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Calling SS on Tuesday

(227 Posts)

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Granypie Sun 02-May-21 17:11:55

My DS and DIL have recently split and my ds now lives with me.

My GC, 7yr old twins, have never been to school and have always been homeschooled. I never had an issue with this because I assumed they were being taught properly as I live very far away and only see them once or twice per year.

Since my son has returned home he has told me that DIL has been doing something called "Unschooling"

I am horrified about this. My son explained it and showed me articles to read. I can't believe this is allowed. No inspections, no national curriculum, no text books or work sheets, the list goes on. They get up when they want, go to bed when they want and have no schooling what so ever. They have never had a teacher and ds tells me their day involves colouring, cooking playing computer games and going to the nearby woods.

Yesterday I visited the children with DS and whilst out I tested them on maths only to discover they didn't know things they should know by now and at 7 they can't even read!

DS is very ashamed that he's allowed this to happen and I've told him I will call social services on Tuesday and get the children sent to school ASAP. DS is afraid if we do this the children will be taken into care.

Has anyone dealt with SS and would they consider allowing the children to live with us before placing them in care?

JaneJudge Sun 02-May-21 17:19:49

Are you in the UK? I wouldn't just ring social services, there needs to be some sort of mediation between the parents surely?
What are they supposed to know at 7? do they have other additional needs?

BlueBelle Sun 02-May-21 17:21:03

Oh whoah !!! it’s not your place to call Social services if anyone does that it must be your son BUT as far as I know it’s not an offence to not send children to school and they can be homeschooled in any way the parent sees fit they don’t have to fit into a particular curriculum
You can’t just walk in and take the children to live with you this is not sounding good They won’t be taken into care if they are clean well fed and mentally happy in many countries children don’t even go to school before age of 7 anyway

JaneJudge Sun 02-May-21 17:22:16

I wouldn't say I ever home schooled but during the lockdowns in the pandemic ALOT of the lessons were computer based programs I noticed

LovelyCuppa Sun 02-May-21 17:23:14

It needs to be your son who intervenes surely?

Nannarose Sun 02-May-21 17:28:50

This is upsetting for you, but not as bad as you fear.
7 is still young, and enough time to catch up with formal things - I'm sure that they have learned plenty, but probably can't respond in a formal manner. Neither would I worry too much about reading - they will pick it up quickly once helped.
Please don't let the children pick up on your worry (or your anger with their mother) - they will be confused and upset enough without having to worry about your reaction.
Whilst your DS needs to take action to put this right, social services will understand that not all children go to school or are brought up in the same way.
I am assuming you are in the UK?
Un less you have very specific concerns unrelated to their education, I would contact your local school initially. They will have a strong relationship with Children's Services and will involve them if necessary. Most schools are used to taking in children who have been educated differently or in different systems.
Unless there is any suggestion of abuse, it is most likely that SS would want the children to stay with their father and you. They would not wish to remove the children from a loving family environment. They may need to do an assessment to formalise that. Your son should not worry that simply attempting to educate the children differently is not in itself abusive.
You don't say what the mother thinks of him taking the children and moving in with you. However, even if she disagrees, your position will be strengthened by going into school.
Can I also suggest that you no longer 'test' the children? They will want to please you and it may worry them if they can't do what you expect. Given time, I am sure this will get sorted out. I have known children who have had no formal education until this age, and all other things being equal I'm sure they will be fine.
Good luck - this is a lot to be dealing with.

Grammaretto Sun 02-May-21 17:29:04

I agree it is not your job to call Social Services. I would only do this if I was very worried about their safety.

These children sound happy enough and not being tested on maths or reading at their age sounds like quite a good thing to me.
This sounds more like you are getting ready to do battle with their mother. Don't! you will only make things worse.

silverlining48 Sun 02-May-21 17:36:05

Granypie It is up to your son to deal with the matter of his children’s education, and if he wants custody he can apply to the courts. Unless the children are in imminent danger please do not contact SS tomorrow, that is up to your son and ex partner to sort out.
As has been said children in Europe don’t start school until 7 so don’t worry too much.

Sara1954 Sun 02-May-21 17:36:48

I agree with others who say it certainly isn’t your place to contact social services, it doesn’t really sound like it’s anyone’s.

It does sound pretty unconventional, but as long as they’re happy and healthy, they will soon catch up.

I’m unfamiliar with Unschooling, but clearly it’s recognised by other people as an alternative to conventional teaching, not just a matter of your daughter in law not being bothered.

BlueBelle Sun 02-May-21 17:40:44

You don't say what the mother thinks of him taking the children and moving in with you
nannarose I think you have got this wrong my understanding is the children are still living with their own mother only the son has moved to the posters house and she and son visited recently when she was horrified and testing the children She cannot go about putting the children into schools !!!

My friends son similar age has never had formal teaching he spends hours in the woods and is so interested in nature you just know he will be an ecologist of some kind one day, formal Schooling is not the be all and end all for everyone

DO NOT ring SS granypie it really is nothing to do with you and your son has obviously gone along with it up to moving to your house

Granypie Sun 02-May-21 17:45:16

Thanks for all replays

I am in the UK and to make it understandable this unschooling is an actual thing where Children are not taught anything by anybody they decide what they will learn themselves. One of the GC spends every day all day unrestricted until the early hours on the iPad playing Minecraft and this is allowed. They have no routine they just do what ever they want. They do not have additional needs but they are way behind children of their age because they have had no education just this nonsense unschooling.

I have not discussed with DIL, she doesn't listen. I have brought up concerns in the past of them all sleeping on a mattress on the floor together and when GC refused to wear shoes for a long time aged 5. She sees this as ok it's all unschooling apparently.
It's lazy and neglectful but now there's a posh word for failing your children.

Hithere Sun 02-May-21 17:45:45

Why not calling SS when they were married?

Calling now that they are no longer together looks like a revenge move.

Do NOT call SS. Do not interfere

If anything, their father, your son, should call himself if he is that worried.

Granypie Sun 02-May-21 17:48:05

How will they catch up? Where with they catch up if she's not made to put them into a school for a proper education

Granypie Sun 02-May-21 17:49:28

@Hithere I thought she was teaching them proper lessons at the table with proper text books and resources it's only just came to light

midgey Sun 02-May-21 17:50:22

There are lots of people bringing their children up in this way, their children their choice. Much as you might disagree with it it is not your business and will only result in huge distress for you when you are no longer allowed to see the children at all.

Granypie Sun 02-May-21 17:57:16

Bring up children in their own way is one thing but denying them THEIR right to a proper education surely is another.

Dil has a duty to make sure they are educated properly as they can't do this for themselves. If she won't then another responsible adult needs to take over. She is failing them by doing this with their education she can do this style of parenting with them if they go to school at home time and during the holidays like all other parents surely

They need to go to school its the best place for then before it's too late

silverlining48 Sun 02-May-21 17:57:37

There used to be a fee paying school, I think called Summerhill, where the children decided whether or not to attend lessons. It’s different certainly but it’s up to your son to sort this out with the childrens’ mother.
Try not to worry.

Hithere Sun 02-May-21 17:58:04

Not all kids perform well when tested, it doesnt mean they are not able to do that.

Granypie Sun 02-May-21 18:01:25

They can't read or even write their names. They can't add and don't know basic take aways or recognise letters and numbers. I tested them by playing games and made it look like it was just conversation.

They need a proper teacher in a school and even then, they'll be behind the rest of the class and will need extra intense lessons to catch up

BlueBelle Sun 02-May-21 18:02:51

You may not like her way of bringing up children but they are NOT your children and it’s her decision how to bring them up Your son has only just left and moved to be with you so he has gone along with it for 7 years if he now decides he doesn’t like it it’s up to him to do what he feels he needs to do but be very very careful ....if they are happy, clean, and well fed it really isn’t your business
Your daughter in law sounds as if she has an alternative life style and because it doesn’t fit in with you you can’t go calling SS
I ve never played minecraft but I m told you have to be pretty clever to play it and that it’s a very educational game

Redhead56 Sun 02-May-21 18:04:38

Your son is responsible for his children he is supposed to know about his children’s education.

I looked into homeschooling years ago but circumstances made it impossible for me at the time. Home schooling does require work in some structural form to get it done.

Unschooling is your sons way of saying no schooling by the sound of it. Obviously there is a problem with this arrangement if the children cannot read at seven years old.

You should not be testing them this will make them reluctant to see you just support them. Regarding the social services that can only cause damage it’s up to your son to man up and deal with the matter properly.

Granypie Sun 02-May-21 18:07:28

I understand that how Dil brings up her children is 100% up to her. I have no say in that at all.

When it comes to the children's education it's their right being denied and as far as I can see Law being broken.

I too have never played Minecraft but a 7year old on weekdays should be in school or learning proper lessons NOT playing Minecraft from 10am until gone midnight.

Jaxjacky Sun 02-May-21 18:09:53

Do they socialise at all with other adults/children? I realise lockdowns haven’t helped with this, irrespective of formal education, I consider this important to help them become rounded young people. I don’t think SS are necessary either and agree with others, your son should drive any changes. I’m also surprised, assuming although they live some distance away, you’ve had a relationship with the family, especially your son, you weren’t aware of this before now.

Granypie Sun 02-May-21 18:14:26

I believe they are members of social groups but don't always attend because they don't want to and they only do what they want to do.

I did not know any of this before with regards to education I assumed they were being taught properly until son told me.

BlueBelle Sun 02-May-21 18:17:37

But your son has gone along with this for 7 years granypie and only now with your influence is worried