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Home schooling to boarding- is it a really stupid idea?

(30 Posts)
IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 07:14:53

I know that the two are complete opposites and if you home educate then boarding school might seem horrific to you, but please read the circumstances and keep an open mind!

DH and I live very, very rurally. We have a few neighbours, but there are only two other families with children and all the children are at least twelve years older than ours. We have two DC aged 4 and 2.

The nearest school is a 90 minute car trip away and in poor weather it can be up to two hours. It is not really meant to service our area and so there is no bus/shuttle etc.

We are thinking of home educating the children and then sending them to boarding school (either each one as they turn 8, send them at 8 and 10, or send them as they turn 11).

Does anyone have any experience with this? Is it feasible? Does anyone have any advice?

Even if you didn't do what we're thinking of, any relevant comments or ideas that we haven't thought of would be gratefully received!

ommmward Sun 24-May-15 08:23:41

Have not done anything like this myself. Personally, I would not consider boarding till secondary age.
Are there other children closer than 90 minutes away? I'd be desperate for community, myself, and would do whatever possible to gain it.
You could think about interhigh or brite school etc for online secondary school. I have heard of families where the mum and children take a flat in the 90 minutes away town and weekly commute for secondary school. And I used to have a friend from Mull who did boarding school in Glasgow because there was nothing suitable closer. There are all sorts of solutions. I would just be regularly revisiting whether living where you are is helping every one thrive, and the answer may well be yes, with home ed through primary or beyond smile

IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 08:45:05

Thanks for replying ommmward

I would not be comfortable home educating for secondary school (at least not for year 9 onwards) because I personally could not teach the maths or science curriculum, and couldn't teach foreign languages but I am very happy to consider home ed for years 1-3, and I could imagine doing years 4-6. I am not sure about year 7 and 8, I guess it would depend on how the earlier years went.

You asked about families around us. Our nearest neighbours are a group of four properties about two miles away which have the houses in a 50 metre stretch along the road (and then massive properties extending backwards). There is a childless couple, a young single guy, a couple with two grown children and one teenager, and a couple with two teenagers.

There is another family 50 minutes away from us (towards the school) with a 5 year old and a 2 year old, we are great friends with them, but they have sent their DD (the five year old) to the school as it is 'only' a 40 minute trip for them. There are also a few families with young children living in the village that the school is located in, so we have a community of sorts and we usually go into the village 2-3 times a week. But I am not willing to do a 3-4 hour round trip every day and no-one else is home educating that I know of. Also if I sent DC1 to the school I would have to stay in the village until I picked him up.

Interesting that you suggested moving to the village during the week. I hadn't considered that. We could probably do Mon-Thurs night in the village if we needed but the problem is we run a farm and I am not sure DH could run it as well without a second pair of hands. However, if it's best for the kids we would do it.

The main issue with secondary is that the village school only goes up to year 6. It used to do up to year 8 but that stopped some time after my DH went there (a looong time ago!). I know a family in the village sent their kids to school years 1-6, home schooled years 7-8, then sent them boarding years 9-13 but 99% of families board from year 7 around here.

Very different from my city upbringing! Sorry for the info dump, just trying to answer your questions and pre-empt any others. Hope I'm not drip feeding, things that I think I've said I haven't.

Pico2 Sun 24-May-15 08:52:29

What country are you in? Isn't there an obligation for the state to provide education and transport?

DurhamDurham Sun 24-May-15 09:01:46

I would consider moving before I would consider sending an eight year old to boarding school. Eight is far too young to go to boarding school, even as a weekly boarder who comes home on a weekend.
I think boarding could be a consideration at 11/12, however they may struggle having spent so long at home, they might not be mentally prepared to go, it's a huge culture shock to lots of children.......I imagine it will be more so for children who have been home schooled.

maroonedwithfour Sun 24-May-15 09:04:18

Move nearer to a schoolconfused

IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 09:05:01

DurhamDurham that is exactly what I am worried about. sad But I am thinking more and more about home educating years 1-6.

Moving off the farm is economically not an option for us.

ommmward Sun 24-May-15 09:17:23

Read up on some home education blogs etc. Fiona Nicholson's ed yourself website is pretty useful. There are lots of different styles of home ed - you don't need to follow the school curriculum; you can do anything from boxed curriculum to completely child led autonomous. Home edding through primary and into secondary is truly not a problem, as long as the children are happy in all the other aspects of life (access to resources and people, basically). Also investigate flexi school. You would have a really great case for doing 2/3 days a week in school, with one or two overnight stays for you and the children. That could be best of all worlds for you (but it's in the gift of the head teacher, so approach with delicacy and extreme humility...)

IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 09:27:15

Thank you everyone for replying.

Pico sorry I missed your post. Where we live the government would fulfil their obligation to us by paying for a boarding place because we live x distance from a motorway. Obviously I am not going to take up a boarding place for my DC from age 5! But that leaves me in a bit of a pickle.

marooned and Durham

When I got married and decided to have DC I had to accept that they are most likely going to have to board at some point in their education, I have no qualms with that, but I only expected it to be from year 7 or maybe even year 9.

I considered boarding at year 4 because I was thought it might be easier to adjust from home schooling at 8 than at 11 or 13 but 8 is so very, very young. Or I could send them at 10 and 8 so they started together but that still means one of them would be a baby really.

The boarding conundrum is a while away yet but DC1 turns 5 in 6 months so I do have to start thinking about education in general.

ommmward Thanks so much. I should have done more research before I posted on this board. Flexi-schooling sounds intriguing and I will look into it more. I have nothing against home-ed I am just absolutely convinced that I am not the kind of parent who would manage it through GCSEs/A-Levels. And because we are so isolated I don't feel I could compensate for missing out on the social side of school the way that so many home ed parents manage.

But maybe I will think differently if I home-educate for the next ten years first!

Wow, I'm really writing monster posts on this thread... sorry, everyone!

malefridgeblindness Sun 24-May-15 09:29:28

I sent my ds to boarding school at 8, for a whole different set of reasons. It's been fine - he's settled and he's happy. Obviously, we miss each other, but he has the opportunity to have the education he needs and be around other kids during the week. We could have sent ds to a similar school as a day pupil but we worked out that we'd spend 8 hours on the road every week, so it seemed fairer to him not to burn such a large chunk of his free time (and ours) sitting in a car.

We didn't homeschool before - ds went to a small rural school. However, I don't think that boarding and homeschool are incompatible. Boarding schools take children from all sorts of backgrounds. You need to find the right one for your child and your family, but it can be a really beneficial option.

IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 09:32:05

Thanks malefridgeblindness it's always good to hear from someone who as done (part of) what you're considering to do.

If you don't mind me asking, do you have other DC? Would you start them boarding at the same time or send each one at a particular age?

IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 09:32:33

Sorry my grammar is terrible!

malefridgeblindness Sun 24-May-15 09:52:27

Ds2 needs a different sort of school but we will probably send dd at the same age (y4) if we send her. I would send them in a particular school year rather than all at the same time. Each child needs time to adjust and settle in. If you send them both at the same time there is some pressure on the eldest to display more maturity and perhaps some parenting to the younger child at a time when they themselves are adapting to an unfamiliar situation.

ommmward Sun 24-May-15 09:54:02

Why are you apologising for not having done research already. Mumsnet = doing the research smile smile

IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 09:54:56

Thanks for your response, I hadn't thought about that.

IsItStupid Sun 24-May-15 09:55:23

And thanks ommmward you're very kind!

DurhamDurham Sun 24-May-15 10:05:55

There isn't an easy answer or solution but you will do the best for your children and really that's all that can be asked of us smile

If the best solution is to send your children to boarding school and you make sure that the school is suitable for their needs then I'm sure they will settle in.

A good friend of mine sent her daughter to boarding school at ten, her daughter used to ring everyone up she could think of to beg her mum to take her home. It was heartbreaking but she settled in well. She is an adult now and doesn't remember the first few months only that she had a great time and loved her school.

Good luck with what you decide to do.

balletgirlmum Sun 24-May-15 10:14:02

Morethanpotatoprints is about to do just this except her dd is 11 & will be boarding for a very specific reason to attend a highly specialist school.

I think that age 8 is too young. Age 11 deoends on the child. Dd adores boarding. I would hate to board.

Pico2 Sun 24-May-15 10:21:20

Crikey - state boarding from 5. I didn't know that existed.

Saracen Sun 24-May-15 11:39:10

I would have imagined that your plan would be the norm in very rural areas? I am sure you will find other people who have done the same.

Agree that educationally, home ed at secondary is not as difficult as you imagine. If you've been doing it beforehand then I expect you'll decide it could be manageable after all.

Socially, I think most young people will be wanting to move out from their family and mix with more people as they reach their teens, if not before. Given that there aren't so many people in your area, I'd be expecting that they may well choose boarding over staying at home. Eventually. Maybe when they are 11, maybe 14, who knows?

You don't have to have it all planned out now. It seems that home ed is the only realistic option for you in the early years: you don't want to move, school is too far, you don't want your kids to board from a very young age. So start with that and see how they get on.

I'm sure they will do fine educationally no matter how long they are home. It's hard to predict now what they will need socially, and it might be different for each child. Wait and see. Let it be their choice. I think it would be very hard on them if you send them away before they feel ready, or keep them at home longer than they want to stay. When it's what they want, they'll be OK.

claraschu Sun 24-May-15 11:45:32

This is a very different situation because he was 16, but my son went from HE straight to boarding school. He is extremely happy.

itsstillgood Sun 24-May-15 15:54:54

I live in an area with a very high services population. Home ed is popular as a result but boarding, sometimes from a young age (6/7) is not unknown. Everybody has different circumstances. The kids I know who have gone have been fine.

I second Saracen. Don't worry about 10 years time at the moment. Make the sensible choice for the next 2/3 years and keep reassessing and research options as you go. Circumstances change and your children's personalities and character will develop and influence choices.

Noteventhebestdrummer Sun 24-May-15 16:12:08

I think it would be a big shock to the system to go from HE to boarding. But in your circumstances I can see why you would consider it - you don't have many options.
Unless you started a school at your farm smile

plasticinemachine Wed 27-May-15 09:47:42

I personally think age 8 is too young for boarding school, but it may well depend on the personalities of your children and how much they crave other childrens company. I would be more inclined to consider it from 11 or 13 but also consider continuing home schooling perhaps get tutor for subjects you don't feel confident in or enrol online?
The other thought about basing yourself in the nearest village to the primary school is a good idea but I understand what youre saying about farm life and needing all hands on deck. Would the primary school consider allowing your children to flexi school, say 2 days a week? That is only 2 days away from the farm & perhaps you DH could get some local help on those 2 days at busy times of the farming year?

IsItStupid Thu 28-May-15 07:44:39

Hi everyone, here is bit of an update in case anyone cares!

We had a meeting with the senior teaching team (which includes both teachers at the school grin) and they said that they have done this before with a family about eight or nine years ago.

Basically there are two classes (yr R, 1, 2, 3 and yr 4, 5, 6). They will help me homeschool for years R-3 by supporting me with materials etc and will assess the DC for me just to compare them to the other children their age if I so desire. They said we could flex-school for the infant years but that they don't recommend it.

For year 4 they are happy to flexi school (at least 2 days a week at school) but for year 5 and 6 they insist children are in school full time or out of school full time, I will probably opt for in-school but we'll see how it goes.

Luckily my MIL who has been in Spain for two years has recently announced her return to the village some time in 2017 and she loves her role as a grandparent (she's returning to be closer to us) so I think we will be able to stay with her during the week in the later years (or maybe the DC can stay with her and I will stay on the farm...).

So the point of this post is that it looks like we have a vague long term plan but of course we can reassess and change it if it's not working for the children. It looks like my DC will have homeschooling and flexi-schooling and full time day schooling and boarding in their futures!

Thanks everyone for your helpful advice.

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