HELP PLEASE(35 Posts)
We de-reg'd our 6 year old from school last year and have spent a year Home-Educating him. It has gone really well regardless of the isolation from other Home-edders. I got sick and tired of trying to find other home-edders who were willing to meet up and we were very much alone.
We've recently moved and I automatically registered him in a new school to start in September. I am now starting to panic - I don't know if I've done the right thing and am starting to wonder if I should persevere with the home ed. I really need advice on this. I can't see how I could go on when he doesn't know anyone his own age (actually any children at all - within a 40 mile radius) and when other home edders appear unsociable.
ON the other hand, I don't think I want him to go to school.
I really don't know what to do ... can anyone offer advice?
What does he want to do?-is the important thing. Has he looked at the school on a normal working day and spoken to the teachers and children?
I am very surprised at the unfriendliness-that seems very odd. I am bumping this up so that someone who is into the social side can reply. I am not an HEer.
I do think that you need to find a way of being in touch with other home ed-ers, for your benefit and his. Why don't you want him to go to school?
Have you been in touch with Education Otherwise?
Where do you live now MrsGJB?
Are you in a different area from before?
what area are you in? is there a yahoo group for that area? we are in berkshire, and find the net work to be strong, and the surrounding counties are good as well education otherwise is a good starting place, and can put you in touch with lots of others, not all groups you go to will suit you both, weve been to one and it was a disaster (we went twice to check) but there is plenty of other things going on, we have set groups up outselves as well
i have found the ning social site alittlebitofstructure to be fab and really helpful, full of support and advice from lots of areas of the country
I think you need to separate out whether you still think home ed is the right choice in a general sense, and (if so) then see about whether you can make it work in a practical sense.
So, you sent him to school then deregged him - presumably there were aspects of school which didn't suit him. Do you think those were just that specific school, or the school system in general? Have you visited the local school(s) where you are now to consider whether they would suit him better?
If you're not utterly opposed to schooling in general, then I think you should consider whether your DS would like to try school again - he could visit with you, maybe have a trial day, see whether he'd like to go for a term at first to see how it goes. Obviously at 6 it's not wholly his decision, but it's old enough to have his opinions listened to seriously and taken into acount in your decision.
But if you do decide to carry on with HE, then you're right, he does need to spend time with other children. If you don't have any luck with HE groups, then you could make sure he gets lots of opportunities to do "after school" activities - cubs, football, music, whatever you can find in your area to give him time with other children. Hopefully that will lead to him making friends who you can invite round as well.
Thank You for your replies.
Piscesmoon - it is the Home Ed group that appear anti-social. Yes he did visit the school and enjoyed his time there - but I think it was the novelty.
Seeker - I tried everyway I could think of, there were two groups (although not distinct from each other). One was very wierd - they didn;t do things together, all stayed seperate finding it seemingly difficult to work together, or even speak to each other ... very odd. The other group had regular things to do - but all involved things that we couldn't get to by public transpor. The nearest being around 35 miles from here.
Mumtoo3 -I did join a yahoo group and there were only two other home-educating families anywhere near to us - neither were interested in meeting up.
Amuminscotland - I still feel that home-ed is the way to go. Having talked to him this morning, he says that he wants to go to school for a couple of days - but still wants the freedom that he's had over the past year. So I am going to ring the local authority and see if we can do part-time schooling. I have heard of it happening in other areas, so might be worth a try and he gets to compare both things then.
I suppose it is worth a try to compare-my feeling is that flexi schooling isn't a good idea-my nephews tried it and they found it very difficult on the friendship side because they simply weren't there a lot of the time and they are very much 'outsiders'.
Are you in a very rural area? Have you tried the HEers in the area that you have just moved to? I suppose in anything people get cliquey-but it does seem a shame.
I always recommend the scout movement for making friends. Has he tried Beavers? My nephew belongs to a junior theatre group and that is really good for friendships.
If you are in a very rural area and relying on travelling distances it can make get togethers difficult. My SIL who HEs finds her local HE group a very mixed bunch. It is very rural and some are distinctly odd, for example she gets shunned by some because her DSs mix with anyone and their best friends go to school-however she also has really nice ones. I am in an area with a much higher population and, as far as I know, people are more welcoming.
My SIL is in the sort of area that people go to escape the rat race and some of them are a bit unsociable.
why don't you wnat your child to go to school? if he tried school and enjoyed it then why take him out, you're not giving him a chance.
He's 6 years old, of course he wants to do things his way and stay at home with you, but just because it's what he wants doesn't mean it' whats best for him.
you say that you don't really want him to go to school. are you sure that you are not focusing on your needs more than his?
i didn't want my little boy to grow up and go to school, but he did. he loves school, he loves learning and socializing with his friends and i would never deny him those experiences.
Have you thought through (sorry, that sounds patronizing - I don't mean it to) why you don't want him to go to school? I ask because you say in your op that you don't think you want him to go to school? Would it help to set out your reasons and see if anyone's got any helpful suggestions?
Where abouts in the country are you? I was just about to write the same post about my six year old son, apart from the going back to school bit (I would send him back in a heartbeat if he wanted to go, but it didn't work out for him and caused a lot of problems).
We live in a rural area and don't know anyone and I seem to spend my days trying to make plans to meet up with other home educators. THe couple of groups I persevere with I have found to be a little strange as well, we don't really fit the same mold as most of the home educators in our area do, so that makes it difficult. He has met three or so really nice kids through the groups, but they all have friends where they live etc, so they don't tend to have the time to see us more than once a month or so. I sometimes wish he was in school so he could have a more normal social life, he is such a sociable child and seeing him be alone all the time is heartbreaking. (School not an option for us for a while at least, we have tried a couple few over the years and for many reasons its been horrendous).
I know I am not helping much, but I just wanted to say that I really feel for you and your little boy as we are in the same situation. Feel free to PM me if you want a chat.
You don't have to go to school to have friends that do go to school.
Most areas do a little booklet of activities/clubs for DCs. I would go along to something he is interested in e.g.join a football team,swimming lessons, stagecoach, Beavers-they will not be in school time but that doesn't matter.
However rural, most villages have some children-if you spend time in a recreation ground someone must turn up to play with. Get chatting to the parent and invite them round for a cup of tea. When my mother moved into a village (with few children)someone saw me with small DS and thought we were the ones who had moved-they were disappointed we hadn't, but if we had I expect we would have been welcomed with open arms!
At the moment there are lots of holiday play schemes-you could try that.
If they aren't going to school, the easy option for meeting their peer group, I think you have to make huge efforts and talk to absolutely anyone-you don't know where it might lead.
I don't now about the Op, but my sone does a few activiets, such as Kerate, but they are in a town over an hour away, and the lovely kids hes met have friends who are near them.
We are in a bit of a bad situation, we can't do anything local to us, I don't want to go into it, but the problems my DS had at school were so bad that we ended up being alienated fron the rest of the families in our smal vilaage and the immediate area, so we are inbetween a rock and a hard place (when I say I would send him to school, I mean a private school out of our area). We are trying to move to another area, in which case, we would have no problems doing all the things you have suggested and I am sure he would get to know neighborhood kids, but it's not an option here sadly.
Sorry about spelling, am typing with a broken finger!
It sounds horrible - halfbakedcookie, is there really nothing you can do to resolve things? I don't mean to sound patronizing (again) but are you sure things are as bad as you say? Would it be worth trying again once everyone's calmed down?
GJB in response to the following comment
'Having talked to him this morning, he says that he wants to go to school for a couple of days - but still wants the freedom that he's had over the past year. So I am going to ring the local authority and see if we can do part-time schooling. '
I'd like to say the following
1. He's six. He doesn't know what he wants or needs.
2. Doing this [if it were allowed and it shouldn't be] will lead him to believe that you can just pick and choose the best/most fun bits out of any activity and life just isn't like that.
3. It would be most unfair on other children to see him swan in and out as the mood takes him [or you].
Seeker - It really is bad, it all happened two years ago now and we are still living like prisoners in our own home. Our lives have been made hell, it wasn't just a little misunderstanding. There was gossip and lies told about us and my son that I don't think anyone would believe if I wrote it on here. I can't explain it all now, but we did nothing to these people, I know that is really hard for others to believe, even my own family have said 'no smoke without fire' etc. My son didn't get on well when he started school at 4, it's a very long story . The local things like football clubs, drama clubs are run by locals or are attended by kids from the school, hence why we have to travel an hour to the nearest town to do anything.
'1. He's six. He doesn't know what he wants or needs.'
I beg to differ-one of my three children had very clear ideas of what she wanted by six.
Children of this age can be involved in choices in their lives-we see it very often in the autonomous home educating community.
'2. Doing this [if it were allowed and it shouldn't be] will lead him to believe that you can just pick and choose the best/most fun bits out of any activity and life just isn't like that.'
It is allowed if the headteacher agrees.
Flexischooled children do just that-pick the bits of a school curriculum which suits that that child.
This is personalised education we are talking about-and certainly our children's lives were like that, they picked the best/most fun bits all of the time.
The older two are in the world of work now, in jobs of their own choosing, that they enjoy. They continue to coose to do activities that they find fun and don't do things they don't want to do.
I do the same.
'3. It would be most unfair on other children to see him swan in and out as the mood takes him [or you].'
IME flexischooling is negotaiated by the parent and headteacher, where the the classes the child will attends is agreed, rather than the 'swanning in and out'. However I do know of one friend whose child goes to school for the majority of the time, but has days out whenever something more interesting/educational comes up-this again was negotiated by the parent and the head when the child started that school.
This has nothing to do with fairness to others. All parents have the same responsibility under Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act:
The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable
a) to his age ability and aptitude,
and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise.
The majority of parents choose to delegate this responsibility to the state and send their children to state school.
Some parents use Public Schools, others Home Educate and some Flexischool.
Whilst flexischooling would not be the choice my children would make with me about their education, the OP may well choose it as the best way to deliver a suitable and efficient education for her child-to fulfill her responsibility.
Parents in the vast majority of cases want what is best for their child and should be given accurate info about all the educational choices available, so that they can make an informed decision on what is right for their family at that time.
Thank You julienoshoes - I was going to respond to that post too, but you replied eloquently.
Piscesmoon - he attended stagecoach for 18 months, we had to travel 17 miles, which may not sound much, but when you don't drive and there is no public transport worth mentioning, it is difficult. No-one travelled to the group as far as he did and no-one was willing to meet up away from the group - they wouldn't even attend his birthday party, etc - all said it was to far for someone they only met for 1 1/2 hours a week. He was in Beavers (and has a place for this area in Sept), He also had swimming lessons - but is now on an 18 month waiting list for lessons in this area.
We are members of Education Otherwise - but all their activities involve meeting up miles from where we are and the two groups involved are the groups we were directed to from EO.
I think his idea of part time school might be useful in that it gives us an opportunity to see whether school suits him without making a full time commitment.
'It would be most unfair on other children to see him swan in and out as the mood takes him [or you]. '
I don't think it is unfair on the other DCs; I don't think they would want to do it themselves.
I do think it unfair on the DS himself-it is very, very difficult for them. School is about so much more than lessons-I expect it is fine if you have a confident DC who makes friends easily and is fairly popular. My nephews found the actual lessons fine but playtimes were really difficult-simply because they missed such a lot.
I can see in your situation that you want to have a 'dip the toe in the water' try-I just wonder if it could make the situation worse?
As a teacher I wouldn't like it because in order for him to have a flexible approach, you are imposing a rigid approach on others. For example if it was decided that he would do Tues mornings for Maths it might so happen that the class were really immersed in a group topic work on Monday afternoon and you wanted to carry on while they were all so keen. You then have a problem because you not only have a DC coming in expecting a Maths lesson but he hasn't done any work on the topic and isn't in a group.
It would work best if you can find a really large, formal primary school where they stream for Maths so that they stick to the timetable-you may find that a small rural primary or an informal school would find it difficult. In many ways it is easier at secondary level, which is where my nephews went in for set subjects.
I would be more inclined to give him until half term to try full time and let him know that if it doesn't work he can go back to HE.
why don't you settle into this new place first, spend a term trying to build a social life outside of school by inviting people around and sending ds to any local activities (ask random mums you see out and about to find out what there is etc, also ask at the school maybe).
If it doesn't work out with friendships, social life, you can still try the school. I would find that less disruptive for ds personally than starting a second school and then leaving it.
I would agree with ZZZenAgain. Have you moved far? The HE scene may be completely different and very vibrant and welcoming. It would be a good idea to get to know the local families and find out a bit more about the schools. I wouldn't rush into anything through desperation.
I have to say - I think you're both right. The more I think about it, the more I am certain that I was right following the HE route in the first place. I think I was probably panicking with moving so far away from where he's been used to. Over the past few days, a lot of families with children seem to be moving onto the street (it's a new development) - so looking promising as far as new friends for him are concerned. In fact, at our previous address, the friends he did see lived a few miles away, as there were no children 'on the doorstep' so to speak.
BTW - we've moved 38 miles away from our previous home.
38 miles is enough to make a huge difference. He is only young-I would have the summer as a holiday and wait and see. If you are very keen to HE I would contact people in September and give it a try first. Flexi schooling sounds ideal in theory-I just think it gives the worst of both worlds in practice, because he is doesn't really fit into either-unless he is very mature, popular, laid back and makes friends easily.
A new development is the ideal opportunity to make friends-for DCs and adults.
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