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Return to Uk- transitioning: house/schools etc

(15 Posts)
Salbertina Sat 05-Jan-13 13:14:49

Any tips pls? We may be returning and may stay w family for few weeks prior to moving back to our own

. We have dc 13 & 6 and wondering about schools for transition.

Aim is to be back home by Sept in time for school yr start where we used to live. Both dc be at new schools but
in old area so will know some kids.

Options prior to that are

1. to live w family (away from our home area) and therefore completely new and temporary schools for dc until summer hols (advantage is its flexible, saves money but cd be nightmare
for all?!)

2.Home school them all that time til sept (!!)

3. Return to home area and therefore permanent schools before sept somehow

Salbertina Sat 05-Jan-13 13:20:08

Just to add dc are completely fluent in English but have been out of Uk system for 3 yrs in a very different one. Dc1 in particular will find secondary sch v different from current school and former Uk primary school, indeed positively scary from their point of view.
Have vague unrealistic dreams of housesitting in darkest spain somewhere fir the summer instead while dh slaves in London though not sure how kids wd cope and whether irresponsible to jeep them out of school for so long

LIZS Sat 05-Jan-13 13:24:19

Which year will dc 1 go into year 9 or 10? Will he turn 14 before September, in which case year 10 and he would start GCSE syllabus straight away so need to make subject choices immediately. Might be easier on him to get back into long term school before September and make up any gaps.

PeriPathetic Sat 05-Jan-13 13:26:24

Ooh tricky. Was in potentially a similar situation a couple of years ago, which thankfully didn't pan out. The home-schooling idea gave me chills.

At your kids' ages, I'd definitely be aiming for relocating to your old home area asap to give them chance to settle. I wouldn't have thought a 13 year old will be too easy to move around more than necessary.

Salbertina Sat 05-Jan-13 14:28:58

Thanks both, wd be yr 9 for sept so just in time.

kodokan Sat 05-Jan-13 23:25:37

I homeschooled mine for 8 months as a transition between French-speaking Swiss schools and their current US schools. They were 7 and 11 at the time. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought; my oldest was actually really easy as he could self-study much of the time, whereas my youngest was more problematic as she wasn't a strong reader so couldn't even be given a simple worksheet unaided.

I used an online system called, which was very reasonably priced and could be paid month-to-month with no ongoing commitment. It's a US curriculum, but there's probably something similar for the UK. I supplemented this with some workbooks I ordered from US Amazon, watching documentaries, Khan Academy, etc.

Maths is the only area where you have to be very structured and rigorous, but is easy to cover off with online teaching, and it largely doesn't matter if it's from a US or UK provider. Everything else is much more fluid, and can be largely cobbled together from books and videos, and tailored to fit with the needs of the school you'll be joining, to make sure you've covered astronomy, lifecycles of frogs, Tudor history, clouds... whatever they have on their curriculum for the year prior to the one your kids would be joining.

Salbertina Sun 06-Jan-13 06:31:32

Thanks, kodokan, thats very helpful and encouraging. What made you do this rather than put straight into school? Availability, lack of support, language issue??

Also wondering about living w family fir a while and how that may not work

kodokan Sun 13-Jan-13 05:01:06

I took them out of their Swiss school as soon as we found out we were moving to the US, which was late April 2011. I would've needed to pull them out for 2 weeks for the look-see trip anyway, which the school would've been very disapproving of (it's cultural NOT at all done there). Then they would've finished in June for summer, and going back in August and slogging away in French for maybe another month or so whilst we waited for visas would've seemed very pointless to them.

But the main thing was that my 11 yr old hadn't written a word in English since he was 8, and had only studied arithmetic, not the early fractions/ geometry/ statistics that the US kids do from 3rd grade or so. And my 7 yr old could barely read in English at a slow c-a-t level; I'd done the basic sounds with her, but was waiting to get her French reading consolidated before really pushing the English.

So they left late April, homeschooled through summer - we did a couple of hours most days from then on non-stop, rather than breaking for the usual 6-10 weeks - into October, then we moved mid-Oct. (We took the US look-see trip during this time, as well as one back to the UK to visit family.) We carried on the homeschooling in the US for 6 weeks, as we were in temporary accommodation waiting for our shipment, and it was going so well anyway I figured they may as well carry on until we moved into our proper house and placed them in their final local schools then. By the time they went back to school, it was the very end of November, so they'd been homeschooling almost 8 full months.

I am so, so glad we did it. I got my 11 yr old completely caught up to his US peers in reading comprehension, writing and maths (American history is still a bit shaky even now :-), and my 7 yr old went into 2nd grade with a not too disastrous reading level; 6 months later she was entirely at grade. They arrived at school knowing roughly all the right things, using the correct US terminology for things (ie, in the writing process they go on and on about main idea, topic sentence, 5 paragraph essay; they use the imperial measurement system in math, etc).

And it was very bonding. We all enjoyed it, and it brought us very close together. It was surprisingly easy, with all the great materials available online or by post, and it turned out that a moderately well-motivated child can cover as much in an hour as a class of kids would cover in a day: much of the school day is repeating for the slower ones, crowd control, moving from place to place, recapping on yesterday, assemblies and so on. If you've only got one student, you can tell after 2 or 3 fraction sums that he's completely got it; no need to assign 20 to everyone as you would with a whole class because you can't tell which of the 30 need the practice and which ones are knocking them out in 5 mins. We did a lot of history, geography and science by watching videos together and then discussing them afterwards; again, you can tell from a good chat how much he has understood and absorbed, and add to his knowledge; it doesn't need an essay or multi-choice questions.

Obviously longer term homeschooling requires more thought and planning, but as a quick and dirty way to fill in major gaps or keep them on track in a short timescale, this worked just fine, meant they got some quality time with me, and only had to start one school knowing they'd be staying and could really make friends. Plus it hasn't done my now 12 yr old any harm at all to detach 'education' and 'learning' from 'school' as a concept; ticks all those 'lifelong learning' boxes nicely. smile

Salbertina Sun 13-Jan-13 08:20:28

Wow impressed! Are you a teacher by trade or just naturally patient?! Not sure i cd homeschool quite so long- dc1 moderate ADHD and dyslexia fir one so quite hard-going fir both of us just with homework. Who know though?

Salbertina Sun 13-Jan-13 08:22:24

Interesting what you say about 1-2 hrs equating to whole day at school. Food for thought. Were you tempted to continue homeschooling for this reason?

meditrina Sun 13-Jan-13 08:49:04

You need to factor in the applications process: you cannot apply for a school until you are resident in the UK. And then the address for applications is the one at which the pupils are actually resident. It may take a few weeks to process an application, and if all nearby schools are full, then you may find yourself allocated an undersubscribed school some distance away. But you can appeal, go on waiting lists etc, those these again take time and the outcome is uncertain.

The admin might mean it makes more sense to return to your old area before the summer, so you can secure a place in time for September.

Salbertina Sun 13-Jan-13 08:56:38

Thats true, yes. Poss looking at going private for one so should be ok. Other due to go to catchment sch and has places. We own house there also tho not been resident for a while

kodokan Mon 21-Jan-13 17:26:41

No, not a teacher, been a SAHM for 12 years and was a marketing manager before that. But I'm a great internet researcher, and there's a ridiculous amount of advice on how to homeschool out there. It helped that I had very clear goals - my son, eg, was going into 6th grade, so I got sample copies of the 5th and 6th grade end-of-year math exams, and made sure he knew all the 5th grade stuff and a good chunk of the 6th grade. I got a step-by-step writing course textbook from, only about $10, and had him work through that to build his skills in planning, structure, persuasion, using better vocab, etc. We watched a TV series on American history, to give him a broad brush of key events like the wars and certain presidents.

So I didn't have to worry about designing a curriculum or choosing an ethos, it was more 'this is what I need to teach - what tools can I find to best do that?' Then I did a plan: two chapters of the writing course a week, all the maths subjects divided over 20 weeks or whatever, an episode of the history series a week. We didn't do much science, as he's very science-y anyway by nature so tends to read around this, plus largely had it covered from previous schooling; I just had him read certain chapters to fill in a few gaps based on the Arizona curriculum: how the circulation system works, made sure he understood the new measuring system, etc. He also did a touch typing course, the BBC one, so he'd have basic keyboarding skills - I think this is a key life skill, and it was the perfect opportunity to do the 10-15 mins a day drilling that best cements this.

I did briefly consider continuing homeschooling, as it was going so well, but both my kids enjoy school and seem to thrive on the contact with different adults, the other kids, etc. I definitely had it as a back-up, in case one or both of them just didn't settle into the schools, was bullied, etc. Doing it 'properly' as their entire education would of course require a great deal more thought and effort; it's really quite easy to do as a stop-gap with a clear end goal, though.

vess Sat 26-Jan-13 21:56:17

Actually I don't think you have to be resident in the UK to apply - you may just need an address and a date when you want them to start. Rules can be different depending on the area, but when we returned, the LEA said we could apply a term in advance.

ripsishere Sun 27-Jan-13 00:23:46

I applied for DDs school place in the UK from Belgium. We are in the fortunate position of owning a house in the area although we weren't living in it.

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