I have a 5 year old with a man I was never married to. He dumped me halfway through my pregnancy, but has been a very involved father (even though he and I never reconnected as "a couple") since she was born. We do not have a parenting plan, but we do have an agreed custody order and I am the primary residential parent, but we have joint custody and are supposed to make decisions together.
I want to keep our daughter at home instead of sending her "off to school" which would DRAMATICALLY reduce my time with my child, while his time with her would remain the same. I brought up the issue 2 years ago, but he put it off. I brought it up again last month and he refuses to discuss it. He wants her to go to a traditional school---he even offered to pay for private tuition---but I am adamantly opposed. He said if I don't agree to put her in "regular" school, he will take me to court and the judge will decide.
First of all, this cannot be a "joint" decision when he refuses to even sit down with me and discuss pros and cons. He is Turkish and homeschooling is illegal in Turkey. He knows of nobody who is or was homeschooled except for his brother-in-law's sister, who was homeschooled and he said she can't function like a normal person or even hold down a job. I asked him for details, and he had none (he has never met the woman, not her parents from what I can tell). I brought up the possibiilty that she was homeschooled as an alternative because she was not doing well in the traditional classroom, which is sometimes the case. I have friends my age who were homeschooled (and I have been friends with the since they were young children), and they have homeschooled their own children. I know MANY homeschooled or homeschooling families and I have invited him to meet the and talk to them about their experience. He refused.
He has, I suppose, a cultural bias that he is not willing to challenge. I, on the other hand, and biased against traditional schooling for MY children. I thank God that there is free public schooling for those parents who can't or don't want to homeschool. The fact of the matter is that I simply want to continue what I have been doing with my daughter. I also have 2 teenagers, one in private school and one in an academic magnet public school. I tried to homeschool my older children, but it was short-lived, since I was divorced and also trying to work from home and one of my children was not very co-operative. In this case, I am not trying to work because the amount of child support my child's father pays is more than what I was earning while working part-time. I am on disability, but I believe the K12 online school would be a very workable situation.His only concern he has clearly verbalized is, "She won't have any friends if she doesn't go to school." Her friends next door and in the neighborhood and at church apparently don't count. She is very well "socialized" and I have no concerns. He must think that "homeschooling" means she will be locked up in the house every day and not allowed to mingle with other children.
So, I guess if he takes me to court, I have a pretty good case. That is, unless the judge is rabidly anti-homeschooling. All I want is to take it year by year. She is already at least a grade level ahead in every level (she will be starting kindergarten this year) and I don't see how I could possibly set her back in one year. In fact, I believe she will be more challenged and have a more appropriate educational experience that I can tailor to better meet her needs. She is, like her older siblings, academically gifted.
I just feel so stressed out with this threat hanging over my head. I wish he would just say, "Okay, let's see how it goes this year." and leave it up to me to decide whether she is thriving and if this is the route we should continue. I am the one who decided that homeschooling wasn't working out well with my older kids (when they were in kindergarten and second grade) an I want to be trusted to do what I believe is in my child's best interest.
I am going to enroll her in the Tennessee Virtual Academy as soon as enrollment opens next month. School starts in August. I haven't gotten any court papers and I haven't tried to engage him in any discussions in the past few weeks. I wish I knew someone who had been in a disagreement with the other parent over something like this who could reassure me.