A year of home school? Are we being unrealistic?

(7 Posts)
yorkshirecountrylass Wed 05-Aug-20 16:14:31

Just found this section and thought you may be able to offer some perspective on if I'm being totally unrealistic or if it can be done!

Thanks to Covid, DS (7, due to start Yr 3 in September) has been on Google Classroom up to the summer break. He's due to go back in September. He lives with 2 extremely vulnerable adults (DH is diabetic and asthmatic, my DF who has chronic emphysema thanks to 40 years as a miner) and I'm absolutely bricking it. We've already had the conversation that my DF would be nursed at home palliatively if he were to pick up Covid, as admission to hospital would be cruel and his chances of survival no different to being looked after at home.

School is approx 350 pupils with a minimum 30 to a class, one class is 45. Realistically there will not be a bubble, save for the 350 plus staff, due to the number of siblings across the school. I don't and can't see how social distancing can be observed due to class sizes.

I do work full time Mon-Fri but from home, with an amazingly supportive manager and flexible times. I'm studying a part time Masters too but usually do this early morning before everyone gets up. DH only works 2 days a week although DS doesn't put as much effort into working with DH as he does with me. We do have desk space in my office area.

We're seriously considering pulling him out of school for the year and home educating. Are we mad to think this could work? Having looked at the National curriculum for his year I'd be confident with most of it except maths, for which we'd get a tutor twice a week (would work out the same £ as I'd normally spend on his school clubs). The plan would be for him to return next September to year 4, although as I understand we'd have to write to the school and ask them to remove him from the register and then reapply for the following year? Do we have to inform anyone else? Has anyone any experience of this, or similar? Hugely afraid to damage his education but equally afraid of the consequences considering the infection rates are already rising again.

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Cocopopping Thu 06-Aug-20 08:48:10

I don’t think it sounds mad! He’s very young and school will potentially be pretty disrupted next year anyway.

If you’d definitely like to get him back into school my question would be will there be places? You can deregister easily as you say but your place is not held open if you choose to return... but if the school isn’t oversubscribed in his year group that might not be a problem.

Good luck! smile

Saracen Thu 06-Aug-20 14:45:29

Yes, that should work fine! If the school has a vacancy in his year group when you want to send him back, they must accept him. If not, you would have to send him to a different school.

You have some idea how this could look since you've been doing it for a few months already. It will get easier in future as you learn what works best with your son, and also you will now have freedom to educate him in whatever way is most effective rather then having to do it the way the school want. For example if he finds the school reading books dull, you can use different reading books or let him practice reading with comics or video games. Most home educators don't have kids working at desks for many hours a day, especially seven year olds. They learn very fast with one-to-one attention and an education tailored to their own needs. So your son should be fine being looked after by his dad and grandfather most of the time while you work. He can spend the vast majority of his time playing, drawing, walking pets, helping with chores, and chatting with his family.

Many home educators are now scratching our heads about how to meet our kids' social needs in the months to come. Most of us are used to going out to a variety of places and meeting up with other families. That is much harder with Covid-19 about. Given that two of your family are so vulnerable, I imagine you won't want to chuck your son into a busy local park. So at a guess, I predict that will be the main challenge facing you: not your son's education, but his need to go out and play and see other kids. There are some partial solutions, but it isn't as easy as one would wish.

No, you don't have to inform anyone other than the school. After you deregister him (i.e. write to the school telling them to remove his name from their register), the school must inform the Local Authority. LAs usually contact families quite quickly to ask about their provision. Many LAs try to insist on monitoring families in an intrusive way, for example by inviting themselves to your home. They are not legally allowed to demand this. So when you do hear from the LA, I suggest posting here or on some other home ed forum to say what they are asking of you. That way you can find out what the law is and what your options are! It is not a big deal as long as you know that the LA cannot necessarily be relied on to give you accurate information.

BiBabbles Thu 06-Aug-20 14:53:44

Generally, you just need to deregister from the school. This can differ if it's a special school, have an EHCP or similar in place or other factors. It is an important consideration if you want to return next year how easy that will be.

That said, your plan looks lovely and well thought through with all the stresses you're going through - at 7, with what you've organize and the financial considerations well, considered, I can see it working well. It's not like you need to worry about exams and you actually don't need to follow the National Curriculum, but as you intend to return, at least keeping it in mind for maths, English, and science is a good idea.

For maths, a tutor is good and there are tons of programmes out there if it ends up not working out or you want to add to that and have your hand held through teaching it. For that, I personally prefer Math Mammoth as all the explanations are on the page (though it's geometry sections aren't the best).

PotteringAlong Thu 06-Aug-20 15:09:55

Remember that If you de register him there is no certainty that his place will still be there in sept 2021. There is no obligation for the school to hold it for you.

Lockdownseperation Thu 06-Aug-20 15:14:01

I’m following this because DD1 is due to start school in September. I have always vaguely considered home schooling buy my concerns are not having any interaction with other children and trying to follow national curriculum at home rather than working at her own speed.

yorkshirecountrylass Thu 06-Aug-20 21:07:01

Thanks all, there's some really good points there and lots of support which is hugely appreciated! We're not sure whether his year group would be oversubscribed but tbh if he went to a different primary then it wouldn't be the end of the world. Socialising wise it is really difficult with two of them so vulnerable but we've been managing to do some socially distanced visits with other family members who are also vulnerable (essentially we have 3 bubbles, all have been isolating anyway!) and some Zoom/Skype. When things do settle a little he wants to learn to horse ride so can socialise there and my gym have been amazeballs with their approach so I would be happy for him to go to their kids groups so there are a few options

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