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If your child likes school but you want to HE...

(30 Posts)
catnipkitty Tue 30-Sep-08 10:24:39


Anyone been in this position? I am more and more sure that HE is my ideal as far as education goes...DD1 started reception this year, and is doing ok so far - some days she loves it, others she's exhausted and wants to stay at home... I am at the stage now of having read alot, thought alot, talked to OH and now intending to visit a local home ed group.

Any thoughts, comments and experiences gratefully received

jollydo Tue 30-Sep-08 11:34:26

Once you have found out more and if you decide it is what you would like to do, you could give your dd the option of continuing at school 'for now' or HE. It might be that even though she likes school, she would still prefer to stay at home given a choice. In any case it would be good for her to know it is an option if she goes off school.
I don't think your child has to 'dislike' school in order to HE - but I think in your position, if she really wanted to carry on going I would let her, with the knowledge that she could leave at any time. It is easier for me as my ds1 is adamant he doesn't want to go (atm!) If he decides he does want to try it, I imagine we will let him.
Could she go along to the home ed group too, so she meets some of the other children?

hanaflower Tue 30-Sep-08 11:37:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 14:06:41

Very simple-it is about her not you.If she likes school you support her. There is a massive amount of time to do fun things outside school.

Runnerbean Tue 30-Sep-08 14:46:08


Tortington Tue 30-Sep-08 14:47:44

i think there is a mmiddle ground - you can ask if the school will take her say 2 or 3 days a week

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 15:42:26

I think that is the worst of both worlds. As a child who loved school I would have been devasted to miss half a week. You are not part of the school and you are not a full part of the HE scene. You need to be committed to one or the other IMO.

cheesesarnie Tue 30-Sep-08 15:48:16

i think if she likes school and is eager to learn in the school enviroment then id say let her do what she prefers.if after a while shes making no progress or not getting the most out of school then think about it again.if she only started this year i think its bit quick to judge.

juuule Tue 30-Sep-08 16:14:05

If you think that being educated at home would benefit your dd more than at school then home-ed otherwise continue with school.

What would she lose by coming out of school and what would she gain?
If the overall gains are greater than the losses then home-ed otherwise continue with school.

If you think that she would benefit from a bit of each then approach the school for part-time for a period and then decide. As Custardo says maybe 2 or 3 days a week.

I have some children at school and some at home.
One dislikes school but is in last year and would be better off in school for this last year.
One loves school and although I can see a downside to it, I think the gains are worth it for that child.
One would probably be okay but I think is better off at home.
One might be okay but is better off at home.
One I decided not to send at all as I think that home-ed offers more than school.

Knowing what you know about home-ed will probably give you a different outlook on school education which in turn can help to support your child if you decide that she is gaining something from continuing in school. And you now know that the option is there for her to come out if it becomes obvious that it isn't the best option for her.

As Jollydo says, your child doesn't have to hate school to be home-ed. But you do need to have a clear idea of why you would choose one option over the other.

It sounds as though you have already all but decided in favour of HE and are just waiting to jump.
I would say go to the home-ed group and get involved. Take your dd with you and let her make friends there. Then see how things go from there.

FILLYJONKhasayarnshopASBO Tue 30-Sep-08 16:52:03

I think you are the parent and must make the decision.

I would not let a 5 yo make a decision like this either way, tbh. (an older child, yes). I believe in home education, just as some people believe in steiner education or the free market hmm or whatever. I am not doing it because my kids are a bit contrary, it is a positive choice.

Custardo is right-you could approach the school re flexi-schooling. Or ask if they will hold her place for a term. Another option might be, say, a mornings only kindergarten (steiner ones are good for this and mostly harmless, trhey go up to 7)

FILLYJONKhasayarnshopASBO Tue 30-Sep-08 16:53:02


you could always HE yourself for a bit...

(am serious)

Runnerbean Tue 30-Sep-08 17:28:14

Agree with FillyJonk

^I think you are the parent and must make the decision^

My 5 yr old would quite like to eat nothing but sweets and crisps and watch telly all day but as her mum I know that isn't the best thing for her.

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 17:51:30

If she hadn't been to school it is valid to say you know best, but if she is at school and happy I don't see why you want to change things.

juuule Tue 30-Sep-08 18:00:06

Why isn't it valid to say that catnipkitty would know best because her dd has gone to school?

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 18:11:47

Because if she is enjoying it it is hardly fair. In my case it would have been cruel to let me sample the absolute joy of school at 5 and then tell me it was not to be and I had to stay at home with Mum! If she felt like this she shouldn't have let me sample it. I can still remember crying my eyes out at 6yrs old and my mother saying 'you can't go to school you have a temperature of over a hundred'! Some of you may find it difficult to understand, but I adored school at 5!
If OP felt strongly about it, it would have been fairer not to let her start. Now she is there she shouldn't just withdraw her, she should see how it goes for a bit longer. I don't want to get into the usual HE/School scenario, all I am saying is that it is unfair to let a child start and then take them away if they are happy-you should wait a bit longer and see how happy she really is.

SummatAnNowt Tue 30-Sep-08 19:32:56

If you believe home education is the best form of education for your child then do it.

Like others, I do not believe a reception aged child should be making their own decisions with regards to their education!

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 19:48:48

So you don't care if they are crying to go back to school SummatAnNowt?
If OP had these feeling she shouldn't have let her sample it. It is showing the DC a wonderful world and then saying 'sorry darling- a big mistake I didn't mean it.'
OP started with school, she owes it to her DD to give her until Christmas at least IMO.(It would be entirely different if she hadn't sampled it in the first place).
I taught a small reception class this morning and we all had a great time. One of the little girls came in eyes shining and said 'we were playing a game yesterday and we are going to carry on today', her little friend went on to tell me what the game was -role play with dressing up and a small boy assured me that the teacher said that they could play it today. Meanwhile another boy was telling me all about his book and a girl was reading the title of hers to me. This was all before I had even got to the register! They were so keen!
Maybe she won't like it and HE would be better but letting her start and then stop before you even get to half term isn't fair if she is happy.
I knew at 5yrs that school was for me. I would have deeply resented my mother if she made me miss it because she didn't like it.
Of course you don't let children take important decisions but you should listen to their views and not discount them entirely.

toodles Tue 30-Sep-08 20:15:29

I am one of those that let my dd sample school for a while (one term). I was completely against the method used for teaching children to read at the time(look and say) and there were some other issues too. Dd really liked school though so it was a big decision to make.

I took her out and to be honest I'm still not sure it was the best thing for her even though in general, I think that home education is a great way to educate children. My dd was and is incredibly sociable - she loves being around groups of children and adults even. I found it extremely difficult to balance the 'school' work and also participate in home ed group meetings, some of which were an hour's drive one way. I also had a toddler to trek about with too. I saw lots of home educated children who were perfectly happy to meet up with other children just once or twice a week. My dd would have loved to meet up with other children every day so I was constantly trying to find things for her to do where she would meet up with other children. I found it tough. Just before our home ed experience came to an end I found out through a School Inspector that there were around 100 families educating in my area and I only knew of 5. They just didn't participate in various events/meetings.

I think it all depends on the child. If your child loves to meet up with other children a lot I would find out first how big the home ed community is in your area, how often they meet up etc. One thing from the home ed community which I hated was their insistence that socialisation wasn't a problem. Well for some children it is.

onwardandupward Tue 30-Sep-08 20:33:43

"Of course you don't let children take important decisions but you should listen to their views and not discount them entirely"

Why are you not saying exactly this same thing on all of the threads in primary where people are posting that their children are crying every day on the way into school? It might sound a bit snippy - I don't mean to be - I'm genuinely interested in the lack of evenhandedness here.

As for the OP, well, I'd just let your child take the lead. Ask her each day if she wants to go to school or not. If not, don't. If you find you are de facto home educating, then home educate. If you find you are de facto flexischooling, then flexi-school. If you find she's a full time school girl then fine. If you are sensitive enough to your child's needs and have the wherewithal to be flexible yourself (i.e. not working full time or anything), then just give yourself a little pat on the back and say a prayer of thanks for your life situation, and follow the child grin

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 20:37:27

That was my point with my story of the reception class toodles. They had been playing a wonderful game and were able to continue the next morning-unless they were doing it with a sibling in HE it is unlikely that they would be able carry on with the same group the next day. If you are a sociable DC it is nice to know that you will see the same DCs each day.

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 20:42:34

If children are crying every day you need to give them time to settle. It is only the end of September, I think to be fair to any, whether enjoying it or not, you need to leave it to Christmas before you decide.

I think your advice to OP is extremely sensible onwardsandupwards and can agree with it entirely.

catnipkitty Tue 30-Sep-08 20:46:22

Well, thank you all for such an interesting discussion I have only just logged on again for a quick look before Holby City (!) and quite surprised by the response!!

I don't think i at any point indicated that I would let my 4.5yr old DD make the decision...and I do believe that she is too young to take part in the decision making process at this point apart from being able to say whether she likes/dislikes school or whether she would prefer to be school or at home... I think children of this age trust and accept what their parents tell them they must do - she hasn't even questioned why she 'must' go to school.

My interest in HE is not particularly to do with her having any problems at school (tho she is struggling with being full time and being away from me and her sisters for so long), but as much to do with me being rather disillusioned with education in this country (starting at such a young age, high class numbers, teachers and pupils under alot of pressure to 'achieve', the 'one size fits all' attitude) and not at all convinced that being at school is the 'best' way to educate a child, plus wanting to be part of educating my children (yes, yes, I know there is time outside school hmm) and not leave them in the care of someone else for the majority of the day. The decision is almost more difficult because she is ok so far. If she came home traumatised every day then I wouldn't think twice about HE. Maybe I shouldn't have started her in school at all, and I asn't sure but swayed by the masses sadly, plus my OH was keen for her to try.

Anyway, thanks to you all for your replies. I will take her to a HE group meeting (even if I have to take her out of school to do it...Shhhh, don't tell anyone grin). She does already have 2 friends (twins) who are HE'd so knows it is a possibilty but hasn't questioned me about it in detail!

toodles Tue 30-Sep-08 21:10:54


I know my message was quite negative but I didn't mean it to be.

(starting at such a young age, high class numbers, teachers and pupils under alot of pressure to 'achieve', the 'one size fits all' attitude

I agree wholeheartedly with the above. I think the British school day is far too long for children. I live in Greece now and my dd age 10) goes to school here from 8.10 - 1.10 and my son has just started school at the age of 6 years and 2 months and goes in from 8.10 - 12.25. I am so glad that he didn't have to start school until the age of 6. He definitely wouldn't have been ready for it at the age of 4 or 5. My only concern was for extremely sociable kids like my dd. My situation was different. My dd didn't have a sibling close in age - my ds is nearly 4 years younger than her so she didn't or couldn't play with him when she was 5. Your dd sounds like she has a couple of sisters there to play with and to have company.

This sounds bizarre after reading my earlier post but I would have loved to have been able to home educate my kids. There's some lovely curriculums out there if you want to follow a curriculum or books but I just found the travelling to events and keeping up the work too tiring. My dd was also hard to teach. I thought it might have been my fault but my ds is completely different. I teach him the same way and he's enthusiastic about his work. I have been teaching him to read English.

Anyway good luck with your decision. You could do as I did and take your dd out of school for 2 weeks (legal holiday time - you need to request this in writing but you are entitled to take children out of school for 2 weeks during the school year (this was true 5 years ago - don't know if it's changed now though)) to try it out at home. 2 weeks is not a lot of time to try home educating but if you're a bit organised and go yourself to some home ed meetings to have a chat to some of the mums and dads there and find out if there's a special event/meeting on during the 2 weeks then your dd could meet up with other children.

juuule Tue 30-Sep-08 22:01:52

Abbeya - I agree with onwardandupward in that you do seem to have double standards on this. Why not the same advice to people with primary children in tears every day?

"So you don't care if they are crying to go back to school SummatAnNowt?"
When parents care because their children are crying going into school people are very quick to say 'oh they're just need time to settle' 'just persevere, they'll be fine by Christmas' but are not as quick to say that if it would be the case that a child was upset not going into school. Even if in the long-term the parent knew that HE would be best for that particular child. Why?

Also agree with the rest of onward's post (as I usually do )

AbbeyA Tue 30-Sep-08 22:50:32

My advice to all and sundry would be to give it a bit of time-at least a term.
I will take back what I said to SAN, it was the fact that it didn't seem to matter that the DD was happy at school that got to me.
I guess I just start at the different viewpoint-I should keep quiet on these things but I had a very happy childhood and part of that was the love of school. If I was to come up with my happiest memories my primary school would be in the top 5. This may seem very sad to some of you but it is the truth. I loved books and loved learning and being in with others doing the same thing. I shudder at the thought that my mother might have educated me at home while dealing with the needs of 2 younger siblings at the same time. I fully understand that school doesn't suit all. I think my youngest brother would have loved to have been HE'd,it would have suited his personality and learning style. I was just questioning the wisdom of pulling out a DC from school after a few short weeks when they were enjoying it.
For once I fully agree with onwardsandupwards who seems to have hit on the perfect solution.

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