or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Helping Bio Mom to feel comfortable with homeschool
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Helping Bio Mom to feel comfortable with homeschool

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Everything I read seems to support allowing homeschooled children to learn according to their interests and own pace. There also seems to be a lot of encouragement regarding having a decompression period. I will soon be homeschooling my 11 year old DSD, as she will be moving in with us mid school year. Her mom is supportive about home schooling. However, DH and I have only known about DSD moving in with us for roughly a week. We are in the very beginning learning/planning stages regarding homeschool. DSD's mom has already asked us about what curriculum we plan to use or whether we plan to design our own. Honestly, I will be the main one homeschooling her, as I am home during the day. I want to get to know her learning style and see where her interests are. I honestly want a small relaxation period when she first arrives and to ease into things. This will be new for both of us. However, at this point we simply don't have the answers bio mom seeks. We couldn't possibly.

DH said this to her:

To answer your question:

“I am curious about what curriculum you will be using and how you will know where to start as far as where she is with everything. “

Similar to public school, we will need to assess DD's current level in each subject. There will be a brief adjustment period as we get to know DD's learning style and she has the opportunity to get settled. We will design a curriculum to meet DD's specific needs. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. We will certainly keep you updated as we make progress. Please understand that we are at the very beginning stages of planning and are committed to a quality education for DD.


His ex responded:
Are you designing you own curriculum or will you be getting some from either a homeschool store or website? I just want to make sure that one day she will be able to get into college.

My question is how do I encourage DH to help bio mom understand that we don't have the answers yet? He's already told her that we're at the very beginning stages of planning this. I'm afraid we may have to purchase and follow a rigid curriculum that likely won't be what DSD needs, in order to please her mom. I'm so afraid of not being able to homeschool DSD the way my intuition tells me to. I know that, ultimately, I have to respect her mom's wishes regarding her education.

Is there a website we can point her to so that she can familiarize herself with homeschool and perhaps not worry so much?

Is there something more we can say to her in the meantime?

Any other advice as we continue planning?

Thanks so much! I just want to do my very best regarding all aspects of this. DSD is an emotionally sensitive child and I'm sure she'll need lots of TLC during this transition. I don't want to throw too much at her in the very beginning. Yet, I want bio mom to feel assured that DSD is being properly educated.
post #2 of 23
I think that here on MDC, a lot of families choose a more child-led homeschooling, however, there are also many people that choose a more in-between style. If you look at the Classical Education threads here, you will find people much more comfortable with a curriculum.

I think that you also need to work it out yourselves. On the one hand, there are no assurances with any kind of school. However, you can try your best to make sure she's getting the knowledge required per grade. I have a book, "Homeschooling Year by Year" (bought when my daughter was all of three months old... LOL!) Perhaps you could look over that and see whether it's something you're willing to commit to.

On the other hand, if you really do not believe in asking them to meet external standards, you can't assure her mom that she's being "properly educated" if her mom's idea of "properly educated" is "able to get into college".

Some kids actually never develop that goal (h-sed, u-sed, and public/private schooled). If you're not planning on designing a system of encouragement and incentives that will at least keep her up to speed until the tenth or eleventh grade, you cannot provide that assurance, you know?
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
I want her to have a curriculum of some sort. I just want to design it myself, with DSD's needs and interests in mind. I guess I want to do a combination approach where there is somewhat a curriculum to work with but also to have the flexibility to deviate from it here and there and to accommodate impromptu learning sessions that may be beneficial while not part of a set curriculum. I guess I want to keep in mind what she needs to learn per grade level. That said, if she is interested in learning something from another grade level, I don't want to prohibit her from learning/exploring it. Also, I want to introduce her to grade appropriate concepts, but not always in the textbook way. I want to make things fun for her and be open to a variety of ways of learning.

As her stepmother, I recognize and respect that I don't have the liberty to homeschool just as I would like, so I have to constantly consider the bio mom's wishes and concerns. I wonder if there are other stepmoms homeschooling stepkids and how that works for them, how they meet in the middle, so to speak.

I did order the book Homeschooling Year by Year and am hoping to receive it soon. Thanks so much for your thoughts!
post #4 of 23
i don't know what the rules are where you live- does the state require any sort of portfolio or year end tests? you could show her that and the review process.
would it be helpful for you all to sit down and come up with a list of educational goals that you want her to accomplish? it may be very concrete like: continue on at grade level math. or it could be vague like: enjoy learning history. maybe that would appease bio-mom- she would see that you are taking this seriously, her concerns are addressed because you are including her opinions, and you have a better idea of what you all expect for your dsd. and that you guys aren't just being flakey, that you have a plan, but it isn't necessarily totally fleshed out yet.
also, this may start a conversation that leads bio-mom around to a more child-centered learning environment/philosophy.
are there any books you have read or websites you have read that led you to hsing or explain the philosophy you are leaning towards? perhaps sharing those and saying, " we are just figuring out what exactly we want to do, but this is where we are starting, do you want to read these and see where we are coming from?"

you don't say why dsd is going to live with you full time, but it sounds like maybe bio-mom isn't ready to relinquish her primary care-giver role and including her in some of the discussion may calm her fears about dsd's education.
post #5 of 23
I would let her know that you welcome her input and that you will keep her up to date on what books you pick out and what dsd is accomplishing. It sounds like she wants to make sure that dsd will be well-educated.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
I would let her know that you welcome her input and that you will keep her up to date on what books you pick out and what dsd is accomplishing. It sounds like she wants to make sure that dsd will be well-educated.
By books do you mean particular homeschooling curriculum books? Thanks!
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post
By books do you mean particular homeschooling curriculum books? Thanks!
Yes. If someone else were homeschooling my child, I would want to know exactly what they were using to do it.

If you don't know what you're using yet, I would give her a timeline, like "This week, we're looking at different math options. When we select a curriculum, we'll send you the link so you can take a look at it."

You could point her to the Home Education Magazine website, maybe some specific articles?
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
Yes. If someone else were homeschooling my child, I would want to know exactly what they were using to do it.

If you don't know what you're using yet, I would give her a timeline, like "This week, we're looking at different math options. When we select a curriculum, we'll send you the link so you can take a look at it."

You could point her to the Home Education Magazine website, maybe some specific articles?
That's the thing. We can't afford to buy a ton of curriculum books. We were going to design our own, making sure that she learns all of the grade appropriate essentials.

I understand that bio mom's concerns are important. I guess what I'm feeling in all honesty is that although I would love to homeschool DSD, I don't know that I can do it according to another's specifications. That's very stressful for me. Of course, she wants to be sure her child is well educated.

In our state, it is necessary to either provide a portfolio of the child's work or to have the child tested. We could do both those things and keep communication open. But we can't afford to purchase expensive homeschool curriculums. I don't believe that it is necessary, honestly. If she expects purchased curriculums, DSD will have to attend public school. (I'm not sure she has that expectation yet, and am hoping she will be fine with having access to DSD's portfolio and test results.) I really don't want it to come down to sending DSD to public school. But surely families homeschool, even following the Classical Method, without purchasing curriculum books?
post #9 of 23
What can you budget for homeschooling? Is mom able to contribute towards costs?

There are families who get most of their materials from the library, but at the age you're talking about, at least for some subjects (I'm thinking math), there will be book costs. I'm not talking hundreds of dollars, but you will probably end up spending something.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
What can you budget for homeschooling? Is mom able to contribute towards costs?

There are families who get most of their materials from the library, but at the age you're talking about, at least for some subjects (I'm thinking math), there will be book costs. I'm not talking hundreds of dollars, but you will probably end up spending something.
I'm sure we can spend something, just not a ton. As for a budget, we're at the beginning stages of planning and aren't sure yet. I was intimidated because I began looking at some curriculums and saw a Math one for nearly $70. I thought we could possibly pay that for one subject, but certainly not every subject. Her mom won't be helping financially. We do plan to utilize the library and interloan system and to connect with our local homeshcool group.

I'm just feeling intimidated. DH says that he doesn't anticipate his ex will expect us to purchase a curriculum, so maybe she won't. There are just so many decisions to make, along with research to do.

Thanks for your thoughts.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachel_eva View Post
i don't know what the rules are where you live- does the state require any sort of portfolio or year end tests? you could show her that and the review process.
would it be helpful for you all to sit down and come up with a list of educational goals that you want her to accomplish? it may be very concrete like: continue on at grade level math. or it could be vague like: enjoy learning history. maybe that would appease bio-mom- she would see that you are taking this seriously, her concerns are addressed because you are including her opinions, and you have a better idea of what you all expect for your dsd. and that you guys aren't just being flakey, that you have a plan, but it isn't necessarily totally fleshed out yet.
also, this may start a conversation that leads bio-mom around to a more child-centered learning environment/philosophy.
are there any books you have read or websites you have read that led you to hsing or explain the philosophy you are leaning towards? perhaps sharing those and saying, " we are just figuring out what exactly we want to do, but this is where we are starting, do you want to read these and see where we are coming from?"

you don't say why dsd is going to live with you full time, but it sounds like maybe bio-mom isn't ready to relinquish her primary care-giver role and including her in some of the discussion may calm her fears about dsd's education.
Your post was very helpful to me. I think we could certainly ask her to list her educational goals for DSD, both long and short term, and make sure that we honor them. We could also give her frequent updates as to what DSD is currently learning and which methods of learning are working best for her. Maybe making bio mom involved will be the key to this working.

To answer your question, our state requires either testing or submission of a portfolio for review. We would be willing to consent to either or both.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
post #12 of 23
Since she mentioned getting into college, I wonder if sending her some links to articles like this and say you read some articles about how easy/hard it is for homeschoolers to get in (and not to worry, because college is a priority for you guys, too) might help her feel like you're thinking it through better?

more articles about homeschooling and college: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/...ds/College.htm
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
Since she mentioned getting into college, I wonder if sending her some links to articles like this and say you read some articles about how easy/hard it is for homeschoolers to get in (and not to worry, because college is a priority for you guys, too) might help her feel like you're thinking it through better?

more articles about homeschooling and college: http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/...ds/College.htm
Thanks! I definitely want her to feel that her daughter is being well educated. I would want that same assurance if it were my son, so I understand where she is coming from.

I think I will have DH send some articles/links to her. That's a great idea.
post #14 of 23
Are you web savvy? I made a Google site for our homeschool to keep track of the curriculum and links we use, as well as to keep family updated with what we're learning. (We have very supportive familes, I wouldn't recommend this for people with unsupportive families!) I think that would be a wonderful way for her to keep up with what you're doing.

As for cheap/free curriculum, do some searches here. There are a ton of links floating around for free stuff! Plus there are some nice websites of links to free stuff. Here is a link to get you started.
Free Homeschooling 101
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by *Jessica* View Post
Are you web savvy? I made a Google site for our homeschool to keep track of the curriculum and links we use, as well as to keep family updated with what we're learning. (We have very supportive familes, I wouldn't recommend this for people with unsupportive families!) I think that would be a wonderful way for her to keep up with what you're doing.

As for cheap/free curriculum, do some searches here. There are a ton of links floating around for free stuff! Plus there are some nice websites of links to free stuff. Here is a link to get you started.
Free Homeschooling 101
Another great idea!

Also, thanks for the link.

ETA: Wow! I just went to the link! I think it is JUST what we are looking for!!!!! Thanks so much!
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
You could point her to the Home Education Magazine website, maybe some specific articles?
Thanks so much for this recommendation!
post #17 of 23
I totally think you can work this out. Your dh and his ex and you sound like you are all reasonable people who can come together in the best interests of your dsd. I admire you for taking this on!

Regarding cost of curriculum specifically, I wouldn't rule out at least some purchased curriculum. Costs vary widely in every subject, and sometimes the money is well spent, saving you and the student time and headaches. (Sometimes not though. It can be daunting, I'll admit.) I have spent $70 on a curriculum at some points, but not in every subject in any given year. There are many sources for gently used curriculum as well, both on-line and through local group sales/swaps. (Find a local group!)

Also, don't be fooled into thinking public school is free. My friends and family members with children in school are nickled and dimed nearly to death for various school expenses you would never think of. I do buy curriculum for nearly every subject, and yet I don't think I spend anywhere near as much as they do for the "free" public school! (I pick each subject separately based on my children's needs and learning styles, rather than use a "complete" curric.)
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties View Post
I totally think you can work this out. Your dh and his ex and you sound like you are all reasonable people who can come together in the best interests of your dsd. I admire you for taking this on!

Regarding cost of curriculum specifically, I wouldn't rule out at least some purchased curriculum. Costs vary widely in every subject, and sometimes the money is well spent, saving you and the student time and headaches. (Sometimes not though. It can be daunting, I'll admit.) I have spent $70 on a curriculum at some points, but not in every subject in any given year. There are many sources for gently used curriculum as well, both on-line and through local group sales/swaps. (Find a local group!)

Also, don't be fooled into thinking public school is free. My friends and family members with children in school are nickled and dimed nearly to death for various school expenses you would never think of. I do buy curriculum for nearly every subject, and yet I don't think I spend anywhere near as much as they do for the "free" public school! (I pick each subject separately based on my children's needs and learning styles, rather than use a "complete" curric.)
Thanks for your encouragement. Yes, we are all reasonable people. We get along well and have the children's best interests at heart.

We are meeting with a member of a local group soon, and I may ask about sales and swaps. I'm beginning to think that I really can do this and to feel empowered.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
What can you budget for homeschooling? Is mom able to contribute towards costs?

There are families who get most of their materials from the library, but at the age you're talking about, at least for some subjects (I'm thinking math), there will be book costs. I'm not talking hundreds of dollars, but you will probably end up spending something.
Libraries often have the text books from the local school system. Which would be fine as resources for creating your own curricula. They also have upper level textbooks from algebra to the stuff that eats calculus for breakfast.
post #20 of 23
I would say something like:

Absolutely the goal of our academic plan is that she be able to attend the college of her choice. There are a lot of options and like the individual public and private schools, home schoolers can decide whether to use commercial textbooks subject by subject. There are also some cutting-edge curricula that are made available free or for a fee on the internet -- some by university departments -- others by educators that just don't choose to go the commercial textbook route. There is a local school that teaches literature straight from the works and I am interested in visiting there and seeing whether that might be a good fit.

One thing I have learned in my research that surprised me is that both selective colleges and our state colleges don't actually require that home schooled applicants have followed a state standardized curriculum. Isn't that weird? They recruit home schooled kids based on standardized test performance and portfolio and seek diversity in previous learning. We will have a lot of practice in portfolio generation by the time 9th grade rolls around because we will be doing this now in middle school in compliance with the homeschool laws.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at Home and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Helping Bio Mom to feel comfortable with homeschool