Homeschooling in a country where it's illegal - what to tell neighbors? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-14-2011, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've posted about our situation before. We live in Eastern Europe, where the education laws state that school enrollment is compulsory. There are no charter schools, and I know only one person who actually homeschooled for three years (with fear of the law in her head all the time). 

 

Our solution is to enroll the children in a US-based umbrella school. Technically, this means we are law-abiding citizens. The children ARE enrolled in school, and will have lots of paperwork to prove it. I hope this is enough. But, since we are the first family to do this in the whole country, I worry. I know of some other families who lived off grid and had no schools anywhere near them (like, within 40km). They were taken to court. We live in a big city. 

 

There is a year to go until school becomes compulsory for my oldest, and she has started first grade with the umbrella school. My question is about what to tell the neighbors. I have two options:

 

1. Homeschool, and hope nobody will notice. When they ask, I will say that the kids are enrolled at the "American School". There is an international school, so they could assume DD goes there. They may, however, notice that we are at home during "school hours". I think it would be a matter of time before someone would report us to social services. When they do come knocking, I will provide the paperwork the umbrella school sends, and hope that is enough. I am willing to defend myself in court. 

 

2. Telling everyone who asks exactly what we are doing, right now, while we still have a year before school is compulsory. I could talk about our choice with a lot of joy and confidence and if asked, could say that this choice is legal, since the children are enrolled in school. This will get the neighborly gossip machine up and running right away. But nobody can do anything now, since DD is not officially "school age" here yet. Perhaps, by the time she reaches that age next year, the neighbors will be bored with the whole thing and will have accepted it. Since their human tendency to gossip is already out the way, perhaps they won't report us. I'd love to not have the stress of that. 

 

What would you do? Do you have any better ideas? I know homeschooling is the right choice. I am willing to fight for it. But I am also scared, since we live in a post-communist country with a lot of "social controls" and neighbors love to interfere in peoples' lives. Although I believe that the umbrella school covers us legally, authorities may offer a different interpretation of the law, or just order me to enroll the kids in a state school. The "price" for not enrolling children is a fine, and then jail if parents don't comply. My DD is advanced and certainly not neglected educationally; quite the opposite. But this is a big worry. 


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Old 08-14-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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It's hard to say without actually getting a feel for the vibe of people around you... this year might be a good chance to scope this out if you aren't already sure.  However, living in a country where homeschooling isn't legal either (although I'm in an area with many homeschoolers and open communication with the education dept.), I can also sympathize with just wanting to keep off the radar.

 

One thing that I wonder about is that here there is a sort of government endorsed program for children who cannot be enrolled in a bricks and mortar school- performers, athletes,etc.  Is there any such equivalent where you are that you could vaguely reference when people ask?  And do you have any teaching credentials?  I totally don't think it's necessary and we're actually unschoolers, but I work as a teacher and people seem soothed by this.  Or stating that you are learning at home in order to teach your daughter in English, which a lot of people seem to see as an especially valuable skill?  In my encounters (I'm totally honest), people basically seem to really relax when they are able to relate it to traditional education.  They also seem to worry about socialization and when I can answer with activities we do so that my kids meet other kids, they relax a bit more.  So far no one has been anything but positive to me... curious, surprised, but always positive in the end.

 

Good luck!  BTW, have you seen the email that's been going around about trying to form a European umbrella homeschooling organization?  Maybe that would be helpful for you... one of the points of the email is to provide support to members in European countries who are persecuted for the choice of educating at home.  I think it's coming from here http://www.home-education.org.uk/europe/ but if you contact the Spanish Asociacion de Libre Educacion (info at this link, English OK) http://aleenred.blogspot.com/2011/07/international-home-education-conference.html, this is where the info I've been receiving comes from.

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Old 08-14-2011, 05:28 PM
 
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My gut feeling would be to go with #2. I grew up in a communist country, and it seems that  the mentality of gossip and reporting to authorities is dying way too slowly.

 

Depending on your country, it could be quite well that anything 'american' will be considered 'legitimate' and better, which could work for you, especially as you have a 'foreigner status'. (correct?)

 

If someone is very set on reporting you, you might be able to find out about it early enough to be able to hopefully do something.

 

You might want to emphasise, when you talk positively and cheerfully about 'the american school', that your 'lessons' are concentrated in the morning, and then just actually to stay at home for the first hours of the day. I would avoid being out regularly during, let's say 9-12, and maybe pick a day when you wouldn't be out from 9-2pm. Doesn't seem that hard to do, especially if go to bed late wink1.gif.  It seems like a small sacrifice to ensure some additional safety.

 

I wouldn't mention unschooling, and talk about your umbrella school as though it is similar to traditional schools.

 

Good luck!  A difficult situation. If I were to "go back", I'd be doing what you are doing, so I can relate.

 


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Old 08-15-2011, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My gut feeling would be to go with #2. I grew up in a communist country, and it seems that  the mentality of gossip and reporting to authorities is dying way too slowly.

 

Depending on your country, it could be quite well that anything 'american' will be considered 'legitimate' and better, which could work for you, especially as you have a 'foreigner status'. (correct?)

 

If someone is very set on reporting you, you might be able to find out about it early enough to be able to hopefully do something.

 

You might want to emphasise, when you talk positively and cheerfully about 'the american school', that your 'lessons' are concentrated in the morning, and then just actually to stay at home for the first hours of the day. I would avoid being out regularly during, let's say 9-12, and maybe pick a day when you wouldn't be out from 9-2pm. Doesn't seem that hard to do, especially if go to bed late wink1.gif.  It seems like a small sacrifice to ensure some additional safety.

 

I wouldn't mention unschooling, and talk about your umbrella school as though it is similar to traditional schools.

 

Good luck!  A difficult situation. If I were to "go back", I'd be doing what you are doing, so I can relate.

 

 

 

Thanks for your input! The gossip culture is thriving, and perhaps even worse than during communist times - as universal employment was replaced by an unemployment rate of more than 50 percent (no kidding!), gossip is the only familiar thing left to many people, LOL. We don't actually hang out with our neighbors, but they do ask questions. One neighbor actually tried to get info about me from a friend who was coming to visit me as they met in the lift (!?). She knew it was MY friend, because she was wearing her baby in a mei tai, just like I did. 

 

The thing is, the walls are pretty thin here, and there are cameras at the entrance. Some grandmas (talking about age, some of them don't have kids) watch this ALL DAY LONG. I know this, because my next door neighbor opens the door to say hello to us, saying she knew we were coming because she saw us on the "spy channel" as I call it. Neighbors would know we are indoors, because they could hear us and notice we are not leaving the house. 

 

That is one of the main reasons that I am thinking about just talking about the umbrella school, that it is in California, and the kids are getting an American education. A year MIGHT be enough for the neighbors to get used to that. I am also considering moving, but perhaps new neighbors would be even worse. 

 

We are not unschoolers, and keep meticulous records of everything we learn. The kids are bilingual and working on a third language. My DD does math problems out loud wherever she goes, just for fun. Obviously, she is learning! But everyone understands that the threat of being reported is stressful. I also have other "strikes" against me, like being single and generally weird (because well, I am a foreigner!). 
 

 


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Old 08-15-2011, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's hard to say without actually getting a feel for the vibe of people around you... this year might be a good chance to scope this out if you aren't already sure.  However, living in a country where homeschooling isn't legal either (although I'm in an area with many homeschoolers and open communication with the education dept.), I can also sympathize with just wanting to keep off the radar.

 

One thing that I wonder about is that here there is a sort of government endorsed program for children who cannot be enrolled in a bricks and mortar school- performers, athletes,etc.  Is there any such equivalent where you are that you could vaguely reference when people ask?  And do you have any teaching credentials?  I totally don't think it's necessary and we're actually unschoolers, but I work as a teacher and people seem soothed by this.  Or stating that you are learning at home in order to teach your daughter in English, which a lot of people seem to see as an especially valuable skill?  In my encounters (I'm totally honest), people basically seem to really relax when they are able to relate it to traditional education.  They also seem to worry about socialization and when I can answer with activities we do so that my kids meet other kids, they relax a bit more.  So far no one has been anything but positive to me... curious, surprised, but always positive in the end.

 

Good luck!  BTW, have you seen the email that's been going around about trying to form a European umbrella homeschooling organization?  Maybe that would be helpful for you... one of the points of the email is to provide support to members in European countries who are persecuted for the choice of educating at home.  I think it's coming from here http://www.home-education.org.uk/europe/ but if you contact the Spanish Asociacion de Libre Educacion (info at this link, English OK) http://aleenred.blogspot.com/2011/07/international-home-education-conference.html, this is where the info I've been receiving comes from.


Thanks! That link looks interesting! You are in Spain, right? Would you tell me a little more about your experiences? Do you actually fear prosecution, or are you feeling pretty safe? There are no programs for athletes, other than specialized schools where the children actually go. There are exemptions from school enrollment for kids with special needs and those who are sick (long term, like leukemia). I could argue gifted equals special needs (well, it DOES, so that is valid), but I am not seeking an exemptions because we are actually enrolled in school. 

 

The minister of education is a former communist. I considered trying to gain official permission to school through an umbrella school, but figured that I would get turned down and then no longer have the option. 

 

I don't have any teaching credentials, but I do have a degree and an IQ of 145. I will point this out, should anyone come knocking. 

 


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Old 08-15-2011, 01:50 AM
 
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Wow. Big hug for you!

 

I know exactly what you're talking about :) 

Your description of neighbors made me remember all the grandmas hanging on their windows at wee hours (exact same hours when I was coming back home from a party) :)))

I think you are now in my old neighborhood, my old city :)))))

 

That being said - midnightwriter gave you great advice.

I would just say that kids are enrolled in American online school (don't mention "umbrella", it will just stir up more questions), and that you have ongoing schedule, etc.

I would keep conversation about it to bare minimum. 

Also, never let them see you sweat or afraid or nervous re: their questions.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about exact time of day spent inside or outside your apartment... I would talk about library visits, etc. if needed, but - again, bare minimum.

 

Hope it's smooth sailing for you! From your post, it seems as if that environment already has a bit of negative influence on you (if you don't mind frank talk), please take care of yourself! 

 

Regards from NYC!

 

 


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Old 08-15-2011, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. Big hug for you!

 

I know exactly what you're talking about :) 

Your description of neighbors made me remember all the grandmas hanging on their windows at wee hours (exact same hours when I was coming back home from a party) :)))

I think you are now in my old neighborhood, my old city :)))))

 

That being said - midnightwriter gave you great advice.

I would just say that kids are enrolled in American online school (don't mention "umbrella", it will just stir up more questions), and that you have ongoing schedule, etc.

I would keep conversation about it to bare minimum. 

Also, never let them see you sweat or afraid or nervous re: their questions.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about exact time of day spent inside or outside your apartment... I would talk about library visits, etc. if needed, but - again, bare minimum.

 

Hope it's smooth sailing for you! From your post, it seems as if that environment already has a bit of negative influence on you (if you don't mind frank talk), please take care of yourself! 

 

Regards from NYC!

 

 


Thanks for your support! Where did you live? If it was in Eastern Europe, maybe it is our city :). The thing about old ladies hanging on their windows is typical here too. There is actually a "gossip club" of neighbors that convenes outside the front entrance, where they smoke cigarettes and ask rude questions to other neighbors. Like asking my then three year-old, "Why don't you have a daddy?" - does it get any more rude than that? (DD replied, "Dead, OK?" and that shut them up!)

 

Of course, I will not use the word "umbrella". I might not even use the word "online", depending on how much is asked. We already try to always look well put together (and like we have lots of money, which we don't, but luckily I sew so I get expensive looking clothes for little money!). You are right about never coming across as nervous. DD is also getting an ID card with her name and picture sent to her from the school. It also says California on there. That should help. 

 

Yes, the environment is driving me crazy sometimes. I don't understand why someone would have so much interest in their neighbor's lives. I have already been asked how I pay my bills (because I am single and presumed not to be working), and I happily talk about how I work from home and make more than enough to give us all comfortable lives. I was accused of "torturing" my son because I wore him in a mei tai, and of neglect when I let my kids out in fall weather without coats and mittens - in September, I think! And once I was babysitting a friend's child all night, and he cried a lot. Then, my upstairs neighbor reported me to the "neighbors committee" and someone came to talk to me about neglecting my children by letting them cry all night. Nothing is less true, as we never, ever did "cry it out" and I was basically wearing my babies all the time while they were small, even in the house. 

 

It is frustrating to say the least. And that very mentality is another good reason to keep my kids far away from the public school system, where they'd be discriminated against on ethnic grounds, and because their family is a one-parent family (officially! our family make-up is classified as "incomplete family" and the handbook for enrollment in school says only one child of an incomplete family should be in each class, since if you put them all together they will make trouble!). 

 

The situation is making me stressed, but not as stressed as we would all be if the kids went to public school. I know that they are getting, at the very least, a much better education. I am willing to fight to stand up for the right to enroll in any school by law, even if it is in the US and online, but I am praying it will not come to that. 

 


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Old 08-15-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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Gosh, I just wanted to also send you a big hug. That sounds hard.
I have no experience in Eastern Europe but plenty with human nature wink1.gif and I would definitely go with no. 2. You can always move away from those neighbors if you are coming to the end of e year and the gossip is intensifying rather than fading.

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Old 08-15-2011, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Gosh, I just wanted to also send you a big hug. That sounds hard.
I have no experience in Eastern Europe but plenty with human nature wink1.gif and I would definitely go with no. 2. You can always move away from those neighbors if you are coming to the end of e year and the gossip is intensifying rather than fading.


That was my thought exactly. But... how do you tell whether gossip is dyring down or intensifying if the gossip is ABOUT you, and not with you? 


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Old 08-15-2011, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and another question - would you disclose that there is distant teacher guidance, but that Mom is the primary teacher, or make it sound like there is an actual teacher doing the teaching, like through Skype or something? Option one is the truth, and I personally think that is a more more educationally sound approach for the elementary years. I can talk about adhering to California standards for each grade, and even about what we are currently learning. 

 

As it is, DD already has all skills that children learn in the local first grade, which starts at 7 (the compulsory preschool that starts at 6 has no academics at all). By the time same-age kids will be learning to read and write, my DD will be in third grade and already have many skills. I want to balance between making it obvious that DD is not neglected educationally and the wish not to brag. Offending people who have similarly aged kids will probably increase the chance someone will report me. 

 

I am sure that homeschooling is a highly offensive concept to most people here. I'll just have to keep saying, it's American, it's accredited, we are following the letter of the law... and hope for the best, but also plan for complications. The latter, I am not sure how, except for moving. 


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Old 08-15-2011, 12:55 PM
 
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Here's where yours and my situations divulge wildly.... I have virtually no fear of prosecution.  I know not everyone all over Spain feels that way, but we're in a big city with an small, but active and vocal HS community and live in a neighbourhood full of people who have been exposed to the big wide world.  We live in a house with a private garden so it's difficult for people to see my kids running around in strange get ups during school hours.  Homeschooling has been in the news, so people know it exists and I am still one year away from reaching the legally mandated age for compulsory schooling.  Also, Mediterranean culture doesn't give huge importance to following the law to a T!  People are always looking for ways around the system in all areas.

 

Is there any way you could look for housing with less observation?  Most people live in apartments buildings here and I can't imagine what it would feel like if we still lived in our old flat with the old ladies watching the air shaft!  I found it really oppressive.... one neighbour started talking to me about how I must hate ironing because of how I hang my sheets.  I couldn't imagine paying enough attention to someone else's sheets to draw conclusions about anything!

 

People who seem doubtful or puzzled about homeschooling seem to look for something schoolish.... in your case I would just say it's an American online school.  I would only give more details about methodology if pressed and I would keep it as traditional sounding as possible using very concise language.  I would share concrete details if pushed along the nature of we have been working on x, y and z.  I would give emphasis to the fact your kids are capable of doing this type of work in three languages (that seems to carry a lot of weight here in spite of the fact that everyone is already bilingual!).  I would make sure I have a regular public presence in the library (one of the things I do here, along with going through routine visits with NHS, where, in spite of not following any of her advice, I have a respectful pediatrician who perceives me as a "good" mother).  I guess I do these things because if someone reported me, I would be investigated for neglect and abandonment of my children.  I also am part of a weekly HS group so that it can be demonstrated that my kids have social interaction.  I will also encourage them to do an activity at our local community centre if they are willing.... writing this, I realize that I do take some steps to make sure that we appear "sound", so maybe I do have a bit of fear.

 

I wish you great success, confidence and fortitude!

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Old 08-15-2011, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's where yours and my situations divulge wildly.... I have virtually no fear of prosecution.  I know not everyone all over Spain feels that way, but we're in a big city with an small, but active and vocal HS community and live in a neighbourhood full of people who have been exposed to the big wide world.  We live in a house with a private garden so it's difficult for people to see my kids running around in strange get ups during school hours.  Homeschooling has been in the news, so people know it exists and I am still one year away from reaching the legally mandated age for compulsory schooling.  Also, Mediterranean culture doesn't give huge importance to following the law to a T!  People are always looking for ways around the system in all areas.

 

Is there any way you could look for housing with less observation?  Most people live in apartments buildings here and I can't imagine what it would feel like if we still lived in our old flat with the old ladies watching the air shaft!  I found it really oppressive.... one neighbour started talking to me about how I must hate ironing because of how I hang my sheets.  I couldn't imagine paying enough attention to someone else's sheets to draw conclusions about anything!

 

People who seem doubtful or puzzled about homeschooling seem to look for something schoolish.... in your case I would just say it's an American online school.  I would only give more details about methodology if pressed and I would keep it as traditional sounding as possible using very concise language.  I would share concrete details if pushed along the nature of we have been working on x, y and z.  I would give emphasis to the fact your kids are capable of doing this type of work in three languages (that seems to carry a lot of weight here in spite of the fact that everyone is already bilingual!).  I would make sure I have a regular public presence in the library (one of the things I do here, along with going through routine visits with NHS, where, in spite of not following any of her advice, I have a respectful pediatrician who perceives me as a "good" mother).  I guess I do these things because if someone reported me, I would be investigated for neglect and abandonment of my children.  I also am part of a weekly HS group so that it can be demonstrated that my kids have social interaction.  I will also encourage them to do an activity at our local community centre if they are willing.... writing this, I realize that I do take some steps to make sure that we appear "sound", so maybe I do have a bit of fear.

 

I wish you great success, confidence and fortitude!



Even in the US, where homeschooling is fully legal, it is always good to be prepared for questioning! I think that goes for anyone making any alternative choice anywhere, particularly to do with children. 

 

Unfortunately, neighborhoods with freestanding houses have even more of a gossip culture than apartment blocks. The most wanted war-crimes suspect here, Karadzic, (ex-Yugo, so there were plenty of them!) chose to hide in a huge apartment building, rather than in a house. That, to me, says quite enough - he wasn't noticed for over a decade! And when he was tracked down, it was not because of neighbors, but because he was traced through a cellphone through which he spoke to relatives.

 

We don't do state healthcare either, because it sucks. Badly. As in, when we went in the last time, over three years ago, DD was prescribed a medicine that clearly stated on the package it was not suitable for children younger than three! And the doctor didn't care, just said he wanted to take her tonsils out (which was not related to what we went in for!). We do see doctors privately as needed, and I guess I could obtain a statement from the ped if needed. 

 

Thanks again for your support. I wish you and your kids a great homeschooling adventure as well, in safety without government interference. 


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Old 08-15-2011, 11:04 PM
 
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Gosh, I would be more concerned about the negative impact of the neighborhood culture on my kids than breaking any laws. I'd worry that my kids 1. Would grow up not having a positive, supportive community around them. 2. That they'd turn out like these folks.

 

Can you move somewhere where they can be part of a community of people you like?


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Old 08-15-2011, 11:57 PM
 
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Thanks for your support! Where did you live? If it was in Eastern Europe, maybe it is our city :). The thing about old ladies hanging on their windows is typical here too. There is actually a "gossip club" of neighbors that convenes outside the front entrance, where they smoke cigarettes and ask rude questions to other neighbors. 

 

Description of everything fits too well! :)

I'll PM you!
 

 


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Old 08-16-2011, 12:48 AM
 
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Oh, and another question - would you disclose that there is distant teacher guidance, but that Mom is the primary teacher, or make it sound like there is an actual teacher doing the teaching, like through Skype or something? Option one is the truth, and I personally think that is a more more educationally sound approach for the elementary years. I can talk about adhering to California standards for each grade, and even about what we are currently learning. 

 

 


I would not go into that much detail - just a very simple: "We are attending California school online and following carefully planned schedule".

When children are studying in English, that by itself is enough to distance program they are following from everything else. In my opinion, detailed explanation will only bring on more questions.

If anyone IS asking for specifics, you can offer to give them general website of California Education Board or something similar.

 

It is wonderful what you're doing for your kids! 


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Old 08-16-2011, 01:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Gosh, I would be more concerned about the negative impact of the neighborhood culture on my kids than breaking any laws. I'd worry that my kids 1. Would grow up not having a positive, supportive community around them. 2. That they'd turn out like these folks.

 

Can you move somewhere where they can be part of a community of people you like?



Thankfully, these neighbors have very, very little to do with us. We do have a great supportive community in the form of a homeschool group (started out to campaign for legalization, now does coop type stuff too), and many friends of all ages... outside the neighborhood. Now, if the kids would attend PS, they would be surrounded by this type of person all day long. As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to go wherever we want and socialize with people we choose. I am trying to equip the kids with humor to answer any rude questions anyone may have. Contact with horrible neighbors lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes a day - and the kids know instinctively to switch to another language when the neighbors start their spiel orngbiggrin.gif

 

Public transportation is another place with a high concentration of rude citizens. We clearly look foreign. We now speak English full-time, but before, when we spoke the local language out of the house, a frequent question would be: "Do you speak [the local language]?" While speaking it, with a normal accent. DD would respond, "Yes, I do. Do you?"

 

I'd move somewhere else, but the mentality is pretty much the same everywhere in the country. An international move would be complicated at this point, but I am looking into it. The downside is that we would lose our large group of friends and have to start over, with no guarantee that it would be any better. 

 

But, just because the neighbors hardly see us, that doesn't mean that will not report me for "not sending my kids to school". I believe they will. 


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Old 08-16-2011, 01:23 AM
 
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If you an expat, I would move. As a person who grew up in a communist country and who visits my motherland in its post-communist state, I think what you are doing is really dangerous. I do not understand why you would inflict it on your kids. Doing underground things in countries like this carries serious  and real risks. CPS will seem like fairy godmother after you deal with eastern European authorities.

 

I also think it is sort of patronizing for people who move to another country as  essentially guest, to try to inflict their own cultural/legal norms on that society.   We do not change US laws to accommodate cultural practices that not a norm here, for example, multiple spouse .

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I would not go into that much detail - just a very simple: "We are attending California school online and following carefully planned schedule".

When children are studying in English, that by itself is enough to distance program they are following from everything else. In my opinion, detailed explanation will only bring on more questions.

If anyone IS asking for specifics, you can offer to give them general website of California Education Board or something similar.

 

It is wonderful what you're doing for your kids! 



Good idea. Most people don't have internet yet, though. 

 

I think most of the region has this mentality, and this city may be among the better ones. I'd love to hear where you lived!


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Old 08-16-2011, 01:36 AM
 
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May I ask you a question...and I guess some other posters too. If you despise the natives so much, why do you live in these countries? Why not move back to US?

 

Some opinions state here reminds me of 19th century white anthropologists opinion about Africa.     There is a positive side to this gossipy, in your face and your business culture. When was young, I felt totally safe playing in the apartment complex playground by myself. So did my mom. Why? Because of all the gossiping babushkas on the benches. They knew everyone. There was no chance of some creep approaching me or my friends or luring us away.  I had far more free range childhood because of that.  Yes, everyone knew everything about each other,  and apartment walls were thin but if I was short on sugar or flour, I could just go to my neighbor. It is simply not done in US. So on and so forth.  People do what they can to survive and different cultural behaviors work in different societies for a reason.

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Old 08-16-2011, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If you an expat, I would move. As a person who grew up in a communist country and who visits my motherland in its post-communist state, I think what you are doing is really dangerous. I do not understand why you would inflict it on your kids. Doing underground things in countries like this carries serious  and real risks. CPS will seem like fairy godmother after you deal with eastern European authorities.

 

I also think it is sort of patronizing for people who move to another country as  essentially guest, to try to inflict their own cultural/legal norms on that society.   We do not change US laws to accommodate cultural practices that not a norm here, for example, multiple spouse .



We are not expats. I am a voting citizen of this country, who just happens to have another additional citizenship as well. As such, I have the right to campaign through legal means to change laws, and also to interpret existing laws. I would like to see a change in the law to enable parents to homeschool fully legally. With umbrella school enrollment though, we are not actually breaking the law (which simply states children must be enrolled in school), just seeing possibilities that others don't yet use. 

 

From experience, dealing with authorities can be, and often is a pain. Doing underground things in countries like this one is the norm, and mostly not at all dangerous, though. The post-communist version of this country was built on foundations of corruption. Nobody has ethical or legal problems with actions like buying a driving license instead of passing the test, or bribing a cop with a small amount of money after being stopped for drunk driving, or bribing a doctor to be able to receive care. 

 

This particular issue is different, because while most people believe drunk driving is fine and dandy, they feel children belong in public school. I've dealt with authorities on many occasions (setting up companies, for instance) , and in my experience it is usually possible to achieve what you want to do, if it is within the letter of the law and you have an excellent lawyer, OR if you are willing to bribe. 

 

Moving does seem appealing at time, I'll admit that. But... where to? Wouldn't starting from scratch be much more damaging to the children than living where they have lived all their lives, where all their friends are, and where they are happy? I grew up moving from country to country without the chance to settle anywhere, and it left me culturally confused and with no national identity at all. That was damaging, and I don't want to do that to my children. Here, we have financial stability as well as a social support network. We might have neither if we moved somewhere new. 

 


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Old 08-16-2011, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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May I ask you a question...and I guess some other posters too. If you despise the natives so much, why do you live in these countries? Why not move back to US?

 

Some opinions state here reminds me of 19th century white anthropologists opinion about Africa.     There is a positive side to this gossipy, in your face and your business culture. When was young, I felt totally safe playing in the apartment complex playground by myself. So did my mom. Why? Because of all the gossiping babushkas on the benches. They knew everyone. There was no chance of some creep approaching me or my friends or luring us away.  I had far more free range childhood because of that.  Yes, everyone knew everything about each other,  and apartment walls were thin but if I was short on sugar or flour, I could just go to my neighbor. It is simply not done in US. So on and so forth.  People do what they can to survive and different cultural behaviors work in different societies for a reason.



I don't despise "the natives". Like I said in the previous post, I am a citizen of this country. I can't "move back to the US", because I am not from the US. My dad was from the US, but he died when I was very young. I am multicultural and don't think I belong in the US any more than I belong here - I only ever lived there for two years, very long ago. Every country has its downsides, and here gossiping neighbors who are more concerned with others' lives than their own is one. I couldn't despise anybody because of their culture or heritage, but as a multicultural person with many international moves under my belt, most of them during childhood, I don't have the luxury of having a culture of my own. 

 

It is nice that gossipy neighbors made you feel safe, and I can see that being true. As for me, I feel comfortable taking care of my own family's safety and I dislike the gossiping neighbors. To clarify, I dislike gossip anywhere in the world, not just here. With the sentence "Some opinions state here reminds me of 19th century white anthropologists opinion about Africa." you are basically accusing me of racism? I dislike gossiping neighbors because they make my family a target of racism, not because I am racist myself. 


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Old 08-16-2011, 02:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And, it is easy to subscribe to the opinion that one must respect and accept local culture where you live, if you are a guest somewhere - unless it is hard to determine whether or not you are a guest. If you are a "guest" anywhere in the world, because you are multicultural and never quite belong anywhere at all, does that mean you should never stand up for your rights or do things that make "locals" feel uncomfortable? 

 

Not related to this thread, I am quite tired of being asked where I come from wherever in the world I go, or being complimented on my "excellent command of the language" while speaking a language that is native to me. 


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Old 08-16-2011, 03:16 AM
 
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Just hopping onto the point about gossipy culture - it is well taken. It is an art to learn to humour the 'baboushkas' as you no doubt lovingly call them, while keeping distant from the gossip itself. 

 

Back to the original question, my immediate thought was to respond that they are attending online school.  Very simple.  And accurate, whether or not you join an umbrella - a large number of homeschoolers use a good amount of online curricular material.  

 

I'd be surprised if further questions were asked, unless by someone also interested in trying that option. 


no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just hopping onto the point about gossipy culture - it is well taken. It is an art to learn to humour the 'baboushkas' as you no doubt lovingly call them, while keeping distant from the gossip itself. 

 

Back to the original question, my immediate thought was to respond that they are attending online school.  Very simple.  And accurate, whether or not you join an umbrella - a large number of homeschoolers use a good amount of online curricular material.  

 

I'd be surprised if further questions were asked, unless by someone also interested in trying that option. 

 

I am prepared for a lot of very judgmental questions, like we all get - What about socialization, is that even legal, what is an online school, etc. But, I decided to make the jump and just talk about it. I'll come back to update how that goes :). 
 

 


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Old 08-16-2011, 05:32 AM
 
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I just read the rest of the thread since my last post and wanted to come back to send you a hug! I'm sorry you are feeling misunderstood.
I personally wish you the best of luck in your hs endeavor. It must be tough to find ways to talk/write about this without offending anyone but you sound well practiced at it wink1.gif

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Old 08-16-2011, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just read the rest of the thread since my last post and wanted to come back to send you a hug! I'm sorry you are feeling misunderstood.
I personally wish you the best of luck in your hs endeavor. It must be tough to find ways to talk/write about this without offending anyone but you sound well practiced at it wink1.gif


Thanks smile.gif

 

Getting actual advice is hard. I was talking to a friend about this today, and her answer was, "If I were you, I would put my kids in public school". Then I asked why, and she said "I could never spend 24/7 with my kids". headscratch.gif


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Old 08-16-2011, 04:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

May I ask you a question...and I guess some other posters too. If you despise the natives so much, why do you live in these countries? Why not move back to US?

 

 don't know if I am one of the people you are questioning, but I certainly don't "despise the natives"... 3 of the 4 members of our family are native.  I just don't like (and am not culturally used to) the feeling of being watched.  I think this is typical behaviour in small apartment buildings with retired old ladies nearly everywhere! 

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Old 08-19-2011, 12:38 AM
 
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I am prepared for a lot of very judgmental questions, like we all get - What about socialization, is that even legal, what is an online school, etc. But, I decided to make the jump and just talk about it. I'll come back to update how that goes :). 
 

 

Great! Can't wait to hear more - hope it's all positive from here!

:)

 

 

 


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Old 08-20-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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I would not discuss with anyone who didn't ask.  If someone did ask I would say my kids are enrolled in an accredited international correspondence school.  The school sends me instructions, I cover the lessons, they do the work, it gets submitted and graded.  I would also say that I have inquired and it is legal.  Then end the discussion.

 

IMO there is nothing wrong with embellishing if it keeps neighbors from reporting you.  You would be protecting yourself and your kids.


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