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Can you tell me how you manage the social aspect please?

(14 Posts)
googleisnotyourfriend Wed 08-Jul-15 12:43:27

I'd be really grateful for any feedback. I know socialising is probably the most frequently asked question re home education and there is always a quick response that its very sociable. Can you tell me what a typical week would involve for you re time with other children please? How regular and reliable are the contact arrangements?

And in case you have any thoughts on what I am considering....

I am considering home schooling for a short period until we find a suitable new school for DS1 - about to finish reception. (It would not suit me to do it long term. I don't think it would be good for any of us. I love being a SAHM but I also look forward to working again.)

We wish to move house to a new area and it has been impossible to secure a school place. We are not convinced by the school place that has been offered to us. Time is now not on our side with summer hols approaching.

We have the option of waiting for a place to come up and then moving at fairly short notice. But transition to Y1 at his current school is not going to be easy for DS so it feels cruel to put him through that, then move him. So I am considering moving first and home schooling while we sort a school place.

This would have the added benefit of allowing DS time to acclimatise to new area before coping with a new school. DS will be devastated to leave school and will miss the company.

I have no idea how I would manage as I have a 1 year old and I'm not keen on putting him in childcare. I can't manage DS1's homework as it is! DS2 is not a very routine napper either. This is probably my biggest hurdle.

Saracen Wed 08-Jul-15 13:29:20

Partly it depends what your agenda is.

Are you expecting your son to be lonely and want to be with other children? What situations does he like: highly structured ones, just mucking around and playing? Big groups, small groups, one to one? With older kids, younger kids, the same age or all ages?

Are you concerned about the development of his actual social skills?

Saracen Wed 08-Jul-15 13:37:00

Also do you have any sense of how long he may be waiting for a school, based on where he is on the waiting list and how much movement there is in your area?

googleisnotyourfriend Wed 08-Jul-15 18:21:37

We have a fall back school with places now. Its not ideal. We need to decide a cut off point for waiting for something else to come up. One or two terms I'd have thought.

Good questions. I haven't entirely thought this through yet.

I'm more concerned about him being lonely than his social skills. I think he loves young company. We live beside his best friends. They are in our house a lot. He'll be losing that too.

Despite problems with school he absolutely loves going.

Hence wondering how active home schooling networks are.

Nigglenaggle Wed 08-Jul-15 19:28:24

Probably the school holidays is not the ideal time to start as what's going on may not be typical. I also think that it's very much area dependant. In our area, the summer holidays are often quiet and then things kick off in September with a flurry of activity following the annual Not Back to School picnic. This can be heavily attended by scores of families grin I mainly commented to tell you not to worry about the 1 yr old. My youngest has been tagging along with his brother since he was 8mths and it's relatively common for people to bring babies. Many of our families have four or more children and it wouldn't be very home eddy to leave the littles in childcare smile If there are events that aren't great for toddlers, it's likely that your eldest should be able to zip off without you leaving you able to concentrate on toddler control. This has been my experience anyway. Obviously as with everything with parenting, some days work better than others....

Nigglenaggle Wed 08-Jul-15 19:33:36

Also for the social aspect don't forget non home ed stuff - scouts, Razzmatazz, swimming lessons etc. This might work better if the arrangement is temporary as the friendships will be easier to carry over once he starts at a school.

googleisnotyourfriend Wed 08-Jul-15 20:32:50

Thanks for the reply. I do wonder how I'd teach DS1 anything. We tried a reading book tonight and most of it was read with the baby climbing over us and loudly trying to get attention.

Without wanting to stereotype home ed or the city we plan on moving to (but clearly doing it anyway!), I think it should have an active home ed scene. Fairly bohemian eclectic population. I've asked to join an online group which should tell me more.

In terms of events, do you have weekly meet ups to play, do your DC ever work with other children? How often do you see the same children?

Good point re extra curricular activities. He would be too tired at moment but I guess if he wasn't at school he'd have more energy. Possible special needs just make it tricky finding the right activities

Nigglenaggle Wed 08-Jul-15 21:00:59

The number of groups we attend varies massively week to week, but probably averages at 3 a week, which includes some one off activities, and we have one group that meets occasionally. It's very daunting when you start I think, because it takes a little while to figure out which you can feasibly attend and also to find all of them physically - hope you have satnav! There is a library group that meets to work quietly together once a week, although we don't go - DS1 would fidget too much but if it suited him I wouldn't worry about taking DS2 - there's a children's play area. One of our groups is a very laid back educational group - everyone brings a themed activity and sets them up, but the children only join in if they feel like it and also spend a bit of time chasing each other round the tables grin. Some people's heaven, others hell! We do a bit more sitting down crafty stuff at home with DS1 now - a few months makes all the difference to the behaviour of the little one. Also lots can be done on the move, letters and numbers can be spotted while out and about, we talk about we're doing this because it's this time and DS1 likes to look at my watch and try to work it out, that sort of thing.

Nigglenaggle Wed 08-Jul-15 21:03:45

We do see a few families regularly, and DS1 has play dates with one child he gets on well with. The age range of the events varies and some of them turn out more social for me than the kids, but it's good for them to meet all ages I think.

streakybacon Wed 08-Jul-15 21:24:02

For most of the home edders I know, the biggest socialising problem is in deciding which groups and activities to take part in and which ones to leave. In most areas there is SO much going on, it's hard to be involved in all of it - especially so for younger children as there's a lot of play-based events and workshops. A lot of my friends say the hardest part is finding time to stay home and do some academic work wink.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-Jul-15 21:35:01

I think it is good to look first of all what is available in your area in terms of H.ed groups. As you will be in a new area does your child have friends already, or will you be starting from scratch?
If the latter you are best looking at organised events and building up a friendship group from this.
We don't have a very active group here so my dd has mostly schooled friends and those she met at extra curricular activities.
I know some people find Rainbows/cubs etc good places for their dc to socialise.
We are coming to the end of our H.ed journey now, but I think how often you meet with friends depends on your dc personality and what they enjoy doing.
I think you find a good balance through trial and error tbh.
I'm convinced the same applies when considering the work they will do, what subjects and how often.
If nothing else I have learned there is no right or wrong way, just what suits you.
A slight consideration. You plan for this to be temporary, don't be at all surprised if you are still doing it several years down the line grin It really can be the best form of education for many children.

Saracen Wed 08-Jul-15 23:15:03

Maybe you're moving to my town, google! It matches your description, and sure enough it is crawling with home ed families, and there is no shortage of activities which young kids can join in. This wasn't always the case; I think the internet has made a big difference in helping people get together. Here's what my family do:

Monday, play in adventure playground with HE kids for 2 hours
Wednesday, HE sport session followed by playing with other kids - total 2.5 hours
Thursday, park play with HE kids for about 3.5 hours followed by special needs drama group
Friday, HE chess club followed by pub with big kids' play area - total 3-4 hours, sometimes followed by HE craft club for a couple more hours
Saturday, special needs sports group for 1.5 hours

plus playing with neighbour kids and playdates with HE friends and the odd group educational trip. There are other things we don't do because it would feel like too much, or the times conflict. She wasn't very sociable at five and used to just come along to her sister's stuff and watch. That has changed!

Monday play card games with other HE kids for 2 hours
Tuesday Minecraft with other HE kids for 2 hours, group guitar session with adults for one hour, martial arts with adults for 1.5 hours
Wednesday HE kids' band for 1 hour, adult choir 2.5 hours
Thursday martial arts with kids for 2 hours followed by martial arts with adults for 2 hours
Friday chess and pub for 3-4 hours
Saturday and Sunday various hobbies including camping, sailing, martial arts, other sports and monthly adult choirs

plus getting together with teen friends in town or online.

Not all kids need or want that much. I don't think my kids need it exactly, but without school in the picture they have time, and they enjoy it, so they may as well have fun!! As they get older, more of this is done without me. I take it in turns with other parents to take several children out, and my teen can go to most of her activities on the bus by herself.

With a few exceptions my kids don't enjoy doing educational activities alongside other children. We've tried things over the years, and will continue to do so. A few of them have been suitable but most aren't. So they play when they are with other kids.

googleisnotyourfriend Thu 09-Jul-15 16:49:27

These replies are so helpful. I'm really grateful. Sounds like a fantastic way to live. You're reminding me of how much I struggled with the idea of school in the first place. I firmly believe DS was getting a much better education being part of the real world. We used to do so much, now he spends his day in one place with an outing once a term.

I'm really reassured that it doesn't need to be lonely at all.

I've been impressed with the number of activities I've seen mentioned on the local forum i now have access to.

Just have to convince DH now!

Nigglenaggle Thu 09-Jul-15 21:47:43


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