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How do you afford to home educate?

(51 Posts)
ChopsTheDuck Tue 13-Oct-09 16:00:37

I have a ds with sn, and school is becoming a big issue now. The next stage is to apply for statementing, but if that doesn't improve the situation, I think HE would be the only thing left.

I love the idea of HE, I feel he would do so much better. But, the things putting me off are looking after him 24/7 with no respite. The other three may feel left out. And the cost! How do you afford all the books and materials they need, and pay for exams, etc?

He gets dla but that tends to get eaten up by other things.

FlamingoBingo Tue 13-Oct-09 16:08:26

Exams - we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Books - would buy those anyway, but you can use the library

Materials - would probably be buying those anyway too. What do you mean for though? Most stuff gets learned through life - the only materials we buy are things for craft.

I have to say that we are very, very lucky in that we get a lot of support to home educate from our parents, both of whom help out in terms of time and money.

But we ask for things for presents, sell things on ebay, budget carefully. I don't think it can cost much more than school edcuating - no uniform, or school shoes, or school trips, lunchboxes........

And I don't know how you'd square it with three in school and one out - all mine are home educated. I don't think I could do it with some in school and some out unless they were desperate to go!

ChopsTheDuck Tue 13-Oct-09 16:24:22

mm, you make some good points - I really hadn't considered how much we we would save in terms of the costs of school.

dd has jsut last week brough home a letter asking for £166 for a two night residential.

I dont think dd or the dts would want to stay at home full time. It more worries me that I would get close to ds, and they would feel left out out in that respect. There are already issues, particularly with dd due to the extra time and attention he gets due to his sn.

FlamingoBingo Tue 13-Oct-09 16:25:46

Well maybe that may change when you're spending the time with him while she's at school. He'll be all full up with Mummy-time by the time she gets back from school and may let you focus on her and the DTs more?

ChopsTheDuck Tue 13-Oct-09 16:36:06

possibly, plus I could fit in his physio and OT stuff, and handwriting practice, and literacy support into educational work so wouldn't be trying to squeeze all that into the time outside of school.

What do you do about social skills?

I don't have any friends with similar age children at all. He does do extra curicular activities but only a few hours a week. Because of his sn, a lot of things jsut aren't possible.

ommmward Tue 13-Oct-09 19:54:35

social skills: we go to HE meet ups in our city. we manage one or two of the social events a week - if we wanted to, we could be at organised HE-specific stuff 5 days a week (french, pottery, climbing, multi-sports and heaven knows what else)

We have found some really lovely families through our local HE forum and through the social meet ups. Some of them we have regular playdates with.

The lovely thing is that we are able to take learning those social skills at exactly the right pace for the children involved.

ommmward Tue 13-Oct-09 19:56:28

books and materials - charity shops. Swaps with other families. family members who work in offices and donate scrap paper. taking full advantage of the back to school sales. not doing much by way of workbooks.

julienoshoes Tue 13-Oct-09 21:46:11

£166 for a two night residential?
OMG!
How do you afford to send them to school?
wink

School dinners/uniforms/schools/PE kits as well as residential fees shock

We have found that since they left school, there has been no pressure to have the latest labelled clothes/latest toys etc.

£166 would pay for us all to go to HesFes for a week!!
With all of the camping entertainment and workshops thrown in!!
grin

We have home educated for the last nine years. Youngest has just gone to college.

We have done it on a very limited budget as I worked very part time around the HE and my disabled husband, who has been retired on the grounds of ill health for 16 years.

Resources we have got from car boots/ebay/freecycle/charity shops.

We don't have the latest TV, we drive an old car, we camps with home educators from all over the country.

We do also use Travelodge bargain rooms-£10/night/family or Sun newspaper holidays as we are not restricted to school term breaks.

stressedHEmum Tue 13-Oct-09 23:36:19

We afford it because we have to, really. We don't drive, eat frugally, don't have much of a social life (parents), don't spend much on the house, don't holiday every year, things like that.
Books and things I would buy anyway, same for arts and crafts, games and puzzles etc. we make sure that we claim WFTC as Oh's wage is really low. BUT we don't have to buy 4 lots of uniform/pe kit etc. nor pay for trips/dinners/book fayres/endless sponsored stuff. When the kids were in school, I was getting letters looking for money or donations at least once a week, every week. even down to being asked to buy books for the childrens' class libraries and main school library. Multiply that by 4 or, at one time, 5 and it soon mounts up.

Exams aren't something I would worry about to be honest. DS2 will be going to college next year to do whatever exams he feels are necessary. He will be 17 and quite able to attend the local FE place.AS far as materials, well thye aren't really necessary at all. You don't have to follow a curriculum or do whatever the school does. No one expects HE to be like a school so you don't need school stuff.

AS far as socialising goes, others will be able to tell you more about that than I. There are no other HE families in our area and we have never met any other HEers, but my kids have plenty of friends, go to BB and GB, dance classes etc. 3 of my boys have AS, so socialising is a bit difficult for us anyway. I don't dwell on it.

For a while, I HEed 1 of mine, while the rest went to school. To be honest, I found it less than ideal because everything we did was dictated by all the school runs (I had 2 at school full time, one in for 1/2 days and one in afternoon nursery for a while.) Although, I think that DS2 got more done in a day when he was here on his own and was a bit calmer when the littlies came home.

FlamingoBingo Wed 14-Oct-09 07:25:53

Depends what you mean by 'social skills'. If you mean learning to live in the culture we live in, then what better way than actually living in it with you, rather than spending all day in school, which prepares you very poorly for living in our culture I think.

Just make sure he's involved in all the stuff you do - visiting the post office, doing the finances, shopping etc.

If you mean playing with other children, well see what there is locally. There's likely to be a HE group near you you can go to. I think StressedHEMum's experience of no local HEors is rare, so find out what's local and meet up with other HEors. If your DS wants to, he could do Scouts or a drama club or whatever he wants, really.

FlamingoBingo Wed 14-Oct-09 07:26:35

StressedHEMum - whereabouts do you live? I'm really shock that there are no other HEors where you live!

ChopsTheDuck Wed 14-Oct-09 07:28:19

julienoshoes, I don't - she isn't going! I'm planning to book her out of school those days and do similar things at HOME! grin

I think I would save a lot more if I took all four out at HE them all. The savings on holidaying in peak time would be vast to start with, then all the school related stuff. Plus then they would share materials to a degree, so it would be a bit more affordable. Plus we would have more flexibility.

But I couldn't teach all four. sad
I can barely get them all to behave let alone sit down and study! I'm not sure at least 2 of them would want to be HE neither.

ChopsTheDuck Wed 14-Oct-09 07:29:33

I mean playing with other children - a big concern as ds does have social and communication issues. Agree school doesn't prepare you much for culture.

FlamingoBingo Wed 14-Oct-09 07:32:09

You don't want to try to get any of them to sti down and study! Read as much as you can about autonomous learning before you start. Once your other kids see what fun you and your DS are having, they may well want to be HE'd too.

IME, HEing more is easier than HEing one. The other children hear conversations you're having with one of them. You can do trips together. Most learning comes from what they call 'purposive conversation' in autonomous households, and how much more you can have of that with more people around?

Get hold of a copy of How Children Learn At Home and/or anything by John Holt.

I don't 'teach' mine anything, but they know absolutely loads - much more than the NC expects them to.

ChopsTheDuck Wed 14-Oct-09 07:42:28

I will order that come payday. Even if I don't go down the HE route, it looks very interesting.

I'd love to know how they can accquire literacy skills informally. My dd detests reading with a passion and I think a lot of that is down to formal teaching.

I do love doing educational things with them, being out and about and learning things that way, and that doesn't usually cost much at all. But I did imagine that would have to be supported by a lot of formal work. I guess I'm too stuck in the school institution framework!

FlamingoBingo Wed 14-Oct-09 07:48:34

Well, the autonomous learning 5 point reading scheme goes:

1. Read to them
2. Read to them
3. Read to them
4. Read to them
5. Reat to them

grin

Another good book for you - Read With Me - An Apprenticeship Approach To Reading. It's out of print but you can get used copies very cheaply.

What else do you do in life that involves literacy practice? Autonomously educated children learn a love of books from not being forced to read them, or, if not a love of books, then a love of comics, or magazines, or the internet or whatever. They write lists, their names, party invitations, stories, letters, cards.... It just happens - not necessarily at the same time as schooled kids - usually later, and if it were your DD, she may need to 'deschool' first, which means undoing all the crap that school has done to her.

It is very difficult to deschool yourself, actually. I learnt about HE when I was pg with my first, and thought the same as you - workbooks, lessons etc. I've had several years of reading books, websites, blogs, email lists and meeting up with other home educators now and also my own experience with my children now. It's easy to be confident about it when you've got that much time understanding it.

piscesmoon Wed 14-Oct-09 08:08:16

I don't think that you need to worry about the others feeling left out-if they are happy at school,they are unlikely to want to swap. If you have DS on your own all day you can leave him to his own devices and spend time with whoever needs it. They will probably get more attention that way.

sarah293 Wed 14-Oct-09 08:13:03

Message withdrawn

stressedHEmum Wed 14-Oct-09 09:14:32

Flamingobingo, I live in Irvine, in North Ayrshire. Throughout the whole of NAC there are less than 15 kids HEeing Known to the LA and 4 of them are mine. The nearest family that I have been able to locate through Schoolhouse and HE lists are in a village near Largs which is 2 buses and almost an hour's train journey away. Not only is the journey v. difficult, but the cost is prohibitive for us. THere really isn't anywhere in-between as it were that we could meet up, either. This is a poorly resourced area with a long history of poverty and lack of investment, so there aren't things like museums, galleries, parks or anything like that to go to for meet ups. The nearest park of any kind to where we live is either a 7 1/2 mile round walk or a trip taking 2 buses either way and costing about £25 for us. Even then this would leave the lady in Largs and her daughter with a journey involving a train and 2 buses.

There was a family in Crosshouse and a couple of families in South Ayrshire, but we have the same transport problems of everyone having to take multiple buses/trains or whatever to get to a central point and, with kids like mine, it's just not feasible for them, really.

The nearest meet ups are a couple of groups in Glasgow, but that requires us to travel for about 31/2 hours on the bus and train, costs a fortune and then requires a trip through the city which my kids find v. stressful. There is a group in the city which meets almost every week and has a subscription of, I think, £50 a child every couple of months. This pays for the facilities and things, but I don't have £200 and then the £40 a week train fare. There is also another group that meets up for things like museum visits, trips to the science centre etc. but same issues are there. So, sadly, I think we are doomed to remain isolated from other HEers. I have even asked on here and on other parenting sites if there is anyone near here, but there never is.

However, my experience is unusual in the HE world and I wouldn't let it put me off if I were someone investigating HE. The situation has much to do with the demographic here, the very poor performance of our schools over successive generations, the fact that there is no readily available info from the LA or anywhere else and a whole host of social problems. Most places are not like here.

Chops - Flamingo is right. It is much harder to deschool yourself that your children. I have been HEing for more than 5 years and I still get paranoid that my almost 7 year old can't read or that my 12 year old still hasn't learned to use full stops, although 5 years of school didn't teach him that either! It doesn't help that my family are constantly comparing them to their schooled cousins and chastising me over how "far behind" they are, except that my kids know far more about plenty stuff than any of my nieces or nephews. My view is that you just have to kind of relax about the whole thing and trust that your kids will learn under their own steam. That way they will actually remember what they learn.

The best thing that I do is read to the children and let them see me reading. My reluctant readers began to get less reluctant through reading comics (Beano and Dandy,) progressed to Mangas, moved to simple books and now read at an advanced level, without any pressure from me. When my 12 year old left school after P5 he had a reading age of 6, now he is ahead of his peers and reads things like Alex Ryder books, Enid Blyton (!), Chris RYan and other boyish stuff. The difference in the 3 years we have had him home is unbelievable, because he hasn't been forced into anything, although, for the past wee while, I have made it clear that I expect hime to read SOMETHING for a little while every day, but I don't tell him what.

Oh yes, and the best resource is the internet. You can find stuff about everything on there. From Handwriting sheets to maths science, French, history, nature, politics, environment everything. Organisations like the BRownies, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Christian Aid, Wild Scotland, all have free lesson plans and educational resources that you can print out. The Woodland Trust has a brilliant children's section full of fabulous activities that my DD, in particular, loves. And the BBC is a treasure trove of opportunities. Thats before we mention Fun Brain, Learning Wave, Math Games, Happy Child, Bob the Alien, Planet Science or any of the other million and one sites out there.

Hope this helps any in your decision. And as others have said, I wouldn't worry about the other kids becoming resentful. If they are happy in school then they will continue to be so and be glad that they are still there. But you might find that after a while, they become interested in HE. I find it so much easier now that I don't have to worry about doing all the school runs or the nightmare that used to be mornings in here and the kids are much happier now, as well. Taking them out of school was the best thing we have ever done, despite what my family like to say.

ommmward Wed 14-Oct-09 10:07:25

stressedHEmum- do your children skype? If you have fast enough internet in the wilds of Ayrshire, that could be a way for them to be in contact with other HEed children

stressedHEmum Wed 14-Oct-09 10:19:31

No, we don't have Skype and OH won't allow things like MSN or other things like that. He is paranoid about computer security and things. DS1 says that he (OH) is the most paranoid person he has ever come across with all the scans/defrags/firewalls etc. He (DS1) had to wait until he was at uni, living in halls, before he could get all the chat stuff going on with his friends!

We have supposedly high speed broadband, the top package, but it never runs any faster than about 2Megs, something to do with the distance from the exchange and bundled fibres (?) I don't really understand it, to be honest.

IT would be nice if the kids could meet up with other HE children, but most of them have plenty of friends round about, so I'm not too worried. The only thing I feel bad about is that they don't do all the activities/visits that I here about other HE kids doing, simply because there is no-one round about here to share these things with and nowhere really to go.

ommmward Wed 14-Oct-09 16:46:23

Oh, but there's the flip side to it, which is that there is a part of me which feels like an abject failure for living an urban life (I was brought up in deep country) and unable to give my children the freedoms I had myself of tree climbing and lighting bonfires and just exploring the countryside around on their own and setting out alone with sledges on a snowy February day... it's all swings and roundabouts, and of course you're supposed to feel guilty about having got it wrong because you are a MOTHER!!! grin

chatterbocs Wed 14-Oct-09 20:29:05

Lol!! Fullstops! My son is 13 & 1/2 And spent 12 yrs in school & wasn't using fullstops & in the top sets!

There's loads of free stuff on the net, you don't need to spend anything.

chatterbocs Wed 14-Oct-09 20:32:30

What rubbish am I saying? I meant to say he was in school till he was 12....blush

Litchick Wed 14-Oct-09 22:19:01

Can I just say, not to worry about meeting people. We don't HE but DCs are bezzie mates with children that are.

We met them at sports club ( a lot of elite athletes HE btw) and clicked.
HE mates come to us reguarly as we have the most room and least kids. The fact that the kids are educated differently doesn't seem to bother them. HE kids show an interest in what mine do at school and ask their Mum if they can go with mine, mine regularly ask to be HEd like their mates. Me and other Mum laugh and say no. Mine will go to HesFes wiht them this year. Her kids will come with us on holiday. It works.

I guess what I'm saying is whilest you will obviously want to get to know other HEers don't assume you won't click with schoolers too.

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