Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dr Byron on School Refusal...

...in the Times. Thankfully Pete tells Dr. Byron a thing or two, though whether she is capable of understanding what he's saying is a different matter.

This post comes to you from an elated, (post-hockey and rounders elation that is) and generally well-satisfied home educating mum of a play-group refusing child. This child, his sister and I have just spent most of the day in the company of about 50 other people of all ages, in several different contexts, sporting and creative. Both children had to be persuaded not to go for yet another sleep-over because we parents actually fancied spending some time with our offspring.

So all in all, I don't believe that respecting a child's choices about their education will mean that they become withdrawn, anti-social or fearful. Ds is popular, funny, gentle and well-liked in his circle. OTOH, I strongly suspect that he may have become desperately and possibly permanently depressed had he been forced to go to playgroup when he wasn't ready for it. Dr. Byron should be aware that some studies show that over 50% of school refusers who are forcibly returned to school, go on to develop long term problems with unhappiness and/or social withdrawal. Her advice is by no means sound, and if any school refusing child or parent of such a child should happen to read this, they could be reassured to know that home education can be an extremely satisfying, life-enhancing, empowering and responsible solution.


Anonymous said...

Tis a pity because I saw her saying some very sensible things about computer games and kids using the net...

Just to let you know that i do point out HE as a legal, viable option at work, to the cleaner etc. The irony is this is still rejected as an option when the child has been at home for many months anyway.


Thinking about other 'disorders'which were once considered psychiatric problems (eg sexuality)

Meanwhile in school land I've been taken aback at the level of financial incentive offered by some parents for doing well in year 7 exams (20 quid for each over 80%, 10 for over 70, fined £5 for under fifty!).


Carlotta said...

...yes, she really did seem to have a very sensible grasp of the issues surrounding computer games etc. Perhaps if she had studied the school refusal issue in similar depth, she would have come up with some similiarly considered conclusions.

Ergh re the cleaner and the strange impenetrability of some minds! So frustrating, but thank you so much for remaining so clear about all these issues, and for using or attempting to use your authority so well.

re: the levels people sink to to get their children through SATS...We talked today to a new HEor at our meeting (not the disillusioned private school teacher or the harried parent who couldn't register her child at any local school, but another parent)...who deregistered their child because at age 6, his teacher was keeping the class in during break times to practise extra SATS papers. The parents turned up en masse to complain, but the teacher blagged her way out of it somehow, and most of the parents went away far too easily satisfied. Only this family weren't fooled and walked away from the whole thing. I guess it was a fairly easy decision for them in that their work is easy to fit round HE and their son is a natural HEor - obviously better suited to it than school, but still, it does seem a shame that so many children will obviously have to put up with this intense pressure from such a young age...