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How do you manage to work and HE without forking out on childcare?

(10 Posts)
mamacool Thu 05-Jul-07 10:55:44

My son is only 21 months at the moment so it's not too much of a problem yet but I'm having trouble convincing my better half that HE is the best option for us.

He is sold on the whole idea with the exception to the financial impact it'll have on us. We're not exactly rolling in cash and will definately need two incomes to afford the mortgage. The only way I can see us being able to do it would be if I worked all the hours he was home in which case I'd never get to see him.

I'd love to be able to put him in school PT so that I could still work and HE but I don't think any school would allow that unless it was a fee paying school which would kind of defeat the object IYSWIM. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance x

dottyspots Fri 06-Jul-07 01:27:34

Flexi-schooling does exist (where a child attends school part-time and is home-educated the rest of the time). However, it is down to the Head's disgression and not all Heads are aware of it as a possibility (or willing to consider it).

That said, there are children being successfully flexi-schooled. However, the child will be subject to the National Curriclum and if that's something you're not keen on then it might be something you'd want to avoid.

My eldest was flexi-schooled at a regular comprehensive (after being HE-ed) for a while, but in the end chose to go to school full-time this January (at the age of 12).

The other possibility is to use registered childcare whilst you are working. Depending on your income you may be entitled to up to 80% of your childcare costs (I think it's currently up to 80p in every pound as I'm sure it's recently gone up). A number of HE-ers use registered childminders (and to claim any money back the childcare must be registered - indeed, it's illegal to use unregistered childcare outside the home for over 2 hours in any day - off the top of my head, as it's currently 01.20, so I'm not on top form).

If a child was attending school and you were working then chances are you would need to claim for before and after school care, the equivalent would pay for 2 or 3 days f/t locally (it would vary across the country).

There is no set number of hours that home-educated children are required to 'study' in - indeed, it can be argued that we, as a species, are learning all the time. Therefore, you could be flexible in your time together and take the opportunity to do special things on the days you're not at work.

I'm a Registered Childminder and have occasionally looked after a HE-ed child and there are quite a few HE-ing childminders around. In addition, one of them keeps a list of childminders who are 'HE-friendly' (i.e. willing to take on HE children).

mamacool Fri 06-Jul-07 10:58:46

I don't trust childminders (no offence!). I'm sure some are great but unfortunately have heard too many stories and seen too many results of poor childcare. I would be more comfortable if he was in a nursery setting.

Can I still get the childcare element of working tax credit once he's old enough for school? I didn't know that, that'd be great. I know a good montessori school which would be the best option for us and I've still got 3yrs to figure it all out. Thanks for replying good to know about flexi-schooling option.

mamacool Fri 06-Jul-07 11:01:17

I meant school setting not nursery! Planning to stay home until he's at least five (hopefully).

terramum Fri 06-Jul-07 16:33:31

Are there any ways you could stay at home? Downsize? move area? save on household bills by turning eco/green?

We will probably never be very well off only having DH working & as he is unemployed atm we are even worse off....but for us it works having me at home full time...it's a lifestyle choice for us & so we have made sacrifices to be able to do so.....

dottyspots Fri 06-Jul-07 19:50:02

Hmmmm and there's me after sending my children to a private nursery saying never again. My philosophy of early years is so much more in keeping with the home-environment, I have concerns about early institutionalisation, I think a home-based setting is best for young children (but that's just my opinion and well, we all know what's best for our own children ). However, that is not to say that all nurseries are crap (far from it - and I'm watching katymacs green nursery project with interest) and the Lifeways project in the US is interestesting.

Personally, and I am a Registered Childminder, so biased, I do get a bit upset when people say that childminders 'can't be trusted' or are underqualified, etc. I'm neither - love my work and do a bloody good job

The recent stories in the rags have not been registered childminders (although I can only draw from the national papers, not any local to you).

The term childminder is used incorrectly in many cases to cover a person looking after the child - for instance in the fairly recent case of racist abuse and also of a child drowing the term 'childminder' was used in some papers - however, this was wrong. The adults concerned were not registered childminders and were AFAIK working illegally (as there are some strict laws governing the care of under 8s on a regular basis in the day).

However, the general public picks up on the word childminder and that's what sticks in their head.

However, the nurseries that have been in the news with re. to accidents etc. ARE registered childcare.

I don't know a nursery that would take a HE-ed child of school age all day - ah, just caught up with the comment that you meant school, not nursery

The childcare element is still available for school-aged children, because, as I pointed out a school-aged child might need before and after school care. However, I very much doubt you'd be able to claim for more hours than would be needed for a child at school (although I'm assuming that there are parents who work weekends who have to claim for a full day). That's one to check out with the benefits advice line

A friend of mine flexischools and her children go to a Montessori school.

mamacool Fri 06-Jul-07 20:02:05

Sorry if I offended you, like I said I know not all childminders are the same. My mum and both my sisters are also registered childminders but unfortunately some of the children they've had to look after have come after having a very bad history with previous carers. I too was molested as a child whilst in the care of a registered childminder and she is still registered!!

I personally wouldn't want to leave him with anyone but would feel a lot safer if it was with more than one person ie in a nursery. Anyway fingers crossed I won't have to leave him at all.

mamacool Fri 06-Jul-07 20:44:31

There's me saying nursery again, I meant school!!

SueBaroo Fri 06-Jul-07 20:47:17

I'm no help either, I'm afraid, been a SAHM since we got married, before babies came

dottyspots Fri 06-Jul-07 21:24:27

No offence taken As I said we all know what's best for our own children.

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