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considering home ed.

(13 Posts)
Violet22 Mon 06-Jul-15 21:30:05

Just wondering about home ed as my 5 year old has not liked reception. He has special needs but not enough to warrant extra support, but enough to make him struggle and feel insecure at school. He is very quiet at school whereas at home he's very engaged and chatty and I can get much more out of him. I feel he's not really learning much at school but would learn much more at home.

However am worried about the social side, he does need to learn to be social and home ed could be very isolating for all of us. Am struggling to find info about local groups.

Also I feel he would never learn to be independent of me. He always has been quite a timid child and attached to me and if I had him with me all day, I wouldn't be helping him stand on his own two feet, or form relationships with others apart from me if you see what I mean.

How does anyone get round this? Does anyone have activities their children can go to without them.

I really want a half and half option, where he can go somewhere on his own to learn but be home ed some of the time. Not aire such an option exists.

ommmward Tue 07-Jul-15 07:50:36

Social side: Does not have to be with other home educators to start with. When my oldest hit five, most of our socialising was with people whose children were in school (so, weekends and holidays were crazy jam packed, and then they all,went back to school and we collapsed in a heap!!). We also continued to meet up with younger siblings of people we already knew where the oldest was now in school. That worked really well, and might do for you if your son has some mild special needs. There are all sorts of activities aimed at pre schoolers which are often happy to have a five year old there. Certainly Montessori nurseries often go cheerfully on until the sixth birthday if you are looking for something part time and interim.

Independence. In my opinion, home ed builds genuine independence, because separation for parents happens on the child's timetable and within their comfort zone. Gradually, a child will start to amuse themselves while you are close by. Gradually gradually, they will start to trust the other adults you hang out with and, when ready, will start interacting with them and asking for help. And then, at some point, they will be totally happy to be left in the care of those other adults. It all happens imperceptibly and without fanfare, but I think it's a big part of where that famed confidence, self reliance and poise of he teens comes from.

Flexi school: It exists but is in the gift of the headmaster. My understanding is that, nowadays, it affects their attendance records and hence their Ofsted, so it is less common than it used to be. But it costs nothing to research and ask smile

Mehitabel6 Tue 07-Jul-15 07:56:53

Have you helped him integrate at school - had children around to play and encouraged friendships?
You could ask about flexi school but it all comes down to finance and the Head.

Artandco Tue 07-Jul-15 08:00:52

Are you not educating at home anyway? Schools should only account for around 50% of education imo and it's up to parents to do the rest at home

If you haven't been I would maybe try that first alongside school before completely taking him out. Then school can provide basics and socialisation, and you can do the actual learning at home

Saracen Tue 07-Jul-15 08:18:48

I agree with ommmward. In the 11 years I have been HEing I have seen many kids who are glued to their parent's side. Given time, every single one of them grows into a confident young person. In some cases it takes years longer than society tells us is "right". But it does happen and it is painless.

One young man with special needs used to come to my house to be looked after along with his siblings once a fortnight. He was always with a parent or other trusted adult. I would have sworn he would never leave the nest unless pushed. Then one day at the age of 13 he announced, "I think I'll walk home today." I picked my jaw up off the floor and somehow refrained from saying, "What, YOU? Alone? Are you sure??" Then I checked with his parents that it was OK, refreshed his memory about the route, and lent him a map. Off he went. It was half a mile, a long way for a lad who disliked physical exertion. Less than two years later he was roaming this medium-sized city by himself, taking buses and going to unfamiliar places without a second thought.

Saracen Tue 07-Jul-15 09:14:39

Artandco, the idea you describe (often called "afterschooling") appeals to many people in theory, and actually works well for some people. But I think it is problematic, and I'd be especially wary of doing it with a child who has special needs. Here are some of the reasons.

If the education at school is ineffective, it isn't just useless. It's worse than useless. Here are some of the lessons a child may learn from being at school when much of the material goes over his head and he doesn't achieve the standard age-linked targets:

- I'm stupid.
- I don't try hard enough.
- There's something wrong with me.
- Maths/reading/writing is impossible for me. I may as well not bother.
- Learning is unpleasant.
- I'm defined by how well I achieve at school, and that means I'm a failure as a person.

No doubt some kids are resilient enough to let all that wash over them and remain unaffected by it. But I wouldn't risk my child's emotional well being by sending her daily into a learning environment which is ill-suited to her needs and just hoping for the best. Of course many academic skills can be taught in a few hours at home. But the painful lessons above, once properly learned, may take years to unteach.

A child who finds school difficult is likely to be tired and unmotivated to do more after a day at school.

As for socialising at school, yes, some kids are willing to put up with many hours at school spent not socialising in order to enjoy themselves with friends at breaktimes. But given the choice, many kids who dislike the academics at school would say that price is too high. They'd rather give school a miss altogether, and socialise at the park or neighbours' houses instead, where they get to spend the whole time actually playing. You could give the child a choice of whether to go to school once he has tried both school and home ed. Nearly all home ed parents do this, in the case of older children at least. Only the child can say whether the benefits of school-as-he-experiences-it outweigh the benefits of home-ed-as-he-experiences-it.

Scout19075 Tue 07-Jul-15 12:20:02

SmallBoy (aged 5 and finishing Reception) has never been to nursery, regular /formal child care or school. He is, as my mom calls him, a happy chappy with lots of friends and a self confidence and self belief that comes from having been at home where I, and MrScout, have allowed him the space to try things when he's ready. He does activities with me (for example, science club where I lead him and his friends in experiments), without me (swimming lessons and Little Church come to mind) and ones where I'm on the outside (for example, forest school -- he goes off with the leader /other children but I'm there to help and provide support if requested/needed by either the leader or SB). He has friends who are like him (never been to school), who have been to nursery but not school, friends who were in school but taken out and friends who are in formal care and/or school. In this mix of children there are a mix of personalities, clinginess, confidence, etc. and I don't necessarily think you would be able to tell which child was which if they were all together (as evidenced by SB's birthday party). I personally don't believe all children will be or need to be ready to be completely independent at the same time (SB's friend was running off to school from her settling days but her little brother is a mess about it and doesn't want to go -- neither child is right or wrong, it's their personality and feelings about the situation). SB is happy to go off on his own to his classes/clubs, to friends houses to play without me, etc.,but he's equally happy to have me hang around.

Violet22 Tue 07-Jul-15 15:55:42

Is food for thought. Atando, of course I am educating at home already but I struggle to fit everything in. Time is limited after school and I have exercises from ot to do as well as reading, homework, maths and literacy games that I make up. As well as having time to just let him have fun and be a child. What Saraceen says is spot on his self esteem is very low which is why he's having issues and not coping in large group. I asked about part time but got the impression they're not keen because of attendance figures may try again.

streakybacon Tue 07-Jul-15 21:41:05

Tbh Violet, mainstream school, without support is probably the worst place for socialisation and social development for a child with special needs. My son with autism and adhd had a bloody awful time in school, no matter how much effort we put in, both socially and academically, and only started making social progress after we deregistered at the beginning of Y5. Social development happens best at the child's pace, and HE allows that to come naturally.

Remember that if you do HE, you can do it your own way and won't have to also do the school stuff that he's finding so difficult. I expect, as many do, that it won't be as time-consuming as you think.

Plus, once he's more settled in himself, there probably will be activities he can go to without you (or taken and left), because he'll be more able to cope than he is without school lurking in the background and making him stressed.

DarkEvilMoon Wed 08-Jul-15 11:27:23

Educating at home in addition to full time school can also lead to the situation where the child gets bored in school and thinks that learning is pointless. Which is a nightmare to try to unpick. Especially when the child is also bullied for being a "know it all" or just bright.

DarkEvilMoon Wed 08-Jul-15 11:34:36

I agree with streakybacon <nods head vigorously>

I wish I had removed ds from school a long time ago to HE. Ds socialises outside of school well because he socialises with people he has common interests with and can relate to better. It is this sort of social interaction that has really developed his social skills. Being in school has stunted his growth in this area as he doesn't understand why the children mess about in class, he is called a geek, it is a bad thing to have a good work ethic and why he is generally excluded and manipulated because he is different. How do you develop social skills in that sort of environment. His hobby he chats about everything, has learnt the importance of team work and working together and a whole range of stuff he just doesn't get in the class room environment.
School can be a good environment for some, but for others it is not really the most beneficial.

Once he is no longer stressed or feeling pressurised to develop social skills, you can put him into social environments to develop which are not school. Things I have considered when looking into HE and the social side = shared interest groups (hobbies/science club/ etc), HE groups <insert a whole heap of other possible activities.

pooter Wed 08-Jul-15 11:35:12

Finding local home educators might really help you - facebook is brilliant for this. Just search for 'Home education your county' and see what pops up. Summer tends to be quiet, but all you need is one family to point you in the direction of all the local goings on. We have been doing it for 3 years, and its the best thing i could have done for my children (one 8yr old ASD boy, one 5 year old sociable girl). There's a facebook group for flexi schoolers too. If you approach the right school it can be done. good luck.

AngelDog Wed 08-Jul-15 21:12:31

My 5 y.o. would not yet go to any activity without me (apart from trips out with DH or grandparents). But we've recently moved & have a great bunch of kids who play together after church (I go with DS), a home ed group and one family of home edders we've made friends with. In that time he's gone from completely unable to leave my side and panicking if I go around a corner of the building for 10 seconds to playing with some of the other kids and not minding when I've gone inside to get a drink for DS2. It's been great to see his social skills with adults developing too.

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