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Does anyone flexi-school their Primary-age DC?

(176 Posts)
Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 14:52:24

The kid will be starting school in September, but for various reasons we think she'd be happier being flexi-schooled.

I'm aware that she doesn't need to go to school at all legally, and that if she does, it doesn't need to be full-time until the term in which she turns 5. I'm also aware that any flexi arrangement needs to be made with the head.

What I wondered though is if anyone who has actually done it has any advice about how to get the head to agree?

We would like her to 'flex' one or two days a week, and am considering telling the head of my plans and doing it regardless of consent for the first two terms of they year (before she is 5) as it will be an opportunity (hopefully) for us to demonstrate that it's a workable system, but any thoughts and experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:41:14

juniper904 I think Horrid Henry is a bit above reading age 7 according to the Burt scale? I've never read any, so I don't know. The reading thing is quite new to us, as I say, two months ago she could read a few words. We're still getting to grips with the fact that she can do it as it's only a few weeks since she started reading books - I tried her with an Oxford Tree Level 7, and she could read it and understand it, but she found it a bit long and got me to finish it for her.

As I say we're still adapting to this new world where she can read so we're struggling a little for material at the moment, but it's only been a week or so, and she is happy to read anything (cereal packets, magazines, Aldi catalogues - she'll have a go at anything)

I am fully aware that there is more to school than phonics, which is why I want her to spend most of the week there.

I can't be confident that I can teach a class of 4/5 year olds as well as a teacher qualified to do so, but I can be confident that I can teach my daughter well on a one-to-one basis. Of course I worry about her having social issues as a result, but she doesn't seem that interested in kids her own age anyway.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 16:41:46

mrz can you eleborate on 'that isn't how EYFS' works? Do you think it would 'work' for a child who is already familiar with a large chunk of it's content?

No not even for a child who is familiar with all it's content

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 19-Feb-13 16:43:36

If you ask her questions about the text can she answer them? We have some very able readers but they cannot do comprehension and cannot work out what the author is inferring or discuss how the character is feeling or what might happen next.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:52:13

MustafaCake et al - I don't want to have to reply repeatedly saying 'she can already do that' but, well, she can already count to whatever, knows about odd and even numbers, can add and subtract, and even divide to a basic level and appears to be getting her head around multiplication.

If I thought she was going to be disadvantaged by staying in school I wouldn't be suggesting it. It is my considered opinion that she will be able to do most of the EYFC before she gets to it, and that which is new to her she will pick up quickly - I don't see missing one day a week or even two to be a problem academically. If I did, I wouldn't consider it.

The social side worries me a little, but as I have said, her peers seem to be of little interest to her anyway. She's always been more interested in older kids.

Your DDs school sounds excellent by the way!

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 16:58:28

DizzyHoneyBee yes, to an extent. As I say, she's only let on that she can read this well in the last fortnight - maybe she has only learned to read this well in the last fortnight - who knows? She tends not to try things unless she knows she can do a good job.

She reads text that is new to her with the correct intonation, which means she must be reading ahead silently.

If you ask her about a simple story she can explain it to you. She's not so good on 'how do you think the person felt when so and so happened?' style of questions, but she can tell you what the story was about and speculate as to what might happen next. The 'magic key' that Biff and Chip et al seem to have threw her completely, as it did me, having never read a Biff and Chip book before! As I say, though, she has only been reading books for two weeks.

DizzyHoneyBee Tue 19-Feb-13 17:04:44

Mach, that's the thing to work on next with her reading IMO. It's what we look for at an age appropriate level. Have a look online for reading APP (assessing pupil progress) and you should find what the expectations are.
Biff and Chip books - lucky you! smile

givemeaclue Tue 19-Feb-13 17:07:44

Oh god the bloody magic key...don't worry about that! Can't stand those books, so dull!

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 17:12:09

I'm totally confused confused

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:17:30

Thanks DizzyHoneyBee - my instincts tell me to just let her read for now though. She tends to get discouraged if she feels she's not doing something right (she's very sensitive) and us asking her questions would make her feel like that.

For the moment she is just so pleased that she can read I don't want to start asking her questions about the text. In some ways she is still only a little bit over 3 and a half, don't forget. I know the Burt test is only a measure of decoding really - a rough guide at best. She tells her own stories that are coherent and have a plot and characters, though, so I have no concerns about her comprehension of the concept of a story. As I've said, she ready with intonation too so she definitely understands each sentence as she reads it.

Moominmammacat Tue 19-Feb-13 17:17:55

I had a v. prem boy, summer baby, with plenty of special needs, which the school tried to accommodate but didn't really succeed. I just used to keep him at home if he was tired/not coping/ or if I found something interesting for him to do. We just about kept on the right side of school with v. poor attendance most of the way through. But it turned out very well by the end of Y6 and I think school may have thought I was doing them a favour by dealing with his problems rather than leaving them with a quivering wreck. Depends on the school and the child.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:18:38

givemeaclue even I thought there must be a page missing when the 'magic key' appeared with no explanation smile

lljkk Tue 19-Feb-13 17:26:00

One local school only has 28 kids on the roll (R-yr6) and a few HErs flex-school by sending their kids there.

I imagine the school can easily tolerate it because such a tiny school doesn't worry about things that a bigger school would have to monitor & publish & defend. It's not a good start for your relationship with school to force school to go along with how you want to do things but that is inconvenient for them. Why not do half days to start? Our school still allows that option happily enough.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:37:26

lljkk She's already used to full days at pre-school, and a half day would mean that one of us would have to have a full day off work because of the logistics involved.

As far as I know, all schools have to monitor and publish the same data, don't they?

I don't much care for inconvenience to the school when weighed against the best interests of my child, but equally I don't see that it would be any more ore less convenient than her doing half days.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 17:38:38

My DD is currently in reception and started school already able to read (and now reads Horrid Henry etc to herself in bed) and although her numeracy is not particularly strong she could already do what the EYFS expect a child to do at the end of reception.

I did not my concerns I have to admit but she is thriving (helped by her having the same teacher she had in the nursery) and I have had great advice on how to extend her reading/comprehension at home (because she wants to do it).

All she talks about is her friends, when it's her turn to be the conductor in class (whatever that is!!) and whether she is register monitor etc. IMO she would be missing out on so much if she was flexi schooled.

I am definately not against flexi schooling btw, but I do think you need to think about giving the school a chance first and send her full time and then look at flexi schooling later on if she is unhappy.

simpson Tue 19-Feb-13 17:39:25

I did have blush

missmapp Tue 19-Feb-13 17:50:55

A friend of mine flexi-schooled her daughter until her dd asked if she could go every day- be led by your child and her best interests, BUT ensure you are fully aware of what happens in a reception classroom as it has changed greatly in recent years.

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:54:12

simpson No need to blush - you may have noted I can't type for toffee smile

Your DD sounds similar to mine, except she doesn't really seem to know what to make of kids her own age. She mentions 'my friends' but doesn't seem to differentiate between any of them - she knows their names and so on, but says she "likes them all the same" PS say she doesn't really play with them and I think it's because she doesn't find it easy to be understood by them.

The school we've got as first choice is connected to the PS but I accept that it may be very different in 'the big building' I was just trying to benefit from others experience really, but instead seem to be defending my choices and my child's abilities, which is a tad depressing. If she was good enough at a musical instrument to play with 7 year olds I doubt there would be people saying she would benefit by going to beginners classes with 5 year olds anyway. (I don't mean you, btw!)

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 17:56:31

missmapp absolutely I will be guided by her, but I feel that it might be our best chance to show the school it can work when they can't stop us trying it - before she is 5. If we wait for a while and don't get permission then it may be the case that we never get to try it.

Incidentally she wanted to go to PS every day when she first started, and now she often doesn't want to go at all sad

5madthings Tue 19-Feb-13 17:56:53

I did this with ds1 and ds2 for a bit and it worked well.
Totally depends on the school and the ht tho.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 17:58:21

Machadaynu my son had a reading age far beyond 7 when he started nursery school and he would have benefited from beginner phonics ...

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 18:01:04

5madthings thanks

mrz In what way do you think he would have benefited? What was his reading age when he started nursery school? Why do you imagine that my child will somehow miss all phonics teaching by missing one day per week?

teacherwith2kids Tue 19-Feb-13 18:10:04

I have a sone who taught himslef to read very early (by working out the phinics rules for himself, so he did also have a good if self-taught understanding of phonics).

He went to school for Reception, but I HEd him full time for part of year 1 (long story).

EYFS and a really well-run Reception class is brilliant for able children. DS was far more extended there than he was in Year 1...or frankly a couple of the next years as well -p because of the EYFS's focus on child-directed learning. When he was 'doing maths' on the chalkboard in the role play area, he could do 3 digit + 3 digit calculations, or calculations involving millions, or negative numbers, because that was what he wanted to do and so he could do it and be observed to be able to do it - no matter that the 'teacher directed learning' was initially based on numbvers to 10, she swiftly observed what he could actually do and gave him resources accordingly.

Equally , he could write and spell BUT had poor fine motor skills. So he could do his writing 6 inches high on rolls of wallpaper provided by his reception teacher, or on the huge whitreboard .. and thus show what he could do. Come Year 1 and lined exercise books, life was trickier and he found it much harder to show what he could do because there wasn't the flexibility.

Eqally, if he wanted to read the encyclopedia to find out about things, there was the time an space to do so - not teacher-delivere chunks of 'age appropriate' information.

I'd send her to school for reception, then see what happens from there.

mrz Tue 19-Feb-13 18:11:43

He was reading the Financial Times at age 3 Machadaynu but when he was tested by an Ed Psych in school he completed the test with no errors which put his RA in excess of 14. My son's school took the line that as he was a good reader he didn't need phonics and this impacted on spelling and writing.

I'm not particularly worried about your child missing a phonics session per week EYFS is more than phonics or counting to a million, they aren't included in new prime areas

Machadaynu Tue 19-Feb-13 18:11:48

teacherwith2kids that's really interesting - thanks.

teacherwith2kids Tue 19-Feb-13 18:12:06

Apologies for typing.

Early phonics usually works at a rate of 1 new sound per day... but tbh it's not the 'teacher directed' learning I would worry about her missing out on, it's all the child-directed learning that explodes from it in the hands of an able child and an observant Reception teacher.

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