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Should I HE my 7yo?

(35 Posts)
PerpetuallyConfused Tue 10-Oct-17 23:59:41

Backstory, will try and keep it short.

DD is very bright, academically advanced, self assured, confident, independent. Also what some have called "emotionally immature", clingy and a home bird. I don't think she's "emotionally immature". She is a young 7 yo though. Still plays with her dolls etc.

She had what seemed at the time to be a disastrous start to school life at our local state school resulting in us taking her out after two weeks in reception. We then registered her as HE as kept her out of school until a place in a private school became available at the end of the reception year.

She had 2 1/4 wonderful years in the lower school. Really idyllic. Lovely teachers, amazing HT. All in all a very comfortable existence for her.

Now she's in the upper school in Year 3 and I just feel like it's all going to shit.

I mean, on paper, it's really not that bad. But I feel like the pressure on all of us for the children to be there maybe isn't worth what she's currently getting back from school.

The days are long. Class starts at 8am and finishes at 3.50. 30 mins a week homework for maths, 30 mins for English plus spelling practice. I'm constantly running to a tight timetable where the DCs just don't seem to have time to breathe, think, play. I've just been told DS in Yr 1 should be doing his (written) spelling practise 5 times a week. On top of his 10 min a night reading. He has to keep to the same school hours as DD due to logistics.

DD loves most of her lessons. There's one lesson she's been in tears about. Something she should be fantastic at but she just can't work at the pace that is required to get anything of much worth down. She's slow at everything she does. So tonight she's crying because she lost the class a 'point' for making them all late for games. So then her friends start having a go at her.

Socially she's the sort of delightful child to get on with everyone on a superficial level but I just don't know if she's actually got any friends. She says she spends a lot of time on her own looking for people. That her 'best friend' is bullying her and she's sick of it. This is a long standing issue that basically this friend can be a mardy so and so and if she's in a bad mood or has had enough of DD she'll be curt and sarcastic and just not very nice. I don't know if that's bullying. A lot of the girls who she would say are her friends are now growing up faster than her, telling her she's playing with baby toys etc.

I'm feeling so deflated for her. She loves probably about 80% of school life. But the other 20% is causing her genuine heart ache. I feel like actually she's just not made of the mould they want. And until she fits that mould, I'm not sure it's going to work.

And then there's the money. What's the point? If she's not happy?

If it was just her I would perhaps more seriously consider HEing. But her DS would then want to be at home. But he his much better off in his lovely little pre-prep. I don't want to deprive him of that.

I don't know what I'm asking really. I'm probably tired and emotional and just sick of the whole school thing being really draining on all of us. Am I over reacting? Should HE be a last resort only?

MrsOverTheRoad Wed 11-Oct-17 00:43:40

She is a young 7 yo though. Still plays with her dolls etc.

That's not a young 7...that's a normal 7.

Honestly OP...it sounds as if she'd be better in a less pressured environment. Private schools are academically pushy and some children do find it takes a toll.

Is there a decent state school? I'd be loathe to take her out of school when she loves 80% of her day.

Most children have some tricky areas to deal with.

For your DD, it seems that her peers are overly mature. And I have two girls older than yours so I think I'm qualified to say that...at 7, playing with dolls is normal. The thing is though that some will pretend that they don't...they put on an act of being older in order to cope in a world which is for the most part, not child friendly.

I would be looking for a very good state school and in the meantime, making an appointment with her teacher to discuss the bullying.

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 08:01:34

Thanks Mrs.

The local schools aren't great tbh. And the bits about her current school she loves are the things she won't get at the local state. Science lab, DT block, computer suite etc.

I think she may be unlucky with the mix of girls in her year. There's not much that can be done about that.

I'll keep an eye on the upset about her friend. I don't know if it's just normal playground stuff. And complaining about this child would have possible repercussions due to who she is. Not that that's a lesson to teach my DD.

AdalindSchade Wed 11-Oct-17 08:04:08

How are you teaching her resilience if you keep chopping and changing for her?
How bad could reception have been for you to take her out after just 2 weeks?!
Seems like you won't be happy with any setting so by all means don't inflict any school environment on her if you don't want her to have to experience one but that doesn't seem like the right response to me.

cheesypastatonight Wed 11-Oct-17 08:05:19

The homework sounds perfectly normal for state or private. My 6 year old gets similiar. Sounds like you don't want the stress of it. Everything you describe sounds normal and gets have to find their own way. My 10 year old plays with dolls. Not sure why you think that's an issue at 7!

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 08:09:45

That is something I'm keen to avoid, yes. Although like many families who think about HE I'm torn between not teaching her to give up but also not letting her young life be wasted on trying to conform to other people's standards.

But we're not there yet. I was feeling very emotional yesterday. She enjoys large chunks of school. So maybe HE just needs to be in my mind for if and when it really does get too much.

Reception was genuinely attrocious and I'm happy we made that decision. She very quickly developed a deep fear of going to school and it was academically pointless anyway. It was just totally unnecessary for her to go through such stress at that age.

Hopefully this is just first term wobbles. For both of us!

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 11-Oct-17 08:10:30

I have no idea if you should home ed your daughter or not but the thing that stood out from your post for me was the willingness to just give up on things. How can reception be so bad that after 2 weeks you gave up? She likes her school but because you 'think' year 3 will be harder you want to remove her. The amount of homework seems normal for a private school, even some state schools will set that much at that age. If she works at a slow pace in a lesson and then is upset that her classmates are annoyed with her for being late to games that is a talking to the teacher issue not a quoting the while education system issue.

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 08:12:18

I don't think it's an issue cheesy - I was playing dolls houses until at least 12! But her friends comment on her choice of toys. And I often hear "my DD doesn't play with toys anymore. She just likes her iPad" type comments.

I don't think the comments upset her. She's very self assured. But we've had a lot of tears this term already so I do wonder if these sort of 'little' things build up.

BertrandRussell Wed 11-Oct-17 08:12:38

Frankly, if you decided that reception was "academically pointless" after 2 weeks, I'm a bit surprised that you are now complaining about a school being too academic!

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 08:14:28

No, it's not too academic. Certainly not. It's just long days, a big step up in responsibility and she's very young and finding it a struggle.

MrsOverTheRoad Wed 11-Oct-17 11:23:56

They all find it hard OP. It does sound like you're catastrophising a bit. Saying it's all going to shit is a bit dramatic...though you DO need to get a handle on the bullying thing.

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 14:21:53

You're totally right Mrs. Thank you for your good sense!!

It's just the tears every night over something or other about school. Is wearing me down and got we questioning everything. Hopefully all that's needed is half term break.

I will see if I can get more specific details about the bullying and talk to the school.

crazycrofter Wed 11-Oct-17 21:09:06

Just to say - we took ds out in year 4 and he was initially happier. He did year 5 and 6 at home and there were lots of good times - but also lonely times where he missed the company of friends, times where he clashed a bit with his dad, times when he found 1 to 1 too intense. He's now in year 7 and I would have said it's much better - until today which was a bad day. He struggles with not fitting in, being made fun of etc.

I honestly think some kids just struggle more with life than others. We're not going back to home ed unless something really drastic happens as he's enjoying a lot of the lessons, some of the sport, the reward system etc. But I have no doubt there will be many more difficult days ahead - as there were with home ed.

One of the problems raised by having taken him out before is the expectation that we change things if they're bad. That's not always possible or even ideal. I've told him today we need to work through things. Some things will get better on their own over time. Others will need some intervention.

I don't know if that helps but it's just our experience!

MrsOverTheRoad Wed 11-Oct-17 22:41:33

She sounds tired too...is she sleeping well?

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 22:44:27

Crazy thank you so much. That has been really helpful to read.

Life will sometimes be difficult. Even for our little cherubs. I guess it's unavoidable and also necessary.

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 22:49:38

Possibly not. She's quiet in bed for 11-11.5 hrs but I think she has a lot in her head and takes a while to wind down.

She has asked to report her friend for bullying but I had told her she needs to have a few regular examples before it would be appropriate. Today it was discovered the friend took some of DDs things (stuff she needs for lessons) and hid them. DD is annoyed that this girls thinks she can go around doing this. The girl got told off - to the extend that she cried. Then promptly accused DD of moving her water bottle.

Stargirl82 Wed 11-Oct-17 23:01:00

We are only 5 weeks into the term. Have you addressed any issues with class teacher, head or such like? We are here to help and would be quite concerned if a child in my class wasn't enjoying school and would happily meet with parents to discuss.

MrsOverTheRoad Wed 11-Oct-17 23:01:30

You need to speak to her teacher about this child immediately...not wait!

corythatwas Thu 12-Oct-17 00:28:44

PerpetuallyConfused Wed 11-Oct-17 08:12:18
"I don't think it's an issue cheesy - I was playing dolls houses until at least 12! But her friends comment on her choice of toys. And I often hear "my DD doesn't play with toys anymore. She just likes her iPad" type comments."

So how do you think this will be different for her if you HE? Is it because you have your mind set on HE groups with children you know are more open and tolerant? Presumably you do expect her to have a social life with her peers?

Not saying you shouldn't HE; that might be an excellent decision. But is the social side likely to be that different?

Saracen Thu 12-Oct-17 09:12:29

@corythatwas "So how do you think this will be different for her if you HE? Is it because you have your mind set on HE groups with children you know are more open and tolerant? Presumably you do expect her to have a social life with her peers?

Not saying you shouldn't HE; that might be an excellent decision. But is the social side likely to be that different?"

There IS a different feel to home educated kids' relationships. The difference is something many parents observe soon after taking their children out of school. It's difficult to pin down the reasons why this might be, but I do have a few theories.

HE kids are usually in mixed-age groups, so there isn't any expectation that all should be at a similar stage. My eleven year old always brings a stuffed toy to the home ed group. While it's true that most other 11yos there don't do so, nobody bothers to think about her age all the time, so she doesn't stand out as she would in a Y7 class. If the other 11yos don't want to play with stuffed toys (they often do!), she plays with 8yos instead. No one finds this odd. She even enjoys showing her toys off to the 3yos, and revels in their admiration. The kids also take their cue from the 14yos and the adults, who, though they may not have a deep and genuine interest, politely admire the toys, discuss their own childhood favourites, and mention the ones they still take to bed.

Out of school, children don't generally spend a huge amount of time with a fixed group of other children. They mix with various sets of people. That means they don't have to live or die socially by the approval of one group. They don't need to fear ostracism. So it's less necessary to jockey for status within the group by pushing others down or out, for example by taunting them for playing with dolls. I don't say that never happens among HE kids, only that it's much less of an issue.

(When I was ten, there was a lad up the road with whom I would play sometimes in the neighbourhood, but whom I ignored as much as possible during school hours. I knew that associating with a child who was the butt of others' jokes would bring ridicule on me too. I couldn't risk being picked on at school, where I had to spend 30 hours a week. This instinct for self-preservation was so deeply ingrained that I never consciously noticed what I was doing. Only as an adult did I notice it, and realise how hurtful my behaviour must have been. The other neighbourhood kids also accepted him, probably because they were different ages and went to different schools, so there would be no repercussions for them if they associated with a child who talked at length about subjects which interested only himself and drooled when excited.)

Frequent nastiness and teasing isn't normal among happy kids, though it may be normal for kids-at-school, who develop behaviours in response to their environment. I think we are too ready to believe that the school experience equals the experience of childhood. There are some very particular challenges which school brings. Steve Biddulph, author of "Raising Boys" and "Raising Girls", goes so far as to say "Same-aged peer groups that stay together for long periods of time are not a natural phenomenon, and are nearly always dysfunctional. We need our young girls to also have relationships with aunties and other adults, and children of different ages, so that peer group influence is less important."

Junglefowl Thu 12-Oct-17 09:22:59

Are you drawn to the idea of HE otherwise? I would work out if that's what you'd prefer irrespective of how school is going and talk to local groups to get to know others doing it to find out more?
I always felt it might be really good for our children with the right group but I like how ours are doing st school and from my very limited experience they have learnt incomparably more than a friend doing HE but that might be more down to her approach to it so very individual

corythatwas Thu 12-Oct-17 10:03:24

"Out of school, children don't generally spend a huge amount of time with a fixed group of other children. They mix with various sets of people. That means they don't have to live or die socially by the approval of one group."

See that is not my experience of schooling. After-school activities (drama groups, wildlife societies, outdoor sports), and simply mixing with the children of relatives and friends and neighbours, mean most children I know spend a huge amount of time with children of different ages and with children who do not attend their own school or school year.

My best friend when I was at school was in a different school year from me. We may not have socialised much at school (different lunch breaks), but we met up after school every day. I also played with the neighbours' children who ranged from 5 years older than me to 3 years younger.

Dd made friends with all sorts of children, some older, some much younger, through drama group (and is still in touch with some of them as an adult). She also made friends from the babies and toddler group I attended (which had mixed ages as families had more than 1 child and people kept coming and going), and from the halfterm activities she attended.

If being schooled means you lock yourself in the box for all those hours you are not actually in school, then fair enough. I don't actually know anyone who does that.

But, as I said, HE may well be a great thing for the OP to do. It's not an argument against HE. Just not really an argument against schooling either, as far as I am concerned.

MrsMerryFestive Thu 12-Oct-17 10:12:49

Saracen you've managed to explain something I couldn't quite put in to words!

Jungle It is something which we have thought about before. DD was'HE' for most of her reception heat. Although not really because she was only 4 so it was just an extension of her toddler years really. So it's something we know a fair bit about. Which also means I'm under no illusion that it would be easy.

It's out go-to plan for Y9 onwards anyway. I think at that age it could be a very rewarding experience to manage their own learning programme.

It's not something we need to now. (I was feeling wobbly the other day!) But I feel comfortable with it being an option if need be.

PerpetuallyConfused Thu 12-Oct-17 10:14:30

Saracen you've managed to explain something I couldn't quite put in to words!

Jungle It is something which we have thought about before. DD was'HE' for most of her reception heat. Although not really because she was only 4 so it was just an extension of her toddler years really. So it's something we know a fair bit about. Which also means I'm under no illusion that it would be easy.

It's out go-to plan for Y9 onwards anyway. I think at that age it could be a very rewarding experience to manage their own learning programme.

It's not something we need to now. (I was feeling wobbly the other day!) But I feel comfortable with it being an option if need be.

🙄😳🤦🏼‍♀️

Saracen Thu 12-Oct-17 10:19:10

I agree, cory.

But did you not have a similar experience to mine, of finding that bullying and peer pressure were worse within your school class than in the other settings where kids spend time together, because the kids at school know they will be stuck with each other for so many hours a day?

The only other places I have experienced that sort of behaviour were as a teen in a residential summer job, where we were literally in the middle of the woods with the same two dozen people all summer, and as an adult in a small office. (Other office jobs haven't been bad, but a few have been.) It's the sense of being really trapped with those same people for so long which makes difficult group dynamics, especially among children of the same age.

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