Thinking of Home Educating in Scotland

Caroline

ScotHE
Hello all

I live on the border of Stirlingshire / Perth and Kinross and am considering home educating. My son currently attends school nursery where he is relatively happy. He is bright and very good at experiential / hands on learning so the nursery environment has been good for him. He is due to start school in August and turns 5 soon after that. He has a place at a 'good' school although as an ex teacher myself I am disillusioned with the whole concept of school and just feel that any school is not a good environment for a young child particularly for 6 hours a day. By the time 3 / 4 o'clock comes I know that he will capable of little else other than dinner, bath and bed - even that can be a struggle with a tired child. Not to mention the homework of course!

I am filled with a sickening sense of dread about school looming and feel it is not the vision of life I want for my children and our family generally. My husband is keen that our children fit in and do not stand out or feel different from their peers. My son has a younger sister who is now 3. They are very close, play well together, and I feel that it would be good to have more flexibilty so that they can continue to build their relationship rather than have them separated during the school day.

I feel that the choices at the moment are too stark - either go to school all day or be at home all day away from that social environment which is clearly beneficial too. My son is looking forward to Primary 1 and I do not want him to be miserable and feel that he is missing out. But on the other hand he doesn't really know what school is all about.

Are there any other people in my area who are home educating or considering it? I think just a few like minded people to get together with on a regular basis could make all the difference.

Any advice welcome! Thanks.
Caroline
 

Admin

Administrator
:welcome: to the forums, Caroline.

Many parents feel exactly like you do and are not convinced full time schooling (or any schooling) is right for their 4/5 year old. Home education can feel a bit like jumping off a cliff at first, but hopefully you will be reassured by the experience of some of the members here who were once in the same quandary and whose home educated children are flourishing.

In my own case, we thought we'd try home ed for a year to see how it went as school would always be there if we (or the children) chose to use it again. The youngest decided to try secondary school for a short time but soon returned to home ed, looking upon school as an experiment that went wrong. :D

You should now have access to our private family forums, including the Scottish forum, and hopefully some locals will make themselves known to you.. :)
 

Caroline

ScotHE
Thanks Ali. It is good to know there are people out there who share the same ideas. Look forward to getting to know a few and to finding out about more about home ed!
Caroline
 
Home(opathic) Education

Hello Caroline,

In the Nature v Nurture question, I am firmly on the nurture side and believe that good people are not born so: they are made. Shaped by their immediate environment. After all we never saw the announcement below published:-

“Mr. And Mrs Thatcher of Grantham are pleased to announce the birth of a future Prime Minister.”
(so as not offend, you can substitute the name Brown if that works for you).
So, good people are made not born.

Additionally and adversely, the potential intellectual development endowed in every new born brain can be easily compromaised by a poor environment.

Home Education is a holistic learning and development culture facilitated by someone who really understands the child and moreover, loves them. Homeopathic Education views the child in its entirety and is therefore holistic, allowing scope for the individual characteristics of a person to develop as they form.

The alternate is Allopathic Education supposedly created upon scientifically based research-driven policies to determine the best way of homogenising millions of people into a mass education system. As the pill is reckoned to work for most people then every child has to be force fed the remedy.

In the year before we decided not to abandon what had worked well for four years since birth (and send our daughter to school when she became five) the surprising factor that we discovered was how much could be achieved in so little time. It made us wonder what actually happened at school all day.

Within the first year, we learnt that an average of two to three hours a day of personally facilitating education had produced far beyond expectation results. Now we see that what has blossomed is a child that is endlessly thrilled by learning and discovery and takes the initiative much of the time.

Of course we had stereotypical doubts, in our own ability and about socialisation (which we now know to be a fallacy). The doubts rapidly faded away within days as we relaxed into the wonderment of watching our daughter’s enthusiasm develop without ever being crushed by imposed constraints.

Yes the choice is stark: abandon what works and then risk regretting the results of the force-fed state remedy or relax and enjoy following your instinct to do what only you can do best.

Of course this is a very personal view and not one that everybody might necessarily share.

Relax and enjoy the rewarding experience.

Spartacus
 
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Caroline

ScotHE
Thanks Spartacus, what you say makes perfect sense. I think now it's all about courage! Also I can see how home ed can work great with little ones but my concern is a few years down the line - the unknown!
 
If - worrying about a few years down the line . . .

Hi Caroline,

If worrying about a few years down the line was a real show stopper, no person would ever get married.:)

Warm regards,

Spartacus

Just do it.
 

Admin

Administrator
Thanks Spartacus, what you say makes perfect sense. I think now it's all about courage! Also I can see how home ed can work great with little ones but my concern is a few years down the line - the unknown!
An entirely natural and healthy concern! Take it one week at a time and your instincts will keep you right.

Big ones are just larger little ones. They respond by taking greater responsibility for their own learning when not locked into the school system. That may or may not include taking exams at conventional times, or ever. Usually they outpace their parent facilitators with ease as they find learning resources and experts to ask questions of when the need arises.

I still rely on my son to sort out any computer problems for me, which he has been doing since the age of 8. :D He was the only one who decided to try secondary school for a short time but abandoned it as a failed experiment declaring it 'totalitarian'. He is at university now and just received his end of year grades which could not have been better. He was bored rigid in school and found himself way ahead in most subjects and completely disinterested in others which he saw as 'pointless'.

Trusting them is hard, but trusting yourself to do the right thing (whtever that might be) is always harder. As parents, we all suffer from crises of confidence along the way and home ed is not always an easy option, but then again neither is schooling. :)
 
The Homeopathic Analogy

Like homoeopathic medicine, where minute dilutions stimulate the auto immune system into action, Home education stimulates and unleashes the innate power of a thirst for the self-reward of learning.

In homeopathic medicine no one cure is right for every individual persons unique metabolism. The skill of the accomplished practitioner lies in their ability to identify the individual characteristics with which a patient presents. Not just the physical but the elements of the psyche that directly influence auto-immune responses. It is a holistic view.

Homeopathic remedies use a little to stimulate a massive response. The most extraordinary phenomena is witnessing the one time remedy that renders a permanent cure from a single dose.

In Home Education a little goes a very long way too: when the result is turning on an unstoppable self-motivated quest for happy, fun learning.

The parallels with Home Education and Homoeopathic Medicine are absolute.



(Just to share a little Saturday fun with you - five year old is now in fits of giggles as she saw me writing and called me 'Fartacus'. She is a well bred young lady usually - really.)
 
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Caroline

ScotHE
An entirely natural and healthy concern! Take it one week at a time and your instincts will keep you right.

Big ones are just larger little ones. They respond by taking greater responsibility for their own learning when not locked into the school system. That may or may not include taking exams at conventional times, or ever. Usually they outpace their parent facilitators with ease as they find learning resources and experts to ask questions of when the need arises.

I still rely on my son to sort out any computer problems for me, which he has been doing since the age of 8. :D He was the only one who decided to try secondary school for a short time but abandoned it as a failed experiment declaring it 'totalitarian'. He is at university now and just received his end of year grades which could not have been better. He was bored rigid in school and found himself way ahead in most subjects and completely disinterested in others which he saw as 'pointless'.

Trusting them is hard, but trusting yourself to do the right thing (whtever that might be) is always harder. As parents, we all suffer from crises of confidence along the way and home ed is not always an easy option, but then again neither is schooling. :)
Thanks Ali. I think you have hit the nail on the head and I found this really helpful. By the way, I notice you are in Angus. Just wondering if you know of any groups or contacts in Perth or surrounding area - I found some statistics on the Channel 4 website which showed a good number of families home educating in Perth and Kinross.
 
Hi Caroline,
I am exactly in the same position as you, an ex teacher whose child is due to start P1 this year and is attending nursery at the moment.
We have just about reached the decision that school is not for our son but I still have some niggling doubts at the back of my mind - am I doing the right think, will I harm him etc but I think these are only concerns that anyone starting out on this journey has. It is the socialization aspect which is probably my main concern but I think we will be able to conquer this by keeping in contact with his old nursery friends, developing friendships at home ed groups and joining organisations such as beavers etc.
I hope you can reach the decision that is best for you all.My son is aware that his friends are going to big school and that he is probably staying at home and to be honest he doesnt seem that bothered about it.
Nicky

Ps I live in East Ayrshire
 

Caroline

ScotHE
Hi Caroline,
I am exactly in the same position as you, an ex teacher whose child is due to start P1 this year and is attending nursery at the moment.
We have just about reached the decision that school is not for our son but I still have some niggling doubts at the back of my mind - am I doing the right think, will I harm him etc but I think these are only concerns that anyone starting out on this journey has. It is the socialization aspect which is probably my main concern but I think we will be able to conquer this by keeping in contact with his old nursery friends, developing friendships at home ed groups and joining organisations such as beavers etc.
I hope you can reach the decision that is best for you all.My son is aware that his friends are going to big school and that he is probably staying at home and to be honest he doesnt seem that bothered about it.
Nicky

Ps I live in East Ayrshire
Hi Nicky
Thanks for posting. I have just been reading the other thread you started and we are definitely thinking the same things! It looks like there is quite a good network in your area so even if you are not 100%, you have got a couple of months to follow up contacts etc. I think even knowing two or three families who are home educating in your area could make all the difference and provide the extra bit of support you need to make the final leap. Also it definitely helps that your son is OK with it. I would love to know how it goes.

In my case the dilemma is that my son is actually excited about starting P1 - he's really keen to learn to read and write. He's not a naturally confident boy although his confidence has grown a lot in nursery - until recently that is. There is a clique of boys who can be quite exclusive and hurtful to those outside the clique. It's quite worrying that this is happening already and they've not even started school! It is heartbreaking to see him wanting to be included but not being although I don't think he really understands what is going on, he just feels it. I know friendship groupings can change with time but I just feel he is not one to push himself forward and will probably always be peripheral. It's also a very small year group so not a lot of friendship options. On the plus side he loves playing with other children when we meet with family friends.

Nevertheless he says he really wants to go to P1 and I don't know how I could tell him that he's not going now he's done the transition days. Also his little sister is due to start nursery there in September so I could end up taking him in to the playground two or three times a week with him wondering why he's not staying - I don't want him to feel like it's his fault. Really struggling with this decision!

All the best
Caroline
 
Hi Caroline

Used to live in Perth (now in Ayrshire) – it’s a beautiful part of the country! Anyway, just wanted to mention the option of flexi schooling – search the forum for ‘flexischooling’ and you’ll find some up-to-date information on this idea. My own 5 year old would be due to start school after the holidays but as his older sister (who is 7) has always been home-educated we just naturally thought we’d continue in the same way with him. My husband is an ex-teacher (now peripatetic instructor as am I for just a few hours a week). I encourage our children to be involved with school to a degree. I have a good relationship with the head teachers of the schools I visit and I find them helpful. One school had some music students from Glasgow’s RSAMD visiting. They did workshops, allowing the children to try the instruments, ask questions and listen to each instrument. At the end the students entertained everyone (including parents). We were asked if we would like to come for the whole afternoon – we had a great time. I once thought about flexi-schooling for my daughter and discussed it informally with the head teacher of a small rural school (20 pupils). Though he was open minded, I felt that from what he said, there was an expectation that my daughter would have to meet certain curricular outcomes. He also pointed out that there might be a problem with other school pupils wanting to go home early because our daughter was leaving early. With a little more communication with him and any other person he felt it necessary to discuss it with, any perceived problem could probably have been sorted out. I took cold feet at the mention of curriculum (wanting only to cherry-pick the best bits of school, which I feel are all outside the curriculum) and then thought about all the time I would spend driving backwards and forwards. I do already spend quite a bit of time driving to this area through the week anyway, but it’s at the end of the school day when the children can play with some of the pupils in their homes. If I went to school in the morning (as informally suggested) the children would have time to be with their friends but not to play with them as they do after school (2 trips in one day would be too much – especially in winter).
The point I’m trying to make here about flexi-schooling is, if you can make it work for you, it is as it says – flexible. It is an arrangement that can be made between you and a head teacher to suit both sides. Though a head teacher may not have heard of it you can make them aware of the fact that it is legal and other people do it! – for us it was just a thought that in the end turned out to be something we didn’t need after all – but it’s always good to know that it’s an option to be considered if we change our minds.
After some time with gran (who is not a home-ed fan) our 5 year old told us he’d like to go to school (this was a couple of days ago). With help from a school promoting gran it seems that my keenness to not block out school altogether may have back-fired a bit. I did not explode with disapproval when he shared this revelation with us but gently asked why he felt this way. He likes this one particular school and ‘just feels like being there’. I have explained that the school is simply too far to go regularly and that the local school would probably be the only option. As he doesn’t know this school he is a little less interested in going. I have also pointed out that while we have enjoyed going to schools, it has been to do fun things for a little while – often pupils have to do what the teacher tells them to do even if they don’t want to do it, and they have to stay for 6 hours a day five days a week. It’s a curious thing – but he hasn’t mentioned school since! (until his next talk with gran?!). I try very hard to give a balanced view of school – I don’t want to put them off altogether (in case we are ever in a position where home-education is not possible for whatever reason, illness, finance –whatever) but it’s a difficult line to tread since they have no real experience of what school is really like on a day to day basis. They do love being at home and wherever we go during school time. They play so well together (most of the time) – just like you I would be sad to see the two of my children separated for such a long time. Both learn through their play with each other and from everything going on around them. They read and write and do things their peers do and I really haven’t had to do anything other than just be there when they ask me questions on how to spell something or read something. The library is a great place – we get tons of books and enjoy all kind of stories (all good reading practice).
So long as you keep yourself out there with your children in the community, I don’t think your son will feel like an outsider – school friends may think it’s ‘cool’ not having to go to school. Our two have friends who do like school but think it’s great they get to spend loads of time doing what they want (painting, playing the piano etc) and they don’t treat them differently to any of their other friends as far as I can see.
I hope you find a good home-ed group your way – it’s good to meet with others who are doing the same thing and know you’re not on your own.
Best wishes
Andrea
 

Caroline

ScotHE
Hi Andrea
Thanks for sharing with me about yours. It is hard when they say they want to go to school especially when all they have seen is a snapshot of a small part of a school day! I liked the way you explained the reality to him - that's a good idea. I am kind of hoping that if we do lots of fun stuff through the summer, my son will have put the whole idea of P1 to the back of his mind. He is still at the stage of living each day as it comes.

Am having a slight problem persuading the hubby and I do think we both need to be on board to make it work. Had a rather liberating thought today as I watched the kids playing in the sunshine - They don't actually need to do anything particulary useful in the world until they are around 18 so they might as well enjoy being kids given that they are only 4 and 3.
I'm certainly drawing strength from you people - it is hard to go against the default path but it is ludicrous that anyone should expect me to send my 4 year old to school for 6 hours a day! The one day he did this during transition he was so exhausted he was barely coherent and fell over in the street within moments of leaving school.

Thanks again for your support.
Caroline
 

Caroline

ScotHE
Andrea
Forgot to say about the flexi-schooling. I have been considering it - not too keen on the idea but keeping all options open at the moment!
Caroline
 

Caroline

ScotHE
Andrea/Paul
Thanks for the link. The article is very persuasive and will by husband's bedtime reading tonight!
Caroline
 
Hi I just joined today and havnt yet taken my daughter out of P3 but am planning on doing so and must be farly neer in Clackmananshire. im looking to find any local groups.
 
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