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New Home Ed parent

(11 Posts)
user1471931469 Tue 23-Aug-16 07:19:08

I will be homeschooling my 9 year old daughter for the first time from September and just wanted to know if any other homeschool mums have any useful info, advice or resources to start us off on the right track.
Many Thanks

Saracen Tue 23-Aug-16 14:04:43

Hi Nicki and welcome! Congratulations on starting home education. That's very exciting.

Here are a few of my top tips.

Experiment to see what works best for your daughter and you. You don't have to stick with the approach you try first. Most families change tack a number of times as they learn what suits them. That is perfectly fine. If your daughter and you aren't enjoying it, try something else. There are lots and lots of ways to home educate.

For that reason, try to avoid spending too much money on any particular resource just at first. You might find that the lovely set of books you bought gathers dust on the shelf and looks down at you reproachfully, or worse yet you might feel you have to plough on with it even though your daughter has come to hate it. See what you can get from the library or borrow from other home ed families. Check out free samples and trial subscriptions.

Search out other home ed families who live near you. They can provide support and advice for you, educational opportunities for your daughter, and perhaps friends for both of you. Even if you don't get on with them or you find there is no group near enough, it's still worth being on a local Yahoo list or Facebook group so you can swap tips about local discounts and places worth visiting.

Above all, have fun!!!

nennyrainbow Tue 23-Aug-16 14:31:16

Hi Nicki
Just wanted to say hello as I am in a similar situation. Starting homeschooling in September for my 11 year old DS via Interhigh. ( technically not homeschooling as he is being taught online but the council classifies it as Home ed).

littlepinkmouseofsugar Wed 24-Aug-16 15:10:27

We're finally starting as well in Sept. We were planning on starting last Easter, but then school lured DC in with all of the end of school year fun and activities and it seemed easier to just finish naturally at the end of the school year.

I've joined a good half dozen local Facebook groups - we live near a couple of other counties so we can go over the border as such. There are loads of great Facebook groups with organised weekly meet ups and some groups organise group/school price bookings to places such as Legoland, Theatres, organised activities etc at discounted prices. Plus there are other Facebook groups/websites for science resources, lap books and all sorts depending on what interests you have.

Because we have another child staying at school and also a lot of extracurricular stuff after school, we'll prob be less flexible than a family with just one child or who is HE of all their children as we need to be home by 3pm.

In the first week of Sept we're going to at least one if not two local 'not back to school' picnics - hope to make some new friends. Might be worth seeing if there is similar in your area?

Also on our agenda the first week is to make a long list things to learn, do more of, explore etc. Plus DC would like to make a time table, although I suspect that will fall by the wayside quickly, but it will get them thinking maths wise how many hours in a day, how many hours there are minus meal times, extracurricular stuff, chores, cooking, picking up younger DC from school etc and what they want to achieve, what might or might not be practical to fit in, so not a bad exercise in itself re time management?

Also, DC is in Brownies and the badge book is a fab resource of ideas to look into, things to learn about, new skills to try; so that will be a good starting point for some things we want to do as well - with the added bonus of getting badges for learning!

So our child who will stay in school doesn't think it's all fun and no work at home and that they will miss out on fun, we'll do an hour most days of maths/literacy, or at least that's the initial plan...

Our DC is also 9 (10 soon) so at this point we'll do the national curriculum for maths/literacy, so that we can keep future options open - plan is to go to high school at this point, so we will in theory have 2 years at home.

Tinuviel Sat 27-Aug-16 11:35:05

Hi Nicki,

Are there any resources in particular that you are looking for? Over the years we have used Galore Park, Evan Moor, Currclick, Resource Mouse. If you want further details, just ask or PM me.

eddiemairswife Sat 27-Aug-16 11:49:40

Don't want to bring the wrath of home-schoolers down upon my back, but do LAs check on home-schoolers apart from the initial visit? And if not, why not?

Saracen Sat 27-Aug-16 17:26:23

Hi eddiemairswife! 😃

No, LAs shouldn't check up on home educating families as a matter of course, only if they have reason to believe there is a problem. The "initial visit" you mention is also not required.

The reason for this is that it is assumed that parents are competent and have their children's best interests at heart unless there's reason to believe otherwise. Similarly, Social Services doesn't carry out routine checks on all families in the country just in case their parenting is inadequate. SS stands by ready to intervene if any welfare problems come to their attention. In just the same way, the law says that the LA's role is to intervene in home education if a problem comes to their attention. This doesn't entail regular monitoring of every home educating family in the country!

What puzzles some people is this. Educators in school settings are doing a specialised and difficult job. They train for years, and are then inspected regularly. If parents are doing school at home, often with no formal training at all, surely we will often fail, and surely we should be inspected too?

The flaw in this reasoning is the assumption that home education closely resembles school and has the same pitfalls. It doesn't. Teacher training is largely irrelevant in a home ed setting, a fact which is almost universally acknowledged by teachers who become home educators. The most challenging aspects of school education are absent from home education. Most parents who remove children from school report that once they have found their feet, home ed is both easier AND more effective than school.

Put bluntly, IMO it's rather hard to get home education very wrong. Of the hundreds of HE families I have known, there are only a few where I thought the kids definitely would've been better off at school. Those few were in difficult and unusual circumstances.

Breast cancer in women is a significant problem. This is why we are meant to check ourselves and we are invited to regular screening at a certain age. Men also get breast cancer, but it is so rare in men that these routine preventive steps would be of negligible benefit to them.

Hope that helps explain it!

eddiemairswife Sat 27-Aug-16 17:52:58

Thankyou saracen. The reason I asked was that I was involved in an Appeal, where the child had been on a waiting list for three years and being home-educated in the meantime. The child could neither read nor write, but the mother only wanted one particular school, and refused any others. The Appeal was heard in absence, and I think the LA are now investigating the circumstances in case there are other factors. I just thought that if check-ups were in place problems could be picked up earlier.

Saracen Sat 27-Aug-16 21:20:07

Yes, of course it's hard to say what was going on in the case of one particular child we don't know. Presumably this was a fairly young child? If older, having only been out of school for three years, then s/he would have been taught to read and write by school before leaving... unless there were SENs.

At school it is fairly disastrous for a child to be unable to read and write. The curriculum is increasingly delivered through written materials and children are assessed based on their ability to produce legible quick writing. As early literacy takes on great importance and is emphasised so much at school, kids in school who haven't managed to pick it up must feel themselves to be failures, which compounds the problem.

But this problem really is an artefact of the school system, in particular of a school system which obsesses over early literacy. I doubt a Norwegian teacher would be shocked to encounter a seven year old who could not read. Nor would an experienced home educator. It isn't that we don't value literacy or see it as an essential skill which we want our children to acquire before they reach adulthood. It's that kids being educated outside the school system are not disadvantaged by tackling reading and writing later than average. Parents of children who read "late" often describe them acquiring this skill very quickly, so that within a year or two they are indistinguishable from early-reading peers.

It does strike me as a little odd that a parent would choose to send a non-reading child of seven or so into school where this becomes an issue. It isn't something I would do unless my child was determined to go to school immediately and couldn't be dissuaded from the idea. But the mere fact that the child hasn't been taught to read or write yet does not in itself constitute educational neglect.

eddiemairswife Sat 27-Aug-16 21:45:49

It was the mother who said in her appeal statement that the child could not read or write. Appeal for Y3 place. As I said the mother did not attend the Appeal, and seemed fixated upon one school in spite of other nearby schools having places. It just seemed that this child had slipped through the net. We live in one of the more deprived areas of the country; I reckon there are very few home-educated children in the LA. It generally comes up in Appeals when parents say they will have to home-educate if they don't get a place. Most don't.

Saracen Sun 28-Aug-16 00:29:06

Hmm, that seems to bear out your theory that there may not be many HE families in the area. The mum appears not to be in touch with people who can reassure her that home ed doesn't have to look like school and it needn't be a problem for a seven year old to be unable to read and write.

So now she's panicking and is telling the appeal panel, "This is a catastrophe. I'm letting my child down. S/HE IS SEVEN AND ILLITERATE and needs to be in school immediately so this problem can be fixed." This is the sort of thing which all her friends who have no understanding of home ed are likely to be telling her, and if she isn't in communication with home ed families then she's believing that.

This doesn't mean the education which she's giving her child is actually inadequate. Like the anxious parent of a baby who isn't sleeping through the night at the age of six months, she may be doing a perfectly good job while imagining it ought to be different because everyone says so.

If her LA has been involved, I hope they have at least pointed her toward local home ed groups so she has a chance to get some reassurance and support. There will be people in the next town if not in her own neighbourhood. For many years my own LA made a point of refusing to do this, despite repeated requests - pretty outrageous if you consider that the LA were criticising some families on the grounds that their children were "isolated". hmm

So yes, I think she may have slipped through the net, but not in the sense you mean.

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