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Ananda

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Everything posted by Ananda

  1. Usually we buy the DVD, but then immediately rip it and store the digital files. We watch the digital copies. We don't buy digital copies directly, because they never give you the actual files. We don't use the DVDs because we have little kids and they would scratch or lose them. The DVDs are stored in a zipper binder in a safe place. BTW we do the same with video/computer games. I can't imagine keeping up with all the optical disks and always helping the children to start their videos & games. I don't think the disk drive on our Wii even works anymore . . .
  2. I agree. I also think if they cleared up the misunderstandings as quickly as possible, they would have more resources to devote to the children who are in crisis.
  3. I think I agree. But I will say that just as we have a right to refuse CPS access. We also have a right to invite them in. And at least for me, either way my decision would have been based a large part on fear. I let them in, because of fear of unnecessarily dragging out the process. If I didn't let them in it would have been out of fear of them misinterpreting something they saw or heard. It is a scary situation, of course fear plays into it. I don't know what CPS could do to alleviate the fear. Their very presence at your door is an accusation. They have the power to take your children and sweep them up into a very broken system. The only thing that could have helped my specific situation is if CPS could have followed up on my homeschool paperwork, preferably by mail and then left us alone. Why is situation is a binary, ignore possible truancy or full investigation decision? That is a waste of everyone's time & energy. I can imagine allegations of medical neglect being cleared up by a doctor's letter, for example.
  4. I agree. Although that isn't exactly what happened. They allowed me to become a member in an hour for a $40 emergency fee in addition to the normal fee. Only after I had joined did they give me the legal advice. But I was impressed with the legal advice. I am also grateful they allowed me to join to get advice on a situation in progress. I assumed it worked like insurance where you have to join before you have a problem.
  5. HSLDA sent our acceptance email for membership. Dear Mrs. & Mr. Husband's first and last name . . . Seriously HSLDA right off the bat. My husband & I don't even have the same last name.
  6. I believe it. In that moment, I didn't care one whit about my rights. I totally understand and agree with the argument that if I let her in and cooperate openly and so do most everyone else, then her experience will be that only very bad people exercise their rights. It has a definite societal cost. I played my part in eroding all our rights. If it is any consolation . . . she was young and eager. I explained the position of hslda & many homeschooler would be to cooperate only as compelled by law. I explained why. I briefly outlined the history. I explained why I chose differently. We were the first homeschoolers she had met. She wanted to know why people homeschool. Not why WE homeschool, but why people in general homeschool. I listed off reasons rapid fire. She actually read the FAQ from the department of ed's website. She was really interested. So it is my belief that she learned from our case. I know she at least learned state homeschool law. I think she heard me. . . . maybe I am thinking too much of myself. Sorry, I am still euphoric from the relief of it all. As to why I chose as I did. MY CHILDREN. I think the calculus is entirely different when it involves your children. I genuinely thought my children were at risk. I didn't know the specific allegations against us. One poster speculated sexual abuse! I would and did compromise my scruples to protect my children. I also joined HSLDA to which I was strongly opposed. That is a separate discussion. I called them planning to ask them for a names of local lawyers that I could call. They told me that I could, in fact, join with my case in progress. I didn't even stop to think, I joined immediately. I was impressed that their legal council moderated his response when I told him that I didn't care about my privacy or my rights. I just wanted this closed as soon as possible. He advised me to act as I did. He also incidentally told me to stop taking legal advice from the hive mind. We secretly recorded the conversation, our state is a one party consent state. We had decided to tell her she needed a warrant if she tried to leave the open area of our living room, dinning room & play room. She never left the couch. We had decided to allow her to "set eyes on" each of the children and exchange pleasantries but not to interview the children. She barely talked to them, and didn't even set eyes on my napping 3yo. We didn't plan on cooperating with anything and everything. She never asked of us something we weren't willing to give.
  7. So the update: It went way better then could be expected. My 3 yo napped through the whole thing. The big boys were great---vibrant, happy, obedient, and obviously smart. They nicely played mouse trap with my mother. We invited her right in she sat on our couch and talked to us for 1/2 an hour. Mostly she was satisfying her curiosity about homeschooling, and commiserating about how stupid the complaint was. She asked us a rapid fire list about risk factors: drugs, alcohol, spousal abuse etc. We talked briefly about rules & discipline. She never had any interest in leaving the living room. She only talked with the children when they initiated conversation. She was fascinated by homeschooling. This is the text of the complaint in red, to give you an idea of how truly stupid it was: Caller reports that dh (34) & Ananda (33) are parents of ds9, ds6 & ds3. According to the caller the children are homeschooled. The caller reported that ds9 wears a pull up (like this is a habitual thing). The caller stated that they believe ds3 also wears a pull up, but it is unknown if ds6 wears pull ups. The caller did not speak with the parents as to why ds9 wears a pull up. Why is this person so obsessed with pull ups? When the caller was asked if they had any other concerns, the caller stated that the children have difficulty listening to directions, which is typical for children who are homeschooled; (You guys are going to love that.) however, the children exhibit behaviors of not following directions beyond the norm. The caller stated that they didn't have any other concerns at this time. Then they provided mangled DOB's for the children. Based on the complaint, I am certain this is someone from the YMCA, probably an employee, but maybe another parent. So . . . that is a thing. I am just so flabbergasted at the stupidity. You can see why she wasn't at all concerned. Apparently, nothing about the call concerned CPS. She said they would have told off the caller. But they emailed the state department of education just to close out their file. The department of education replied, in blue: I do not have a filing under the last name (dh & dc's last name). Basics such as potty training would be considered child care and parenting responsibilities, not a curriculum choice. That is the best part. The department of education being like wtf! She said that she had to follow up & do the whole she-bang because the department of ed didn't have a record of us. This is because the YMCA mangled the DOB's and our homeschool is registered under my (different) last name. Apparently, though, most people cooperate with her. She seemed really taken aback when I told her that many people would have refused to talk to her, to allow her access to the children and to enter the home. She said that she couldn't get a court order, but it would raise her suspicions. Apparently the only people who have reacted that way have been horrifically abusive or drug addicts. She would have kept coming back until our case expired. Anyways, 5 days of torture because someone at the YMCA is weird about pull-ups. Thanks. Ananda
  8. I agree it is far fetched, but we literally didn't talk about it. So . . . also how would the neighbors know they don't follow directions. The neighbors have kids, so they know how kids are in that regard. . . their kids aren't angels or anything. I am dealing with today, today. Tomorrow I will worry about who reported us and why. How do we prevent this from reoccurring etc. Ananda
  9. Update: I joined HSLDA out of fear. Apparently, you can join after the fact. So I got real legal advice. Go me! He suggested a middle road because that was what made us most comfortable. We will keep the meeting, invite the cps worker into our living room and have brief conversation with her. My mother will play with the children in the adjoining play room or dinning room. So they will be able to see the kids. She will not tour our house. If we become uncomfortable, I will excuse myself to talk to legal council (ie HSLDA).
  10. About the following instructions thing: ds9 is generally good, he can be spacey or distractable, when overwhelmed (which becoming increasingly rare) he does melt down. I have given him coping skills and worked with his teachers to allow him to leave is overwhelmed. ds6 is generally good. We have been having trouble with attitude. He cries and whines and makes a martyr out of himself. This is a problem that we are actively parenting (with no effect). ds3 is on the stubborn end of normal for a 3yo in following directions.
  11. I joined HSLDA in fear. Apparently you can join after the fact. They game me two names of local-ish lawyers to call.
  12. This was the CPS workers reply to our inquiry regarding complaint: I am not able to give you the physical copy of the report. However, I am able to summarize the report for you. The report just stated that the children are currently homeschooled. The report stated that ds9 has been wearing a pull-up and that the children will have difficulty following directions. When the report was received, the children were checked to see if they were registered as homeschooled. The report stated that there was not filing for exempt school under the name D--- (children & husband's last name) for the children to be homeschooled. There is no other information in the report. I was able to confirm with the Dept. of Ed. that ds9 is exempt due to a filing under your wife’s name, Ananda (my last name which is different). And your wife explained to me that a letter was sent to ds6’s district school stating that she was homeschooled. I believe that when checking on the exempt school filing, ds9’s birth date was entered incorrectly in our system which was why they were unable to find this information. Let me know if this makes sense. Thanks! Thoughts?
  13. I checked, we are free to record.
  14. I will consult an HSLDA & an attorney. I agree that it isn't worth the risk. I can take the financial hit. (Probably, I actually don't know how much an attorney costs.) But wow . . . a neighbor tattles on us for legally homeschooling and I have to pay a but ton of money to defend myself. We have decided to go through with tomorrow's visit. My mother is here for support, 3rd set of ears, and child control (so that we can focus on the workers). We will answer the specific allegations, but be circumspect about anything else. We are insisting on receiving the specific allegations in writing before the visit. If they are more serious then we have been led to believe, we will cancel the visit. We won't allow her to talk to the children without us present. We will record the interview. Hopefully we can pay a small amount (hundreds not thousands) for legal advice, and go into this with our eyes wide open. I will update, as appropriate. I have been convinced both to consult a lawyer and to cooperate with a brief home visit. Hopefully this is the right choice. No choice was presented itself as safe or clearly correct. We take a leap of faith.
  15. I will consult an HSLDA & an attorney. I agree that it isn't worth the risk. I can take the financial hit. (Probably, I actually don't know how much an attorney costs.) But wow . . . a neighbor tattles on us for legally homeschooling and I have to pay a but ton of money to defend myself. We have decided to go through with tomorrow's visit. My mother is here for support, 3rd set of ears, and child control (so that we can focus on the workers). We will answer the specific allegations, but be circumspect about anything else. We are insisting on receiving the specific allegations in writing before the visit. If they are more serious then we have been led to believe, we will cancel the visit. We won't allow her to talk to the children without us present. We will record the interview. We weighed the pros and cons of each option and believe limited cooperation is best. We have made this decision with careful consideration. I don't believe any option is without risk. I think I should limit myself to one thread so I will continue updating on the chat board and allow this thread to die.
  16. The two threads are giving opposite advice, and I am waffling. I will consult with an attorney. I understand that they could twist things and that scares me. But refusing them access while within my rights, is risky, because it makes me look guilty. That matters in CPS cases.
  17. Yeah, I have never been so glad to be privileged. I feel guilty, but I am genuinely relieved that I am: white, educated, middle class, healthy physically & mentally etc. I don't have to worry about discrimination for anything except homeschooling & general weirdness. It goes without saying it shouldn't be that way.
  18. Yeah, that is the other thing. Up until a few months ago, my 6 yo (how is tall for his age) wore a pull-up at night. So maybe the confused the children? But again WHY DOES THIS MATTER? My youngest is 3, it isn't odd that we have pull-up in the house.
  19. Neither I, nor anyone else told anyone, before the CPS investigation. It would have to have been seen through the curtains. It is most likely a neighbor. Possibly the mailman or Fed-ex guy etc. (but probably not, they are always so quick). Yeah it freaks me out, and makes my paranoid that is will become an on going problem.
  20. Uggg. I haven't been sleeping (on benedryl and melatonin). I think if this drags on weeks, I will legit need anti-anxiety medication. Her manor thus far & my instinct is that she is box checking so that she can close her case. But but but . . . the horror stories . . . our families eccentricities . . . the way children always speak in hyperbole . . .
  21. That is the reason. That and we were already on a later schedule so all our children just naturally fell into it.
  22. I did, they are closed. I will call again tomorrow. I would like to have the name of a lawyer who could help me if I am wrong and this turns ugly. Although the more I think about it, the more I don't necessarily trust HSLDA's advice. I am skeptical that going in lawyers blazing is always the best course of action. I did have good reason not to join in the first place. I am just scared and wish I had a clear path forward.
  23. I understand that perspective. I just wonder if it would make things worse in my situation. The CPS lady didn't seem like she was trying to catch us out. She seemed like she was trying to do her due diligence to close the case. It seems like such a risk either way. She could visit with us and see things as they are and quickly close the case. My instinct is this is what she wants to do. On the other hand your link could be right. She could find little things to justify escallating our case. On the other hand, if we go lawyer & protect my rights on her. She could back off & close the case. Or she could continue to come back in an attempt to complete her investigation. Or she could escallate the case because it looks like we are hidding something. My understanding is that my rights are different. That while I can refuse her access to my home & children, to do so will look bad. I have to prove my innocence, rather than have my innocence assumed and she have to prove the allegations. When the charges are criminal silence can't be construed as guilt, but apparently with CPS it can? That sucks so much for us. But maybe it is necessary to protect truly abused children. I don't know. I am receiving conflicting advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to me.
  24. This is cross posted from the Gen. Education Board. I I freeking out and shamelessly want as much advice as possible. I am a long time lurker, and in desperate need of advice & hugs. Sorry this is long. We were reported to CPS. I am unclear on the details of the allegations. The lady showed up at our house last Thursday morning. She said they received a report that our children were home in the daytime. She seemed to think it was a administrative error (like a name misspelled in the state homeschoolers data base or something). She was professional, kind, and didn't seem concerned at all. I quickly told her that we are legal homeschoolers. I offered to print off my "affirmation letter" that I receive from the State. She asked me to email it to her. "She asked to "set eyes" on each of the children (including my 3 year old). She talked briefly to my 9 year old. She asked him about what rules we have. He didn't answer, so I helped by saying "what are some things you are not allowed to do?" He then said, "Mom wants me to moderate my electronics use. I play video games all day." (This is because I got upset with him last night about how I always have to kick him off electronics. I wish he wish he would moderate himself. He of course doesn't play video games all day, because I do kick him off). She asked him what other rules we have and he didn't have an answer. She asked him what happens when he breaks a rule, and he said time out. She asked him what his favorite subject was in school, and he didn't have an answer, but they did get around to the fact that he likes to read. I had to wake my 6 year old, and he was grumpy & complaining about how it was cold. So she didn't talk to him, and he went right back inside. She saw the three year old, and he was cute and quickly went back inside. She then asked me if my 9yo was in pull ups. I said no, all my children (including recently the 3yo) are potty trained. But I knew what she was referring to. A few weeks ago 9yo was sick and didn't want to poop his pants. He chose to wear a pull up for about two days, because he didn't want to poop his pants. But How would anyone know that!? And why does that even matter? It isn't illegal/abusive for a 9yo to wear a pull up. She said she needed make an appointment to talk to my husband & left. She didn't ask to see the house, although she did probably see the reasonably clean (but still a bit untidy) living & dinning room as I was going in and out with the various children. I quickly emailed her the affirmation letter regarding my 9 year old, and explained the situation regarding my 6 year old. That for kindergarten you send a letter to the local school board saying that you intend to homeschool your child for first grade. I did send this letter, but I have no proof because I messed up on getting a return receipt from the post office. I also included a link to the state department of ed's FAQ regarding homeschooling to answer any questions she might have about the law. My husband called her that evening to set up a time to talk to her. She wasn't available until Tuesday (tomorrow). She told him that she had received my email and still seemed to think it was an administrative error. My husband noticed that her office was next door to his, and offered to meet her there (by email). She sent the following reply: "Part of my job is to meet with the family in a normal and comfortable setting in the home. Seeing the interactions and where the children live really helps us to get to know the family. I would prefer to meet with both you and your wife at your home. Let me know if that still works for Tuesday!" He replied that the original plan of our house was fine. We have deep cleaned the house and everything. We are freaking out. I don't know what to do. Part of me thinks we should just meet with her tomorrow in our home. She will be a reasonable person, see things as they are and close the case. Then we can put this behind us. The other part of me keeps flashing back to every cps horror story I have ever heard. We are not members of HSLDA, should I peruse legal council. If so how/who? Or wait to see how tomorrow pans out? Concerns: 1. We keep a non-traditional schedule. The children go to bed late & wake up late. They get adequate sleep. When she showed up at 10:00 I was in my pajamas with an old braid and my 9yo's hair was unbrushed. I had to wake my 6 yo. Usually the children go to bed around 11:00, and get up 9:00. I go to bed about 2:00 and wake up when my 3 yo does. 2. I have tons of books & am a homeschool curriculum junkie. But I don't keep records and don't have a lot to prove our work. We do a lot orally, and a lot on white boards. I don't keeps much around. Math Mammoth worksheets immediately become scratch paper, then trash. 3. I share a queen sized bed with my 9 yo, and my 6 yo sleeps in a loft bed in the same room. I have asked the regularly if they would like their own room. They prefer this situation, and I was okay with it. My 3 yo sleeps in the closet of my husband's room. The 3 yo controls the bifold door. It is always open unless he chooses to close it. It is easy to just push it open. He has a toddler bed, board books, stuffed toys & a light. 4. Our house is older with a lot of minor damage. Nothing dangerous or serious, but cracks & small holes in the wall plaster (could easily be patched), cabinet doors that don't close properly. The bathroom while perfectly serviceable does need to be redone. (all fixtures work appropriately). We also have drawing on the walls. 5. We have fruit flies. We set traps and the situation is now minor, but I do notice the occasional fly. 6. I am concerned that we may say or especially the children may say something that is taken out of context and blown out of proportion. 7. We don't know the exact allegations. She seems focused on the legal homeschool paperwork. But is vague when we ask if that is all there is. Our paperwork is in order, surely she has figured that out by now. Why does she want to meet us in our home etc. if that is all there is?  Please help
  25. People who could vouch for us: 1. We do have a family doctor. My children are vaccinated and have attended well baby/child visits. They are due for another visit, but just by a few months. We have a family dentist and the 9 & 6 yo have visited recently. My 9yo had an optometrist visit in the last year. No medical concerns with any of my children. 2. We have attended homeschool co-op for the last year & a half. 3. My older two children attended preschool and my 3yo is registered for next year. We have an excellent relationship with the preschool. 4. We have been involved with the same music school since my oldest was a toddler. 5. For the last year we have attended homeschool gym class at the YMCA. 6. We have extended family. My mother is coming to provide support.
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