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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
xpost in unschooling
We are done with public school, I am sooooo excited!!! My immediate family is very supportive of my ideas, as is my exh. however my cousins/aunt that I am very close to are giving me allll kinds of crap about it. Granted, he has a son who is on the spectrum, and his exw tried claiming homeschooling, when what she was really doing amounted to neglect - truly. But really, I'm not her!
So, I am on disability and cousin's wife decided to pull that card last night. Most of the time I let her spout off, get a little irritated but don't budge. This one I think perhaps I should research a little so I am standing on firmer ground - for myself.

Anyone have any knowledge of homeschooling with a mental disability? I have been stable for a long time, but am just getting to a point where I might consider the ability to try to make money, but only on my own schedule. That's the thing. I spend all summer each year with my kids and we do fine. We go to the library, we go to the science center, museums, play dates, etc. and some days we stay in our pajamas and never leave the house. I just have more days where I have to consciously focus on resisting that and pull myself through a bit, because 2 pj days in a row is dangerous to my health.

This is where it gets confusing. I really look at myself as semi-abled at this point, but with mental stuff, the defining is so much different than physical, and a majority of guidelines and services are geared to physical issues.

Any irl experiences would be helpful, thanks.
 

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I don't really understand what kind of advice you're looking for specifically.
But I am an unschooling mom who mostly lives off of disability (SSI and SDI) for severe mental illness. I also do some modeling, babysitting, and teaching exercise classes for money, but nothing regular or consistent. It'll probably be another year or so at least before I'm good enough to work again full time and ditch the disability (I may be being too optimistic here).

I have had issues with CPS. It seems like any doctor, therapist, or social worker of mine who discovers I'm home schooling immediately decides that a call to cps must be warranted because how could I possibly be doing that and coping. So CPS comes by to bug me a lot, but so far it's gone no further than that. I'm not doing anything wrong, so they don't have much to go on (other than my diagnosis) but it is a constant stressor that's about ready to make me move.

But in reality, homeschooling/unschooling has been really good for my mental health. There is no option for me to be in the house/antisocial all the time. My daughter is in multiple home school groups and lessons. So almost daily we have some park date, play date, class, field trip, etc to go to. Even on weekends. It forces me to practice my life, social, and coping skills on a very regular basis. We do have some curriculum stuff sitting around here to impress cps with when needed. It's nice to have cause every once in a while we might feel like doing some "school" work together and then it's just there waiting for us.

I don't have a great support system. But I have a decent one. I mostly do this all on my own and it can get very exhausting and overwhelming sometimes. I need to find a babysitter for the random day that I'm having a sever panic attack or something. It would be nice to know that I have someone I could call on when/if things get too stressful for a bit. I'm sure I could ask my friends for help those days, but I'm much too shy and just never will.

Not sure if I've helped any here.
Feel free to ask me anything if you have any questions. With as hard as it is sometimes. I've had a great year unschooling my daughter. We've bonded and are closer than ever. Our social lives have grown, we've learned a lot of neat thing, and we have plenty of time to recover when we need it. t's one of the best decisions that I've ever made.
 

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Oh and in the title you ask would SSA withdraw? Do you mean could you lose your money over homeschooling? If that's what you mean then the answer is no. Social security doesn't care about your kids or what you do with them really. Just like how you don't get any extra money for having kids (which I understand and think is fair), they don't take money away because you homeschool either.

You're money is yours to use to live on. How you budget it and decided what gets spent on what is up to you (unless you have a payee like I do). And in that case it's up to them mostly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for your post, this is exactly what I was looking for.

It gives me a lot of comfort.

Can you tell me what your dx is?

Also, do you keep a journal or other records of what your children are learning?

We are doing the summer reading program at our library, and there are many different homeschool focused activities there, like chess club and lego club. There are a few families right in our neighborhood who also unschool. the local school district is very poor, they don't have a library or even a custodial staff.
We also have 2 huge homeschooling groups in my own county and the neighboring county, lots of crossover so I estimate there are probably 400 families total in the 2 groups. I already know many of them from other mommy group experiences.

I have my partner, his brother, their parents and granddad all living in the same house too, and we each have our own bedrooms, so I don't think CPS could make a case for neglect


Their father is supportive of homeschooling as a trial for this year too.

My extended family is just giving me lots of crap. The fact that CPS has seen you and stuff and agreed that you are ok gives me lots of peace of mind.


Thanks so much!
 

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Since 13 was my diagnosis has mostly been schizo-affective. Though this year they changed it to bi-polar/unexplained psychosis/anxiety disorder/personality disorder/anorexia. So five different diagnoses now...fun.


I live in southern California so I'm kind of spoiled. There is more home schooling opportunities than I could ever take advantage of. And the laws here regarding home schooling are very relaxed. So I don't keep records or anything (well I do dump all the actual stuff we do into a big box and save it in the garage). I probably should keep a log because of my big fat cps history, but I just haven't. I'm lucky that the owner of the home school group that I attend the most, is a psychologist. Her daughter is also my daughters best friend. So she's ready to speak on my behalf to CPS about my education choices and how she thinks I'm handling it if need be. If I didn't have her as a resource, I might consider keeping more records.

And CPS hasn't given up on trying to "get" me for something yet. Though it sounds like you have a big in home support system and that usually keeps them a lot happier. My case is also probably way different than yours because I have personally offended most of the cps workers in this county by knowing my rights, exercising them, and otherwise making their job difficult. It is always a constant stressor for me but I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Unless you're thinking that those negative family members are going to be making calls to cps about you? Cause that's kind of how it started with me... But no reason to worry about something that hasn't happened yet, and probably wont.

So definitely know your laws, keep the kids "socialized", and stay on top of any and all of their medical problems. Also have proof that you are actively taking care of your own mental health cause these are the things that I notice keep cps the most happy.

So glad to hear that you have so much support. I hope you have a great home schooling year. I was nervous when we first started home schooling. But like I said, it's been great.
Good luck to you guys.
 

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I answered in the unschooling forum, but I'll repost here in case it helps someone else. I'm on disability for mental (bipolar and OCD) and physical (Crohn's disease) issues, and we are finishing up our 4th year of relaxed homeschooling.

*As far as records go, I keep attendence and write down an overview of what we do each week. I write the titles of all the books we read and all the places we go. What records you keep depend on what state you are in.*

Social Security disability doesn't mean you are unable to accomplish anything in life. As defined by the powers that be, it means you can't hold gainful employment (also called "substantial gainful activity").

It doesn't mean you're disabled as a partner, housekeeper, errand runner, friend, volunteer, mother, or homeschooler. Once you see your disability as relating to the inability to hold a "permanent" job outside the home--and not a life disability--you'll be able to relax some.

If you can parent and be disabled, you can homeschool and be disabled. Unless having your kids home with you full time stresses you so much that your mental health declines and say, you need to be hospitalized repeatedly. If that's the case though, you will know it and will put your kids' needs first. Right?

To quiet concerned/nosy relatives, just say you believe it's the right choice for your kids and you are going to try it for a year. If it doesn't work, you'll look into other options. If they are concerned about your ability to homeschool because you've struggled with parenting in the past, you might want to spend some time thinking about what has changed and why the past doesn't apply now.

You do not give up your rights as a parent (including the right to provide other means of education to your children) when you accept SSA's disability label. Social Security won't determine that you're not really disabled because you can care for your kids full time.

The disability determination process takes into account the effect that a change in circumstances can have. Perhaps the stresses of employment caused your mental health to deteriorate in the past. Perhaps you are doing well now because you don't have the stress of holding a job.

This is from SSA's mental health listings:

"Deterioration or decompensation in work or work-like settings refers to repeated failure to adapt to stressful circumstances which cause the individual either to withdraw from that situation or to experience exacerbation of signs and symptoms (i.e., decompensation) with an accompanying difficulty in maintaining activities of daily living, social relationships, and/or maintain*ing concentration, persistence, or pace (i.e., deterioration which may include deterioration of adaptive behaviors). Stresses common to the work environment include decisions, attendance, schedules, completing tasks, interactions with supervisors, interactions with peers, etc."

The effects of holding jobs in your past was considered when SSA made your disability determination.

If you are interested in trying to work some, check out this website.
 
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