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Quitting underperforming secondary school for Home Ed - Advice please!

(12 Posts)
Piglette Mon 27-Jun-11 22:43:15

Does anyone have experience of leaving school (end of year 8) for home education? Its a frightening prospect but we are so unhappy with the education that DS is receiving that we have to do something before a bright creative boy ends up with 5 mediocre GCSEs. The school are unsympathetic and defensive. DS agrees that the teaching is unispired but is worried about becoming a home ed 'freak'. The only alternative schools are grammar and his levels aren't up to standard yet. Our idea is to take year 9 out and try to get him up to scratch at home and with tutors ready to apply for a grammar place in year 10.

I would love to hear from anybody who has any experience of making a similar, drastic move or any advice other mums/teachers might have.

mummytime Tue 28-Jun-11 06:53:15

If you were planning to teach him up to GCSE it would be easier. Do you have any idea of whether the Grammar is at all likely to take him at year 10?
In year 9 they maybe: teaching some GCSE work, sitting some GCSEs or at least choosing their options. Some subjects cannot be taught at home (I mean Resistant Materials).

Have you posted on the home ed board? Have you looked for Home Ed groups in your area?

Tortu Tue 28-Jun-11 09:50:39

Do you have any experience of teaching and planning a curriculum? Also, do you work well with your son?

I was home educated at Primary School level which worked extremely well in maths (as my mum was a maths teacher), but was quite hazy in other subject areas. It would have been an absolute nightmare at your son's age- we really would have fought.

Some advice:
-check out what both schools do in year 9. You can't tell this just from looking at the a curriculum. At the moment, with the SATs having gone, this year is in flux and schools do radically different things e.g. in my own school kids start their GCSEs in half the subjects but not others. Your son may struggle if this is the case
-what is the likelihood of him getting into the grammar in Year 10? Unless it's guaranteed, it might be a good idea to have a back-up plan
-check out that the tutors know what they're doing. 90% of the tutors I come across are unhelpful- though that does tend to be at GCSE where they don't necessarily know the syllabus and hence teach something different.

IndigoBell Tue 28-Jun-11 12:03:53

I think it's a great idea.

There are online schools that can teach your son. Or distance learning courses.........

There are also local HE groups.

It will also be easy to get into a new school for 6th form.....

Piglette Tue 28-Jun-11 12:47:59

Thanks for all the advice, all your questions are the same ones that keep me awake at night! I heard Michael Gove on tv on Sunday saying that from 2012 GCSE's are no longer going to be taken in modules, does this mean an end to taking bits of subjects a year early? I'm very confused over the whole GCSE syllabus, so lots of work needed there.

Thanks IndigoBell for the vote of confidence, this feels like a very lonely road. I will try the local HE groups although it seems that most people opting for home ed are not so concerned about GCSEs, whereas we very much are and are only considering this route because of lack of a viable alternative.

Where is the home ed board?

IndigoBell Tue 28-Jun-11 14:03:00

HE Board

Thread about websites

online school

Interhigh online school

briteschool online school

oxford home schooling

veritythebrave Tue 28-Jun-11 14:06:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

menagerie Tue 28-Jun-11 14:43:27

I admire you. Our primary is mediocre and defensive. We're getting tutors for our DC with the hope of getting them into grammars. Failing this it'll be an indie school and a big downsize of home to pay the fees. The primary they're at has put me off state education.

Several friends of mine homeschool. Their children join local youth orchestras, choirs, sports teams, cubs and scouts etc to socialise, and they also meet regularly with home school groups (other locally home schooled children) to go on outings or to have workshops or to attend talks. Some of the stuff they get up to makes me so envious. Fantastic talks at galleries and science colleges that our school doesn't get access to.

Others will have lots of advice on the educational side, but you could do worse than working through all four types of Bond papers up to Common Entrance (grammar/public school entry age 13) and also buying the National Curriculum KS3 maths, english and science books. If you work thoroughly through these, read widely, stay fit, keep him socialised out of school hours and go on plenty of field trips then he'll probably get a far better education that his peers at the school you're unhappy with.

A couple of things I've noticed: the hours are shorter. 1-2-1 tuition is far more intense, so you both may need to find ways to occupy your time after three-four hours a day of schooling.
Also, the only criticism I have of the lovely home-ed children I know is that they have no idea how to take turns. They are used to close individual attention and all talk at once. Find ways to help him learn patience and how to not always be centre of attention.

Piglette Wed 29-Jun-11 11:13:36

Menagerie, you're absolutely right not to trust the state system. It's not fit for purpose. We started out with the idealistic notion that we would be able to supplement state education ourselves and spend the money we would save on fees on exciting extras and travel. But unless you can get into a grammar, the secondary schools just sap the creativity and imagination of the children and they spend so much time being bored and uninspired at school that they have no energy for extra tuition in the evenings. Which is why we have to take matters into our own hands, scarey as it is. We don't have the income for an indie school at the moment, but if you can manage it and its the right school for your child go for it. However don't be under any illusion that just because you're paying through the nose DC is getting a good education, you need to do your home work!

Good luck!

AMumInScotland Wed 29-Jun-11 20:45:46

DS came out of school at that age and was HE for the GCSE years, because we weren't happy with the available schools. We used Interhigh - as mentioned above. But you can also just buy text books and practice papers and he can work through them himself, with as much or as little involvement from you as suits both of you. You don't have to have experience of teaching - you will not be teaching him, just helping him to find a range of resources from which he can learn. And planning the curriculum would just mean helping him to see how far he needs to get through each subject each month, given when you hope to have him sit the exams.

But he does need to be self-motivated and interested in the subjects to focus on working in that way. The online schools provide a bit more from that point of view, though they still have to put the effort in, as the class will be going at a set speed which gives them a push to keep up! But they do cost money - far less than an independent school but still money.

Either way you would also have to pay exam fees as an independent candidate.

sarahfreck Thu 30-Jun-11 16:12:35

If you are going to employ tutors they should be able to give you good advice about the standard required for Grammar entry in year 10 and help your son prepare for the assessment.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 30-Jun-11 21:54:50

Hi, please do ask this on the home ed board as well. Tbh not sure how you’d use a year to h/e in order to try and be in a better school because you’ll need a chunk of that for your child to learn to adjust to self motivated learning, but h/e can definitely be used as a gateway to exam success not a barrier. It’s down to the parent and student, but you’ve the freedom to create pretty much what you want if you’re motivated to do it.

There’s a whole exam focussed/structured home ed world out there, it’s just another part of the autonomous one. There’s actually room to be wildly different from your neighbour in h/e, and while many are autonomous, there’s all sorts of variations going on, with the common theme of creating whatever works best, you just have to be pro active about being whoever you are and be grateful for the freedom to be it..

Youngest came out at the end of yr 8, from a school that didn't particularly want him doing exams and felt his maximum was a diploma and a certificate of competency.
He wanted a lot more but has some learning difficulties (and was having a very rough time) and was written off.
At first we only came across autonomous, ‘less interested in exam's’ families and it did feel lonely, but they were welcoming if slightly bemused at what we were seeking, but then we found the home ed exam board for exam focussed H/edders, and a structured h/e group, and became a happy patchwork and before we knew it several of our autonomous friends started doing exams too. smile

Although we didn’t plan it and just muddled our way through, son’s now on track to end up with 12 I/GCSE'’s, 6 A levels, and 1 A/S, (something our mediocre, low expectation school said half of couldn’t be done, and wouldn’t be desirable even if it could) and loads of practical stuff as well.
He's now decided he wants to go to uni and do a sturdy degree even though no one in this family’s ever done anything like that.
Don’t be afraid of being different, it could pay off more than you ever expected.

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