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Home Schooling

(45 Posts)
nanajan Thu 16-Jun-11 17:22:19

My daughter in law made a decision to start homeschooling my 3 young grandchildren in April. I was quite shocked that the Law allows her to do this, and now just do not know what the future will be like for them. Any other grans out there coping with the same issue?

crimson Thu 16-Jun-11 17:37:03

I'm sure it's possible to give children a god education at home, but school isn't just about learning, it's about learning to be a social animal. Is there a reason why she's chosen to do so..distance to travel to school for example?

nanajan Fri 24-Jun-11 15:17:08

She has two out of four children who have disabilities. One of the children is at special school (and still going to school as transport is provided and he needs specialist input), and this means she needs to be home for the school bus, which makes going to get the others difficult - someone must be home for the school bus otherwise the child is taken to social services! (Can u imagine what that would be like for an autistic child, to get home and be whisked off somewhere else!) Also the other child who has a physical disability was having lots of problems at the mainstream school which the others attend (not academically but because of issues about getting around in school, and the child had to use a major buggy for some of the time and was missing a lot of school before that was assessed by health and provided for the child). The last straw was when my d-i-l was prevented from driving her car into the staff car park so that she could take the disabled child out of the car level with the classroom (the school is on a steep hill) as some other parents were also taking advantage and using the car park inappropriately so the school made a blanket ban on parents cars in the car park. Even though she rang the school and explained that surely they could make an exception as the child had a physical disability this was refused. She even went to the LEA but the school is grant aided so they said the couldn't overrule governors decision!!
If you have four children and one gets sick, especially the one at special school, its almost impossible to find anyone to leave that child with in order to get the others to school. I had done lots of sitting but I don;t live just down the road, so its a bit of a trek early in the morning and afternoons if she needed help. All these issues have contributed to her decision.
I have to admit my concerns are all to the social side of things, and I know that is her concern too, so she is working on this in quite a few ways I think.

twizzle Fri 24-Jun-11 15:52:28

nanajan, there is information available on home-schooling from Education Otherwise which may be of help to your daughter.

grannyactivist Fri 24-Jun-11 17:03:47

Nanajan It sounds as if your daughter in law is making a wise decision although I feel very strongly that if she really wants her children in mainstream school she should fight for it. To teach the children at home will be much less stressful in some ways than dealing with the school run and there can be many advantages. I suggest she contacts other local home educators for support, advice and lesson -sharing.
My youngest son was partially home educated and I know many other home educators (we network). The children I have met are bright, socially well-adjusted, confident young people who seem to have no trouble mixing with their peers (or anyone else come to that). My son didn't opt out of society, just the schooling system. In addition to his academic studies (his grade average was 93%) his home schooling allowed him to develop his interest in pottery;( he won a national art competition) music; (he plays the guitar very well) knitting: (enough said!!) and outdoor sports such as sailing kayaking and canoeing. Home schooling doesn't suit all families, but it can be the best way forward for some.

baggythecrust! Fri 24-Jun-11 17:10:34

My sister home educated her four children for a good number of years in Suffolk and Norfolk. They all now have respectable university degrees. One is doing a Ph.D at Harvard and another is about to start one at Cornell. They are all well-balanced and interesting young adults.

My sister took this course because her eldest child was very ill with meningitis just after starting school at age five. The youngest was only a few months old. The eldest recovered from meningitis but it made her deaf so my sister had all that to cope with on top of looking after the ordinary needs of four children between zero and five-and-a-half. She clearly did a brilliant job!

By the age of ten the eldest cjild (the deaf one) decided she wanted to go to school. She did and she did well in spite of the deafness. The younger children followed her lead as and when it suited them. There was no pressure.

Synonymous Fri 24-Jun-11 17:26:42

nanajan please don't worry!
I know several families who home school and have to say that without exception the children are a joy to be around. One family with four boys have sent them all to University, the youngest is in his second year, and they are all doing well or have done well.
There is nothing in living that cannot be made into a lesson and it can be done at the child's own pace without pressure and stress. You could be a most wonderful support in this venture and will probably find that you learn as much as they will from it all; it can be a really enriching experience than can create an incredibly strong family unit.
I hope that it all goes really well for your family.

Elegran Fri 24-Jun-11 17:50:22

My grandson was at a cathedral chorister school until he was old enough to sound like a corncrake. When he left, his parents enrolled him in an online school where he spent two years at home studying online for his International GCSE exams.

The classes were small, taught by real teachers who were in online contact with each child, and they could see one another's responses and contact each other as well for chats (but not in class time!) .They teach pupils from 10 to 19. Only drawback is the £740 a term fees

He got very good results and has just been doing A-levels at an ordinary secondary school, prior to studying for a BMus. I see that Interhigh is now doing A-levels too.

I had reservations at first, particularly about the social side, but it was very successful. If your daughter feels a bit hesitant about taking on the later stages of education, there are several internet schools out there which offer online classes and postal and online support, as well as support for parents home schooling younger children.

marjoriew Sun 26-Jun-11 21:25:09

I'm a grandparent with legal responsibility for one of my grandchildren since he was 2 and he is now 12.
I have home schooled him since he was 6.
I think it can be worrying for grandparents when children decide to home educate grandchildren. Anything different from the norm brings up countless questions, but at the end of the day it is the parent's choice to home educate or to delegate it to the state.
At 63 it can be a bit knackering but I have never regretted my decision to home educate my grandson.

crimson Mon 27-Jun-11 13:03:25

nanajan; I can't believe that your dil isn't getting more help from the authorities. Seems totally unreasonable, to me.

Faye Mon 27-Jun-11 19:58:11

nanajan how mean spirited of that school, it is not hard at all to make an exception for a mother that has a child with a disability. This sort of petty behaviour makes me very angry.
I can't see that your dil has much choice not to home school. It would be difficult for her to get her children ready for school, let alone then have to get one with a physical disability up the hill.
Also to have a child with autism would be so difficult. She may not even want to home school her children but she may be taking the only option she seems to have. I often heard home schooled children do really well, but your dil has a lot to contend with, she is probably feeling exhausted with all she has on her plate.
Yes and why as crimson says isn't she getting more help from the authorities. Seems like too many rules to make life harder for parents with children with disabilities. Taking an autistic child to social services if there is no one at home when they get home, whose idea is that. angry

nanajan Wed 29-Jun-11 09:02:22

Thanks so much to everyone who has replied! Its really helped me to put this into perspective. I felt very upset about it all at first, but then also decided that I could either walk away from it all (not my style) or see if there were some practical things I could do to help. I found out about HEAS (Home Education Advisory Service) online and signed her up for that. This included lots of information, links with other local homeschoolers and discounts on visits to exhibitions etc. I have already done a visit with the family to a local museum as they were doing a project on Egypt, and I must admit the children seemed happy and relaxed, so maybe my worries are for nothing. I think its just really alien to me, and maybe to most of us to think about not going to school!! As I won't be working myself in autumn (I now have a very small private pension) I am intending to offer one day a week to have the children here with me for art and craft (as I paint and also have lots of craft skills). thanks to you all for all the other links too, I will pass these onto my dil.

nanajan Tue 12-Jul-11 16:45:39

Hi Faye, taking a disabled child to social services if there is no-one home is the policy of the LA transport for disabled children, at least it was when I was working for them a few years ago as a Pupil escort. I used to escort pupils to and from the special school on a special bus (used to be LA buses, but then they put everything out to tender and local private minibus companies took on the work), and the rule was that if you got to the home and there was no-one there, you had to drive around dropping off all the other children, then return to the child's home and if there was still no-one there you took the child to social services. Luckily I never had to face that issue, but its always haunted me with my grandson and I know that he would be terrified and distraught, and having in the past worked with a lot of parents of disabled children I knew the stress this put on them to always be home for their child at around 3.30pm. Now I see if from within the family and know just what its like to try and juggle this with other children's needs for going to and from school, and hoping that you never get held up for any reason. Perhaps my d.i.l is better off not having to worry about this now that the others are home schooled. Interestingly I had the children to stay for a sleepover this weekend and was amazed by the five year-olds reading ability!!

grannyactivist Tue 12-Jul-11 20:26:03

Hi nanajan. Sounds as though you're feeling a little more confident about the home-schooling situation, I do hope so. It's not better or worse than mainstream schooling, just different. smile

Faye Tue 12-Jul-11 23:31:17

Nanajan I am so pleased for you that things are working out. I liked the idea of you spending the day with your grandchildren teaching them art and craft, listening to them read and taking them on excursions. The children will love it. Best of all children do benefit from time spent with other other adults besides their parents that care for them. Your daughter in law will also find it much easier with your help and support rather than having to do it on her own.
My daughter who is a drama teacher had a student who had been home schooled all her life join the high school where she worked. This teenager had decided that she wanted to do drama at Year 12 level and my daughter was very impressed with her abilities.

apricot Sat 16-Jul-11 16:59:15

Sorry I've come to this rather late.
Home-schooling parents are always very defensive and deny there are any problems. I'm concerned at the lack of any checks on such families. I know a lone mother, educated only to GCSE level, who has kept her only son at her side for 12 years. He has never played or worked with other children, never had a friend, never been allowed to go anywhere without her. If she hadn't been forced to get a part-time job, she would have lived on benefits at home with him indefinitely. Now her mother looks after him while she works. Nobody has ever checked up on his education or isolation.

Heather Sat 16-Jul-11 17:37:38

apricot, your message amazes me just because a friend of mine home schools her son and they have LOADS of checks. They have to follow the curriculum and, in order to this in subjects that would be difficult on ones' own (both parents are HIGHLY intelligent so nothing is impossible for them!), they have a local network of same-minded parents and children who 'swap' their talents to the best interests of the children = socialising for the children too, bingo!!!!

nanajan, I hope your daughter in law can find such a local network and that it will be as beneficial to her and her children as it is to my friend and her family.

JessM Sat 16-Jul-11 18:06:13

I am surprised too. In Uk the local authority have a duty to ensure that all children are receiving full time education .
It is the law that all children are educated full time I think.
I home schooled my DS1 for a year (a long time ago i know) and i had an LA advisor come around several times to inspect what i was doing. And i was a qualified teacher, married to an educational psychologist!
(part of my curriculum allowed him to stay in bed in the morning and work his way through all the Tintin books, at the end of which he was a competent reader smile)
Could it possibly be that the LA are unaware of this child's existence?

grannyactivist Sat 16-Jul-11 20:52:14

I have been a home-schooling parent apricot and I take issue with your statement that we are 'always very defensive and deny there are any problems' - what a sweeping and inaccurate generalisation. Perhaps you would like to reconsider? It may help you to check out some of the home-education websites and see what a diverse and interesting community home-schoolers are.

nanajan Wed 20-Jul-11 17:27:53

Well, having checked up on the website regarding home schooling when my dil decided to home school, I found out that there was no law that said the children "had" to attend school, plus she required no official qualifications to go ahead with it, all she had to do was write and tell the school that she was removing the children and that's what she did. She has had a visit (2 weeks ago) from an Adviser who will make a report on what the children are doing, and this will no doubt show whether or not she is reaching an acceptable standard. One of the children goes to Beavers each week (where he sees lots of his friends), another did go to dancing classes but due to problems with her leg (she is disabled and has a prosthesis) at the moment she has had to stop that for a while. The youngest, 2, came to stay last weekend and her talking has come on in leaps and bounds recently so I don;t think she is missing out, although I was concerned that she is not attending playgroup. The eldest child attends special school (as he is on the autistic spectrum) so there are no plans to remove him from the excellent place he is at. The 3 children at home go with Mum to the local Chidren's Centre once a week, and also meet up with other home school parents, so I hope the children are not feeling isolated, but they are my grandchildren and therefore I have to leave the responsibility of all this with my dil and son. It may carry on, or it may not, only time will tell, but I will be available for helping with art and craft next term. Thanks again to everyone for their comments and advice.

apricot Thu 21-Jul-11 20:35:16

grannyactivist - I know home-schooling can work well, I'm concerned at a case where it hasn't. If a child has never been to school the local authority (at least here) has no connection with the parent and makes no checks.
This boy's mother says he's "too clever" for school but he is kept at home to fulfil her emotional needs.

grannyactivist Thu 21-Jul-11 20:55:03

apricot If your concerns are genuine then the correct thing to do would be to contact your Local Authority education department and inform them that you have reason to believe that nobody has ever checked up on the boy's education. As JessM pointed out, they have a duty to ensure the child is receiving an adequate education and if this boy has slipped through the net then they need to be informed of that.

geekygran Fri 22-Jul-11 17:54:36

I home educated my youngest son for 6 years -I took him out of school because he wasn't being taught how to read, and he was very unhappy. I thought I could do a better job of it myself.

He went back to school at secondary age and settled in very well -loads of confidence.

A few years ago he left university with a first in computer engineering, so I don't think that home education did him much harm smile

P.S. I taught him to read too.

marjoriew Mon 25-Jul-11 09:27:09

I have home educated my grandson since he was 6. He is now 12. I have had annual checks since the beginning - my choice and being fully aware that the LA have no right of entry to my home, to see or talk to my grandson without just cause i.e. that an education is not taking place.
Neither is there any rule about what constitutes a 'full time' education. I can get through in 3 hours what a 12 year old might get through in a full school day.
There is also the question of how many children are actually receiving an education in the school system. What about the number of children who are going up to secondary school unable to read or write properly?

nanajan Thu 04-Aug-11 03:52:30

Hi everyone, just caught up with your postings again, and thanks for all your comments and advice, its all very helpful. My dil heard back from the LEA Advisor and she seemed happy with what she is doing, so that helps. I will be starting craft days with the children after the summer holidays. I know they will enjoy coming to my house and being able to paint and do messy things. I am hoping to try and link this to whatever topics they are working on at the time. I bought a set of Oxford Read Tree books and the 4-year old was very interested in them. My dil told me on Friday that she was managing the 7 year level! We had friends to stay last week and they were amazed at her reading. The 7 year old (boy) built me a lovely clown out of duplo and wrote a card with it saying "hello my name is Happy and I am a clown". He chatted non stop when he came to see me on Friday. About to go on hols now so will catch up again in a while.