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my daughter wants to go to school

(154 Posts)
powpow Thu 14-Aug-08 15:44:46

she will be 7 soon and keeps insisting that she wants to go to school. she went to nursery for a year and still talks about all the time.

i swing back and forth with it.
i truly love home education and what it can offer your child and their future.
but at the moment, i also feel like she isn't getting what she needs.
she's incredibly organized and needs a structured day and unfortunately i am terrible at giving it to her.

she also has a little brother that she really cannot stand at the moment.
they are constantly fighting and he is always following her.
it has recently become physical with them, which is another challenge i wasn't prepared for.

i'm worn out and not sure if i can keep it up.
sometimes i think school will be great for her (maybe for me?) even though i know it isn't ultimately what i want for her.

anyway, i was wondering if anyone else has had these problems.
what did you do?

hanaflower Thu 14-Aug-08 15:46:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MissisBoot Thu 14-Aug-08 15:47:25

I'm not a home educator but it really does sound that it is something your daughter wants to do - could you enrol her for a term and see how she gets on.

CountessDracula Thu 14-Aug-08 15:48:47

Why did you HE in the first place? Was it because she didn't like the thought of school?

Why do you not want school for her?

I'm not sure really if it is suitable for a 7yo to be making such decisions - surely it is up to you? However if she is unhappy being home edded that is another matter I guess.

If she was in a school where she wasn't happy would you move her?

powpow Thu 14-Aug-08 15:55:41

well, she doesn't know why she wants to go, or at least isn't verbalizing it.
she is fully aware of what it will be like as we have had numerous discussions about it.
but whether or not she 'gets it' i'm not sure.
i could enroll her for a term, but then i am opening up a can of worms i would rather not - the LEA.
I have always wanted to home educate my kids because i do not like the way schools run, their one size fits all philosophy of learning and i prefer an autonomous approach to learning.
so far HE has worked for us in so many ways, but recently she just keeps going on about school.

and yes, if she did go to a school where she wasn't happy i would move her - or more likely take her out.

i am thinking to enroll her for a term so she can really see what it is like, but as i said, there are things then that you have to deal with.

CountessDracula Thu 14-Aug-08 16:22:53

Do some LAs not do a shared thing? So she could go to school p/t and then be home edded the rest?

Do you think she feels she is missing out sociallY?

AbbeyA Thu 14-Aug-08 16:32:37

If she wants to go to school I can't see any reason not to let her, you can always take her out if she doesn't like it.
I thought the whole point of HE was that it was child led not imposed by a parent.
I adored school at her age and would have been very resentful if my mother had kept me at home with younger brothers-I most definitely would find it hard to forgive her as a adult, especially if I had asked to go and she ignored my wishes.
Your children are not clones of you, they are not necessarily going to have the same views.

AbbeyA Thu 14-Aug-08 16:44:55

You can shop around for schools! They are very different. One size doesn't fit all-I am not sure where you got that idea from. Now is a good time to start, as schools have got away from the straightjacket of the national curriculum. Primary schools have much more freedom now.Visit a few and take her with you-it doesn't commit you to anything.

powpow Thu 14-Aug-08 17:46:49

no i don't think she is missing out socially. if you could only see our social calendar!
i have to say no to things all the time.
that is the biggest misconception about HE.
she's actually a very popular social child with many friends, both schooled & unschooled.

abbey, there are many points to HE, not just child-led learning. in fact many home educators do not let their child lead their learning.
i don't keep her locked in a box at home with her brother, although she does spend a lot of time with him.
i resented my parents sending me to school. it was boring, didn't challenge me, bullying was rife, and individuality was not encouraged to say the least.
if you had a great time, that terrific, but that isn't the norm for lots of kids.

i am very aware that my children are not clones of me. i am actually trying to foster their individuality, not make them into clones of their friends at school.
schools have not gotten away from the straight jacket of the NC, or testing.
i got that idea by visiting schools, talking to teachers, and being part of the home ed community.

freedom in schools?
can children in school go to different museums of their interest everyday of the week?
no. maybe twice a year on a field trip while they are being led around to stick to a schedule.
can they take a life changing holiday in the middle of february?
no. not unless they want their parents to go to jail for truancy.
can they dress how they want?
only unless they have the latest gear so they don't get bullied.
can they read what they like?
not unless it's on the NC
can they draw and paint all day?
no. and careful, lots of schools have cut funding for the arts.

my kids can and they have the freedom to express themselves totally, whenever they want.
i don't want her to go to school because i want her to be a clone of me, i don't want her to be a clone of someone else.

do you home educate?
i was seeking advice from someone who has had this problem before.
have you?
because it looks to me like this may turn into a home ed bashing thread and i am not going to get into that.

AbbeyA Thu 14-Aug-08 18:00:41

There is only one point that is worth noting-your DD says she wants to go to school.
There is no problem-you let her try it. If she doesn't like it you can say'I told you so and she leaves'. If she loves it then you have done the right thing for her.
At least she will have had the choice. She won't have to do what someone of my aquaintance did and leave home at 16 to get the education she wanted because her mother just wouldn't listen to her.
I am not going to get into an argument about art, bullying, clothes,freedom etc because I am not against HE, just children being HE'd when they express a wish to try school.
I haven't done it but know people who do and it works best when led by the DC who may go to secondary at some point, or do 2 years junior and go back to HE or whatever they(not the parent) wishes.

AbbeyA Thu 14-Aug-08 18:00:44

There is only one point that is worth noting-your DD says she wants to go to school.
There is no problem-you let her try it. If she doesn't like it you can say'I told you so and she leaves'. If she loves it then you have done the right thing for her.
At least she will have had the choice. She won't have to do what someone of my aquaintance did and leave home at 16 to get the education she wanted because her mother just wouldn't listen to her.
I am not going to get into an argument about art, bullying, clothes,freedom etc because I am not against HE, just children being HE'd when they express a wish to try school.
I haven't done it but know people who do and it works best when led by the DC who may go to secondary at some point, or do 2 years junior and go back to HE or whatever they(not the parent) wishes.

AbbeyA Thu 14-Aug-08 18:02:02

Sorry-computer has gone mad!

Beetroot Thu 14-Aug-08 18:05:25

freedom in schools?
can children in school go to different museums of their interest everyday of the week?
no. maybe twice a year on a field trip while they are being led around to stick to a schedule. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE - AND OU CAN TAKE THEM TO MUSEUMS AS WELL. SCHOOL FINSIHES AT 3.30 .

can they take a life changing holiday in the middle of february?
no. not unless they want their parents to go to jail for truancy. BUT THEY CAN TAKE ONE IN JULY
can they dress how they want?
only unless they have the latest gear so they don't get bullied. OH COME ON THIS IS JUST MADE UP!
can they read what they like? YES
not unless it's on the NC

can they draw and paint all day?
no. and careful, lots of schools have cut funding for the arts. - THEY CAN AOPINT AND DRAW FORM 3.30 UNTIL 830 IF THEY WANT TO.

YOUR CHILD HAS ASKED OT GO TO SCHOOL - SHOPE AROUND AND SEE WHAT IS THERE FOR HER.

juuule Thu 14-Aug-08 18:05:53

Powpow - I've had similar with my 8yo. But then she thought that school would be like nursery and she could play with her friend all day. Could it be that your dd thinks it will be like nursery even though she seems to appear to understand?

As CountessDracula said, why did you decide to HE originally? I also agree with her that it might not be suitable for a 7yo to be making the final decision.
(How many parents would let their child be HE because they wanted to try it?)

It sounds to me as though you are feeling a bit exhausted with it all at the moment. Are you a member of any groups? Perhaps getting out and about with other home-educators you might get a clearer perspective on things.

If you genuinely think that your dd would benefit from school then consider enrolling her.
If it's that you are going through a bit of a low period then I'd look around for what would help you over the blip.
I think you need to look at your original reasons for HE and then measure them against what your dd has to gain or lose by going to school or staying with HE.

AbbeyA - When did it happen that "schools have got away from the straightjacket of the national curriculum"?

onwardandupward Thu 14-Aug-08 18:22:17

Hi powwow! No, I haven't been in this situation yet, but we are home educators.

I would be trying to get to the bottom of what it is about school that your child is wanting. It might be the idea of wearing uniform, or having packed lunch, or goodness knows what. Or it may be that actually yes, she does want to go out of the home and be in a class of children all day. The little boy of a friend of mine wanted to go to school because at school they have sports day. (the local primary came to a flexi-schooling arrangement where he just went in for the afternoon games lessons - astonishing but gloriously true)

If she really does want to be in full time school, this is what I would bear in mind:

1. When the children's database comes in next year, none of us are going to be under the radar any more. It is going to be most interesting to read in the papers about the "massive increase" in home education, since I'm not sure any of the HE families I know are currently known to the authorities... wink Any way, yes, it might mean that your existence is known to the LA 6 months before it otherwise would have been, but they are going to know about all of us really really soon. Welcome to The State. So I wouldn't have keeping under the radar as a big reason not to do a trial school enrollment at this point, TBH, in your position.

2. An autonomously HEed child going to school is a completely different entity from a conventionally schooled child going to school. The big difference is that your child will know that if she hates it, or it isn't the great learning and social experience that she is hoping it will be, you will pull the plug, a safety net which most children simply don't enjoy. I do actually agree with the resident teacher-on-the-HE-threads, AbbeyA (for once). If your child wants to try school, and your current educational arrangements are autonomous, then the autonomy-respecting thing is to support your child in trying this new experience for half a term or a whole term or whatever you agree is a suitable trial period.

3. It may be that all you need to do is arrange a few playdates with 7/8 year old HEed children who have come out of school in the last year. If your child talks to them and is still enamoured of the idea of school, then maybe school is the answer. (I suspect this might make mumsnet hackles rise - the idea of talking to children who presumably didn't like school that much and have been allowed out of it, but I would argue that this would be a way of balancing the overwhelmingly positive take on school which is communicated to children through books, TV and society at large).

Hope something here helps.

AbbeyA Thu 14-Aug-08 18:26:54

In HE, juuule, I expect that you are not aware of what goes on in schools. Successful schools have the freedom to do things differently.
A state school near me has no school uniform, playtimes are not set in stone, their teacher takes them out when they are ready for a break. On Mondays they do a lot of starter lessons and then they do the work as it suits them over the next 4 days. This way if they want to get stuck into art they can do, not have to break off to do maths.
A local infant school also has no uniform, they win prizes for their outside environment. When they learn about the Fire of London they make models and set it on fire on the school field. They do all sorts of exciting things.
Most schools in our LEA are getting back to topic learning. They have allotments and grow veg. One has a chef that comes in regularly and cooks with a class. Theatre groups come in and involve the DCs in the play.
I have recently worked with year 5 children and they all thanked me for the exciting lessons. They particularly loved producing their own books with chapters, illustrations etc.(not possible with old literacy hour).
I could go on and on with examples.
DCs are in school for approx 30hrs a week which leaves 138 hrs at home. Some are spent sleeping but there all the holiday hours-ample time for visiting museums, art projects etc.
I am all for people having the freedom to educate their DCs as the wish but not when the DC in question has asked to go to school and is being ignored.

Blandmum Thu 14-Aug-08 18:30:54

LOL at school educated kids only being able to read what is on the NC.

tell that to my school educated dd who is currently costing me a fortune in books (we are on holiday and can't access the library)

and we seem to have spent a lot of time in the museums this holiday (damn Bristish summer)

School educated children don't get put in boxes at the end of the school day....

CountessDracula Thu 14-Aug-08 18:32:15

My dd's primary school abandon the nat. curr. on a Friday and do all sort of great things - drama, art, singing, visits to places, people visiting them, circus skills, you name it they do it

I do think that all the other things you mention can be fitted in in the holidays and after school

We do plenty of museums, reading off the nat. curr. Clothes not an issue as everyone is in uniform (ok you can pay £3 from asda or a tenner from JL for a skirt but the kids don't know the difference!)

In the last year dd has been to the states (4 diff places), Tobago, France and Wales so I don't think she is missing out on much there!

And re drawing and painting all day - well they seem to produce copious quantities of artwork - sometimes 10 pieces in a day, sometimes more! Then when she gets home, off she goes again. My A4 bill is sky high I tell you...

AbbeyA Thu 14-Aug-08 18:51:58

I know someone who is as firmly against school as you seem to be powwow. When her DDs got to about 10 and 8 they announced they wanted to try school, she gritted her teeth and supported them. I think they did just over a year and then decided they much prefered HE so they are now back at home. They are all happy and will be able to go onto adulthood with a good relationship because they were listened to and supported. I think that is a much happier story than the one I mentioned earlier who left home at 16, is now a lecturer in higher education and very scathing of her mother.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 14-Aug-08 18:54:08

powpow I think from what you say in your OP about your DD, that it is worth allowing her to give school a go. Obviously you are very committed to HE which is great but over and above that, you are clearly committed to your dd and her education full stop.

you say she's very organised and needs structure and basically that sounds like it is being almost completely compromised by the situation with her brother!

Maybe it would help to look at this as a long term thing; I would think personally, that with a mum who is willing to HE, her education as a whole may end up being a mixture of home/school. I think that sounds perfect, to me. She will be able to take the best of both worlds, perhaps - and opt out when it suits her and you.

If I were you I'd research local schools. And I did want to add that you may be surprised; DS's school has surprised me with the richness and depth of what they do and where they go etc. And yes, as MB said, they don't go in a box at 3pm; still time for you to feel you are educating her as well IMO.

juuule Thu 14-Aug-08 19:03:33

AbbeyA - "I expect that you are not aware of what goes on in schools".
What makes you think that?hmm

LynetteScavo Thu 14-Aug-08 19:06:31

I agree with Honoria.

My DC's attend school atm, but their education certainly isn't for only 39 weeks a year, and stop at 3.10pm!

Surely the LEA isn't that difficult to deal with? (I know our LEA is sympathetic to HE, and it might be different else where)

I took my DS out of school for a term(with out de registereing) I then gave him the choice of staying at home with me, or starting at a new school. He chose the new school.(Not the biggest ego boost I've ever had wink) I was initially very nervous, and it hasn't been all plain sailing, but he is happy. smile

Not the same situation at you, I realise. What does your DD's father think. At the end of the day, this is a decition that you as a family have to make, not you on your own.

3andnomore Thu 14-Aug-08 19:15:37

Hm...you dd wants to go to school, she needs structure and is organised, you are crap at that.....erm.......I think the obvious solution would be to put her into a school then,isn't it.
Surely when you thought about HE you thought about doing the best for your child...!
Your child is disagreeing with what you think is best, and it isn't that outrageous a concept for a child to go to school, so, she isn't asking the unthinkable....is she?

I think if you deny her her wish, you may come to regrett it and your dd may end up resenting you!

eyeballs Thu 14-Aug-08 19:18:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

juuule Thu 14-Aug-08 19:22:28

Eyeballs - would you also advise that a child who doesn't want to go to school shouldn't be made to go?

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