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Teenage hard is it?

(16 Posts)
sleepingwiththeenemy Sat 06-Jun-09 16:36:08

Hi. I used to HE my children a few years ago, but we moved about 18 months ago and they went back to school. My son is happy at school, but my 14 year old daughter is desperately unhappy there. She's even ended up in A&E after another girl attacked her and split her eye. She's asked me a couple of times if I will HE her again, and whilst I have no problem in principal I am worried about the whole exam thing. She wants to work in beauty when she 'leaves school', and has already decided she will study for diplomas at home, but what about her GCSEs? Anyone else HE teenagers? Any advice appreciated.

Kayteee Sat 06-Jun-09 19:59:38

Well, if she knows what she wants to study for then, unless she/you want her to take any particular GCSEs, she doesn't have to take any.

You can do them independently. It just means looking into finding a school/college that will let her sit the exams. Finding the relevant coursework (which you can do online or employ a tutor, for example).

IGCSEs are taken quite commonly by HomeEdders
as there isn't the same amount of coursework involved but they are recognised worldwide.

A lot of HE teens I know don't have any GCSEs and have still managed to get into College, Universites, get A levels or get good jobs.


Kayteee Sat 06-Jun-09 20:00:46

btw, which exams, if any would she need to do the Beauty Diploma?

sleepingwiththeenemy Sat 06-Jun-09 20:23:03

Hi, and thanks. She wouldn't need any for the diploma she wants. I guess I still have it conditioned in me that you can't get on without qualifications! Having said that I have never needed my O levels in any job I've had, and up until recently I had my own therapy practice (I moved cities so had to close it). I'm a great believer in home study having gained several recognised qualifications myself, albeit in 'later life'.

julienoshoes Sat 06-Jun-09 21:16:28

"How hard is it?"

About ten million times easier than sending an unhappy child to school every day!

Have home educated my three-all autonomously, all following their own interests and not doing any formal work at all.

1st one did GCSEs and then A levels post 16 at FE college and did very well.

2nd one had masses of life experiences, including sailing around the country for two long summers and helping run workshops for women who are victims of domestic violence.
She then used those life experiences to get her into an interview and then a job for a well known national organisation.

3rd one used the OU to gain qualifications and has now been accepted by three different FE colleges to do a BTEC National Diploma.

We know of others who have used the OU to gain qualifications to go straight to Uni without GCSEs/A levels
As Kaytee mentioned, others who have done distance learning courses

There is a email support group for HE families looking to do some qualifications

Recently I have heard really good reports about an English IGCSE course for home educators, run by a home ed mom that we know. Catherine is a professional writer, English teacher, university tutor and home-educator.

julienoshoes Sat 06-Jun-09 21:25:30

Oh and I would definately suggest you and she read
'A Teenage Liberation Handbook :How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education'
by Grace Llewellyn.

An American book, but the one that really opened my eyes that the freedom that home education can bring.
You can usually get it on Amazon

The Teenage Liberation Handbook will stir your emotions and lift your vision, whether you’re a teenager or a 42-year-old CEO. Although it’s written for teens, this book focuses on a theme all of us could stand to hear: learn what you love. Particularly helpful for those who prefer alternative education, such as online learners, these pages will make you re-examine your educational path until it’s something you truly want to tread.

Llewellyn sympathizes with teenagers who get a sub-par education, wasting hours of their time on worksheets, “classroom management,” and other needless time-busters. Instead of such waste, she contends that teens should quit school and take charge of their own learning. Fortunately, this book isn’t just about lofty philosophical ideas. Llewellyn backs her claim with hundreds of pages of practical suggestions on how to claim responsibilty for your educational life.

From finding mentors to using the library, this book’s chapters contains advice all of us should know, but don’t. Some of the gems include:
• “School is Not for Learning”
• “The Importance of the Vacation”
• “Your Tailor-Made Intellectual Extravaganza”
• “Using Cultural Resources”
Before you open the cover, be forewarned. You may be inspired to quit your desk job, haunt the library, and fulfill your dream as professional chess player. But, that’s okay. Make the most of it and enjoy your intellectual journey. I know I will.

sleepingwiththeenemy Sat 06-Jun-09 23:10:58

"How hard is it?

About ten million times easier than sending an unhappy child to school every day!"

I couldn't agree more...I have no problem with HE my daughter, but it's just more daunting as she's entered the whole options/GCSEs stage. I'm studying myself, so it'd work really well I think, and she's certainly a lot happier at home than at school.

julienoshoes Sun 07-Jun-09 07:23:54

IMO It's daunting because as a society we have become indoctrinated into believing that the only way for children to learn is to go to school.
That everything depends on GCSE results at 16
That you have to have GCSEs to do A levels/A level equivalents
That you have to have A levels/equivalents to get to Uni.

It simply isn't true, it is one way. It is not the only way.

I remember it felt like I was jumping off a cliff when I deregistered our three, especially as the eldest was approaching GCSE stage.

In the end we decided that they were so unhappy in school, that whatever we did had to be better than that.
We aimed for them to be self confident and have self belief, (something that was definitely not happening in school) by the end of their compulsory education age-so that they would be equipped to get whatever they needed, to achieve their potential.

juuule Sun 07-Jun-09 12:42:45

English IGCSE course for home educators

sleepingwiththeenemy Sun 07-Jun-09 12:45:58

I guess, once again, you are right because it's actually other people's reactions which keep worrying me. I'm not that concerned about GCSEs to be honest, never once have I had to prove mine in any job, and the pressure on kids to sit many exams in a relatively short space of time is horrible. We fled domestic violence/abuse and are now happily settled on our own, but because we were always moving (he was in the forces) the children were always the new kids, making them a target for bullies. So they had mental abuse at home, and also at school, and it is happening all over again here. The name calling is disgusting, and I am very afraid that she will never regain her self confidence and belief if she stays in such an abusive atmosphere. She is a very different child at the weekend to the one who comes home from school every day, upset and angry. She's determined to work for herself, so in theory exam results aren't the be all and end all.
My instinct is to take her out of school, and allow her to breathe and then choose what she wants to do.

sleepingwiththeenemy Sun 07-Jun-09 12:49:43

Thanks juuule...I have had a quick look at the site and will have a closer look later on.

AMumInScotland Sun 07-Jun-09 15:05:58

Hi, if she knows what she wants to do at 16+, and doesn't need GCSEs for that, then it really depends what she would find interesting and useful to study - there are ways of her getting GCSEs if she wanted to (IGCSEs are simpler because there's no need for marked coursework, but it can be trickier to find an exam centre). But if she doesn't need them and knows what direction she wants to go, then she doesn't have to have any.

As you say, it's more important for her to regain her self-confidence in order to be in a good place for what she wants to do later. If she wants to work for herself, maybe it would be an idea for her to focus on skills for that - understanding health & safety, accounts, being able to write business letters, that kind of stuff. Or really anything she finds interesting - the skills you pick up from studying anything are useful for the rest of your life.

rooftop Sun 07-Jun-09 15:06:04

It is also worth speaking to the course tutor at your local college. The move to increase age 14-19 vocational courses means that some HE children can attend courses which may be more relevant for their lifestyle choices.

Roseanna123 Sun 07-Jun-09 15:27:18

My teenagers didn't do GCSE's (except the eldest 2, who wanted to try college out!) and all the odler 4 were accepted at FE college on interview for level 3 qualifications. The oldest 2 went on to do degrees, no A levels, no GCSE's, just a portfolio of Open University courses which they can do from 14-15. The short courses are brilliant, all my older 4 started with 'Fossils and the History of Life'. All autonomously home educated. Just the last 2 to go!

musicposy Sun 07-Jun-09 22:27:19

It's not hard at all, but I understand the fear!grin

I took my eldest out of school at the start of this current school year, which was year 8 for her.

It was a steep learning curve, but we've come on so far in just 9 months! One thing she did was email all the places/ colleges/ work etc she thought she might like to do at 16/ 18 and see what qualifications they wanted. Like you, we were in that school mindest that she must do 10 GCSEs! Very few wanted anything, but some wanted 5 so we are going down the GCSE/iGCSE route. You sound like you are already better informed than we were because you know what her beauty course would need and she can work on making her the candidate they choose!

We've found the GCSE route surprisingly easy once we had got over the initial scariness! The hardest bit was starting! I started by emailing every private school within a 40 or so mile radius asking if she could sit any GCSEs/ iGCSEs with them. Out of about 60 I had 3 positive replies - but I only needed one! I then asked what board they did and we followed that board. To that end we have bought an AQA foundation spec B book which we are working - she has her first module in November (we're just taking foundation this year as she is only 13) and we have her booked for iGCSEs in Biology and Geography next summer. We just bought the books they recommended and are working through them.

I have no idea how well she will actually do in them (though I suspect a C will be no problem in the maths, the way it's going), but in a very short time I've come to feel that I can do this. I was so, so terrified of home educating her (she was 12 when I took her out) even though my 9 year old was already at home - because of the exam thing and because I doubted my ability to teach her. But in the end, I haven't really taught her, we've more like wrestled with stuff together until one of us hits on the solution!

I'd say go for it. Nothing is as important as your child's happiness and I would be very surprised if her education or future suffered negatively because of the decision - I'd say quite the opposite.

Do post back if you want to ask me anything else!

chatterbocs Fri 12-Jun-09 21:20:12

Musicposy, my son is also 13 & am considering going down the IGCSE route, do you have the ISBN numbers for the books that you've bought. Do they have explanatory notes with them & exercises to do?
I've also been looking into enrolling him at :// for his maths. They also have a sister site which is & that has some exam centres listed n the site.
They are pretty reasonable for their courses £145 which includes everything you need including marking of coursework.

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