At what age would you leave homeschoolers alone, if you had to work? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 71 Old 10-20-2010, 01:34 AM
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I think it would be fine.

You could take the kids out and about after work (you said around 3ish? Which is a perfect time for after school activities). They could do a lot of their non-independent work on the weekends.

I guess it would depend on the neighborhood and all as to whether I'd be paranoid about cps.

My single working mom let me unschool 8th grade (for which I am still grateful; I really needed the decompression at the time). I was home alone all day and loved it. I read comic books and watched x-files those were the days and FWIW, I was a "latchkey" (tho I'm not sure I like that term) kid before that and after and never felt neglected or scared or anything of the sort. I liked coming home from school and having the house to myself, getting a snack and watching after-school shows or reading *shrug* I think it helped me be independent/self-sufficient, and having my parents trust that I was capable of caring for myself was a big confidence booster.

About the hours, yes 30 seems a bit much. But if you went to work early and they slept late, that would really help a lot. Also, could they buddy up with anybody for one or maybe two days? So they'd only have a few days a week on their own? Also, I think it would depend for me on whether this was a temporary or long-term decision. Will the 10 yr old be doing this for the next 8 years? Or could you get an extra job during the summer and squirrel away some $ so that the rest of the year you could work less hours?

If you were extremely concerned, would it be possible to wait til the oldest is 16 and able to drive? That would probably change the situation a lot. Or possibly go into work after lunch and stay later instead? That would seem more "acceptable" to outsiders, I think, since a lot of kids are home alone in the afternoon.

Some homeschoolers are never home; some are home a lot. We are home-y homeschoolers. We do no more than one "class" outside of home a week, and about the same for playdates. Honestly, I would feel really run down and unable to keep up with our academics and home life if we were out every single day. That's just me and my family, though. We are really happy with the balance that we have.

We must remember that the OP's kids have requested this. They are on board. Because it is their own desire, they will probably be extremely cooperative to make any kind of situation work in which they are able to stay together and continue homeschooling.

If I were to find myself a single mom (again), I would still bend hell and high water to make homeschooling work for my family. Even if that meant working nights while the oldest held down the spot or taking a pay cut for a job that would work out better or even working 12 hour days 3 days a week instead of a regular schedule. It is tough for single mommas, and no the situation will not always be perfect.

OP, kudos to you for looking for solutions to work this out for your family you obviously have a lot of forethought and really care a lot about how strongly your kids feel about this or you wouldn't even be considering it.

Happy and in love with my family!
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#62 of 71 Old 10-20-2010, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
Nothing stops them from calling, but when CPS or the police show up and see there is a present full time parent that is legally HSing there is no question of neglect. Unlike them showing up and finding out that the parent is leaving the kids unattended for over 30 hours a week during what they consider to be "school hours".
Again, that is assuming it is illegal to homeschool from 3pm to 8pm (or whatever hours she chooses) in her state. If a cop pulls me over in a 50mph zone because in his opinion doing 35mph is too fast for the road in broad daylight, then I am going to win that fight in court. Homeschooling and unschooling are BOTH negligent in the eyes of many people but we still do it. What matters is whether what she is doing is both legal in terms of proper schooling, and legal in terms of leaving children that age alone. What one cop considers to be "school hours" doesn't matter as much as what the state considers to be school hours.

If I was concerned about what authority figures of import thought was "negligent" then I would have my kids in a regular school. I follow the law. OP should as well, without being afraid that the laws will change mysteriously when some neighbor gets their panties in a twist.

You can attempt to advise to me to not HS due to my opinion but that ship has sailed since I have an adult child that was unschooled and never attended an institutional school. But then I wasn't working outside the home and leaving my kids there without any supervision for over 30 hours a week.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this to get heated. I meant the rhetorical "you" there, not you specifically. I'm sure that you, like most of the parents here, do what is best for your family. I probably should have worded that differently
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#63 of 71 Old 10-20-2010, 02:08 AM
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I guess what I am having trouble with is that some of these are the same arguments I get about homeschooling AT ALL.

"It must be so lonely for the kids."

"How to they get to socialize?"

"Aren't they going to get into trouble if they're not at school during the day?"

"Isn't it illegal for them to be home all day?"

"How will you make sure they actually learn things?"

I mean, as long as things are legal, your kids complete their work (according to the schooling method you choose, either partially alone or during non-standard hours, in this case cyber school), and they don't feel social isolation or get into trouble I don't see how this is worse than shoving them into some random local school because OP thinks she has no other choice. I'm sure if the OP could stay home with them forever, she would, and if my kids asked to go to a regular school during that time (or proved that they can't handle being home alone) then I would send them. I would not sign them up for public school just because I had to earn a living with no other options or situational trials out of fear of a nosey neighbor who doesn't know the law calling CPS on a perfectly legal situation.
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#64 of 71 Old 10-20-2010, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenmama2 View Post
Just responding to the activity timestuff, park days around here don't usually start before 11 with most families turning up around 1pm. It's not at all uncommon for 3 or 4 families to stay until 5pm or later in Summer.
In our group the majority of events start after 1pm and approximately 1/3 of the activities start after 3. We have many older kids in the group and families like to get 'school' stuff done before field trips and hanging out with friends. Some kids are also doing some community college classes, and some families have some of their kids in public school while homeschooling others. We also try to have one or two events a month in the evening or on Saturday so some dads and/or working moms can hang out as well.

With my work schedule my 12 yr old cannot make as many homeschool events as we used to, but she says she is very happy with the arrangement. It has afforded her more independence, chances to stay home alone some days, chances to hang out with me at the university and visit with the grad students, etc. She has a group of friends that she likes to hang out with at homeschool events but she keeps in touch electronically between times. There are also other homeschool parents who can occasionally swing by and pick her up to go to events when I must work. We pay them back by sharing info on cool public talks at the University, tutoring in math and science whenever needed, and giving rides when we can!

I think the OP should try it. It is hard to know what arrangements will work out beforehand. Our schedule is still evolving but working better all the time. I started working outside the home 20 hours/week in July. We have a small farm so that adds a couple hours a day for outside chores. It is busy but most days, I like busy.
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#65 of 71 Old 10-21-2010, 08:24 AM
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I don't get it. What could possibly be the problem with leaving a responsible 14 year old in charge??? My family history is FULL of 14 year olds running things ... because mom died and left 11 siblings to raise ... because mom was a single parent and had to work full time to afford a basic apartment. I also can't imagine calling three OLD kids "latchkey kids". Once you're over say, 11, I don't see how you are latchkey and you are definitely not latchkey if you have two older siblings holding down the fort with you. If I give my adolescent a key, that's called them being a person with a home. If my 10 year old is with my 14 year old, that's having a babysitter. I also don't see how much trouble they could get into before 3pm, particularly with 2 other siblings. Is the saying, three people can only keep a secret if two of them are dead? Plus mom could video chat with them a couple of times a day to make sure they are where they are supposed to be if needed.

I am sure they could get out and about as desired during the school day on bikes, busses, trains, foot and rides from friends' moms. Also, while we do some home school activities, the vast majority of my kids' extracurriculars take place after 3pm and on weekends.

Preteens and adolescents are certainly treated differently these days than when I was growning up.
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#66 of 71 Old 07-07-2012, 07:14 AM
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I am also running into this issue only I have an almost 12 year old and I finish school in August. I usually would send him to day care because I get subsidized daycare for my children BUT JFS will not provide daycare for a home schooled child. I would leave him in public school but he is not getting anywhere. He has ADHD and mild Autism(just bad enough to affect his studies). He cooks for himself, cleans up after himself and is able to call me or 911 if there were an emergency. I would be doing homeschooling with him after I get off work. Any opinions on my situation?

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#67 of 71 Old 07-09-2012, 02:14 PM
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Yes, I absolutely would do it. But I am also a bit jaded here...I used to babysitt quite often for a family with 4 children at age 14 and I did very well with them. I set up games, activities, took them swimming, etc. I would strongly consider paying your oldest to handle the extra responsibility, or give her some extra privileges.

I also strongly believe that public schooling compromises most children's health and well-being. I do think they are better off at their ages in the situation you describe, which will keep them out of that environment. This is obviously not true of every single child in every single school; however, from the lack of supervision on public school buses, public school playgrounds, and bullying, teenage suicide, etc, I've heard and seen enough that leads me to believe that my children would be healthier and happier out of that environment, even if the circumstances were less than ideal ( because I don't believe that public school is close to ideal).
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#68 of 71 Old 07-09-2012, 07:16 PM
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I would have two concerns--

First, I would be concerned that there's an awful lot of stuff that needs to be done in the mom's non-working hours-- she needs provide all help with schoolwork, get the kids to activities, and get all housework and errands done.  I'd be awfully tempted to try out school if it made life a little bit less stressful.  If you can't do that I would start networking to see if there is a family you could work out carpooling with so that you wouldn't have to do it all yourself.


Second, I would worry that if the wrong neighbor notices that the kids are at home alone during the school day, you could end up trying to explain to CPS how it is that you are homeschooling your kids without being physically present.  I completely understand how you could do a great job homeschooling with this arrangement, but I think it might be a hard sell for someone who is less familiar with homeschooling (like most CPS workers and judges).  

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#69 of 71 Old 07-09-2012, 07:54 PM
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I wouldn't. We'd have to find another choice.


I was left alone A LOT as a child (and as a teen) and I wouldn't want that for my kids.

Welcome to the Real World she said to me, condescendingly, take a seat. Take your life; plot it out in black and white.
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#70 of 71 Old 03-05-2014, 11:35 AM
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my kids are 14 and 12 this is our 3rd year homeschooling, I work 40 hours a week my husband is local truck driver. I only work about 5 mins away from the house, I have family that are literally right there, mom is next door brother is across the street with 2 grown sons. Our kids stay at home by themselves except for Monday's then my husband is home with them. I go to work at 7 home by 4. They do virtual school, so they work a lot of times with an adult on the computer, from their school. They know the do's and don'ts so much I have sent people to the house and they still wont answer the door for their own They both have cell phones and they work in their room, they can cook meals we make them simple hamburgers, chicken nuggets roman noodles, and pizza rolls. It works for us, I mean a lot of kids this age or younger stay at home all day during the summer by their selves so why not during school. They have their good days and bad days but they know if they do get it all done there is no playing at night or on the weekends. 

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#71 of 71 Old 03-10-2014, 09:39 AM
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I think more depends on your children themselves than their ages. I have a 13 yr old and a 10 yr old. I would be willing to leave my 10 yr old home by himself - he is beginning to mature and settle down, so I would feel I could trust him to be home alone. I would never leave my 10 yr old home alone, however, because he is far too impulsive and would be very likely to put pizza rolls in the toaster oven and burn the house down because he forgot them when he went back to his computer game or went to see what the cat was up to.


And leaving the two of them home alone, together, would simply not be an option at this point. There is a real power struggle between them that I am constantly in the middle of, and left unsupervised, they would fight nonstop. So far, it's all verbal, but if I was not here, I have some real concern that it would become physical and they would either seriously injure each other and/or destroy the house.


Even if all that weren't an issue, I suspect that without me here to be able to guide and direct them, they would probably sit around and simply watch cartoons or play video games all day. They wouldn't get any school work done, so I'd have to come home and work with them to get that done after work. (Having written that all out, I am now more grateful than ever that I work from home.)


If you feel you could trust them, then give it shot. Keep tabs on things at home, check in on them daily to see where they're at and what they're doing/not doing, and see how it goes. Reevaluate if it doesn't seem to be going well.

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