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What are your views on home-schooling?

(344 Posts)
Littleraysofsunshine Tue 09-Oct-12 16:30:38

Just out if interest

exoticfruits Wed 10-Oct-12 19:16:30

I agree that some LEAs sound 'difficult' but often the HE parents don't even give them the benefit of the doubt. My friend had a lovely man, really helpful and supportive and yet other families treated him like the enemy-some shouted at him through the letter box and that is as far as he got!!! (I find it appalling that adults should do that as an example to their DCs).
I think that ReallyTired has a good solution.

bluecarrot Wed 10-Oct-12 19:30:43

I wish I could HE "properly", but our circumstances would make it difficult. Instead she goes to school and I try to be involved in her school work as much as possible. We have a "homeschool" time every day where we review stuff she has found hard, or work on a project - currently world war 2 / make do and mend.

Im not sure I would HE at high school level - or even how it works at that level, only ever considered primary age.

lljkk Wed 10-Oct-12 19:37:16

The HE children I know are odd because their parents are odd, imho, the sort of odd people that take to HE.

NB: I am quite odd too, that's why I am friendly with some many HErs.

lljkk Wed 10-Oct-12 19:38:00

But me being so odd is a big attraction in why I send DC to regular schools, I want them to have some chance of relating to normal.

discrete Wed 10-Oct-12 20:08:59

How on earth do you define an 'odd' child?

If it's one who isn't like most of the other children around, then I think most he parents would welcome that description of their children.

After all, many have decided to he because they have started in the schooling system available to them (or looked at it), seen what it produced and said 'over my dead body'.

ObiWan Wed 10-Oct-12 20:55:00

ReallyTired, your opinion encapsulates what alarms many HE families, when it comes to contact with the LA. People tend to assume that the family must be hiding something.

I don't assume that most parents send their children to school as a means of covering up the fact that they beat them black and blue in their own time, or that their parenting is 'lazy' and they are using schools as free childcare.

Parents do not generally need to be 'monitored'. People who are home educating their children do not exist in a void, totally cut off from interaction with others.

Our children are just as likely to join Cubs, Brownies, swimming, music classes etc. as others. We go shopping, join libraries, send our children to summer camps and playschemes etc. just as others do.

Some of us even employ childminders. We have family, friends, neighbours, doctors, dentists and health visitors.

Why would you be 'concerned' about a family who decided to give organised HE groups a miss, preferring to get on with every day life in a common or garden sort of way?

Sparklyboots Wed 10-Oct-12 21:43:28

Children 24 hours a day, lesson plans, keeping them amused. Making them do work when they weren't in the mood. Ha, I so would not be interested in that either but do plan to HE until he wants to join a structured course for the purpose of gaining a qualification. The difference between studying for a qualification and education is quite significant in my eyes and IME the current school system does lots of qualification/ assessment work to the detriment of education. I have no plans for timetabled 'lessons' and absolutely no intention of forcing him to do stuff - these are some of the main problems I have with schooling as it stands.

Obviously, if it doesn't seem to be working out for him, we'll try school, but I'm keen that he's a bit more developed as a personality when he goes, and that he's definitely academically ready - I don't want him learning that he's stupid just because he's not ready for reading and writing at 5. I'm not concerned about the social aspect because there are lots of out-of-school activities/ HE groups where he can go to socialise and this to me is infinitely preferable than putting him in a school setting for the sort of reasons other posters have outlined as the social problems of schools. My mum is a primary school teacher and thinks HE is a great idea for her DGS, so my decision isn't made without reference to the current school context.

exoticfruits Wed 10-Oct-12 21:50:43

I think that you are misunderstanding 'monitoring'- it is nothing to do with concern. You just monitor everyone- the best too. It is hardly onerous - my friend just has the inspector in, give him tea and he chats to her and the children and gives any advice, if she wants it. You do need an inspector who believes in HE and wants to help make it work.

ReallyTired Wed 10-Oct-12 22:42:58

A good inspector is more like a critical friend. I think its healthy for teachers to share good practice and learn from each other. Surely this applies to the home education commuity.

Peer evaluation of home educators would improve standards. Prehaps "monitoring" is a scary term, prehaps its better to have a criticial friend.

DuelingFanjo Wed 10-Oct-12 22:44:46

My view is it must be a lovely ting to do but how do people afford to do it and not work?

Caladria Wed 10-Oct-12 22:47:50

As an introverted only child I'm very very very glad I wasn't home educated.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Oct-12 08:25:52

I was a very shy DD so it would have been the worst thing for me too. Monitoring is perhaps the wrong term. It just needs an outside view- I don't see why it is a bad thing- we all need an objective view, we are too close. Teachers don't teach in isolation, they discuss ,evaluate etc. Perhaps HE supporter is a better term than inspector or monitoring.

streakybacon Sat 13-Oct-12 13:27:08

You do need an inspector who believes in HE and wants to help make it work

Unfortunately that's the tricky bit. A lot of LA inspectors aren't supportive - in my LA all HE monitoring staff are from a background of Children Missing Education and they know very little about day to day home ed, or the legislation, or choices, or exams, or anything else really.

As for inspection visits, I was very happy to have officers come to my home for the first three years, despite a horrible start with two inexperienced and untrained EWOs (I won't go into details here) who were rude, confrontational and obstructive. I attempted to build bridges with various meetings between local home educators and the LA but to no avail - round here they dont want to support, they just want all children in schools where they can have full control.

More recently I've approached my LA for advice on specific issues about exams. Not only were they woefully uninformed, they also failed to make further enquiries and never did get back to me. On that basis, and with the knowledge that they have neither the means nor the intention to provide local home educators with any form of advice and support, I've decided to have nothing further to do with them.

cory Mon 15-Oct-12 08:19:07

Not for us but has worked well for friends of ours. Particularly for parents with children with SN and no support in the school.

I do know parents in the same situation in a country with no option of HE and their only option when their SN child was bullied and unsupported was to sell their house and move in the hopes of finding a more supportive LEA- if they hadn't managed to find one, their child would have been in real difficulties.

But finding inspectors of a high enough calibre is obviously a real problem: having had to do with EWOs for a different reason I know how wildly they can differ amongst themselves. I did not relish having my dd's education monitored by a woman who couldn't fill in her own forms because of the difficult words in them- I helped her, having first endured a 10 minute lecture on the importance of education hmm

streakybacon Mon 15-Oct-12 10:27:24

Some valid points, cory.

In the past when people have said to me "I couldn't do what you do" I've often replied that they're fortunate not to be in a position where they have no option. I don't HE by choice but by default, because there is no other suitable alternative that will come close to meeting his needs. We tried to work with the system for five years but it failed my son repeatedly in ways that many people would find difficult to believe.

When school works it's great, but when it doesn't it can be horrifically damaging and sometimes permanently. This is particularly true of children with SNs and I suspect this will only get worse as budgets continue to be cut.

MoelFammau Wed 17-Oct-12 01:16:09

While I think it's wonderful that many HE parents make an active choice to socialise their kids with outside activities, I do feel I should flag up the negative side. It's not always sunshine and roses, and HE can hide some terrible stuff.

I was home-schooled with my sisters from the age of 5 (one year in school). We were actively discouraged from taking any exams, and were kept isolated on top of a mountain. We hardly met any kids our own age and when we did, we stuck out as being painfully weird. An attempt at the age of 16 to attend an evening class once a week to learn French resulted in me being locked out of the house and made to sleep in the garage. I'd betrayed my mother by wanting proper education. I didn't complete the course.

Our mother had mental issues and paranoia. We were off the record for education and health until I was 14. No dentist, no optician, no doctor, no education inspector. We were all physically and emotionally abused on a daily basis. We accepted it because we knew no different, having no other families to compare.

I escaped without any qualifications at the age of 24. I really do feel that escaped is the right word. I'm still feeling the affects of it now, 10 years on.

I know this is extreme. But it happened. I love the idea of HE for my own DD but I find it hard to shake off the experience I had. I'm thinking she'll go to school and I'll top up with interesting stuff out of school hours...

Sorry - just wanted to share. sad

monsterchild Wed 17-Oct-12 01:30:49

My experience with kids who have been HE varies a lot. As many families as there are who are doing what is best for their kids because of a lack of help or education from the local school, there are many who are very much as Moel describes. And with some religious/political connotations as well.

Many of the kids from these HE homes tend to be socially unskilled and really not very worldly at all. Where I am, probably half of the HE kids come from this second group. Its scary to me.

gabsid Mon 22-Oct-12 11:24:47

I was not confident enough to step out of the system. I felt DS was too young an immature to start R aged 4 but hoped he would be OK, and also I wasn't aware of home schooling at the time. In retrospect DS would have benifited from a couple of years home schooling.

On the other hand, there is some much more to school than I can provide. School may not be perfect for each child and they don't always get it right, but there is a team of professionals with 'a plan' trying to educate my DC on so many different levels - I can't match that. Its not just about reading levels and adding up.

gabsid Mon 22-Oct-12 11:29:02

monsterchild - 'there are many who are very much as Moel describes' shock

MimiSam Mon 22-Oct-12 11:37:41

I know two families who HE - the fathers go out to work, so it is the mothers who do the HE. They are the flakiest women I know, disorganised, easily distracted and not very well educated themselves, except about "nature studies" and art, which they seem to spend a lot of time doing....they each have one child and I feel sorry for the children spending 24/7 with their mums :"he doesn't like going to groups".....I can't help feeling it's more for the adult's' benefit than the child's and I definitely think there should be some monitoring of the children's progress....
I'm sure it works well for some children, but not all....

weegiemum Mon 22-Oct-12 11:43:17

I think in principle, if it is done well, HE can work very well.

My children have benefitted hugely from school as they go to a bilingual school and the benefits of that to them are huge, I could never have given them that opportunity. It's a state school, bilingually English and Gaelic. However, if one of them was in a position that school was not the best thing for them, I'd have no problem in home educating.

I only personally know one HE family. They are very fervent about it and think everyone should HE. Their reason for it is they don't want their boys to be exposed to "dangerous" ideas like evolution or other religions apart from christianity . They are following a fundamentalist curriculum bought in from the US, and even though I'm a Christian (we met through church) I feel sorry for their dc.

Viviennemary Mon 22-Oct-12 11:53:53

I am very much not in favour of home schooling except in circumstances where a child is extremely unhappy at school. I couldn't begin to think of the stress of it all. Why do people home educate. Do they think they can give their child a better education than trained teachers. I don't really count home educating for a couple of years from the age of five home schooling though it is in theory. I expect even I could have managed that.

happybubblebrain Mon 22-Oct-12 12:00:06

I wouldn't be able to do it financially or otherwise.
And, we would both miss the social life that work and school provides.
But, hats off to anyone that it is able to do it, I'm sure the one to one tuition is a great benefit and it would be lovely not to leave the house every morning in the dark and return in the dark.

gabsid Mon 22-Oct-12 12:07:43

I remember seeing a documentary on HE, I think on Ch4, where a mum was teaching all her young DC (3-8 year olds, I think) around the kitchen table with a banner above them labeled 'World War II' confused.

On the other hand, I feel DS (7) is a dreamy, immature boy and I support him quite a bit in maths, he doesn't seem to know any maths unless we sat down 1:1 - but I feel he is at school all day and there is limited time for intensive support.

Also, languages are important to me (we are a bilingual family) and I would like DS to learn a third language. I have started him on Spanish and we are having a bit of fun with it occasionally. I feel he might be quite good, but at his school they are meant to learn some Spanish this year, but the teachers there all seem very keen to let you know that they don't speak Spanish. I don't think this is giving the right message to DS.

DS comes home from school at 4pm and if I could I would shorten his day a bit to support him at home a bit more - and teach him a language!

throckenholt Mon 22-Oct-12 12:23:26

>I only personally know one HE family. They are very fervent about it and think everyone should HE. Their reason for it is they don't want their boys to be exposed to "dangerous" ideas like evolution or other religions apart from christianity . They are following a fundamentalist curriculum bought in from the US, and even though I'm a Christian (we met through church) I feel sorry for their dc.

That is my main reason for not liking HE. I think HE should be broad ranging and not impose any particular perspective on children. If you have that temptation you shouldn't HE. Although I could use the same argument for not having faith schools too.

I HE my kids (late primary age) - personally between us DH and I think we can cover at least as well as secondary school gcse level in most subjects . A lot of it is not teaching, so much enabling. GCSE level in any subject isn't really very demanding.

But HE isn't for everyone - socially, financially or academically - all will vary over time for each child and each family.

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