Hi everyone. First time on this forum I think. DS is nearly 5 and I've thought about home educating since he was a baby, read tons on it, talked to loads of home ed families, etc, and became more and more convinced. Went the nursery school route sort of to see how DS did with it, and neither of us was ever really happy with it, though at the time I felt I needed the break - he was always such an intense high needs and poor sleeping child and I spent most of those 15 hours a week catching up on rest. I finally decided to home educate recently - he would have started kindergarten in Sept. I tried to involve my ex all along the way of this education decision process - gave him details of when the school tours were (he never came to any), talked to him about my thoughts, sent him information about home schooling which he has clearly never read (not having realised, the first elementary point, that in England where I live it is legal to home educate in every area) - but he has not engaged and has simply always said 'Just send him to the nearest school, that'll be fine' without showing any interest.
When I told him I still wanted to home educate - this was after getting DS a place at the local school, (as I was still deciding and didn't want to not have a back up) and going to three settling in mornings there during the early summer - he at first seemed, while not happy about it, not unduly freaked out, even agreeing to read a John Holt book I lent him, and we ended that discussion on the note that I wanted to try a year of home ed and then reassess, to which he did not violently object but said he needed to think about it. Then, a few weeks later after hearing nothing more from him about it, when I brought it up again he acted as if we'd never had that discussion and as if I were throwing a total bombshell at him, he really freaked out and got quite vicious, threatening me with legal action etc., accusing me of negligence and 'trying to control everything' etc. In the end I said that we needed to go for mediation as clearly we were not communicating well enough. So he agreed to that at least and tomorrow is the mediation.
Anyone BTDT? I would SO appreciate any input/advice on how to handle it tomorrow, and what to say... I have never had mediation before so don't really know what to expect. Just for clarification, in England the system is that if the other, non residential parent (ie him) has parental responsibility as detailed on the birth certificate (which, unfort, he does have), that parent has equal say in medical and educational matters. However, in practice he would have to take me to court to contest my home ed decision, and it could go either way there. I'd like to avoid court of course, but will do that if needs be.
I should add that his main objections to home education are that DS will lack the socialisation experience of school - despite the fact I've often told him our area is the best in the country for home ed networks and groups - and that he will be 'in a bubble' and not part of 'normal society' (as if normal society is a good thing, heh). While on the surface I'm sure he believes all that, I think his real fear is that I will be too much of an influence on DS - we have very different values - and he does not want that. He also knows that homeschooling will mean we have a flexibility and freedom as a single parent family that with school we'd never be able to have - he's always tried to stop me moving to a different area and things like that, and if DS is tied to a school he'd have a lot more legal grounds to stop that. Basically, it's all about control. I would have a lot more respect for his opinions if they were informed ones, but the fact that he refuses to talk to the home ed families whose numbers I've given him, or actually read anything about it indicates that he is not coming from that place.
I'm wondering if since your ex is worried you will have "too much influence"....would he be interested in participating in the homeschooling? Maybe he would like to be included in the education of your child? If you send him to school then you both have equal ability (time) to influence him, but if he's homeschooled mainly by you then maybe your ex feels like he misses out on time that you have...like you have extra time with him?
I'm not sure how much time each week you both have with your child but maybe if you each take responsibility for certain days he would be onboard? It also may help bridge your difference if you are working on something together. The expression "catching more flies with honey" comes to mind. Maybe telling him that you want your child to be educated by his parents and not strangers, saying that you need his help and you want your child to be influenced by both of you.
Hugs to you! This can't be easy and it is good that you are trying the mediation to see if an agreement can be met.
Mama to Ainsley (7/01) , Finley (10/06) and Jade (10/06)
Thank you, good suggestion. I have said to X that I want DS to be educated by his community and not by the state, and that it isn't just me doing the education but there will be lots of groups etc. I did also say I wanted him to be as involved as possible, as much as he wants to be, and he reacted with fear, saying 'I'm not DS's teacher, I'm his parent, I can't teach him' (he has a very old school idea of 'teaching' and I wouldn't dare mention unschooling to him at this stage!), so so far he does not seem open to this idea. I did also say he could have more flexibility about seeing him, if DS was home educated. At the moment he has him one night a week and every second week in addition to that, has him for a weekend. He cannot do more than that b/c he works shifts 37 hours a week.
Totally agree with the 'catch flies with honey' concept, though!
FWIW 'school' doesn't happen between the hours of 9am and 3pm, Monday-Friday, September to May. School can happen 4pm-9pm Saturday-Thursday all year round ;) or 6am to noon or 11am til 7pm M/W/Sat.
I been a SAHM, worked full time, worked part time, had a non traditional shift outside the home and managed to homeschool.
There is no reason your ex can't be an involved homeschooling dad when he isn't working. There are tons of programs that happen at all hours of the day and all days of the week. If your ex wanted to he could start a playgroup or club that met in the evenings.
The great thing about homeschooling is 'school' happens 24/7/365! We can school anywhere, anytime, anyway.
I would continue on this year doing homeschooling, not really elaborating what particular method you are using. If the court wants to see 'progress' by all means you can create a transcript of a kindy lesson plan etc.
Good Luck and enjoy the homeschool lifestyle!
Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed
Seeking zen in 2014. Working on journaling and finding peace this year. Spending my free time taking J to swimteam
Have you looked at online or correspondence schools as a fallback position? Sometimes mediators really work towards "compromise" which means everyone is somewhat unhappy. But ideally the mediator would look at positive solutions addressing all your concerns.
For example on the socialization issue, my kids (7 and 8) are in class or practice 15-20 hours a week, and it might be over 20 this year once things get really underway. They are moving throughout the week in between groups and projects that suit their talents rather than tied to a single institution. Would your husband see that as valid socialization? Does he have a job where he is tied to a single institution for his entire workday for years at a time? Or does he see many happy adults who also move throughout the week through groups and projects? Addressing his concerns involves acknowledging his view of the world.
You are acknowledging his desire to have you not move. Are you willing to state your intent to stay in his area?
I just had to reply as it seems that your ex and mine have been talking!!!!!!! (although we live an ocean away!) Anyway, hoping it makes you feel better to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND THERE MUST BE SOME KIND OF NOTES ON "STUPID THINGS A MAN CAN SAY" because my ex has used those same words! I AM currently homeschooling our son and doing great. ADVICE WOULD BE STICK TO YOUR GUNS! IT IS YOUR LEGAL RIGHT FOR A REASON!
Thank you guys - no time to reply fully right now but just to say I loved the points about learning happening ALL the time, and about moving between different groups and getting socialisation that way.
I'm afraid the mediation went awfully. Two hours of draining, getting nowhere discussion that ended up getting personal and ugly as my X just started saying stuff like 'You're talking nonsense', 'I don't NEED to read/talk to anyone about home ed, I just know he has got to go to school,' etc. It was SO frustrating, and i could tell the mediator thought I was hippy and out there, she wasn't really that neutral - it always felt like I was the one who had to justify my position and explain my reasoning whereas he was allowed to get away with totally unbacked-up ridiculous sweeping statements. GRRR!!!! She said that if it goes to court it could really go either way - as it 'depends on which judge you get that day and if they are pro or anti home ed', which didnt encourage me to say the least. She strongly encouraged us to find a compromise to avoid the situation of a 'total breakdown in our relationship' (such as it is ), as we still have 'another 15 years of co parenting together' (at which point I almost burst into tears at the thought of it!), and in the end we sort of reached the beginning of one in that i agreed to re-look at a private school that I DID like (and which he'd shown no interest in back when I looked at it, as usual) which is non-government curriculum, child centred autonomous learning in very small classes and very nature based...but it is far out and involves me moving to that area (an area I like a lot and have often considered moving to, so that's fine with me). He was on principle fine about me moving there as it's only 20 minutes away on a train.
I felt backed into a corner. It was like, he just is NOT budging. I know it's my legal right but he has parental responsibility and that weighs heavily here.
we have a follow up appt in 3 weeks by which time we need to have looked at the school and if they can offer a place, figured out how to afford it - he said on principle that he was open to that. It IS a budge on his part from 'I will only consider state school', so I feel like I may just have to accept that, since he is clearly never going to open one inch to the home ed option! ANd yes, he DOES work at one institution and has done for like 8 years - so that is probably contributing to why he does not get it ;)
Thanks. I feel like so many holes have been poked in my confidence about home schooling. I feel trust that in the end what is best for DS will come about. I don't know if what is best for him is a court battle between his parents though.