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Homeschooling friends children after she passed away


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#1 mumto3girls

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:01 PM

My friend passed away 2 weeks ago due to complications after giving birth to her 6th child. She was a single parent and homeschooled her children. The children are now living with their father and he wants to make as few changes as possible, including continuing with homeschooling. He has no knowledge of how it works and needs help. I have schooled her children before on and off, including a 2 week stint while she travelled overseas. Looking at options for schooling, one possibility is that we could include them in our day twice a week, while he works. Then he has them the other three days. I guess the reason for my post is to hear ideas on how this could work. For me - teaching 7 girls (her oldest child is a nearly 16yo boy, whom I don't have a lot to do with, so not sure yet how he fits into the equation for education). How their children are going to adjust, I understand this could be a very difficult year for them and we may not get a whole lot done (they are aged 13 down to 6). And my own children (13 - 8). The 7 girls are best of friends and have been for a few years now (their mother and I were best friends too). Our home has been a second home to them and we feel like we are family.

 

Before this tragedy happened, I had planned on using SOTW for my girls as a group RA and giving my older ones extra reading material. I had also planned on using Exploring creation as a group science, particularly with my younger two, and my oldest would begin with Apologia General Science. We would have had a maths hour each day and a LA hour each day, I would use that hour to work with whoever needed help, then they would work independently when they could.

 

I'm thinking that the days I have the other girls, we could still do history and science as planned (altogether, expect possibly have to leave general science for now), then have a maths hour and LA hour, but obviously I wouldn't get through as much as I'm spreading myself between 7 children instead of 3. I would possibly need to forego languages, Latin, and all the other extras, just focusing on these main subjects.

 

Can anyone please give me some insight into how this could work?

 

I will still potentially have 3 days a week to work with my girls, but that may mean cutting back their extra curricula for a little while to be sure we have enough family and school time.

 

I have never experienced the loss of someone close and dear to me, so I really have no idea how much to expect of myself, nor the children, in the coming weeks and months. We are on summer holidays here in Australia, and school is supposed to start back 22nd Jan. I doubt we will be ready though.


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#2 Rosie_0801

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:11 PM

I have never experienced the loss of someone close and dear to me, so I really have no idea how much to expect of myself, nor the children, in the coming weeks and months. We are on summer holidays here in Australia, and school is supposed to start back 22nd Jan. I doubt we will be ready though.

 

You plug away as best you can, when you can.  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

If you lived any where near me, I'd help out.



#3 Pegs

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:31 PM

I'm sorry for your loss.

I don't have the first clue about homeschooling multiple kids, so can't offer any advice, but I didn't want to read and run.
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#4 cintinative

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:47 PM

I wanted to also say I am so sorry for your loss. I am not sure what to suggest either. I hope you are able to find a solution that allows you to come alongside.  Don't be afraid to grieve in front of her kids. They need to see you loved her too. Hugs.


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#5 nixpix5

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:49 PM

I wish I had brilliant suggestions but I really just want to give you a hug. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and it is heart warming to hear how you want to help and keep things normalized for them. I think all you can do is expect the year to be challenging and don't expect to get all of it done. I am sure it would be a comfort for the girls to get to spend time together each week.

#6 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:59 PM

Do you know if any of the kids could just do what your kids are doing?  Ie.  Put the two 13 year olds together in the same books.  Etc.

 

What grades does this equal to?  I'm assuming the 6 year old is 1st grade?  Then what grades are represented?  Are the 13 year olds in 7th?  8th?

 

I think that your plan sounds good.  Basics are fine.

 

The only one I would wonder about is the 16  year old.  My 16 year old is in 10th grade.  Do you know what grade he is in?  While I expect that he will be independent on many things, he is the only one whose work really matters when it comes to transcripts.  (At least in the US - I don't know about for Australia.) 



#7 Melissa in Australia

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 07:25 PM

hugs

 

 What state are you in? There could be some difficulties with regulations as some states only allow you to homeschool your own children.

 

 

 Parent academic transcripts are not used in Australia 


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#8 MinivanMom

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 07:39 PM

I am so sorry.

 

I know a family with four children who lost their mother. A friend of mine was a close friend of the family, and she stepped in to homeschool the children for the remainder of the year. It was a huge gift to the children to have that stability during a difficult time instead of having to go immediately into school. The following year the 2 teens went to community college where they used college courses to finish out their high school requirements while the 2 younger children went to public school. All the kids have done really, really well in their respective schools.

 

This situation was possible, because in our state homeschoolers are allowed to homeschool the children of another family. I would first check about the legality of homeschooling them. It's one thing to fill in while the mother is traveling, but it would probably be best to check whether the law allows you to homeschool non-related children for an extended period of time. I would also suggest that the father look into all options for the 16-yr-old boy. If you don't know him as well and he's so close to university, then it might make more sense for him to transition to a school situation for the start of this school year. So much depends on what his long-term plan is.

 

If it is all legal, then I think your plan for the younger children is wonderful. This is a time where they need stability and love more than anything else, and any love or support you can give them will help so much. 

 

. . . BUT . . . 

 

I would also encourage you to view this as a temporary situation. So much may change over the coming months or years. The father may remarry. His work situation could change so that he needs the kids in school full-time. He may decide he no longer wants you to be so involved. However much you want to help, there may come a time where your help is no longer needed. Or the father could come to rely on you so heavily that you are asked to do more and more until it becomes a burden that is taking away from your own children. It's impossible to know what may happen long-term. So I would encourage you to view homeschooling as a gift you can give the girls for this year, knowing that future years may hold a different path for everyone involved.

 

Bless you for being willing to step in during such a difficult time.

 

 


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#9 chocolate-chip chooky

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 07:43 PM

I'm so sorry for your loss and I really feel for this family.

 

Where are you in Australia? Do you know how they've been homeschooled up to this point?

 

I'm in QLD and if it were me I'd discuss with the father the possibility of enrolling them in Distance Ed, at least for the short term. This would allow them to remain at home for their schooling, but it wouldn't put the burden of planning, assessing and accountability on you or the father. 

 

I wish all of you the best in this situation. 


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#10 homemommy83

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 04:56 PM

I am so sorry for your loss :sad: .  I almost lost my best friend with her 7th- and she almost lost me to a miscarriage between my 5th and 6th- birth may be natural, but it is still has risks.

 

I would encourage the father to spend the 3 days he has with the little ones requiring the following, as most of this is independent.

1. Required silent reading time.  This can include many disciplines.  You could help each child set up goals/ review phonics on the day they are with you.

2. Teaching textbooks or if that is unaffordable I would look into Khan Academy (and have them work in the order of lessons by grade level.).  You could log in and make sure that they had completed this, and tutor only as necessary.

3. Pentime handwriting- after the first year it alternates practice of letters/words with full copywork pieces.

4. Rod and Staff Spelling- it is mostly independent, and you could quiz children their words on the last day you have them during the week.  The older children could be assigned grading- and this can wait until later on, they need time to heal.

 

During the time with you I would do group studies (1 1/2-2 hours) and do a language arts period with each child (This would take up most of your time this day. 3 hours with the amount of children).  This would be before/after lunch so you could have a Group period/ LA period.  You could send some writing assignments home for the older children.  Older children could work on Apologia Science/ Notgrass History independently when they are not working with you.  I would add work gently though, and spend some of the first month just doing group crafts/games/readalouds with discussions- to build some joy into their days, as losing a wonderful mother is devastating.

 

Brenda :grouphug: 


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#11 mumto2

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 05:41 PM

:grouphug: I am so sorry for your loss. I think whatever you can help with in the short term is a huge blessing for the father and the children. That being said make sure you stay within the legal requirements for both families.

I am speaking from a voice of experience. Don't get too wrapped up. Don't change your plans hugely for your kids to accommodate their needs. Help, but your way. We all knew my friend was dying and she prepared by buying textbooks and planning school far into the future. Dad was to do it. A couple of us were for lack of a better term, consultants. When it fell apart it fell apart spectacularly. New girl friend moved in and off to school mid term. It was over in a snap. They weren't mine.
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#12 BlsdMama

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:05 AM

My friend passed away 2 weeks ago due to complications after giving birth to her 6th child. She was a single parent and homeschooled her children. The children are now living with their father and he wants to make as few changes as possible, including continuing with homeschooling. He has no knowledge of how it works and needs help. I have schooled her children before on and off, including a 2 week stint while she travelled overseas. Looking at options for schooling, one possibility is that we could include them in our day twice a week, while he works. Then he has them the other three days. I guess the reason for my post is to hear ideas on how this could work. For me - teaching 7 girls (her oldest child is a nearly 16yo boy, whom I don't have a lot to do with, so not sure yet how he fits into the equation for education). How their children are going to adjust, I understand this could be a very difficult year for them and we may not get a whole lot done (they are aged 13 down to 6). And my own children (13 - 8). The 7 girls are best of friends and have been for a few years now (their mother and I were best friends too). Our home has been a second home to them and we feel like we are family.

 

Before this tragedy happened, I had planned on using SOTW for my girls as a group RA and giving my older ones extra reading material. I had also planned on using Exploring creation as a group science, particularly with my younger two, and my oldest would begin with Apologia General Science. We would have had a maths hour each day and a LA hour each day, I would use that hour to work with whoever needed help, then they would work independently when they could.

 

I'm thinking that the days I have the other girls, we could still do history and science as planned (altogether, expect possibly have to leave general science for now), then have a maths hour and LA hour, but obviously I wouldn't get through as much as I'm spreading myself between 7 children instead of 3. I would possibly need to forego languages, Latin, and all the other extras, just focusing on these main subjects.

 

Can anyone please give me some insight into how this could work?

 

I will still potentially have 3 days a week to work with my girls, but that may mean cutting back their extra curricula for a little while to be sure we have enough family and school time.

 

I have never experienced the loss of someone close and dear to me, so I really have no idea how much to expect of myself, nor the children, in the coming weeks and months. We are on summer holidays here in Australia, and school is supposed to start back 22nd Jan. I doubt we will be ready though.

:grouphug:

 

I'd allow for a lot of grace and a lot of time for you all to heal a little too.  Gentle schooling - getting some done and allowing for just TIME to be together.  So hard.  You are a good and kind friend to give so generously.  Her girls are very blessed.

I will be honest in that I tried very hard to use multi-age curriculum and it left me doing a LOT of planning.  Let's take SOTW for example.  Fun to read, I love it, but you are left grabbing and digging books to "fill out" for the older kids.
Currently, because we school about that many kiddos (7 kids ages 16-6) we are doing texts (Rod & Staff Grammar and Saxon Math) across the board to make sure it's covered and done.  After 17 years of trying things out (and LOVING those years) with schooling this many, I am always feeling guilty about not getting something done, meaning to plan something and then not, feeling like I am doing too much in one area and not enough in another, etc., I went back to Susan's suggestion in the original WTM I read when our (now) 21 year old was in kindergarten.  Rod & Staff Grammar covers writing and grammar solidly.  Saxon is awesome for step by step as well as going over topics thoroughly and repeating.  Adding DIVE to this has made my life even easier.  I still do SOTW but I have the kids listen to it on Audio and then have a section in my bookcase that is of the historical time period for the year and I don't even bother to assign specific books except to have a list of books for each to read over the year at the beginning of the year.  No more matching everything up and driving myself crazy to write lesson plans.  You can definitely plan to group teach but if you find it isn't working for you, honestly, I wouldn't think twice (or feel guilty) about going to a straight textbook approach.  

I look at it this way - with them using straight textbooks I have killed my guilt and allow myself to read aloud more.  Too many kids to drive yourself crazy with worry, guilt, and stress.  I did only do Latin with my oldest (who later took it in college anyway) and I did have my oldest two just take community classes for foreign languages.  The next three do Spanish at a homeschool program.  No, I no longer teach Latin.  I'd love to and I *do* think it is useful.  However, it is better, by far, for them to have a joyful loving mama and me trying to do all things and be all things just wasn't happening.  Switching to textbooks was a hard thing for me.  I felt like I was making a huge compromise for ME.  Now? Now I see I made a compromise but we're all happier and better for it.  I'm not sorry.  And I KNOW we are getting more done.  Let's face it, you are going to be cooking for more, cleaning for more, schooling more.  Anything that makes those jobs easier for you?  Do those things.  And you definitely don't have to do anything my way.  But when you find yourself feeling guilty for not doing X or Y, give yourself a pass.  You are choosing the better by far.  


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#13 Ausmumof3

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:32 AM

I have a little bit of perspective on one aspect of the issue. I was homeschooled at the time my mum died. We were part of a coop and so there was a definite continuity although my dad took over. Also I was a relatively independent learner and only one. The gift of having that education setting continued and the love the other home educating parents showed was pretty incredible.

I would consider looking into open access for the oldest if possible especially as the year hasn't started yet.

I don't want to discourage you at all because it's an amazing thing your offering but I would be offering with a fairly clear understanding that it's a solution with a time frame because I think the arrangement could be pretty difficult long term just with the sheer workload of schooling that many kids over the range of ages.

Lastly :grouphug: I'm so sorry for your loss.

#14 Hannah

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 07:10 AM

I was 18 when my mother died and my siblings were 14 and 11.  Expect them to be in an academic daze for at least 2 years. 

I'd also agree that a whole lot can change in a year.   My father was remarried within 14 months and that changed everything at home. 



#15 lmrich

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:00 AM

I am so sorry for your loss. I would give this more time. The kids need time to process what happened. If he needs you to watch them while he works, I would not worry too much about academics for at least a month or two. Do art, read aloud, play games, let them journal.  


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#16 goldenecho

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:05 AM

Wow.  First, so sorry for your loss.  I admire what you're doing for your friend's children.  That is such a blessing to the family.

 

My thought is that it's harder to split up math/reading instruction between two teachers.    So, I would focus on the science and history the two days you have their children, since those are subject you are already doing that are also easier to do as a group (and also time consuming to prepare, so you are taking a lot off their father's plate if he doesn't have to worry about those subjects).  I would let him handle the math and language arts...if he wants to give you some practice work or independent reading for those days you have the children you could supervise it--but other than that I think would probably be better/easier if he controlled the main teaching of those subjects, while you controlled the main teaching of the other subjects, so you didn't have to keep as much tabs on what was being learned on the off days.   

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by goldenecho, 14 January 2018 - 04:07 AM.


#17 mumto3girls

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Posted Yesterday, 03:46 PM

Wow! Thank you so so much! I am overwhelmed by the love and support here. It has been a really difficult almost 3 weeks. We haven't had internet for the past 5 days, so I have just logged on now to read all your wonderful responses. 

 

Just a brief update, the 15yo boy has chosen to go to a school. He had discussed this with his mother in December and she was preparing the paperwork for it. So that is underway. The father is very grateful for our offer of helping out 2 days a week, so we are in the process of seeing how that is going to work. I will come back to each of your responses to assist in my planning. But it's looking as though it could be mainly the extras I will look after - history, science, and adding in the fun things our girls all like to do together. If we do this, we will evaluate in 6mths time or so to see how it is working out for us all. We are all aware that anything could change and we need to make the most of the time we have with the children and do what we can to support them during this initial stage. 

 

I'd love to write back to you all individually, but I just don't have the time right now. Thanks again so much for your support xx


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#18 MarkT

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Posted Today, 09:51 AM

hugs

 

 What state are you in? There could be some difficulties with regulations as some states only allow you to homeschool your own children.

 

 

 Parent academic transcripts are not used in Australia 

The father probably should be listed as the Home Schooling Parent on official records.

Good observation.

 

May God bless you for your effort and good luck going forward.

 

Mark