requires five (I)GCSE passes grades A-C then they may not bother doing more. Doesn't mean they won't learn other subjects, they may just not sit the exams for them.

What about practical work i.e science? IIRC there are a very few IGCSEs which do require supervised practical work (drama?) and which are therefore pretty much impossible to do outside of school. I think the sciences are all OK though. You can do practical work yourself in order to help with learning if you can get hold of suitable equipment. But you don't have to have it validated and the mark is all down to the exam.

What are the best companies to buy courses from? Don't know, sorry!

Are tutors recommended? Some people use them, some don't. Some like distance learning programmes. Some enjoy home ed tutor-led study groups with, say, one tutor and six or eight home ed kids all working together toward a particular exam.

Do you adhere to school holidays? Totally up to you. We don't.

Is flexy school worth considering? Yes, but it is very difficult to get headteachers to agree, so don't get your hopes too high!

What if both parents work?(if parents cant be by the childs side at all times how do you keep them motivated) I doubt it's any harder than motivating teens who go to school to do revision: parents aren't usually standing at their side to make them do their work either. HE kids tend to be more engaged with their learning, because it's possible for them to be involved in all the decisions which affect them. For example, they don't have to do subjects which you and they don't find worthwhile. They don't have to sit through classes in which teachers are explaining things which they already know, or which are over their head. They can choose which revision materials to use.

Having said that, if both parents work full-time then that is a lot of hours for your daughter to spend on her own and she may get lonely or bored. I know I would, even though I like my own company! It would be good to find ways of getting her out of the house and doing a variety of things during that time.

Kelzee1 Tue 28-Apr-15 09:03:12

Thank you very much Saracen for taking the time to answer all my questions.
Like anything new it all seems massively daunting until you understand how it works.
Having been through the school system and all my children going through it,your used to a certain way of things working and you dont believe it could be that easy to change it.
We need to decide asap as she now becoming a school refuser (a term the school counsellors use)
Thank you again

Saracen Tue 28-Apr-15 10:17:55

Well, if she isn't actually going in and is extremely anxious about school, then she isn't going to be learning much there. So it seems well worth pursuing an alternative.

It is daunting, I know, especially at the stage where everyone is talking about GCSEs. All the home ed parents I know say that the business of finding exam centre(s) can be quite tricky. However, while you will need to get that sorted, it isn't urgent to do so before you start home ed. Your daughter doesn't have to be "studying for GCSEs" in a focused way for a continuous two year stretch. She can start out relaxing with some time off from formal study to learn about whatever interests her: crafts, music, sport, reading novels. There are no required subjects and you don't have to follow a curriculum. So you can take the pressure off completely and figure out the exams in due course.

Tinuviel Tue 28-Apr-15 10:23:54

Hi Kelzee, Just thought I'd give you a picture of how we are tackling exams.

We have home educated most of the way through with my eldest, who is now at sixth form having done 5 exams. He did Maths/English/Single Award Science through the sixth form evening classes; and did Latin GCSE and Chemistry IGCSE as a private candidate at a local private school. Although their requirements to do 4 A levels are 6 GCSEs, they let him do them as they could see that he was bright and he had good grades and they let him do French A level as although he hadn't done the exam, I promised them he was GCSE standard (I'm a languages teacher.)

DS2 has never been to school and would currently be in year 10. He is doing the maths evening class this year. Next year he will do English and, if we can sort the funding, Spanish. As a private candidate he will sit Chemistry and Physics and possibly Geography.

DD has never been to school and would currently be in year 8. She hasn't started any GCSE work yet (although her French is very good!) but will do English/Maths via evening classes and Biology IGCSE as a private candidate. We're not sure about what else she will do.

Until recently I worked 2 days as a teacher but have finished now and work as a tutor. DH worked compressed hours to cover 1 day at home and we had childcare for the other day. I think it would be hard to do if you both work full-time.

Tutors: We have used a tutor for DS1's Latin to help with the GCSE lit and the AS work (he's sitting that as well as a private candidate). I do a skills swap with a HE friend - she teaches mine science and I teach hers languages. Then we do a lit study group together as well.

*School hols*: We have stuck to school holidays as I was in school and wanted my holidays to be just that! However, we are going away in early July this year, so will probably be doing a bit of work on rainy days over the summer.

Courses: I know some people used Oxford Home Learning for KS 3 but opted not to use them for GCSE as they weren't that happy with them. I know people who would recommend Catherine Mooney for English and Sam Martell for science.

Flexi-schooling - our local catholic secondary used to allow flexi-schooling so kids could do PE/tech subjects but I don't know if they still do now that the rules have changed.

Sorry, that's a bit of an epic but just wanted to give you a picture of how we do things. You may well find evening classes at your local colleges that you could use or other HE families for shared learning.

SpecificOcean Tue 28-Apr-15 11:36:44

We are new to Home Education-started in March this year, so not much help to you experience wise, but had to post as your situation sounded a bit like ours.
DD13 yr 8. going backwards at school after being really bright at primary. She started saying things like I'm rubbish at XYZ, which she isn't.
Also reporting that lessons interrupted daily by out of control students shouting, swearing, fighting etc this is almost every lesson all day from registration onwards.
We are not in a bad area. School have said it's a particularly challenging year group. The school is actually rated GOOD.
DS is in yr 10 and doesn't have many problems.
DD never really settled from start of yr 7, then started refusing to go, constantly getting headaches, dizzy sick etc. Hardly had a day off at primary. Also started to change to defend herself at school from bullying.
We have a timetable worked around the subjects she wants to do and has dropped the subjects she didn't like-Art and French. but we are still de-schooling so are going to work up to the full timetable if it works(if not we will tweek), in a few months around September.
Tutor- My nephew is doing sciences at Uni and has now broken up until Sept, so helping once a week.
We are doing school holidays as fairer on DS and I work P/Time in a school. I am out for around 2 hrs a day so plenty of time to work around that, plus DD often goes horse riding with my DSis (has horses) while I'm at work or to GP's, Nephew to do science as above etc. She is learning to motivate herself though and can be left to do stuff.
I have been told that connexions will help with careers etc just not at that stage quite yet.

SpecificOcean Wed 29-Apr-15 08:52:49

Wont your DD be in the first year of the new GCSE's where it is more end of year 11 exams less coursework?
I've read that they can enrol at college at 16 and do GCSE's there too.

Kelzee1 Wed 29-Apr-15 10:04:09

Hi !
Thank you all very much for all your advice ! smile
We made the massive decision yesterday to Home school, after another morning of tears and I cant face it !!! we decided we cant put her through this trauma anymore.
The look of relief and shock on her face when we announced the news to her was emotional.
She has decided to stay in school til half term which gives us the time to get ourselves organised and look into courses. Tbh im extremely nervous about doing this but my husband is very positive and thinks it will greatly benefit her education rather than damage it.
I'm also worried about the response we're going to get from the school and as she is under CAHMS (I've read positive and negative stories about them when it comes to home ed) if they will hound us to get her back into school.
As you can tell still nervous about the whole thing, but your positive advice and stories are reassuring.
Thanks again

chickenpie67 Fri 06-Jan-17 12:57:36


I have had about 2 years of not knowing whether my son (age 16 and in Year 11 now) would get up to go to school or not. He was bullied at the beginning of Year 9 and it took several months with support from the school and myself, to get him to go back to school full time when Year 10 started. He has since suffered from anxiety about going to school, certain lessons and doesnt seem to be happy about going to school. He had a lot of days off school and i approached it at all angles but he said that he wasnt going to pass any exams so what was the point of going to school. This resulted in a visit at home from his head and deputy head of year just before christmas, which was a big shock to him as the deputy head (Male) went up to his room and made him come downstairs to have a meeting in the dining room. He has promised to go to school from now on as he doesnt want any of the consequences to happen if he does. I have seriously been looking into Home schooling for the final 6 months of this year and then he wants to go to college. I have read a lot of positive comments about home schooling and was told by the head of year that this could be an option if his anxiety gets the better of him and me, as I suffer from anxiety and depression and have worried so much about him.

He is an intelligent boy and he lost all his confidence and self esteem and thinks that he is stupid since this bullying happened and he used to love going to school. He has quite a few friends at school who have supported him and I hope that they will continue to be friends if he leaves the school.

MarthaSF321 Fri 06-Jan-17 14:03:39

Some good advice on here for DCs about to do GCSE's.
Considering home ed for my DD13.
Have had some very negative comments from CAHMS about it, and pretty much my whole family think it's crazy...
But she's on 75% attendance, panic attacks in a lesson most days, spends the rest of the time in the support unit getting over them by reading or colouring, can't see that she's learning much. She finds lesson noisy and panics when she doesn't understand. (doesn't say much for the teaching..)

Also making me ill with the worry of it all, and waiting for the phone call from school every other day.

But Home Ed would be hard because she can't even get her homework done without getting distracted by netflixs/ music/ social media..
She's not going to sit down and study and self motivate.
And she doesn't want to leave school because she likes her friends and some of the lessons.
What to do??? Help!

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