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Time to rethink options for GCSE - home schooling?

(6 Posts)
homerboy12 Fri 06-Jan-17 11:00:30

DD in Year 10, due to take GCSEs June 18. 2016 was a dreadful year for her, developed emetophobia/ocd resulting in lots of school being missed. Had great therapy and meds and on the mend; however on the mend, but not at school, struggling immensely with anxiety/depression re being at school, environment, gcse worries, and 'girl' friendship groups not including her. She is desperately unhappy.
So as parents, is it time to rethink other options? For the sake of 14 months and potential £1200 (cost to do 4 gcses home schooled /online) should we research further?
Is it legal to take her out and home school?
Has anyone experience of this online resource (Oxford open learning)
Thanks in advance

Saracen Fri 06-Jan-17 13:53:59

Well if it isn't legal then you've just ventured into an entire board set up to promote criminal activity. grin Welcome to the dark side.

However, I absolutely don't mean to make light of your daughter's misery. If, in your view, school is at the root of your daughter's problems then freeing her from that environment is bound to result in a dramatic change for the better, and you should move heaven and earth to do that ASAP. Another year and a half is too long to wait to get your daughter out of there. She may not manage any exams if you leave her at school anyway, in which case she will have lost out in terms of her mental health AND her education.

It's true that things can get complicated with respect to exams when home educating, but on the flip side there are lots and lots of options for tackling this. If your dd is stressed about exams then you might be better postponing them altogether to take the pressure off, instead of working toward your original June 2018 deadline. It's only in school that the end of Y11 is significant. Once out of the school system you can be more flexible in terms of timing, which exams to do and how many and in what order etc.

If money is an obstacle then your daughter might want to do a few GCSEs at college at some stage. Some colleges will take 14-16 year olds; in fact some have a dedicated programme for this age group. If she's accepted onto a course then the funding is automatic. Or she can wait until after Y11 and do some GCSEs at college, either before or ion parallel with another course. They won't offer a huge range of subjects, so this may not be adequate for a very academic kid who is aiming for university. But a small handful could be enough to get onto a college course later on, or help tick employers' boxes.

Of course, exams aren't a requirement for all careers. My 17yo hasn't done any yet, and is likely to go in for a hands-on job where experience counts for more than qualifications. (She hasn't ruled out the possibility of doing GCSEs later if it turns out she needs them - she just isn't in any hurry to sit them "just in case".)

MarthaSF321 Fri 06-Jan-17 14:11:56

Can I join this page? MY DD 13 is in a similar position. Panic attacks in school, rubbish attendance, Missing lessons.
Currently under CAHMS for anxiety.
She does however like school and doesn't want to leave..
It would be an easier decision if she was younger, but options and GCSEs are looming and most of the home ed things going on in our area seems to be for younger kids.
My DD would struggle to knuckle down to any study at home as she's very easily distracted ..
We are looking at a 14-19 college for a fresh start and different environment for year 10 in September as an alternative to her current school.

homerboy12 Fri 06-Jan-17 14:26:27

Thanks both for response. Absolutely her health and mind are my priority. Trouble is other people have a stigma re 'children must go to school' attitude. Even family members!
But, you are right, this will not be the end of the rest of her life and parents that love and care are all that she needs smile
Looking into oxford home learning (friends daughter currently doing so) - review options this week.

Cornucopia55 Wed 18-Jan-17 09:00:45

In a rush now, so just a quickie on taking exams from home education. The HE Exams wiki at explains how people go about it, case studies, and what your options are for each subject. Don't sign up to expensive distance learning courses in a hurry as there are various options to consider. For instance, for many people, an online maths course like CGP Maths Buster or Conquer Maths will work just as well as a distance learning course - maybe better as there is no waiting for marking. For essay subjects, a course or tutor can add more value. However, many of us work for qualifications using new a good textbook and free online resources. This works especially well for maths and sciences as answers are either right or wrong at GCSE level, and marking is fairly easy using the mark schemes provided with textbooks and past papers. The wiki will give you plenty of information on how it works. There are very supportive HE Exams communities on Yahoogroups and facebook.
On the other hand, don't deregister until you are sure as it may be possible for your LA to come up with some other options which could help. Once you deregister, you're pretty much on your own, but while she's still enrolled, the school has a duty of care towards her. If she needs any exam accommodations like extra time etc, these are much easier to access while enrolled.

Bluemoon49 Wed 25-Jan-17 16:25:21

For the sake of 14 months and potential £1200 (cost to do 4 gcses home schooled /online)

Bear in mind that 5 GCSEs A-C (or 9-5) including English and Maths is considered by colleges, universities and employers to be the basic minimum required. Obviously specific courses/more competitive universities may require more or certain subjects. It depends what your DD wants to do in the future but don't be so quick to narrow down her options at such an early stage in her life.

I'm speaking as someone who took my own DD out of school when she was 12. She had depression and anxiety, really low attendance and hardly any friends and was, like your DD, desperately unhappy. She says one of her biggest regrets in life is leaving school and she feels that her life has been harder because of this. She has just got a place at university but she is 20 and it has been a very long, hard road of emotional and academic struggle for her and it has cost me a fortune because doing GCSEs and A levels outside the school system is tough, or at least we found it tough. As Cornucopia55 said, you really are on your own once you deregister and we found it very hard to access help.

If she is 'on the mend' with therapy and medication, might it be worth trying to push through and finish school? Unfortunately in life there will always be difficult things to deal with and getting up every morning and maintaining decent attendance for work is a part of life that she will surely have to get used to at some point. Although it can seem like a good idea to pull your struggling child out of a place that causes them anxiety to give them a break from it all, I found that all this did for my DD was make her worse. She left the house less and less, didn't have many friends and her ability to deal with situations declined rapidly. School is tough for many people but so is work and life in general and school teaches you the extremely valuable skill of resilience.

I'm really not trying to scare you, I just thought I would give you the other side so you get a balanced argument. I think home ed can be a positive thing but you have to really work to make it that way - you have to put effort into making sure your DC don't become introverted and stay in the house all the time, you have to get them out and meeting up with other young people. It also costs a lot of money to complete GCSEs although there are ways to try and minimise the £1,400 the price for an online course? Bear in mind you will also have to pay fees to sit exams at a school as a private candidate, which can be high. Also if the subjects include coursework or practicals it gets very complicated and expensive. Best option may be to do IGCSEs, which have no coursework. It may be cheaper to buy the textbooks and make use of online resources, then just pay to sit the exams at a local school, rather than paying for a distance learning course.

Could you liaise with the school and discuss the possibility of going in part time or still being enrolled with the school to do the exams but agree that she doesn't need to go in? I never explored these options but I know someone who managed to arrange something like this. It might save you money on the exams. Talk to the school and the LA, see what is possible before you take the leap and cut yourself off completely.

Have you spoken to your DD about what exactly makes her anxious? Is it the school, the teachers, the students, the work? Does she have any other friends outside school?

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