Gransnet forums


Home schooling

(156 Posts)
Bambi Sat 21-Feb-15 11:25:22

Do you have any experience of home schooling either through your own children or grandchildren? I don't, and would like to know other grandparents thoughts on the matter, as it is about to happen to two of my grandchildren. I have concerns, but wonder if I am just being 'old fashioned'.

Mishap Sat 21-Feb-15 12:00:29

Look up the website for "Education Otherwise" and that should reassure you.

There are people on this site who are home educating their GC and I expect they will pop up with some ideas soon!

Properly done, home education can be an excellent option. Do not worry!

grannyactivist Sat 21-Feb-15 12:23:32

My youngest son was home educated in part - from the age of 11. He thrived and was able to get both a good academic education as well as becoming a very accomplished guitarist and potter. He gained an academic bursary to university and in his first year did so well that he was awarded a place on the Dean's List (a sort of Honour Roll that looks great on a CV). He has some good friendships and has a lovely girlfriend; he excels at his chosen sports of sailing and windsurfing and relaxes with cross-stitch, crocheting or knitting. (What can I say? He's in touch with is feminine side - and he also bakes a mean chocolate cake for which his girlfriend is very grateful.)
People often worry about the social activities that children educated at home 'miss out' on, but many home educators meet up to provide group experiences for their children. My son joined the Air Cadets and made friends there and he did a lot of outdoor activities in groups. For me the main benefit of educating my son out of school is that I was able to encourage his non-academic development alongside his more traditional academic achievements and adapt my 'teaching' to his particular learning style.
Schools can be wonderful places and suit a majority of children, but schooling is not the best way for everyone to achieve an education.

Crafting Sat 21-Feb-15 14:03:06

granny did you teach him yourself? Are you a teacher by profession? My GC may be home educated as can't cope with school but at the moment isn't willing to learn anything and is falling further and further behind all the time. DGC has difficulty in social skills as well wich makes things even harder. Was your son willing to learn at home? My DGC is so against school at the moment and can't seem to settle to learn anything. It is a real worry.

FarNorth Sat 21-Feb-15 15:04:08

Crafting maybe if it is explained to your DGC that s/he can stop going to school if they are willing to try and learn at home, they will be happy to do that?

The "social" aspects of education were not pleasant for my DCs and neither were some of the teachers' attitudes and behaviours, I learned later on.

I wish, now, that I had had the confidence to home-school them.

Elegran Sat 21-Feb-15 15:43:16

There is a lot of online help for home-schoolers. It is worth having a look and seeing just what is possible.

grannyactivist Sat 21-Feb-15 15:54:20

I did teach him myself and I also paid for a guitar teacher, a pottery teacher - and an elderly lady to teach him to knit smile. As for not being willing to learn anything would s/he be happy to visit a museum; to find out how the police force came into being; to grow vegetables; to learn first aid; to play an instrument; to learn to use a computer; to find out how to layer liquids? Children are learning all the time, schools simply channel learning into a particular structure.
My son didn't take GCSE's and still managed to get a place in FE (where he won a triple Distinction with *) and then got a University place to study engineering. Do you think your grandchild going to be any worse off being home educated than if s/he stays at school and doesn't engage?

granjura Sat 21-Feb-15 18:25:01

I am so glad to hear it was so successful for your GS- but going on to UNI after being home-educated, especially if not by several parents/helpers with complimentary knowledge (OH and me would have been a good team, he excels at all I am poor at and vice versa). I can just imagine a teenager who as been homeschooled who decides s/he'd like to study medicine, for instance- and find that due to his/her education this would be an almost impossible taks without having to re-do years of preparation. What would you say to him/her then?

I can understand someone deciding to HS a child with severe learning or other difficulties, if after years of trying his/her needs are not met- perhaps. But for most children, working out and overcoming difficulties- with help and support and within the system- seems so much better as a solution. Life can be tough- and tougher for some for all sorts of reasons- but escaping is not always possible. Learning how to overcome and get through- is to my mind a much better solution in the long run.

The parents I knew who homeschooled may not have been representative- but in those cases it seems that THEY, not the child, were unable to deal with any positive criticism and guidance re their own child.

Elegran Sat 21-Feb-15 19:32:55

My grandson was home-schooled for two years, from 14 to 16. He was enrolled in an online school and had lessons in the mornings in all the usual subjects,from qualified teachers. He followed the lessons sitting at the PC, with the screen as a whiteboard, asked and answered questons online, did homework and projects and handed them in by email. He could chat to the other pupils in his class (but not during lessons!) His father works from home, so he had company during the afternoons, or did his homework and followed his other interests.

At the end of two years he sat international bacchalaureat exams and passed them very creditably. He then had two years in a local sixth form, and went on to an honours course at Uni.

He has not suffered at all, educationally or personally, from being out of mainstream education for those two years. He has plenty of friends and plays a leading role in the organisations he has joined at Uni.

It was not cheap to join the online courses, but a lot cheaper than some private schooling, which was the other alternative. I think the secret is to have a plan to work to, so as to cover the ground that has to be studied, but be ready to take advantage of any opportunities for widening their interests and circle of friends.

Mishap Sat 21-Feb-15 19:41:44

Most home-schooling parents make sure that a wide variety of subjects are covered and there is no reason at all why a home-schooled child should not go on to study medicine.

I have known several young school-educated people decide on medicine as a career after taking totally irrelevant A-levels. They just took themselves off to college or open college and did a rapid course - then they were of and away and highly successfully.

There is more than one way to get a good education - we are just so used to the one channel on offer, but it is not the only route.

Home-schooled children are very often well-motivated and used to independent study, and this stands them in good stead whatever further education or career they choose.

Crafting Sat 21-Feb-15 20:01:44

Thank you for all the advice. DGC has learning difficulties too but you have given me hope that if school doesn't work out then there are alternatives and it's not the end of the world. I didn't know there was such a thing as an online school. Does that sort of thing still exist?

Elegran Sat 21-Feb-15 20:08:25

There are lots of them, Crafting A bit of online searching brings them up. The good ones are very good, but you should check up on reviews, comments from parents, and so on. I can't remember the name offhand of the one DGS was enrolled in, but I could find out, if it were needed. You paid for each subject, so you could choose whatever set you wanted.

annsixty Sat 21-Feb-15 20:25:50

My GS now nearly 16 has home schooling through his LEA due to illness. He has mostly online tuition but has a tutor come in to his home 2 afternoons a week to check that he is understanding and coping.He registers at 9am and 1 30pm. It is not ideal and he has had to change the exam board but it is working ok. Sadly he will be taking only the core subjects at GCSE and not the 11 he had been anticipating but we hope he can catch up in the future. Life has a habit of knocking us back but we can spring back. Good luck to you all .

Elegran Sat 21-Feb-15 20:29:15

There is a lot of online support for home schoolers,there are sites with worksheets and ideas and links to information of a suitable level for the age being taught. There are also groups of home-schooling mothers and children who meet up for outings and socialising.

Elegran Sat 21-Feb-15 20:55:30

I have found the online school I was posting about - it is

I was wrong about a couple of things, the afternoons are not free, as I thought, and the fees are per term, not per subject- £760 (or £190 monthly instalments) They cater for pupils aged 10 - 18

Crafting Sat 21-Feb-15 22:52:10

Elegran thank you for finding the site for me. I will look it up.

annsixty I am sorry your GS has been ill. I do hope he makes a full recovery and can catch up with his exams in future.

rubylady Sun 22-Feb-15 06:09:40

I home schooled my DS and my gripe was and still is is that it is not funded at all. Any expense is to be met by the parents or carer. I don't see why this should be as the schools get money for each child to attend for each term so why, if the child is taken out of state education should they not be allowed a bursary for home educating?

I was on benefits at the time due to health and couldn't stretch to £190 a month for his online studies. He has had to sit his Maths and English GCSE since going back into college which has put him back a year so to speak and now he is doing his A levels.

He was assaulted at school in yr 7 five times and no amount of me going in would get teachers to help him sort it out so I had no choice. I was not leaving my child anywhere to be attacked. His confidence fell, his self worth was on the floor and I was more concerned for a long time after whether he would harm himself than whether he would get an English GCSE. He did self harm once which was very upsetting for us both.

But he did learn new things, he learnt how to be with older people as he also got lessons from men and women in their 70's. He is still great friends with one of them and visits him. He learnt different subject matter to schooled children and had a varied time table with less restrictions. I loved home schooling him, it was a very special time for us. I am sure he is autistic to some degree although after five minutes the professionals said not. He is still hyper active and won't concentrate on something for long. He fidgets all the time. He has social problems although has worked on these since starting college. As in he finds it hard to be part of a large group, he finds it hard to make eye contact and to express himself at times. But he will get there. It just takes a bit longer and requires more patience.

One couple who were expecting a baby found out that they were having a baby with Down's Syndrome. They explained it as they thought they were getting on one bus but had to get on a different bus instead.

So, with our home schooled children, for one reason or another, we and them have just got on a different bus. I know it's not Down's Syndrome but it is still a different path to the one we thought we would go down.

It can and is a very positive thing to do. It is rewarding and some very special moments are created along the way. The children will still get to where they want to be eventually. All the parents I met up with were very much involved and active in making sure their children were educated and fulfilled in their own individual way. That is what home schooling is, individualism, not a sheep.

"Why fit in when you were made to stand out?" Dr. Seuss.

Leticia Sun 22-Feb-15 07:49:34

It can be a very positive thing but it always makes me smile when people think school makes them into sheep and they can't be individuals- they have very little faith in their children!
My nephews were home schooled and all went on to university and my sister knew a wide community of home schoolers- some excellent and some dire, with everything in between. The real problem to me seems to be that it isn't regulated and anyone can do it- regardless of whether it works or not.
No reason why it can't work out well, Bambi, for your grandchildren. But so much better if the parents work with the authorities, like my sister, than treat them as the enemy. ( they were very helpful )

Bambi Sun 22-Feb-15 10:00:07

Thank you everyone for your responses. Hearing other peoples's experiences is very helpful and reassuring.

granjura Sun 22-Feb-15 10:40:20

Excellent post Leticia. I am sure it can work very well for some children with extremely dedicated and dilligent parents- but to me, the fact it is not strictly supervised and regulated, just seems like a form of abuse- resulting in some children being totally unprepared for the real world, further ed or work, which is totally tragic for those kids.

Mishap Sun 22-Feb-15 10:47:31

Gosh granjura - "abuse"! I wish you could eet the home-educated children that I know: confident, polite, well-read, excited about learning, full of imagination and ideas - abused? - I don't think so!

I have never understood the idea that school prepares children for the "real world" - what is real about people of the same age all herded into one place and forced to follow the narrow government-dictated curriculum?

Home-schooled children are out and about in the real world doing their learning, not sitting behind desks.

Mishap Sun 22-Feb-15 11:08:57

"eet"!!!??? - I did of course mean "see."

granjura Sun 22-Feb-15 11:53:11

Mishap, please be kind enough to re-read my post. Thanks.

soontobe Sun 22-Feb-15 12:19:01

I dont think school is perfect.
But I dont think that because children are at school, that there isnt enough time to be "out and about in the real world doing thier learning". There is plenty of time for both.

I agree with granjura about the strictly supervised and regulated bit.

Mishap Sun 22-Feb-15 12:34:11

I agree about the lack of regulation - LAs are just too cash-strapped to do all they should. But in fact those parents who choose home education are usually very committed indeed and give it their all. The sort of parents who would not give it their all are quite likely to be those who are very happy to get their children out from under their feet and off to school! - and therefore do not choose the HE option.

Soon - the situation now is that the curriculum in maintained (non-academy) schools is so strict and constricting that the out and about bits, and indeed the wider arts, are being squeezed out.