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Would she be better at home?

(45 Posts)
fullcircleagain Mon 29-Dec-14 02:01:42

I would really appreciate some thoughts on this one.

My daughter is in year one. She is really struggling and is in special needs groups for both literacy and maths. The school has very high expectations and is very highly regarded.

My daughter has no concept of maths whatsoever. It just hasn't clicked. She can't add on 1 for example. And yet whenever I am helping out in the classroom they are doing lots of whole class maths involving numbers to 100. It always makes me feel sad for her as she just sits there looking totally lost. And of course the gulf is growing.

She doesn't really have any friends. There are only 4 girls in her class and 26 boys; it's an unusual cohort for her year.

I have been working with her at home and in those areas she has improved so much. She works excellently on a one to one basis. Since September she has progressed from ort3 to ort8. Her writing has improved a lot in the areas we have covered. I haven't done very much maths with her yet but will be this term.

My daughter says she would like to stay at home. Part of me thinks she has been labelled at school and she will never catch up as she has too much of a gap now. The majority of the learning is now galloping away from her regardless of the few extra lessons. I feel if I home educated her for a year I could fill in the missing bricks. I am a teacher so know the curriculum quite well and teaching strategies.

But it's a serious decision. It's a very good school and has a huge waiting list. But I just don't feel she is thriving there. I feel she is just failing slowly but surely and the longer she stays there the more she will fall. The teacher is marvellous but at the end of the day there are 30 children to cater for and they are all doing better.

My dh is leaving the decision to me as he things being a teacher I should know!! Although he is adamant changing schools is not a viable option as this school is so well regarded and has amazing sats scores.

I want to do what is right for her but what that is I just can't decide.

We are probably moving anyway in the next year. But I feel time is crucial here as year one is a hugely significant year academically.

I would hugely appreciate any thoughts on this one. Thank you!!

catkind Mon 29-Dec-14 12:04:26

Sounds tricky.

I'd be first trying to sort it out together with the school. How far have you discussed these issues with her teacher? I don't know how differentiation works in schools these days but it doesn't seem right she's having to sit through stuff she doesn't understand. (Moment of nostalgia for the bad old days when we were all given books at our own level to work through at our own speed. It must be so difficult to make whole class teaching effective for the strongest and weakest pupils.)

I'd also expect them to be proactive about the friendship issues. Girls against boys clannishness is just not going to work with such a small cohort of girls, so I'd think if they're not mixing well the school would have to work on that or risk losing all the remaining girls.

If she can hop from ORT3 to ORT8 in a term then it sounds like she's a bright girl. If you were able to help her make a similar leap in her maths in the next term - whether at home or alongside school - I'd think she'd be pretty much caught up.

I also think your DH is wrong - a school can be outstanding without being the right school for a particular child, and perhaps there is a school that would suit her better. But perhaps not ideal to move her now if you're going to be moving again soon? How viable would it be logistically for you to HE until after your move?

Saracen Mon 29-Dec-14 12:40:14

You've made a number of points in favour of home educating your daughter for a while at least: she learns much better at home with you, she seems to feel lost at school, she has no friends at school, she's falling further behind, and she says she would prefer to be at home.

What's weighing on the other side of the balance: what would be the benefits for her of remaining in her current school? Does she get anything from it at all?

You mentioned that your daughter's current school has a huge waiting list, so in that sense there would be "no going back" to it. If you take her out to home educate, then if you later decide to send her back to school, she'll have to go to a different school. But you say you'll probably be moving house by then anyway. What's more, it sounds like her current school doesn't suit her, so even if you did stay in the area I assume you'd be looking for a different school. So losing her place at this school, however popular it may be with the other children who do thrive there, would be no real loss to her.

admission Mon 29-Dec-14 16:42:46

I think I would be questioning why your child is being allowed to just get further and further behind. The reality is that the school is not that good if it just allows pupils who are clearly in need of help to flounder. Their special needs groups are not up to much if she is not making progress. One has to question whether the school is looking for you to do exactly what they want, that is remove your child from the school as it is ruining their exam results!

The short term answer might be to home educate to get her back on an even keel and believing in herself. However I do think that you need to think about the longer term future before making any knee jerk reaction and I think she will need to go to a school, so that she does reintegrate and have friends.

Your husband is being unrealistic. It is does not matter how good the school is if it does not cater for your daughter, which it clearly is not. I think you need to look at other local schools and see what the situation is with them. Whilst you might be looking to move house you need to have a plan in place for the future and I think your daughter needs to know that if she has the next 8 months with you at home, come september she is going back to a school.

Ferguson Mon 29-Dec-14 17:16:08

I was a TA / helper in primary schools for over twenty years, including ten years in an infant school with quite a large SEN proportion, both learning difficulties and behaviour problems.

You don't mention if the school has identified what her major needs are; sometimes, I guess, some children just don't 'get it' yet don't have an identifiable cause.

My main misgivings when children are HE is what they might miss out on in PE, games, music, drama, group activities, outings etc. But maybe she isn't accessing much of these other things anyway, so may not miss so much.

I will add some information that I offer when there are numeracy or literacy 'gaps', but obviously, as a teacher there probably won't be much you don't already know in this direction:


Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other


then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


For literacy, there is a phonic dictionary I often recommend:

An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing, and really help them to understand Phonics, is reviewed in the MN Book Reviews section. Just search ‘Phonics’.

I hope, for all your sakes, that you find a satisfactory solution.

Ridingthestorm Mon 29-Dec-14 17:21:46

If this was my daughter, I would be removing her. You speak highly of the school but they don't seem to be meeting her needs. She is one of four girls and is struggling socially.
A good school isn't Wlasy a good school for everybody. If you feel that home education can benefit her and help her grow in confidence to enable her to achieve better and confidently rejoin her year group, even if it is at a different school, then do it.

SirVixofVixHall Mon 29-Dec-14 17:27:53

I agree with ridingthestorm. However well rated, the school isn't suiting your child at the moment, and may never be the right plae for her. I would ask them to keep her a place for next year, home ed for the rest of year one, try again in September, and if she is still not thriving, either home-ed until high school or find a different school. She is 5 I take it? Far too young to be unhappy in school. We took our dd out of year 1 and home schooled for the rest of that year, and she went back into year 2 in a different school.

JustRichmal Mon 29-Dec-14 17:35:51

Deciding to home educate is a big step; I know because it was a step I took. I felt I could give my dd a better education on a 121 basis than she was receiving in a class of 30. I was also confident that I had the ability to teach her, which from what you say applies also to you. I also knew she would be returning to school at the start of secondary, so it would be for a short time.

You could contact some home ed groups in your area to get a better picture of what home educating would involve and talk to others who have decided to home educate.

If your dd has problems keeping up with the pace at school, would asking about flexi schooling be an option? (I don't know if schools still allow this.)

In the end, I was glad I home educated and dd is now settle in well in an excellent secondary school.

There is no rush to decide and perhaps spending at least half a term seeing if her maths improves with 121 lessons with you while still going to school may help you make up your mind.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 29-Dec-14 17:50:09

Come over to the home ed section op
It's populated by people who actually home educate and can give you a realistic idea of the trials and tribulations.

Unfortunately most people aren't even aware that it's legal never mind that is possible to give your child a fully rounded education including things like PE and drama.
There's a common misconception that home educating means sitting in your living room and replicating school in which environment it would of course be very difficult to do PE.

Best thing you can do is get in touch with your local home ed group.

If your only considering home ed in the short term till your dd catches up then a lot of the longer term implications don't apply but it's perfectly possible to give you dd access to a normal social life (through organisations like rainbows, scouts etc) and qualifications (igcses, ou etc)

JustRichmal Mon 29-Dec-14 17:53:25

There is also a the idea that home education is isolating for a child. The main difference I could see was that at school play dates consisted of a child going round to a friends house or having a child round to play. With home education, it was much more parents meeting together and drinking coffee as a group of children played. Outings would involve groups of several parents and children going to the park or local woods or museum.

ToffeeWhirl Mon 29-Dec-14 18:02:53

It doesn't sound as if that school is doing your daughter any good at all. Not having any friends and struggling to understand what the class is learning are both major issues which will be knocking her confidence. You say she has already improved in areas where you have taught her at home, so she will probably make huge strides in her learning if you take over her teaching and home ed. If you can find out what home-ed events are going on locally, you should also be able to find other opportunities for your DD to make friends. She can also make friends through classes such as ballet, judo, swimming, dance or whatever she enjoys. She only needs to find one friend to start feeling likeable again.

I home educated my DS1 when he was miserable at school (he has a diagnosis of ASD and couldn't cope in mainstream) and am currently home educating my younger son also. In both cases, I saw their confidence soar once they were out of their school. I really enjoy the flexibility of home ed and the opportunities we have to visit museums, art galleries, the great outdoors, etc, whenever we wish.

MistyMeena Mon 29-Dec-14 18:07:57

In your situation I absolutely would HE. t's such a hard decision though, I've been dithering for the past year about my DS. I'm also a teacher but it seems so far removed from the norm that it takes a lot of thought. I belong to some FB HE groups and the kids seem to do just fine with socialising!

bronya Mon 29-Dec-14 18:38:57

Take her out, fill the gaps and get her up to national standards at least. Then when she goes to her new school after you have moved, she'll be able to access the curriculum in full. Now is the time - the gap will only get wider.

fullcircleagain Mon 29-Dec-14 23:31:55

Thank you so much for taking the time to post. Some great points made and I have read each and every one a couple of times.

The SEN groups were highly praised by Ofsted but I have noticed very little difference. And at the end of the day, the majority of learning takes place in the classroom. She only gets help a few times a week and I have no idea what they do.

My daughter has has grommets in the past year. We didn't realise how bad her hearing was but the consultant said it was so bad it would have been like being under water at the swimming baths. Needless to say, I suspect that she has missed a lot of foundations for learning, especially in maths. Some people outside of school have said they have noticed a huge difference in her since the grommets. But she will never get those early months back. I would be able to tailor to her needs.

I am not new to home-edding. I taught my other two children at home for a year at one stage. They went straight into the top groups and my daughter entered the end of reception on chapter books. I was actually told off for teaching her too much. Not meaning to boast but it gives context here.

However, it's a huge step. The school is so well regarded I will be seen as crazy. She will struggle to get back in although I have children at the same school. I gently asked her tonight if she would prefer to stay at home and she immediately said yes. However, when I explained it would be for the long haul she decided she would stay at school. So she isn't that anti.

At the end of the day I have to do what is right for her. I just worry that being in bottom groups for both Literacy and Maths is a shame when I feel I could make a huge impact at home. And as someone said, the gap will only get wider.

It's a tough one. I posted on here rather than on the home-ed board because I need a balanced view. And I know the answer would seem so obvious to people who are home-edding. I'm just very worried about making a bad bad move.

fullcircleagain Mon 29-Dec-14 23:59:11

One more thing. My daughter keeps saying she doesn't like school because it's so noisy. She tells me it makes her ears hurt and crackle to the point where she has to put her hands over her ears. I know she still has fluid in her ears but does this make sense to anyone?

MrsTawdry Tue 30-Dec-14 00:04:20

It sounds as though she could be over-sensitive to noise and that is worth looking at. I would ask the GP for a referral to a pediatrician. A developmental one.x

Mrsgrumble Tue 30-Dec-14 00:12:57

I think you should keep her and educate at home. The school isn't right and is poor regarding SEN. You are praising it but I feel you would be more thn equipped to educate her better yourself. A school is only good for those who are doing well. Especially as you are qualified.

I would join some extra curricular groups to help her make friends but from what you have posted, the school isn't right in most regards.

ToffeeWhirl Tue 30-Dec-14 00:21:24

The noise issue makes it a no-brainer to me: if she is missing what is being said because she finds school so noisy, she will continue to struggle there. If you take her out of school, you can spend time helping her catch up on work she's missed, whilst you also look into what is causing her aural sensitivity. I don't know much about grommets, but I wonder if this can be a reaction to having them or, as you say, a result of fluid in the ear? Can you take her back to her consultant?

Poor girl. How awful to have been unable to hear what was being said in class. It must have affected her making friends too.

whereismagic Tue 30-Dec-14 00:27:28

Have you thought of checking if she has an auditory processing disorder? One sign is inability to filter out background noise. I would go private to begin with and then once diagnosed I would look for what's available locally.

fullcircleagain Tue 30-Dec-14 00:36:19

I suspect it is related to her glue ear. She describes it as an actual pain due to crackling when it's really noisy. She also hates balloons because she says her ears really hurt when they pop. Same with fireworks.

PastSellByDate Tue 30-Dec-14 09:01:23

Hello Fullcircle:

I've so been there but opted for a half-way house - at some point I just realised school was for social skills and at least exposure at some basic level to the full range of curriculum subjects, field trips, sport/ club opportunities, etc... I wasn't getting much help/ support for the school, they acknowledged DD1 was behind but were loath to make any suggestions about what we should do. In the end I just gave up on her school and went part-time to be at home to help DD1 after school (up to 1 hour a day - in chunks of 15 - 20 minutes).

DD1 had no learning disability or hearing issues but was seriously lagging behind. End KS1 SATs were Level 1 across the board and really by May of Y2 we already knew something was terribly wrong.

We went for slow and steady approaches (as I don't believe there is an instant fix and with my brother and s-i-l both primary teachers they're constantly assuring me that is the case.).

DD1 joined an on-line maths tutorial - Mathsfactor - because it offered explanation (which she was clearly missing), practise (school had virtually no homework) and a positive female role model. We also made more time for reading making it part of our nightly routine - e.g. DH helped with bathing DD2 whilst I read with DD1 & visa versa.

I can't say this will work for every child - but sincerely we found just doing a bit more at home, steadily, week after week and during half-terms/ holidays made a huge difference.


Frikadellen Tue 30-Dec-14 13:17:56

I haven't read all of this. However I am going to peek in and ask if the school would be willing to explore flexi schooling so you have her home for 1-2 days a week but 3 she is at the school?

fullcircleagain Tue 30-Dec-14 15:24:09

Thanks for posting. Pastsellby - great advice. I am pretty much doing this. Every evening she reads a long book and we do some writing. I need to also gear up with the maths. However, it's a small window of time I get each day and also the other children are at home as well by then. So I am not able to give as much as I would be able to in the day time.

The idea of flexi-schooling is a great one. But I think it very very very unlikely the school would go for this. They like to be totally in control and everything is about good stats. The new legislation would mean code C absences from what I have just read. And that would tarnish their excellent reputation. Shame.

I'll give it a few weeks when she goes back. I got my dh to read this thread and he is actually now thinking perhaps homeschooling might be best whilst she catches up.

If it was anybody else in this situation I know I would say 'pull her and get her back on track. Join her in some clubs'. But it feels more daunting for me as she loves her teacher and I worry that she will want to go back. By which time it will be too late.

SirVixofVixHall Tue 30-Dec-14 23:27:16

Would it be too late though? With my dd the school said they would happily have her back at any point, your school may be willing to keep a place for her for next Sept and then you could just home-ed for the rest of year 1 to get her up to speed and explore the noise issue. It doesn't need to be for the rest of Primary, it coould just be until July.

fullcircleagain Tue 30-Dec-14 23:35:46

Hmm. That's interesting. I suspect they would say no as they run everything just so. But I'm definitely going to ask. Nothing to lose. The more I think about it I really feel I need to have her at home for a while. There is so much I want to do with her. But the small amount of time in the evening is not enough after a tiring day at school. She's in the SEN groups for both Maths and English. She needs a lot of input and I feel she will get further and further behind if we keep the status quo.

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