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Home Schooling

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:19 am
by narmour

With the impending arrival of our first born I suppose this is a bit premature but it's never too early to start thinking about how you are going to approach things further down the line.

First of all I want to say I'm not trying to get backs up here, if you are a dedicated home schooler and it works for you I'd love to hear your positive stories. But the only experience I can draw on is from the several children I know who are home schooled and have become either very shy, withdrawn children who don't mix well with other kids, or pushy, demanding children who insist on monopolising every second of their parent's time.

Our thinking is that our children will be going to primary school most importantly to learn, but also to make friends and learn to be social with their peer groups; at the moment I cannot see how home schooling is more desirable on that front. There are plenty of ways in which we can contribute to their education at other times (helping with homework, encouraging and joining in with extra curricular interests and hobbies, and encouraging them to be inquisitive about everything), and I feel that the socialising aspect of traditional school is by far the most important advantage that it offers.

Like I said I am in no way intending to annoy those who believe home schooling is the right way, I am merely stating my opinion and asking for a mature discussion on the basic principles and perceived advantages of the system.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:24 pm
by demi
My eldest is 5 and goes to the local nursary. They don't start school here till they are 6, used to be 7, but they're teaching them basic things in nursary preparing them for starting school.

I have started going though workbooks with my daughter for maths and english reading and writing at home so she gets a head start and hopfully does well in school when the time comes. I think education, along with love and stability, is the most important thing i can provide my children, so they will have the choices avalible to them when they grow up to follow their chosen career path. Wither that is a profesional career or a self-suficient one. I see my job as being responcible for supporting them through school and university, then once they have some qualifications to their name its up to them what they do next.

They don't allow home schooling here, attending school is mandatory. Although there is a large percentage of the population, mainly Roma, who are uneducated mainly because the parents send the kids out to beg for money instead of going to school. The actual way the schools are run also leaves a lot to be desired for. Lack of funding, over crowding, outdated teaching materials and corruption all contribute to the low standards of the educational system in this contry. Its no suprise to learn that a Macedonian degree is a worthless document everywhere in the world except in Macedonia.

This is a big concern to me and i intend for my kids to go back to Scotland for 5th and 6th year of high school to get their highers and get into a Scottish university, hopfully still for free :)

So I'v started teaching my daughter at home to suppliment her school education and i intend to do the same with my son as he grows up too. But i think it is important for kids to socialize and interact with their peers. When we have both the kids in the house together they can get really wound up and start fighting over toys and screaming and end up needing to be separeted. I don't think i could handle it here every doy with both of them 24/7. Nursary, and from next year school, gives me a bit of peace with just my toddler to deal with. And once he starts at nursay too i will have more time to help my husband on the farm. I love my kids and love being a stay home mum, but my daughter needs other kids to play with to vent some of her energy, make friends and develop. And i don't think my nerves could handle home schooling as well. But i will always contribute to their education from home anyway, helping with homework, reading books and teaching them about science and how to think logically about things, and correcting anything they've learned thats wrong from the school here ( you'll be suprised how much strange supertitious stuff the believe here! ).

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:40 pm
by narmour
I agree absolutely that parents should play a large part in the educating their children, but absolutely not at the expense of a school education. It is interesting to hear your take on the topic, and I think that you are in agreement with me, that you should be responsible for supplementing your child's education, but the social aspect of school is essential.

I am interested to know what motivates parents to remove their children entirely from the school environment?

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:03 pm
by demi
narmour wrote: I am interested to know what motivates parents to remove their children entirely from the school environment?

Yes, im interested on hearing that too.
Something which would concern me is faith schools and especially the teaching or creationism in some schools. I want my kids to go to school and be properly educated, not to be brainwashed by religion resulting in a warped view on reality. If we were in the Uk i would need to do some research into the local schools to ensure i enrolled my kids in a good non-denominatioal school with good exam results and a good reptuation. I assume the educational standerds of some schools in the Uk is what makes some parents opt to home school. At least, thats what it would be a concern for me.

I forgot to add before, that i have a lot of respect for home schooling parents. Its a big responcibility to take on, seeing as its your childs education and future that you are taking into your own hands. And once they get into high school age and studying for exams the work gets more intence. Its a lot of work to take on, especially if you have more than one home schooling child. Its too much for me personally, don't think i could handle it full time.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:38 pm
by Helsbells
I am afriad I have less confidence in the State Education System than you both do. I am a teacher in a comprehensive secondary. Classes of 30 with disruptive pupils spoiling the learning for the other children, teachers who are tired from being verbally abused and physically attacked on a daily basis and at the end of their tether, buildings that are falling down. In my opinion this is not the best environment for learning, I think I could provide better myself.
As for socialising, there are lots of activities and clubs that children can be involved in to socialise.
I am not in the position of deciding whether to home educate or not, when I am I will have to put a lot of thought into it.
State schools do offer some things that home education can't always, such as equipment, but I am really not sure it is the best.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:01 pm
by mrsflibble
My child is home educated, and we know plenty of the above kinds of kids (overbearing or quiet) BUT we know far more of the "right" kind of children, the not overbearing, not too quiet, normal children.

We go to some groups, but only because sophie is interested in the subject matter, not because of some idea of socialisation. it's a myth, your child will be socialised whatever environment they're in and forced association is not the same.

what moivated me are:

bullying and the school not doing anything about it. physical and mental abuse from other children. to the point that my child has had to have therapy to try and get over the nightmares, and is still working through her fears about writing.

knowing there was a problem with the child's educational welfare and development and the school's refusal to acknowledge it; we took her out, a month later having seen what she's capable of in real life we took her for preliminary testing by an eductional psychologist. she's dyslexic and dyspraxic, both of which I had mentioned to the school but they again did nothing about it. sophie was regularly left without proper break times because of her inability to do the work set and the school's refusal to help. it got to the point where she didn't ask for help any more because she was afraid of being told off. want to know the "best" bit? this school is said to be one of the best in the area for mainstream SEN help!!!

constant admin errors, some potentially threatening. for instance me telling the school in writing that she's lactose intollerant, giving them a letter from the paediatrician and then being told by her (a 4.5 year old child) that she'd had a petits filous, then couldn't have her lunch because it hurt so much and nearly pooped herself in the afternoon. this happened a few times with various foods. I wonder, what would happen if she'd been milk allergic?!

she also has a problem with her immune system and when she begins to run a fever, she needs medication administered as soon as possible (there are signs to look for which I notified the school of before she jined and was assured they would adhere to) and have me phoned immediately to pick her up, otherwise it becomes uncontrollable and we end up in casualty. 4 times in a year and a half of term times they disregarded this, and 4 times we ended up spending a night in hospital. that's 4 times in a total of about 14 months spent in a classroom. too many.

she had to have her tonsils out (poor little beggar) and I informed the school how long she would be off for; with her immune problems the consultant recommended 3 weeks to be on the safe side. we tried to make it coincide with school hols but it got so desperate that they were poisoning her body, so we had to take her in for the op early...all was agreed with the school, yet one week into recovery and post op complications I got a text from them. not a call, a text saying "your child hasn't turned up at school today. please explain or educational welfare will be involved"... nice. I called ,I explained, I directed them to the written permission, I received a vocal apology yet 3 months later I got a letter stating Sophie's attendance was so low they were involving EdWelfare and the truancy people.

don't get me started on religion either. it's all well and good children receiving religious education, wonderful. it's lovely that schools are inclusive and I believe it makes for more well rounded individuals, but when your own religious views are undermined or ignored regularly, and your pagan/agnostic child comes home and insists on prayer to Jesus before meals and bed and wont understand that although this is acceptable in school, it's not at home, something is wrong. she had got to the point where, because it was "wrong" according to a member of staff, she refused to take part in sabbat celebrations at home, refusing to even sit near the fire and talk. Yet this past Yule, she was the one who insisted we cast a circle because she's gaining confidence in her own beliefs again. I've never forced her to join that part of my own celebration of seasons, she chose to. We've never tried to force a belief system on her; hubby is an open minded atheist and I am pagan and we both think she should make her own decisions, but for her to refuse to even join in the non religious time chatting with her family by a fire in the garden because it's associated with a religious practise she'd been told was wrong, IS WRONG. at the groups she mixes with various different faiths and we talk about them a lot, among parents there's an unwritten rule. answer questions if asked, but don't push your system to anyone else. don't preach.

the bullying issue is worth mentioning again. she's started being willing to wear home made items and show them off again. she'd had that confidence knocked out of her at school. I'm not someone who sews 12 purple stitches into a piece of tie dyed cotton and calls it a dress either, I make professional looking items, so to have her refuse to wear formerly favorite items was a blow. a week out of school and she'd asked for an owl jumper to match my own.... she wears it so often I may have to make her another as she's starting to outgrow it! she's started planning herself a skirt to sew, has picked fabric, worked out a style... she'd have done none of this a year ago for fear of being laughed at. now, even if she'd not wear it out in public, she will at least go and show next door's (also home educated) kids because she knows the honesty they'll give. if they like it, they genuinely like it. if they have minor criticisms, they're given diplomatically and in a way that doesn't freak soph out.

We'd considered home ed when she was born, but after she loved preschool so much we felt she deserved to have a chance to see if school would be right for her. it wasn't right for her and i certainly wasn't right for me.

she's caught up with her writing now thanks to a lot of help, her immune system is finally starting to work properly and she's not had a fever in 2 months (a record for her) despite going to groups with new people, we've got a lovely local education officer who is involved when we ask her to be and lets us roll along on our own when we don't. Soph's attaining higher levels of understanding in science and maths than other children her own age, even though she doesn't write a lot down...and her reading has improved no end.

I'm not totally ruling out mainstream education per se, but a return will be sophie's choice. I and the hubby will be mentioning the other routes to higher levels, not just standard senior school.

A lot of myths fly around about home educated kids and He in general. a book to read to get a better, more rounded idea is School's Out by Jean Bendell. it's quite old, but it dispels most of the myths.

sorry if this is a really long post, but you did ask lol.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:41 pm
by narmour
Thank you Mrsflibble for your reply. Those are very good reasons for removing your child from that school, although to be fair it sounds very much like that particular school was the issue rather than the system itself. But that is what your experience is of, so thank you again for outlining your experience.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:09 pm
by JuzaMum
Hi Narmour

I have four children, two finished state school and two little ones. I don't have any shocking stories from the older ones education but I have been very disappointed with the state education. My eldest went the 'best' local state school - the local grammar which seemed to me to be a sausage factory. Suits at eleven, ready for the rest of your life in a suit. He is now 19 and only now seeming to find his self and be happy. 2nd son was statemented as gifted and talented - a good thing you would think? The school would reguarly complain about him being disruptive in class but would not take on board that he was bored! He could mess about and still be top of the class. Now he is at college he is really enjoying it and I heard nothing but praise at the recent parents evening. Too much work and homework was aimed at passing stats (statutory testing).
My 3rd son is 4 and could of started school last September. We did consider home Ed for him and his little sister but attended a parents information morning at a Steiner school. Once we saw the school, pupils, classes and heard what they had to offer we fell in love with the school. My 3rd son now attends Kindergarten 3 mornings a week and loves it - I am not sure he would have 'fitted in' in state school. The kindergarten has a garden not a playground. There are fruits and vegetable growing and a little pond - it is quite beautiful. My son often comes home muddy but always happy.
I know there is lots of information on the net about Steiner education which could explain its philosophy better than I could so I won't attempt to.
I just wanted to say there is more that a choice of state or home ed.
State education is fine for many children but if your kids are not 'average' it may lack in areas.


Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:46 pm
by magicguitarman
I was home schooled for my whole childhood. While I can't say it was perfect, and I certainly had a hard time in my early teens trying to work out bloody social etiquette I would say it was fantastic for me and my two sisters. While we can all three be loud and overbearing with the best of them I think with our Dad we would have been that way anyway.

Nowadays I run a guitar teaching business, self employed and both of my sisters are studying to do things with horses and photography. None of us feels the least bit held back by our backgrounds and I suspect that my sisters will home school their kids when they get around to having any!
Helsbells wrote:As for socialising, there are lots of activities and clubs that children can be involved in to socialise.
This is perhaps very much the key. Mum and Dad went to HUGE efforts to make sure we had regular interaction with "normal" kids and I think that would really be vital.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:30 am
by fran
I teach literacy to adults and I agree that the state education system leaves a lot to be desired. However, you have to have a certain standard of education yourself to be able to teach others, especially children. I visibly cringe when I see some of the basic spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes that adults make and would hate to think that these are being passed on. But do not get me wrong, I think in the right circumstances and properly done, home schooling can be beneficial for some children.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:32 am
by oldjerry
I think 'spellcheck,text speak etc has a lot to do with that.
I've always struggled with spelling and grammar,and the couple of years I spent in the early 80's persuing my disastrous teaching career(!),were mostly taken up writing out on paper anything before it was put up on any board etc.Now I'm old and a tad grumpy,I'm staggered at the appalling spelling/punctuation of some of the people charged with my kids education. I've largely given up correcting the spelling of comments staff have added to my kids home/classwork,the children get embarrassed, and I come over as a pompous old git........ (as if).
Perhaps there are many more assistants in class today,not all of whom have been through full Teacher Training,but I think maybe they shouldn't be displaying their poor spelling so openly,or maybe it really doesn't matter that much.

This is not a generalised moan about contemporary teaching,which I reckon has improved exponentially since my brief foray into the profession.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:53 am
by The Riff-Raff Element
oldjerry wrote: This is not a generalised moan about contemporary teaching,which I reckon has improved exponentially since my brief foray into the profession.
I'd agree with you. I suspect the problem is that spelling & grammar (at least in the UK) are seen as being unimportant by a very large number of people. I'm not sure how that happened: being clearly understood is vital, and good spelling and grammar are necessary for that.

Re: Home Schooling

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:58 pm
by red
for me - I already had a child that was withdrawn and shy - he has a learning disability and coping with other kids took up most of his energy with little left for learning anything. The other kids were lovely - but being on the spectrum - he found it hard. I home educated him from 12- 18 - and we had a lovely time - he really blossomed - gained confidence and I focused the education on life skills.

It is a mistake to assume 'socialisation' is being put with 30 kids of the same age - it is so unnatural and only occurs in the education system - the rest of life you will mix with all ages - in my experience HE kids are more able to mix with adults, are more able around younger kids.

Educationally the benefit of working one to one with a child is vast - the education can be tailored to suit the individual- no chance of being held back or left behind. Learning does not have to be separated into different subjects but flow from one to another and you can follow the child's interests.
and example I always give is: one day we watched a school program on WWII - we then walked up to the local church and looked at the war memorial. We talked about how it would have changed the lives of the families of the dead. We calculated how old the soldiers would have been by looking at the dates. Then we discussed what to have for lunch, bought the ingredients and came home and made and had lunch - so that morning we covered PE, history, maths and threw in some life skills.

We really enjoyed our time with H.E. and I was quite sad when it came to an end.