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Just looking for ideas/advice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone, I kind of just needed a place to get this out and maybe get some feedback! I am a single mom to two kids (girl 7 and boy 5). I'm thinking about homeschooling my daughter at least and this is why-

My girl is in 1st grade with an early Birthday of October 27. our Kindergarten cutoff here is Sept. 30 so she was a month late on that and therefore one of the oldest in her class. She might not be on the "gifted" spectrum but she is a bright kid. She has been reading since 4 and was found to be around a 2nd grade level when she graduated Kindergarten this past spring. Math-wise she is at a level where she can add and subtract with multiple digits and understands borrowing and carrying over and is starting multiplication and gets the whole concept of it. This is all at home though, at school she complains that she has to do stuff that is too easy and the math right now they are doing is finding combinations that make 8. I have talked with her teacher about what she does at home and what she's able to do and she does get a special spelling list separate from the other kids. But then my daughter tells me that when the class does spelling practice at school she has to just do the words the other kids are working on and has never gotten any math work that shows me she is being challenged. I understand the teacher has 16 other kids to work with and finding time to do separate work with one kid can be a challenge. I have also been told by her teachers that she shouldn't move up a grade b/c the class above hers is double the size (baby boom in our area that year!) and she would get lost. I try to do as much as I can with her at home to keep her going at the level she is at and feels challenged but she is at school all day and then gets home tired and unwilling to do more and our other activities and my working just makes that hard.

So I'm starting to think homeschooling might be a good fit for her, she likes the idea most of the time and I like the idea of her getting the one on one attention and being able to learn at a level that will challenge her. She is also a very social kid and involved in other activities that will keep her socialized. I also have 2 other friends who homeschool their kids who are my daughters age so we can organize activities with them.


I guess my biggest concern is that I am a working single mom, is it possible for me to give her enough school time? I understand we dont have to follow the traditional school schedule but if I make the jump and take her out of school I want to be sure this is the right move and that what I think is going to help her doesn't end up actually harming her and she makes her fall behind kids her own age b/c I simple dont have enough time.

Are there other single working moms here who are able to home school? is it possible?

thank you for reading my post and any advice or comments are appreciated :)

post #2 of 10

Whether it's possible will depend on the logistics of your work schedule and responsibilities, and on the type of support and child-care resources you have available. There are single working parents on this forum, and I hope they will pipe up. Each of them has their own very specific set of circumstances that allows them to make it work.


I do think there is likely more room for advocacy with your school. Can you meet again with the teacher? Or, better still, with the teacher and principal and school psychologist? With respect to the grade skip: if your child was a month older they wouldn't be trying to explain to you that the other class is "too big" so I don't think that's sufficient reason to write off the possibility if it is believed it would otherwise be a good fit. Or, it would only be a sufficient reason to my mind if the 1st grade class by being smaller was giving her a highly individualized learning environment that was challenging her. Which it's clearly not. Getting almost no individualization in a completely unchallenging environment isn't better than getting even less individualization in a relatively good-fitting environment. Does your district have a gifted program? Is there any provision for testing in order to create the administrative template for more formal accommodations, acceleration, enrichment and the like? 


I'm a homeschooling parent whose [gifted] children have chosen to attend school as they got into the teen years. I believe strongly in the value of homeschooling if it's a good fit for your family. But I've also seen that in our case when we've got to the right people and built good relationships with them through repeated collaborative discussions, there can be way more flexibility in the school system than there seems to be at first. 



post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the reply. As far as my situation right now homeschooling could work out b/c I work a lot of evenings and weekends mostly and have time during the day. Also my mother stays home and watches kids for a living and is only a mile away so is available when I am not and would make sure work is getting done if I needed to leave my daughter with some worksheets or reading. My ex-husband is around but my mom is basically my co-parent and helps me out A LOT! I rely on her for advice when it comes to the kids too and she was skeptical about homeschooling but I believe she would support whatever I decide.

As far as pushing for more from school I am unsure what's available for gifted programs and unsure how much I can ask for I guess? As a parent to younger kids just entering school I guess I feel a little lost and am unsure about what I should expect and what I can ask for as far as school goes. I have hinted around at parent teacher conferences about my daughter moving ahead and only been told she would be better off staying in her class. I took that to mean I was seeing more then they were,  just being a proud mom and my daughter really should be where she is. But then I give her multiplication or a 4th grade reading book and she gets right into it and asks for more! I think I'm just feeling a little lost when it comes to school and am starting to think to heck with it I'll just do it myself. But maybe a better move right now is to look into more at school and really give it a chance before just taking her out.

Thanks again for the advice, it is helpful just to get my thoughts out and get some feedback from some other parents with HSing vs. PS experience

post #4 of 10

Yes, I know many homeschooling, employed single moms. In general, people who have a heart for homeschooling and try it, do find that they are successful. Personally, after many years and different groups, I don't see employment, partnership, finances, etc. as limiting factors. What I do see is that people who truly enjoy their child's company can make homeschooling work. I'm thinking of "work" in terms of the whole child. Academics are important, but so is the spirit of the child -- each one being a masterpiece, really, I think.


Are there programs in your area for modified homeschooling? I'd look into that, maybe. Here, we have homeschool-public-school where the children go in to a sweet K-12 old school on Fridays to do music and projects. These kids have a teacher on the phone and on the computer.


If you want to be the teacher yourself, do you have some support? I'm thinking about your own time to work.


You might find encouragement in reading about some different approaches to homeschooling. I have two very bright teenagers who I early on decided to use a Waldorf approach with. One was reading encyclopedias at age 2, and I knew that I needed to foster his childhood, his innocence, his delight in life and nature, and to help him be grounded and to see himself as a whole, precious creation -- not just a big brain. He's bright and accomplished and homeschooling with me, having also completed one semester of college ace'ing everything while in 11th grade. I say that to illustrate a point. What people really, really notice about him is that he is happy, comfortable in who he is, polite, interested in other people, and genuinely kind. They don't say "smart" first. I'm not denying a gift. I just see my task as his mom to coach him into being a full person.


Another idea might be to connect with some local homeschoolers though I almost hesitate to say that. If you fall in with people who are rigid or judgmental or braggy or like junior-high nightmares, that can be a hindrance.


Anyway, trust your heart. You know your girl.




post #5 of 10

I'm a single mom. I work from home, and homeschool. My situation is not really typical, in that I I'm an author. Writing books for a living allows me considerably more freedom in my work schedule than most people.


Whether you can do it will depend a lot on your work schedule, of course, but also how you choose to homeschool. If you choose to unschool, for example, then making it work will be a snap. But if you choose to use a curriculum and choose one that requires lots of reading and prep on your end, and then lots of hands on focus and teaching from you while your child does her work, you might find that it's a bit harder for you to make it work. That's not to say you wouldn't be able to make it work, but you might have to work harder at it than another mother might.


I would suggest first reading up on the different ways to homeschool, and figure out which method you'd rather use. Once you know what method you want to use, that will help you figure out what kind of curriculum, if any, you'll need, and then you can research those. That will help you determine what you'd have to do in terms of planning and preparation, what kind of time commitment you're looking at, and then you'll be able to figure out exactly how you can make it work.


I think, in general, anyone CAN make homeschooling while working work. It's a matter of wanting to, and being willing to sacrifice if need be. It's also about looking at the trade offs. For example, I used to hate helping my kids with their homework. They'd come home from school, and because they have ADHD and couldn't focus, homework would take 2-3 hours. Our entire homeschooling day takes only about 3-4 hours. I'm not spending that much more time on "school", and because they're not gone for 6 hours before we get to it, our day is much less stressful and very relaxed by comparison to what it used to be. And without the influence of the kids at school, there's less of the bad attitude and irritation from the kids, so there's less tension between us, which makes it so much easier for us to not only get through the school day, but also for me to ask them to entertain themselves for a couple of hours so I can get some work done.


Basically, I rambled on with all that (lol) to say that if you want to make homeschooling work in your circumstances, you can. It'll take some research, some thought and a lot of dedication, but if it's what you want and you really think it's best for your family, you can do it.

post #6 of 10

I'm a single homeschooling mom as well, but I'm also lucky enough to work at home around my kids schedule, so I work mostly nights and weekends as well.  I think you could totally make it work since your schedule keeps you at home most days. 


I won't lie, it's a little overwhelming at times trying to plan school, plus work, plus get everyday life done + I have a 3-year-old as well.  I considered putting dd into school when ex and I separated, but I just couldn't do it, and I'm glad I didn't :)

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the replies I got to my questions and advice searching. I ended up talking with my daughters teacher and was pleased with the conversation we had about how my daughter needed a bigger challenge but after about a month I haven't seen anything come of it. I asked my daughter if she was getting harder work and she said no nothing has changed and when she asks the teacher says she is too busy with the other kids. I can understand that but it doesn't help my kid so I am heavily leaning towards giving home school a try. My kids are both on board with the idea now and we have started doing some more home learning on weekends and during vacation. It's going really well and I am more confident that we can make this work and it is really the best option for both kids.

I'm thinking right now to have them finish this school year and we will really dive into the home lessons sometime after school is done in June but I'm wondering is this the best way? What is the best way to transition from public school to home learning?

post #8 of 10

I'd suggest doing some reading on the topic of 'deschooling.' 


However, do keep in mind that there's a difference in what kids want and need when they come out of a school environment where they've been stressed by academics they're not ready for, find meaningless, or struggle with, versus leaving school because you are craving more challenging school-like learning opportunities. My tendency in either case though would be *not* to dive into challenging learning in the summer, because if you're like most homeschooling families you won't hit your stride until at least a few months in, after making a few mis-steps and then adjusting. And if you make those mis-steps during the summer, that could invite a lot of resentment and negativity because not only are they not happy about their homeschooling but you've stolen their summer of fun and leisure from them! 


At most I'd focus on experiential and child-led learning during the summer. You could say "In the fall, I'd like us to study state history, so why don't you help me plan a couple of fun road trips in July to places that might give us a little bit of a fun preview. Oh, and I know you've been asking to learn some photography skills I'll teach you how to use the big camera, and you can take the official road trip photos."



post #9 of 10

honestly ...


schooling comes last. figuring your life out first is what makes a successful homeschooler.


first figure out your own needs. you will be working full time. hsing and then work. how are you going to carve out your 'me time'. VERY essential. 


second forget 'the best'. there is no best. you learn as you go, you learn through correcting through your mistakes. hindsight is always 20/20. dont fall into the guilt trap. 


to be very honest with you - you will think you know but until you get into hsing you wont know exactly what you are getting into.


i cannot stress the importance of deschooling. it is the most important part of hsing. deschooling will look different for different families. it does not just mean you wont do any academic work. it does not mean no academics. its more a realization is you have the freedom to decide how you want to do it. you and your dd have to figure out what deschooling means to you. yes its not just your dd but you too have to go through a period of deschooling. for me the biggest part of hsing was really discovering that we are the teachers - both dd and me - she is in middle school, we both figure out the curriculum, learning can be anything. even a dinner conversation. we both had to get out of the 'they will give me curriculum and i will just follow'.


figure out how you are going to hs. are you good with structure? will u open your own school and follow the legal requirements. or are you going to join an online school or a charter hs to get initial support and then you may manage on your own.


what would your exh and mom agree to. will you get support from them?


of course you can do it. it will not always be easy. you are going to have one plan and your kids are going to have another plan. 


it is exciting stuff. it is a wonderful bonding time.


i would say if your dd is ok in school, keep her there and use the time to put all your ducks in a row. then take her out in june and see what she wants to do. see how YOU are able to accept what she wants to do. get organized. find your support system. not just childcare but YOU. 


there is no reason why you cant do it. just remember for you to really grasp what you are doing it will take your whole family a few months. dont expect success right away. but know its the best adventure you will be on. 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

thank you for the very helpful replies! this is all great information and advice. I have been thinking a lot about how we will get started and yes, I will be taking some time to let the dust settle before really diving in. We do some stuff at home already and I am making sure it is all lead by the kids and only as much as they want to do at this point. My daughter is very into learning cursive writing now and I went ahead and got her the hand writing without tears cursive book but we are taking it slow. She's quite eager and I have to make her stop before she gets too frustrated some times! She is a very determined child when she wants to learn how to do something and this is a big reason I think homeschooling will work well for her. If she chooses to learn something she doesn't stop until she has it mastered. I have decided that I will keep them in school until the end of this year and take this time to decide on what math to use and what we will focus on for writing and reading. I will also be asking the kids about what they feel like they want to learn about and we will make sure to use our warm summer days outside as that is a big part of our lifestyle and I plan to make our learning very nature based.

As far as support, my mom is on board with my decision and I haven't really talked with the kids father yet. He isn't very involved anyway (by his choice) and I am very much the decision maker for anything to do with the kids. I have a feeling he will support the idea anyway though b/c when we were married we often talked about how we both would like the kids to be homeschooled. I also have a friend nearby who home-schools her two kids who happen to be at the same grade level as both my kids so that works out nicely. She has given me great advice and support through my decision and is someone I will be able to go to with questions or to get support.

I know I wont really know what its like until i get there but I have a feeling this could work well for my personal being as well. I like the idea of being more in charge of my kids education and also seeing my kids more will be great!

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