Pros & cons of home educating

Any issues with what nappies to buy, home schooling etc. In fact if you have kids or are planning to this is the section for you.
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Alice Abbott
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Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172282 Alice Abbott
Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:28 pm

We’ve had old neighbours staying for a few nights – they are on their way to Portugal for a few months.

They have four children, ranging in age from two up to ten. They are educating the oldest three themselves and no doubt the youngest one will follow. They are bright kids with enquiring minds, precocious and eloquent. But I did notice they were not very good at socialising with our two and had no knowledge of certain things I would have thought were important to little ones. Being able to tie bows, read or write fluently, do jigsaws or tell the time from a standard clock were four of these. I’m sure they are very well taught in areas their parents think are important and are off on an adventure to Portugal which would be impossible for kids in formal schooling. But are they really getting a “rounded” education? I don’t think so!

On their last evening, over a bottle of our home-made apple wine (very nice it is too!) we got into discussion about this – they obviously thought we would be doing the same. As a product of “home education” I said we would almost certainly not, especially as we are living in a foreign country where I want them to integrate. I and my four siblings were brought up in “freedom” with no formal guidelines and no formal teaching. As a result, at age eighteen I had to work my butt off to get a High School diploma to get to University and even now feel less than adequate in certain areas. I know a lot about things my parents thought were important but very little about, for instance history. They didn’t think it was important. Sometimes Mack talks about things he learned at primary school in the backwoods of Waterford and I’ve never heard of them. Things like how to tell the difference between a spider and other insect type things. I suppose I could wax lyrical on the teachings of Allan Ginsberg but it isn’t really useful is it?

This couple have no intentions of preparing any of their kids for formal exams. I wonder if they are not depriving them of the means to get on in life or make a decent living in the future. I’m pretty sure not everyone will agree with me on this one but I was just wondering what sort of guidelines home educators follow to ensure their kids receive a well-balanced education and will be able to enter formal education later if they so wish?

I also do wonder if it isn’t just a bit misguided and presumptuous if the home educators don’t have a decent standard of education themselves. This couple were our neighbours in the UK and I really have no definite idea what their business is, computer based I believe. I also really don’t know what sort of qualifications they have other than the ability to run their business (successfully I assume as they have a big newish camper van and live in a nice home). However I suspect they might be graduates and their children will not be. I don’t see anything wrong with that unless, like me, it is something they later want and have to work extra hard to achieve. Because of my parents’ “alternative” views this is exactly the dilemma I faced.

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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172287 MuddyWitch
Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:58 pm

We taught our eldest from the age of 10 and our youngest upto secondary level.

Our eldest, E, was taken out of school when the class size reached 65, with one full time & two part-time teachers struggling to cope in an open plan area. Any-one visiting the school had to walk along the side of this 'class-room'! (oh, don't you just love 1970's achitecture!) When we took E out, it was with not only the blessing of the head teacher, but with his full support. She had had the reading age of a 12 year old at just 7 and had been told 'to wait for the others to catch up!'

E never did GCSE's going straight to a City & Guilds & HND in computing. This only caused problems to her when she applied for her first jobs, as the job centre's computer couldn't cope with her higher passes with out GCSE's! One Job Agency actually suggested that she take a GCSE just to show she could do it! She also found that being 17 with high exams confused employers.

Our youngest, C, is chronically dyslexic and has mild ADHD and would have been a handicap to both herself and those around her in a classroom environment. It took a great deal of love and patience, not to mention several approaches, to help her to read. You tell me a teacher who has the time for that? C opted to go to secondary school, but still found the classroom a challenge. She still learnt at home as well, (her choice) and took her GCSE computing exam at the end of year 9, gaining an 'A'. We were asked to stop teaching her supplimentary subjects as 'it made it difficult for the school to keep her occupied'! The Geography teacher admitted that C knew far more than her about anything to do with plate tectonics, often asking C to explain stuff to her! She is now about to go to Uni, to study volcanology.

We made very sure that both our girls joined several out-of-school groups and had lots of oppotunities to socialise with people of all ages. They both found/find it hard to understand the attitude: 'you can't be friends with some-one x years older or younger than you' It is getting easier now that they are adults.

For the record, our youngest STILL can't read an analogue clock face, but in a digital world, is that a problem? She doesn't think so.

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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172291 red
Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:26 pm

hi Alice (btw I moved the topic into the parenting section)
To be honest I'm not entirely sure what it is you are asking in your post - it seems you have strong feelings on this, and a clear direction you intend to take, so are you just asking if your ex-neighbours are right or wrong?

if thats the case, I'll remind you of your other visiting friends who did not agree with some of your parenting.. you know, there are many different 'right' ways to do things, and we wont always agree.

Alice Abbott wrote: But I did notice they were not very good at socialising with our two and had no knowledge of certain things I would have thought were important to little ones. Being able to tie bows, read or write fluently, do jigsaws or tell the time from a standard clock were four of these.


socially, there is no reason why home educated kids cannot develop well rounded social abilities - I could take my son to social groups every day of the week, and most HE kids are more used to dealing with all age groups, and are better at conversing with adults than your average schoolchild. Perhaps because your neighbours are travelling, they are finding it harder? It must be difficult if you are moving from place to place, but if they are planning on staying at one place eventually, then perhaps they will settle down.
As for the other skills, well that is down to the teaching. Certainly, I taught my son to tie his shoes (most school kids seem to have velcro) do jigsaws and tell the time myself before he even went to school, and he has learning difficulties! - this might be more down the parents not thinking it is important more than schooling, and would have happened however education took place.

I’m sure they are very well taught in areas their parents think are important and are off on an adventure to Portugal which would be impossible for kids in formal schooling. But are they really getting a “rounded” education? I don’t think so!
- its a different education. do school kids get a 'rounded' education?

On their last evening, over a bottle of our home-made apple wine (very nice it is too!) we got into discussion about this – they obviously thought we would be doing the same. As a product of “home education” I said we would almost certainly not, especially as we are living in a foreign country where I want them to integrate.


in your shoes, i would do the same. if you intend to stay in the country, it is probably the best way for them to learn the local language.

This couple have no intentions of preparing any of their kids for formal exams. I wonder if they are not depriving them of the means to get on in life or make a decent living in the future. I’m pretty sure not everyone will agree with me on this one but I was just wondering what sort of guidelines home educators follow to ensure their kids receive a well-balanced education and will be able to enter formal education later if they so wish?

a lot of people don't think exams are the be all and end all, and I certainly think it is a shame to be thinking of their career when the kids are under 5!! I personally think a happy childhood is more important. I have become disillusioned with the exam system - I have 9 O levels and 4 A levels in sciences and maths, and all they are is the entrance to take a degree.. which sadly is becoming less and less worth as the exams become passed by more people, and graduates find there is less and less available work at the end of the day., with or without qualifications. None of my qualifications are or have been any use to me.. and i wonder about the stress i underwent at the time! - since then I have taken and passed some accountancy exams under my own steam, and cost, whilst I had a little baby. They dont change much for me either. what seems to count, and it is the same for himself who works in IT, is experience, and he says the same when it comes to employing someone, he is not interested in their qualifications, but what they have actually done.
I'm not aiming at exams for my son at all, as he has moderate learning difficulties and it is not on the horizon, however, plenty do go for it. Home education doesn't automatically mean no exams, and the beauty is they can sit them when they are ready - often that is much earlier than their school going contemporaries. There are plenty of examples of HE kids who come out armed to the teeth with qualifications. There is nothing stopping you following the NC
I also do wonder if it isn’t just a bit misguided and presumptuous if the home educators don’t have a decent standard of education themselves.

this one gets mentioned a lot 'what makes you feel you are qualificied to educate your children?'
Teachers are people too you know.. they don't know everything either. a lot of teacher training is about adhering to the school system, or managing a whole classroom at a time, skills a home educator does not need. What you don't know, you learn together. And HE does not have to be for the entire time between 5 and 18 - you can return to the school system if it seems like a good idea.
By the time a child starts school, you will have taught your child how to walk and talk.. those are massive achievements and needed no specialist to do it for you.
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172295 contadino
Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:01 pm

Alice Abbott wrote:This couple have no intentions of preparing any of their kids for formal exams. I wonder if they are not depriving them of the means to get on in life or make a decent living in the future.


Usually I'm fairly devoid of opinions when it comes to parenting, but this one has prompted me to post.

If you're home educating, all other things aside, you have a responsibility to offer your child the resources and opportunities to take whatever qualifications they may need in the future, whether you as a parent currently see those qualifications as worthwhile or not - to not do so is negligent.

Maybe they'll just end up as another statistic, such as those presented to a commons select committee this week...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/200 ... an-inquiry

The article wrote:Children educated at home are twice as likely to be known by social services and four times more likely as young adults to be out of work, education or training than those who go to school, MPs have been told.


Of course, it's a two-edged sword, as if the parents aren't concerned about their childrens' welfares, they should become "known by social services" anyway.

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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172297 red
Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:18 pm

contadino wrote:Usually I'm fairly devoid of opinions when it comes to parenting, but this one has prompted me to post.

If you're home educating, all other things aside, you have a responsibility to offer your child the resources and opportunities to take whatever qualifications they may need in the future, whether you as a parent currently see those qualifications as worthwhile or not - to not do so is negligent.


actually legally a parent is only obliged to provide an education, at school or otherwise. I certainly feel parents should support their kids in whatever qualifications they should choose to sit. Remember though, that after age 16, it becomes the choice of the 'child' not the parent.

Maybe they'll just end up as another statistic, such as those presented to a commons select committee this week...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/200 ... an-inquiry

The article wrote:Children educated at home are twice as likely to be known by social services and four times more likely as young adults to be out of work, education or training than those who go to school, MPs have been told.


Of course, it's a two-edged sword, as if the parents aren't concerned about their childrens' welfares, they should become "known by social services" anyway.


be very careful with statistics

The statistics quoted by Badman are largely disputed.. apparantly he asked a number of local authorities, only a few answered, (probably those with an ax to grind) and he went with those answers as the national figures. Given that there is not an exact figure for those home educating, i do not know how he can derive a percentage figure.

It is also worth noting that many local authorities/schools/neighbours do not understand it is the legal right for parents to home educate their children in the UK, and have, bizarrely, contacted social services when they have found a parent has taken up that right. so guess what.. home educated children are known to SS because the LA/whoever have drawn their attention to them. SS are then obliged to follow up the case - so they might be *known* but that does not mean there is an *issue*
Throw in the fact that many home educated children are disabled. Sometimes they are HE with the consent and support of the local authority. Disabled children are more likely to be *known* by social services because disabled people are more likely to need the support of social services.

so to summerise.. Mr Badman (who incidentally used to work for a LA and has been anti HE all along) , his figures are suspect, and ultimately prove very little.


you know what they say... 53% of all statistics are made up :wink:
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172298 contadino
Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:32 pm

red wrote:
contadino wrote:If you're home educating, all other things aside, you have a responsibility to offer your child the resources and opportunities to take whatever qualifications they may need in the future, whether you as a parent currently see those qualifications as worthwhile or not - to not do so is negligent.


actually legally a parent is only obliged to provide an education, at school or otherwise. I certainly feel parents should support their kids in whatever qualifications they should choose to sit. Remember though, that after age 16, it becomes the choice of the 'child' not the parent.


Note that I said 'responsibility' not 'legal obligation.' I don't give a hoot about legal obligation. Parental responsibility is far more important. A parent has a responsibility to offer their child the best opportunities available. Making the decision to home-ed and then not preparing your pupils for exams is equivalent to a schoolteacher deciding to meander from the curriculum. They would be sacked, and the parents should expect similar.

red wrote:
Maybe they'll just end up as another statistic, such as those presented to a commons select committee this week...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/200 ... an-inquiry

The article wrote:Children educated at home are twice as likely to be known by social services and four times more likely as young adults to be out of work, education or training than those who go to school, MPs have been told.


Of course, it's a two-edged sword, as if the parents aren't concerned about their childrens' welfares, they should become "known by social services" anyway.


be very careful with statistics

...

(probably those with an ax to grind)

...

It is also worth noting that many local authorities/schools/neighbours do not understand it is the legal right for parents to home educate their children in the UK, and have, bizarrely, contacted social services when they have found a parent has taken up that right. so guess what.. home educated children are known to SS because the LA/whoever have drawn their attention to them. SS are then obliged to follow up the case - so they might be *known* but that does not mean there is an *issue*


Be very careful making broad and unsubstantiated assumptions.

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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172299 red
Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:36 pm

contadino wrote:[Be very careful making broad and unsubstantiated assumptions.


what like quoting a guardian article that is based on poor journalism? but hey.. that is just my opinion.

well we obviously have differing opinons on this subject. interesting to see all the comments on that Guardian article though..
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172301 Alice Abbott
Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:46 pm

For once I'm not posting and running as I normally do when I come in to charge up the laptop battery. I'm trying to set up a Skype account to chat with my Mom about her forthcoming trip here so I'm still around to reply.

By raising the subject I’m not asking anything, merely commenting. I like to think about other peoples’ opinions and weigh them up with mine. Heaven forbid I would automatically assume that I am right or rubbish their opinions because they don’t agree with mine. However, as I was the “subject” of home education in the past I feel reasonably well qualified to throw in my opinion. I was somewhat bemused about these visitors' automatic assumption that, because we seem to lead a rather alternative lifestyle we would automatically follow the home educator path.

I absolutely agree with home education where the child is seriously disadvantaged at school, whether that is because they have special needs, they are bullied or the schooling is otherwise inadequate. As you say, exams are not the be all and end all of getting a job. But I’ve found they very often are the opening to gain the experience you need to move forward in a career. They are a measure potential employers use. My education until age 18 was totally informal. From that point I had to get myself a High School diploma (try getting anywhere without one in the US) talk my way into University (not the one I really wanted as I had not been able to pull up my grade averages up high enough with just one year to cram everything in) get a degree then talk my way into ANOTHER university (I was a bit more pushy by then and got into the one I wanted) to study dentistry. What I am saying is that, given the direction I wanted to go in I personally was hindered by my parents’ home education programme rather than helped by it.

And no, I would not say this to their faces even now. They did what they thought was best. I still a bit let down that I had no “best friends” as a child as we were always wandering about and I had no chance to form attachments. I don’t think it is the same to meet other kids once a week at some sort of organised event - childhood friendships are formed in a day in day out environment. I’m particularly close to all my siblings for this reason. Two of these siblings followed more or less the same route as me and earned MAs. The other two did nothing to formalise their education. One is now a carpenter (and perfectly happy) and the other is currently a waitress. She hates her life and is only now looking at getting her diploma and trying to do something with herself. She is 28 years old and reads and writes like a 10 year old despite having a high IQ. Three of us were self motivated, one wasn’t but is happy nonetheless, the other blames our parents for what she sees as their “trendiness”. They haven’t spoken in years and it has taken her a long time to feel good enough about herself to set herself some goals and try to pursue them. I might add that our mother is a graduate of Berkeley in California and our father was a highly qualified surgeon in later life. He took his Medical degree as a mature student (with our mother supporting him) but had been out and out hippy in his teens and twenties, dropping out of University to live in San Francisco and watch the flowers grow. He happened to be lucky enough to have someone to bear the responsibilites of five kids whilst he fulfilled his dream.

Our two are alternatively little monsters or little angels but mainly somewhere in the middle. They are sociable and chat happily with anyone of any age, their current favourite being the elderly man who lives along the lane by our house who lets them help him pick his apples. The children who have just visited were shy and monosyllabic with ours although they were happy to chat with adults. I will make sure I teach ours everything I can before they start school but I still fully intend for them to attend mainstream schooling throughout unless there is a very good reason for them not to.

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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172304 red
Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:57 pm

it's a shame you don't feel HE worked out well for you Alice. I'm sure if for some reason down the line, you decided to HE your children, you would do it in a completely different way. - Certainly at the moment it is as though you are home educating them already.. which i spose is what we do before school age. But some parents don't. some imagine that school will take care of.. well pretty much everything. I'm convinced the children with the most advantage have parents who give their children a wide range of experience and knowledge as part of every day life, regardless of how else they education is given (ie at school or otherwise).

I'm also convinced that whilst I strive to not make the mistakes my parents made, i shall jsut be making different ones! - We just try to do the best for our kids (if only we could know in advance what the best was! :icon_smile: )
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172318 Annpan
Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:23 pm

I'm sorry that you feel home education didn't work for you Alice.

Personally 'formal' education didn't work for me. I was continuously bullied and belittled by both class mates and teachers right through my school career. I had a difficult home life which was never considered when handing out 2 hours of Latin homework and 2 hours of English Homework in one night (plus French, Geography, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and Art history).
I had little to no choice in the subjects I was 'taught', these were subjects that the school offered in a set timetable.
My Career officer laughed at my wish to become a potter, then a small-holder, then an entertainments promoter. (BTW, did Ent's promoter, now consider my self a mini-holder.... haven't got round to being a potter yet)

I never succeeded at further education because I developed a real fear/ hatred of authority, still have it really. I dropped out of 2 full-time college courses because I learned in 3 weeks what they were still trying to drum in to the rest of the students at 6 months. I have a high IQ and no piece of paper to show it.... and that is because of my formal education.

I will be home educating my very smart, very sociable 3 year old... and anyone else who might come to join the family in the future. My child/children will be free to learn at their own pace the subjects that they want to learn, they will also be an old-fasioned help around the house and holding for me.

We all make decisions as parents which have a fundamental effect on how our children grow up, Alice, I am sure from the bottom of my heart that your Mum and Dad did what they absolutely thought was best, and they must have sacrificed a lot for it. Perhaps we all suffer from a little bit of 'the grass is always greener'


And as for the Badman report :banghead:
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172327 red
Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:39 pm

Annpan wrote:I had little to no choice in the subjects I was 'taught', these were subjects that the school offered in a set timetable.


oh I'd forgotton about that! - yes i ended up taking commerce as a subject for Olevel, because i had to choose something in that column in the timetable and it was the best of a bad lot. which.. is silly.

Learning has become fun for me now, particularly doing it alongside my son, I was never interested in history, but have found out it is fascinating - now I have got past that school clipboard feeling and can actually enjoy looking at things
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172335 Alice Abbott
Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:17 pm

I've just realised my original thread has been moved here from the Ish local. I hadn't previously known that home education was already a topic of the moment and haven't read any reports etc!

No, it didn't work for me. But then I don't doubt it WILL work for others. I never did get to learn anything in High School other than the basics to get me to diploma level and I wish I had had chance to explore other areas. My parents did what they thought was right but they were very influenced by what happened to be the "in" thing in their circles at the time. They are two highly intelligent people but they had zero abilities as teachers, not a lot of patience and not a lot of time. I think they actually sacrificed very little to do what they did. In fact it meant that we were easily portable and they were not obliged to stay in one place to allow us to settle into schools and communities. I learned how to do some stange things during my childhood. I can light a fire with sticks, I can tie-dye material and I can roll a joint. But basic little things I know I missed out on. In fact I'm only grateful that none of us ended up with overly hippy names like some of the kids we encountered on our travels. True, Aurora and Falcon spring to mind...

I shall see what Mom has to say on the subject when she arrives for her Christmas break with us. In the meantime I'm off to practise one of the talents I DID manage to learn in our wanderings. The kids want me to make them a rainstick. Now that I CAN do!

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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172347 red
Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:00 pm

Alice Abbott wrote:I've just realised my original thread has been moved here from the Ish local. I hadn't previously known that home education was already a topic of the moment and haven't read any reports etc!


ah sorry i did mention I had moved it.
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #172388 homegrown
Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:48 pm

Our oldest is a public school, has good HM and teachers but he is struggling to fit in and is mildly dyslexic with a very short attention span, as well as being left-handed. A child psychologist here in NZ says its like trying fill you 44x4 at a station that only sells petrol.

Two of our friends home educate and seem to do it very well, one family is a little anti social sometimes but not to bad but tthe others are lovely kids and play well.

the other week I found out that the education Board in NZ is now making teachers teach the kids to add horizontally rather than vertically (its no wonder my boy is struggling with long addition or subtration), they also teach certain times tables. This is very limiting and OH and I have been thinking whether to take him out and home school either on his own or with one our friends kids
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Re: Pros & cons of home educating

Post: #174387 albert onglebod
Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:41 pm

Home education for us too.
Ours are now both at Uni having rejoined school at 6th form college to do the A levels without it costing us an arm and a leg.
One got an A, B, C the other got A,A,B
As far as socialising is concerned, it is easy enough to find social activities for kids even when they dont attend school.
Mine went to numerous clubs and none were expensive or inaccessible.
Really I think there are as many children in school who will not do well, as there are out and in both cases there are some children who would do better in the other scenario .
I have noticed over the years that parents of home educated children that dont excell are blamed for the outcome but that teachers of school children who dont excell are not,in fact if anything, it is the children themselves or their parents who are blamed. A win /win situation for schools.


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