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Does anyone home ed secondary age children? Can you talk to me about it please?

(33 Posts)
Suncreamandspades Thu 02-Jul-15 12:29:27

Dd has Sen coming to end of year seven. No statement, not coping very well at all. Square peg in round hole. Feel we've given it our all.

Candra Thu 02-Jul-15 12:48:17

Without sounding patronising a fair few year 7 find it fairly difficult and find that at the start of yr 8 in a now familiar environment they cope much better. Maybe pull him out after he has tried year 8, you just never know.

However only you and he know ultimately what is best for him. Just give it one more try and try and change schools if you can.

Suncreamandspades Thu 02-Jul-15 13:02:54

Sorry Candra I wasn't detailed enough. We are considering that but wanted to add that not coping with school has been an issue throughout primary and now secondary leaving her a ball of anxiety. We have tried state and private (on bursary) She probably needs a specialist setting but we can't afford that and there's no where nearby suitable.

ommmward Thu 02-Jul-15 15:12:19

Lots of people home ed secondary age children. Ask some questions, I'll help if I can smile

streakybacon Thu 02-Jul-15 16:07:10

Yes, me, although strictly speaking we're no longer home educating as ds starts college in September.

He also has additional needs (autism and ADHD) and he was deregistered at age 10, so all his secondary education has taken place at home.

No statement whilst at school, but I successfully applied after 4 years of HE and that was recently converted to EHCP.

He’s done IGCSEs a couple at a time over four years and has six, with two more results to come in August. Enough to get into college and some to spare.

You might find that specialist school isn’t the answer either as they’re under no obligation to meet needs like state schools are (even if they don’t, in practice).

HE is wonderful for children with additional needs, because you can tailor the programme as much to living skills and personal development as the academic side. Lots of people manage to HE older children, very successfully.

What’s worrying you about HE?

SchoolTripNot Thu 02-Jul-15 16:18:05

Watching with interest. We need to apply for ds come next year but he (asd and ADHD) is adamant he is not going back to school.

Suncreamandspades Thu 02-Jul-15 19:08:36

I don't know where to start
I'm worried I won't be able to teach her to the required level to pass her exams which I do want her to do
I'm a single parent who works mostly from home.
I'm worried mostly about messing it up and her going into year nine further behind than she is .
I'm worried she will take the pee and refuse to actually do any work

ommmward Thu 02-Jul-15 19:29:10

<steps on soapbox>

End of year 7? So you've got two years until the GCSE mill starts, if you decide to go down the X exams in 2 years route like the schools do.

I'm worried she will take the pee and refuse to actually do any work

She will, and she totally should, while she is "de schooling". The rule of thumb is that you allow a month of deschooling for every year the child has spent in school, assuming no trauma occurred in school. That means at least until Christmas, and maybe even until next Easter before you start worrying about whether she is doing enough "work". Instead, you help her pursue her interests - the things she enjoys doing, is good at, feels comfortable doing. Get yourself networked with local home educators - take her to groups, informal meet ups (she might well function socially really well with rather younger children, and the joy of Home Ed is that that's considered completely normal and unremarkable. One of my children has a best friend 18 months younger than them; another has close friends 3, 4 and 5 years younger. Normal normal normal).

If she says she wants to learn to knit, help her learn. If she wants to read a book, help her if she needs. If she wants to plant some flowers and watch them grow, facilitate it. At the end of the deschooling period, you are likely to look at her and see a child who is happy, curious, inquisitive, independent and self-reliant, and infinitely more confident than she is now. You may then decide to introduce more formal learning, but you can do it in collaboration with your child, and also in tandem with helping her develop all sorts of other skills (like, being able to navigate shops and money and change; being able to bike, skate, swim, climb trees, light a fire; whatever)

I'm a single parent who works mostly from home.
Just be ready for a tough month or even two months while you both settle into how to make it work. 10 minutes of focused 1-to-1 attention can fill a child up for another half an hour where you can get on with something yourself. But it may take a few weeks of her being really clingy and anxious as the immediate school recovery stuff happens. Call in favours from friends and family to give you a break. As you get to know home edders, you'll gradually find that she is confident around other adults and that gives you opportunities for a break too (honestly, a casual observer would probably get completely the wrong end of the stick about which children belong to which adults if they watched our home ed group about its business, and then all heading off "home" afterwards smile )

I'm worried I won't be able to teach her to the required level to pass her exams which I do want her to do It is not time to worry about that. Just bookmark this page and, in 4 years time, come back and look at it, and have a little fond laugh at how clueless you were about how home education works. When it comes to it, you'll get the syllabuses you need, and the teaching notes and work books, and you'll get onto the Home Ed yahoo groups for people doing structured learning and preparing for exams. And you'll find out that there are often little groups of HE teens doing exams together, or going to college for some GCSEs, or learning everything they need to about chemistry by doing internet research and collaring Aunty sue's husband's second cousin who is an industrial chemist (but not now - you really really have to deschool first or you'll get yourselves into a right pickle with a resistant child and stressed out mum)

I'm worried mostly about messing it up and her going into year nine further behind than she is . You really really think that you - knowing, and loving, and listening to your child, with time to devote to her one-to-one and concentrate on how to help her be happy and productive - you can do worse than the school has? Really?

One of the biggest things about home ed is that there IS no "behind". Children learn at their own pace, because HE life is not a race. I have watched one of my children make huge strides in physical co-ordination recently (see what I did there? heh). It's later than some other children gain those particular skills, but because it is happening at the moment that this child is ready cognitively and physically, and is receptive to opportunities to develop those skills, they are improving ridiculously quickly. With no external adult coaching, just being around other friends who are slightly further on with these skills than my child is. Children - all children - are brilliant at learning. We just have to provide the right environment, the right resources, the right company, and back the hell off and let them get on with it. School really interferes with that process, especially when a child is battling with special needs of one kind or another at the same time.

<steps off soap box. Small twirl.>

streakybacon Thu 02-Jul-15 20:07:52

Wot ommmward said.

Plus, prioritise your dd's mental health. If she is already anxious, that is likely to increase as she moves through school, especially if she isn't being given the support she needs to cope. What's the point in a bag of A*s if she's a gibbering wreck inside? It's a balance - a calm, secure child will learn far better than one who's stressed and anxious. Make that your priority and the rest will follow.

Golfhotelromeofoxtrot Thu 02-Jul-15 20:18:30

Excellent advice from omm

I'm a secondary school teacher and fully support the idea that home ed is the right environment for some children. Is her form tutor approachable? Could you ask his/her advice? How does she feel about it?

jomidmum Fri 03-Jul-15 13:06:11

Hi,
We have home educated for a few years; they're 11 and 12 now. It's great, seeing them develop and learn. I simply facilitate their learning and they focus on what interests them. I've got one mathematical, analytical child, and one arty creative child. Very different from each other. I just give them lots of space to learn, at a pace that suits them. There's no school years or having to "keep up".
My 12 yo son has been looking up what he needs to study at FE to get into what he's interested in career wise. He's started studying maths and physics GCSEs himself, at his suggestion. My 11 yo will be totally different and is just gradually improving her writing, reading, maths etc. She will probably continue down a vocational rather than academic route when she's older.
It's a great lifestyle. Very freeing. Little pressure. Lots of fun and very relaxed. It's hard work at times though smile

Mrsbird311 Fri 03-Jul-15 16:35:14

I withdrew my 14 year old from school a few months ago as his school was put into special measures and he was completely miserable with a view to him starting a new school in September, well we have now decided to continue to homeschool, it has been a revelation, he goes to a tutor for five hours a week and is given homework to complete, in addition he is now learning Greek and joining a tennis club, as a family we have never been happier, the stress has gone , we have our freedom back next week he's off to Cyprus for a couple of weeks to spend time with his grandparents and to practice his Greek, we no longer have to live by the school terms and feel we have our life back, incidentally we have another son at full time school which he loves, do what is best for your family

Suncreamandspades Fri 03-Jul-15 20:07:02

Brilliant posts thank you, a lot of food for thought!

Schrodingersmum Sat 04-Jul-15 13:41:00

Take a look at Interhigh? Lots of square pegs there including my DD who couldnt cope in main stream but is thriving there.

Loves it so much she was broken hearted to break for summer yesterday and is counting down tto September already

Ineedmorepatience Sat 04-Jul-15 21:55:23

Great thread, I am another one starting our HE journey with Dd3 who is 12 and has dropped out of yr 7!

It was too much for her to cope with but 5 weeks in and she is starting to enjoy the activities that she had stopped doing when she was struggling at school.

This is massive for us but today she asked a boy what time it was at her kayaking club!! This is the second time she has spoken to him and although he is a regular she has never spoken to him before!!

She has also taken up playing the guitar in the last 2 weeks, to add to the alto sax, trumpet and piano that she was already learning!!

We actually have time to do things and we are loving it grin

SpecificOcean Sun 05-Jul-15 23:21:27

Been home schooling DD13 since March. She chooses a lot of the activities/work, which kind of eliminates refusal. She is flying through some Maths that she has chosen, that she was adamant she wasn't good at before.
We are still mainly de-schooling though. Dd has joined sports clubs and a group which do outings and she now has a paper round. She also does lots of crafts and cooking and still meets up with her friends.
We're not worrying about exams atm, although she has said she wants to do them at some point and go to college or Uni. We're just glad she is 100% happier and her confidence is returning.

Oliversmumsarmy Sun 05-Jul-15 23:56:39

I started home schooling ds 13 a few months ago. The main problem we are having is meeting up with other children of his sort of age group.

There are groups but we found you can email saying you would love to join a particular group but hear nothing back or you are told the class is no longer running or you get to go along only for the groups "leader" to request that you do not attend again as they are full, only to see them advertising the group the following week. I would say we have found the whole home Ed scene to be a little wary of newcomers.

It might just be our area as we did do a trip that involved several different groups around the country and we found we separately gravitated towards a few of the parents and children from one group but they were based many miles from where we lived.

Saracen Mon 06-Jul-15 06:34:02

'There are groups but we found you can email saying you would love to join a particular group but hear nothing back or you are told the class is no longer running or you get to go along only for the groups "leader" to request that you do not attend again as they are full, only to see them advertising the group the following week. I would say we have found the whole home Ed scene to be a little wary of newcomers.'

I'm really sorry to hear you've had that experience, Oliversmumsarmy. It may be as you say, that people in your area are wary of newcomers. But I'd be more inclined to attribute it to individuals being scatty/disorganised/lazy about communicating. I know that can happen where I live, and that I've been guilty of it myself. People just find it easier to tell their friends about something, rather than advertising it properly. They may forget about you completely after they've had your email, since they don't know you and don't see you regularly elsewhere. Once the group is up and running, changes to the schedule are mentioned to people who are already attending and it's assumed that "everyone knows" the group now meets on a different day or doesn't meet at all. We have a group calendar which sends out reminders for scheduled events, and people can forget to delete the meetings once the group has stopped.

Either way, the result is the same for you, and you feel unwelcome. But the solution for you might be different if you assume they are disorganised: maybe be persistent with sending a few emails to those who don't reply, or ask on the group's email list or FB page "I haven't heard back about the art group after I emailed; can anyone tell me if it's still running?"

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 06-Jul-15 08:32:04

It gets embarrassing after your 3rd email and the same thing that you were specifically told was full is welcoming new people.

My ds thinks it is because he is different to all the other HE children he has met in this area. I know he is not like the other children.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 06-Jul-15 08:35:24

I am part of the group that sees everyone's emails and replies to things so I don't know if they don't realise I can see what they are talking about or are just plain rude.

Saracen Mon 06-Jul-15 14:59:26

Oh, I see. That is very unwelcoming, no mistake about it. I'm sorry to hear that. sad

ommmward Tue 07-Jul-15 08:03:25

oliversmumsarmy: You have not found your gang yet, that's all. It does take persistence to break into a home ed group, partly because in an established community, those children might be seeing each other in various combinations three or four times a week. Even if they are welcoming, that's intimidating.

Here are some things I have come across:
Latch onto everything that is going on where there is a clear agenda. If there is a science class, art class, tennis class, whatever. Make sure it is not out of your child's comfort zone, and pursue that. It.means your child becomes one of the familiar faces (and so do you), without the pressure of unscripted social interactions.

Do stuff with younger children. Ten year olds are much more welcoming than 14 year olds, in general. Find activities with a concentration of slightly younger children, where your son can be the confident, competent one.

Make things happen. I know a woman with children who find socialising hard. She did an open house invite every week for three months. Never told her children, just stayed quietly.home. Noone came. No one came. But it became part of the routine of weekly messages on the email list and, as people got used to registering it going by, gradually they did start coming, and now they have a huge social life, just seeded by that brave investment. I would focus that around minecraft/ warhammer/ whatever your son's geeky passion is, so likeminded people will gradually catch on.

Take your social opportunities where you find them: Join in with park meets,maybe try scouts or a martial arts class or something not specific to home edders. And when you can, be there to help him navigate and build the social skills he needs. That is probably the most important thing you can teach in his home ed.

Oh I know, go and volunteer in an old folks home together. Hang out, ask people their stories, play scrabble with them. Give him clear guidance about how to navigate that socially. They will be so happy to have company, they will help him learn. Win win!

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 07-Jul-15 11:20:10

Confidence and being out going is not our problem. Ds has friends from 9 to 19 outside of HE but we specifically wanted to join some groups so we could become part of the HE community and meet with others who are doing the same thing.
Ds really enjoyed the afternoon we had at a particular place and thought there were 1 or 2 children who he really got on with as well as some of the older children and I as far as I know I didn't offend anyone. Then when I emailed to see if the event was occurring again I was told they had decided to cut the numbers and as I wasn't a regular then not to come.

We have emailed over several groups to say we would be interested in joining but have not had any replies to any apart from 1 group that "starts" again in September but the contact for that group was at the event we were asked not to return to. We emailed to ask about the group starting in September and was told it was not running. But she would see.
Then it is advertised again asking for new people.

I know not all groups are like this but as they all in this area appear to be frequented by the same "gang" it is a case of just knowing where your not wanted.

streakybacon Tue 07-Jul-15 16:14:30

Oliversmum I can empathise with your experience. It can be very difficult to break into established groups when existing members are cliquey and rude - and a lot are. In those cases it's not just a matter of being confident and assertive if people are determined to be obstructive. Also, in some areas there's not a broad range of things going on in HE circles so you can't get yourself into the loop so easily. It sounds as though you've got a really grim lot, where you are sad.

olliezzz Wed 08-Jul-15 11:00:56

I HE my 15 year old son, with he help of a great tutor. It is hard but he is much happier. He is very difficult at times and is slightly autistic but never been diagnosed. Keep at at.

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