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Everything posted by stutterfish

  1. I would definitely take a look at Netschool, then. They have been around a good long while and I've never heard anything bad about them among home edders in the UK. Their classes book up quickly, particularly core subjects, like English and Maths, so you might need to be booking soon for September start. Their live classes are recorded, so if you miss a class or two, you can catch up. I'm not sure what their cancellation policies are, but we pay per term. I believe there are discounts available if you book for multiple subjects. I think myonlineschooling are the company that advertised a course for an IGCSE exam syllabus that can no longer be taken in the UK. They didn't warn UK students and therefore some students paid for and studied for an exam they could not take. Not good!
  2. The HE exams wiki is a good place to start. There is a list of course providers here: https://he-exams.wikia.org/wiki/CorrespondenceCourses I would also join the HE exams and alternatives Facebook group for UK-specific advice. There are various cheap subscriptions offers available to home edders that negate the need for expensive tutored courses, which folk there will be able to tell you about. They can also give recommendations for various course providers for the subjects you are looking at. Things are a bit frantic on the group at the moment as we are all in the middle of exams, but if you lurk for a while and then post, you should get all the info you need. Fwiw, there have been mixed reviews about most of the online 'schools'. They are generally expensive, inflexible and limit what you can do and where you can go during the day (one of the best things about home education is having the freedom to make your own schedule and leave the house when you want, lol). . Lots of people left Interhigh because they changed their format and, as I understand it, class sizes increased hugely. I presume CHS is Cambridge homeschool? There are plenty of course providers who are - or were - home edders, and these are often far better value and better tailored to the needs of home ed students. For example both my children have used Learntec for IGCSE computer science. We have found Netschool to be very good value for money and they provide a very good service. The good thing about Netschool is that you can do just one - or more - subjects. You don't have to sign up for a whole bunch of different subjects. (My dd did 3 years of German with them and we have friends whose son did IGCSE history with them and was equally impressed). They have a very good reputation among home edders in the UK. They aren't the cheapest provider, but they do seem to be reliable. Tbh, most of us just use IGCSE textbooks and a DIY approach, and only outsource at IGCSE level for subjects we personally struggle with. We miss out Key stage 3 for most subjects and just go straight into exam study, while adding in online resources and extras to make life interesting. For example, both my boys started taking GCSEs/IGCSEs at age 14 and spread them out over 3 years. It's much less stressful than doing them all at the 'standard age' of 16.
  3. Tbh, I see a lot of things more clearly, having not stepped onto the state education conveyor belt. There's a lot of stuff in the world in general I probably wouldn't have noticed, and definitely wouldn't have thought to question, had I not been 'outside' of the system and exposed to a wider range of views and opinions than the standardised 'norm'. As soon as I realised that the 'experts' weren't expert at all, everything changed. ?
  4. My dyslexic child had this issue with letters and numbers, until having vision therapy in early teens. My (non dyslexic) teen, still has an occasional issue with this, and has to make a conscious effort to write numbers the correct way around, easily mixing 5 and 2, and sometimes forgetting which way to write 4 and 9. I agree that it's not unusual for a child age 7, but something to keep an eye on.
  5. Ah ok. You'll find quite a few US homeschoolers on the UK groups (there are plenty where we live, with their own groups and communities). Some are doing US qualifications, SATs etc., so might be able to recommmend online providers with suitable timings.
  6. It might be better to post your question on a UK home education group and also find a local facebook or yahoo home ed group for support, advice and social opportunities for your son. There is a list of correspondence and online providers of UK Ks3 and (I)GCSE courses on the HE Exams wiki here:http://he-exams.wikia.com/wiki/CorrespondenceCourses There are several live online 'schools' which offer subject packages, such as Interhigh, and Briteschool, but they aren't cheap or particularly flexible, and have mixed reviews. If you want school at home, those will do it. If you want to make the most of home education, then you might want to look elsewhere. Netschool is better, imo, as it allows individual choice of subjects (We've used it for one subject), has good tutors and is great value. You can also do like we do and mix-and-match with different providers for different subjects (e.g. Learntec for computer science, Netschool or efrenchtuitiononline for a foreign language...or whatever...as long as the scheduling works.) Home educated children in the UK often start their GCSE exams earlier and space them out over several years (My older children took a few a year from the age of 14). Apart from the "skills" subjects (maths, english and foreign languages) which benefit from gradually building up knowledge, most subjects can be started from scratch at (I)GCSE stage, so if you're planning on home educating through the GCSE years there is no need to cover all - or any - Ks3 material fo rmany subjects. I would recommend getting in contact with local home educators, so that your son can join in local activities and groups. It's much harder to enter into the groups once tweens turn into teens, so now would be an ideal age to find a network for him.
  7. Yes, this. I only have two children with the same first initial and now they are older, the mail thing is a real issue,even though their middle initials are different.
  8. Is it possible that he has some undiagnosed issues that are actually making studying more difficult than it was for your other children? Children often develop coping strategies that disguise their difficulties, while at the same time avoiding anything that they find challenging Or perhaps he is just very sociable and needs group interaction to learn. Or, as others have suggested, maybe a get-er-done approach is needed, so he can tick the boxes and spend his free time doing all the other things he enjoys.
  9. I don't know, but I'd buy a new toothbrush because it might have been used for something that someone is too embarrassed to admit to. ðŸ˜
  10. Yes. I guess some aspects of being a Tiger parent could easily mean that the emotional or social needs of a child are neglected. It is not impossible that a child who is being pushed to academic/sporting/arts super-achievement, might also be starved of food or love. It seems that abuse (Imo, extreme "Tiger parenting" can be abusive) and neglect often go together. The difference, I guess, is that abuse is a more deliberate/intentional act, whereas neglect is something that usually happens as a consequence of a lack of care or knowledge or thought. I could imagine that it is possible to find both in some extreme Tiger parenting families, where skewed priorities lead to the omission of some things that are very important for the mental health and well-being of the child.
  11. I do wonder how it balances out between the genders? Most cases that I've seen of "tiger parenting" - or abusively pushy parenting - involve the dad working himself into the ground, while tiger mom does all the child-related decision-making, most of the spending and all the pushing (calling in the dad for occasional backup with punishment). This is particularly what I've seen in the arts and academic areas, but maybe the role is reversed and you get more tiger dads in sports? Tbh, I find the super pushy dads harder to stomach than the super pushy moms. Perhaps because I translate pushy dads' behaviour as an act of status, male oppression and aggression against a child, whereas I interpret the behaviour of pushy moms as an unfortunate consequence of anxiety and lack of confidence. (The root causes of the behaviour are probably the same, but my interpretation is different :) )
  12. When I look among my friends, the ones who had relentless parental pressure to achieve as they were growing up, are the ones who have spent 10 years of their adult life in therapy. They are wonderful, brilliant and successful people, by many of society's standard "markers", but they still think that whatever they do, however hard they work, they will never ever be good enough. It's hard for them not to pass on those pressures to their own children and subconsciously seek the reflected glory. Obviously, my friendship group isn't a scientifically representative sample, but it does make me realise that mental health is the most important thing, and I need to keep that in mind. I've met a few folk whose relationship with their children was definitely veering towards "tiger parent" . I have my helicopter parenting moments, and have been known to micromanage more than I should, but they took things to a whole other unhealthy (almost abusive) level. I couldn't be with those parents, because I would have spent all my time wanting to "rescue" their kids, feed them ice cream and let them climb trees and watch TV...and that probably would've got me arrested ðŸ˜
  13. Had similar boundary/personal space/controlling/slightly manipulative/not taking the hint issues with a friend's neighbour, who happened to be bipolar. It was, in his case, one manifestation of his mental health issues and was worse when his health wasn't being managed well. I'm absolutely not saying that this is what all bipolar people do, I wouldn't want to make any assumptions, but it does make me wonder if this guy has other issues that mean he doesn't - or isn't able to - "get the message" (whatever the message is). Whatever it is, whatever the reason, or whether he's just being a PITA because that's the kind of person he is, it shouldn't be a problem that you have to deal with on your own. I would speak (tactfully) with others you trust, to see if they can support you, or intervene if a similar situation happens again. And, however chilled your dh feels about it, tell him you don't feel comfortable and that you need to come up with a plan between you for any future encounters.
  14. I think it's perfectly ok to have a face-to-face conversation and be honest. If it were me I'd frame the conversation with a "it's me, not you" emphasis. E.g., "You know I'm a bit quirky about some things...well this is making me anxious...I get easily distracted by...I don't know if there is a way to resolve it...I want to make sure your children are safe when they travel with me...I know this will be a pain for everyone... etc. Avoid lecturing the other parents or suggesting that they aren't as safety-conscious as you are, and perhaps don't mention their children's behaviour, unless they bring up the subject (everyone gets defensive about their parenting :) ) You might find between you, you can come up with a solution that works.
  15. I've had friends wuth guinea pigs that lived for 12 years. Not a short-term pet :)
  16. Maybe try kindle whispersync. Audio, plus book. He can highlight and look up words on the Kindle app, and it helps with pronunciation and context to have someone else read it. Otherwise I wouldn't force it. 9 is still young for independent silent reading and at that age mine were too self conscious to read aloud. Btw, Vocabulary takes time and exposure to accumulate. Two of mine absorbed vocab easily by osmosis, and one didn't. The latter one preferred to have someone read to her so they could explain words and provide context.
  17. I like the February "40 bags in 40 days" idea. http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days/ It doesn't matter how big those bags are, and no one is making any judgements. Just get rid of something every day for February. For me, just getting into the routine of noticing one thing in a room that can go, makes me more proactive about keeping the clutter manageable.
  18. I use gluten free /dairy free gravy, but I don't know if you have that available locally? (I'm in the UK) Corn products are usually fine, but check on the packet to make sure nothing else has been added. I use almond milk in mashed potatoes. (If you think it's too sweet, you can use the unsweetend almond milk). Otherwise I don't use any milk and just use a little of the liquid the potatoes were cooked in plus some dairy-free spread. I don't much like soya milk, but I probably wouldn't notice either way if it was in mash. (Note that I'm not medically required to be gluten and dairy free, so although I'm strict on myself, I'm not going to go into anaphylactic shock if I get it wrong!)
  19. Yes this. Sometimes we just have more pages than we will ever have time for. Sometimes we just get bored with a resource, or it isn't working for us anymore. Having the freedom to accelerate/skip/ditch one resource and move on to a different resource when the child has gained the skills they want/need, is just commonsense to me. This is especially true for us because we moved from autonomous/child-led learning to more structured at around age 10 and just use curriculum to fill in gaps or meet specific learning needs. :) If you have children who are generally at age/grade-appropriate ability level (mine were all over the place) and you have always worked progressively through curricula from a young age, I can see that you're more likely to complete a curriculum and less likely to need to skip or switch out resources.
  20. I'm in the UK. Tbh, there is still a huge push towards early academics, despite research recommending against it. I think it's one of the main reasons we've seen a huge influx in families home educating from the start: many children just aren't ready for that kind of environment at 4 or 5. The push really started creeping in about 15 years ago. There were new government guidelines issued about what academic provision preschools should have, and how to document every aspect of "play" and direct it to be more "educational". The relaxed playgroups and grassroots community child provision gradually died out because parents got financial concessions to send their kids to registered preschools attached to schools. This was teamed with a huge drive from the government to get mums back into work (so they could pay taxes, obviously.) These days, its pretty rare to find a child over 3 years at our local parks and playgrounds during school hours. :( Early testing on children in UK schools has been reduced, mainly because staff protested for years to get tests removed. Apart from that, not much else has improved. Literacy, numeracy and science still take priority; the arts and sport are generally seen as secondary subjects and are squeezed into the corners of the school week. Children as young as 5 or 6 are quickly labelled as "behind" or deficient in some way, simply because their learning style or age-appropriate immaturity is not catered for in schools. Parents often push for more academics because no-one wants their child to fall behind. I do think some schools and staff work hard to minimise the impact on their students, but the pressure of meeting government targets, and the fear of being put on 'special measures' if inspections aren't favourable, make it extremely difficult for them to exercise any autonomy. Although there are many factors, I think early academics in schools, and the focus on prioritising academic achievement above all else, are having a tragic long-term effect on the mental health of young people in the UK. I'm truly shocked at the number of families that I now see coming to home education with their 14 and 15 year olds. For these children 14-16 are the most important years of schooling, in terms of exams and future career prospects, but these families are truly desperate. Many of these children are otherwise 'high-achievers', by school standards. Anxiety, depression, stress, self-harm, bullying...all commonly stated reasons for withdrawing their teens from school.
  21. Its a similar system in the UK. It's called a "student loan", but it's essentially a tax. I hate that my kids will be coming out with a huge debt, and even more that the repayment threshold discourages them from aiming for a decent wage. Despite the contract, repayment thresholds and terms can be changed in the future on the whims of the loan company/government and this leaves them particularly vulnerable. Mine will work during the holidays when they can, but I don't want them to have to work while trying to study. IMO, part of the purpose of going away to university is for them to learn to live independently, to practise being adults, but also to make some fun memories for those few years before they are tied to a cycle of work, family responsibilities and a mortgage. [Edited to add. Most universities here don't offer large scholarships. My son's scholarship was £2000, a tiny fraction of what his 3 years will cost.]
  22. You got your hair cut. And talked to a hairdresser. Honestly, there were times when that would have been a major achievement for me. Be kind to yourself. :)
  23. At least a month. It would probably be longer, but I caved in. ðŸ˜
  24. If you're not so keen to spend time in London, why not stay in Oxford, if that's not too far off your route? It's small compared to most cities, but lots to see, and places to chill out if you're wanting more peace. Spring is a nice time to visit before the Summer crowds come. If you wanted you could do a day trip to London from Oxford. It's around 1.5 hours From Oxford to London by (frequent) coach service, and less than an hour by train.
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