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home schooling

(19 Posts)
kajosem Sun 09-Oct-11 22:04:25

Hi. I've been talking to my 13 year old daughter and she would really like to be home schooled. I'm a secondary school geography teacher and she is attending an excellent independent secondary school but struggling to fit in. (I had no choice but to send her independent because the schools in my area are some of the worse in Wales). To make it worse we are struggling to pay the fees for the school so the idea is tempting. However as stated in a previous post, she is already a loner. Would home schooling suit her needs better or would she find it even harder to fit in with people her own age? She does well at school and the level of education she's receiving is excellent but I know I can do a good job of educating her at home and save a packet in the process. I also wouldn't mind giving up work because it is too time consuming being a full time teacher. Has anyone out there had a similar experience? This is probably one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. Can anyone advise me please?

MrsKaramel Sun 09-Oct-11 22:25:13

No experience of this, sorry, but post in the home ed section. There are tons of clever helpful people there who can offer ideas and advice. Good luck

exoticfruits Sun 09-Oct-11 22:30:14

I would post in HE.

Tinuviel Sun 09-Oct-11 23:10:38

I was a loner at school at various times but sociable at others and perfectly sociable within smaller groups - at dance classes etc. Just because you home ed doesn't mean that your DD won't socialise. We home ed our 3 DCs, now 14, 11 and 9. DS1 is the only one who went to school (albeit on a flexi-school basis) and they are all perfectly sociable within the situations they find themselves in. DS2 has a bit of a tendency to clam up in certain situations but as he didn't speak for half a term at nursery (was fine at home), I don't think that school would 'cure' him of that! He is also doing his best to overcome this with his dance teacher's and my support.

We meet up with a variety of home ed families as well - all the DCs seem to get along fine - some are quieter than others!

LastSummer Mon 10-Oct-11 06:35:37

I'm a fan of home education when it's for the best. But your daughter needs to be around other children. She will be far more lonely if you take her out of school and especially so if she's an only child. Consider ways to enhance the girl's social confidence, perhaps by engaging her in social out-of-school activities that she'll come to love. Do you encourage your daughter to arrange playdates and sleepovers? Please don't remove her from the milieu of her schoolgirl peers.

Saracen Tue 11-Oct-11 11:54:23

Sorry I haven't seen your previous post.

I agree with Tinuviel. Common wisdom has it that a child's needs are different to an adults, and that she must be surrounded by large numbers of other people of her own age all day in order to mould her into something different, a person who is more sociable.

This does not make sense to me and does not tally with my own experience. Being able to join in with others sometimes and have some time to herself at other times will help her feel relaxed and she may be able to socialise better if she doesn't feel the stress of dealing with large numbers of people for hours every day. School also is not very typical of the social situations which most of us will have to deal with as adults, so I am not convinced it is particularly good practice for adulthood anyway. Why does a 13 year old need to be around other 13 year olds if she doesn't enjoy their company? It isn't as if she is going to need to associate with large groups of 13 year olds on a daily basis in ten years' time.

An adult who is a loner is usually accepted as having that personality. No one thinks there's anything wrong with a computer programmer like me, or a novelist or a farmer who likes to work alone most of the time. A child who has reached the age of thirteen, having been in the school system for years, and has not yet had her personality "fixed" by going to school is probably not going to transform into a social butterfly by being subjected to more of the same for the next few years. However, she may come to enjoy the company of others more when she is out of school and gets to choose which people to associate with.

When my very sociable home educated daughter tried school at the age of nine, she found the social side of school unsatisfactory compared to home education. Too many people, too much noise and crowding, too little choice of friends. Friendships were "in the spotlight", with people passing judgement on who she associated with. ("What are you DOING, playing with a Year Four?!") She said she rarely got to finish a conversation with anybody because of all the interruptions (such as the teacher wanting their attention!). If socialising is the main purpose of school, nobody has told the teachers so: they seem to have a completely different agenda for how the kids will spend their time, LOL.

Try home education for a while and see how it works out. That is the only way to be sure whether it will suit your daughter.

LastSummer Tue 11-Oct-11 15:36:39

I educate my 12-year-old daughter at home and she aches for the regular daytime company of other children. I think any parent considering home educating a lone child needs to consider very carefully how their offspring's social interactions will be maintained and improved: "suck it and see" is not at all an appropriate course of action. Because we're geographically isolated, my daughter's need to be around other kids more will be relieved only when eventually she heads off to boarding school. If a halfway decent local school were available, she'd be there like a shot.

aries12 Wed 12-Oct-11 21:04:32

Socially, I think she will be missing out. If she is already a loner then she needs to join things and mix with children her own age. I am sure as a teacher you would do a fantastic job with home educating your Dd but is it really the best solution? The two of you could become very dependent on each other.
Teenagers learn so much from interacting with others and while it's not always good I would fear that a child who is already isolated could become a total recluse.
Also, as a teacher, you will be have to adjust to a totally different type of lifestyle....will it not become too intense if you are with your child every day?
As much as I love my own Dd there is no way on earth I would want to home educate her...I feel I would also be depriving her of doing the normal teenage things. I guess all the Home Ed parents will disagree with me!

Saracen Wed 12-Oct-11 23:06:41

Mike Fortune-Wood wrote a book called "Can't Go, Won't Go" about school refusal, a subject with which he has been involved for some years. He claims there is no evidence to support the very widespread popular perception that young people who do not want to attend school will become recluses if they are taken out of school. He says that the opposite appears to be true. In the cases he studied, several children later returned to school; however, IIRC every single family said the experience of home education had been helpful to their child socially. I don't know whether your dd is (yet) actually distressed enough to be a school refuser, but you may nevertheless find the book to be a good read.

LastSummer, why do you feel that "suck it and see" is not an appropriate course of action? If a child is unhappy then surely it is worth trying something different which may represent a big improvement. It is possible she will not be isolated, or that she will be isolated but will not mind or will find it a price worth paying for being free of the things she disliked at school. Of course she might find she dislikes home ed even more than she dislikes school, but that could also be a valuable lesson and help her appreciate the positives of school more. What's the harm in trying it? The worst that will happen is that she won't like it and will go back to school after a while. Such an experiment is hardly going to destroy her life.

aries, I'm not sure what you mean about depriving a child of the normal teenage things. If you are referring to things like parties, gossiping, doing sports, playing in a band, putting on plays, watching films or going shopping with friends then I don't see why home education would prevent a young person from doing those things if she wants to. In fact I think my home educated 12yo probably does those things much more than the average child of her age, because of having far more time on her hands. Of course, not all young people want to do those things. Not everybody likes the same things. And if they don't want to do it, how is it a "deprivation" if they aren't doing it?

I was rather a loner at school. Going to school didn't make me more sociable or normal, it only made me more conscious of being different, and taught me that different was not OK. What made me more sociable and happy was leaving school at 16 and finding people whose interests I shared, who respected me for who I was. Interestingly, after I left school I found that some of the people I had known at school were much nicer people than I had realised. They had just found it very difficult to behave that way in the complex and sometimes claustrophobic social world of school.

mrsrat Fri 14-Oct-11 13:36:24

I have been home educating DD1 since Easter when we took her out of private prep for financial reasons. We decided to try out for the 11+ in Gloucestershire and we get the results tomorrow. I honestly thought it would be a fantastic opportunity but it has proved to be a really sad experience. Most of her friends from the private school she was at dont really understand ( I didnt expect them to ) but she is really lonely. As soon as we get the results we will move near to the school she has got into (fingers crossed ) and I will then enrol her in the nearest state school to finish year 6. I read that it takes 20 minutes a day to teach a home schooled child the same as a child at school but that doesn't make up in any way for the lack of interaction with other children. It doesnt matter how many children you invite for tea or sleepovers, in my opinion if you can find an alternative please do

exoticfruits Fri 14-Oct-11 17:10:41

The problem is that you are the instigator-you have to arrange it all. At school they see the same DCs everyday and can sort it themselves.

exoticfruits Fri 14-Oct-11 17:11:46

Good luck for tomorrow mrsrat!

LastSummer Fri 14-Oct-11 22:35:57


Apart from the need for interaction with her peers, your daughter is rapidly approaching perhaps the most critical four years of her schooling: the GCSE/A Level years that will shape her choices of further education and career. I recognise the financial burden your bear. But since your daughter is doing well at an excellent school, would it be fair or wise to remove her now? She'd like to be home educated, but our youngsters have many desires that rapidly fade or that we need to deny! Although your daughter is a loner now, that can change dramatically; and learning to cope with and tolerate others will stand her in good stead.

puddingsgalore Sat 15-Oct-11 09:32:59

lastsummer, I know where you're coming from. My 12 year previously home educated daughter has started school recently and so far it's working out way better for her than home ed. She thrives in a structured academic environment, is a good mixer and enjoys a large bustling environment. Although that might not suit everyone I'm so glad she's there now.

aries12 Sat 15-Oct-11 11:40:14

Saracen, I have no personal experience of Home Education, however, I have twenty years experience of teaching teenagers in a classroom environment. I strongly believe that most teenagers need/want to be with others. They seek each others company and if they are not given the opportunity they can become isolated. I have also seen children who do not come to school, who absolutey refuse to attend and who are school phobics.
I agree that school does not suit everybody and everybody is different but if your child is getting on well in school, then taking your child out of that environment may not always be the best for your child. I would imagine that it is a huge responsibility as a parent to take on all the various subjects and be good enough or interested enough to do all the work with your child and I admire anyone who can do that.
If you are home educating your child and then they still have all the friends/social life/sports...then I see absoultely nothing wrong with that either. My point was that parents who are home educating should always be conscious that their child/children do not become isolated from their peer groups as I think mixing with peers is part of growing up and developing as a person.

LastSummer Sat 15-Oct-11 11:42:35


Sounds just like my daughter! It will be a wrench when mine goes to boarding school, but it's for the best. . .

exoticfruits Sat 15-Oct-11 13:10:10

Any news mrsrat?

mrsrat Sat 15-Oct-11 16:17:43

E xotic fruits thanks for message. Not good news. I am utterly shocked. She didnt get into Pates but just scraped through the pass marks for the other 3. She always got 90-95% in home tests. So shocked. I do know that she overheard her father and I talking the night before the test about her grandpa who had just been diagnosed with cancer. We decided obviously not to tell her until after the test but i do wonder if that led to her lack of sleep that night. I slept in her bed and she slept about 2 hours but i put it down to nerves. Anyway what will be will be .

exoticfruits Sat 15-Oct-11 16:54:44

Sorry to hear that mrsrat. Not knowing the area I don't know what the schools are like. I think that doing it on the day is very different from tests at home. I hope that it all works out for you.

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