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Weighing up the risks vs benefits of home ed

(11 Posts)
madmomma Fri 16-Dec-16 20:11:44

I'd appreciate any thoughts on my situation. My ds is in yr 1 and finding the work and expectations too much. Struggling a bit with writing tasks, failing at spelling and generally finding it heavy- going. However, he is a very 'school-shaped' child; gregarious, thrives on structure, very attatched to his peers... The teachers and school are nice enough but I hate the hothousey crap that the curriculum dictates; all the teaching to the test. So I'm torn. I feel he benefits from all the stimulation, social and mental, but he is quite an anxious child and I worry for his mental health long term.

NiceFalafels Fri 16-Dec-16 20:17:16

HE is very social. It might be that's he's not inspired or engaged at school. It's quite common to make bigger jumps when 8 or 9

Nigglenaggle Sat 17-Dec-16 14:49:38

Is your school very oversubscribed? If not you will have little to lose taking DS out for a while and seeing what happens. We find we have to set days where we just stay as a family- the constant social hub of home ed can get a bit much. But by all means your son can embrace it if he's so inclined. I'm not sure home ed is very unstructured these days (unless you mean that some days they spend the day playing with their friends but surely this is what a social child wants?) - our week follows a definite pattern, but we just have some flexibility to change it if something exciting or something that needs to be done comes up.
I think you are right to be worried about mental health. Current government policy goes against most of what we know about childrens health and education. It's awful. I feel like we are sleepwalking into a mental health crisis. I worry about my friends children in school and so do their parents.

madmomma Sat 17-Dec-16 18:13:48

His year group is half empty so he'd have no trouble going back to school, but the problem is my ds is in the year below and hers is full. I wouldn't leave her in school if I took ds out so there's a big risk she might not get back in. She is the sort of kid who is just happy to do whatever, which is lucky.

madmomma Sat 17-Dec-16 18:15:16

I've a meeting with the deputy head on Monday to ask them what they're going to do to protect the children's mental health. The school is lovely but even lovely schools still have to meet the targets. It's such a mess.

SisterViktorine Sat 17-Dec-16 18:21:31

Do you have any alternatives? Small independent school etc?

Would it be more worth finding out why he is struggling and starting some really good intervention rather than taking him out? When is his birthday?

madmomma Sat 17-Dec-16 22:28:14

No small schools around here and no way we could afford private. I don't know what intervention would help really, but I'd certainly try anything. I'm going to ask the deputy's advice on how best to support him. He's basically struggling because the yr 1 curriculum is too hard for him. He's October born, and very mature so he has that advantage, plus there are only 15 in the class

Saracen Sat 17-Dec-16 22:30:13

My older child was probably as "school-shaped" as they come. But I still didn't think the school environment was the best place for her. I made it my mission when HEing her to give her what I thought she might otherwise "miss out on" from school. For example, since she was very sociable, I got her together with other kids every day for at least a few hours. If there aren't other HE children in your area who are easy to visit, you might still arrange this in other ways. If you go to a local park immediately after school on a regular basis you will often encounter the same kids there. You could do clubs. If your son's school has an after-school club ( = childcare for working parents), could you afford to send him there a few afternoons a week? You could invite a school friend round on a regular basis.

As for structure, many families have plenty of structure to their HE day. You can have as much or as little as you like - and the bonus of home ed is that you can construct the schedule to suit your son, rather than it being imposed on him regardless of whether the details of it are right for him. You can schedule snacks for a time when he's likely to be hungry, exercise for a time when he's likely to be bouncy, chilling out for a time when he's likely to be overstimulated, reading for a time when he's likely to be calm and focused.

Just because your son is happy at school, that doesn't mean he couldn't be at least as happy out of school. Many families start off by removing an unhappy child from school while leaving siblings in school because "they are happy there". Very often, the siblings soon ask to be home educated too. They may not have been thoroughly miserable at school, but they see HE as an even better deal.

I do think that the best way to find out if HE will work for your family is to try it. Given that the main obstacle to this is the possibility that your dd will lose her school place, since she doesn't hate school you could leave her there for the time being. You didn't mention any immediate concerns for her well-being at school, so it wouldn't do any harm for her to finish off Reception. Six or seven months should give you time to decide whether HE is the way to go.

littleacceb Tue 24-Jan-17 20:35:40

Similar thoughts here - DS is doing brilliantly in Y1 at school but absolutely melts down at home about the slightest thing, and doesn't want to engage with any of the homework expected. He's just so exhausted by it all.

The thought of his reaction to any additional pressure re exams and this stupid bloody phonics test makes me feel sick. Also, I feel sad at missing out on so much of his life so soon. I feel merely functional as a parent. The teachers get all his wonder and joy.

DH can't get past the risk that we'll mess him up for life - socially, emotionally, economically. And because we're having problems with DS's after-school behaviour, DH thinks I won't be able to cope with him all day every day.

Saracen Wed 25-Jan-17 08:21:26

littleacceb, could you do a deal with your partner: try HE for the rest of the current school year to give your son a break and then consider whether to return him to school? If you're right in thinking that school stress is causing your son's exhaustion and frustration at home, I'd predict a transformation in him when that is lifted off his shoulders.

That might be dramatic enough for your partner to decide that giving him what he needs NOW is a priority and the rest can sort itself out later. Or he might see that some of his fears have eased already. For instance, your son might have found a friend outside of school or may seem on a more even keel emotionally.

Velvetbee Wed 25-Jan-17 20:12:47

My DD was like your son Little, an exhausted, irrational heap by the end of each school day. We took her out at the end of y1 and she flourished in HE (with the odd blip in her teenage years). She's 17 and at college now. Her older brother came out at the same time and was also HE until 16. He's off to uni this year. Despite my best efforts we didn't manage to ruin them in any way.

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