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What do you say when someone asks


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about how to start homeschooling, but you know that they are really just in a bind and must somehow educate their children?

 

I've had several incidences recently in which I've been asked how one goes about starting to homeschool. These requests were from moms whose children had been suspended and/or expelled for bad behavior.

 

There seems to be no real desire to homeschool on the part of either the kids or the parents. But when I try to avoid the topic and suggest alternatives I get the feeling that they think I think they cannot do it. And it makes me look arrogant. The truth is that I don't think they can do a good job of it (these particular moms) because of a total lack of commitment.

 

In the past I've spent hours and hours with moms who have claimed to want to homeschool. I've given them websites, books, sample curriculua, etc. only to hear that they decided not to do it. It really seemed to be a waste of my time. At this point in life, I have precious few hours to waste. These moms are not my friends - they are usually referred to me by a mutual acquaintance.

 

So...how do I let them know that they really should look for alternatives other than homeschooling without making myself look arrogant?

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If you tell them that the best overall plan for homeschooling rigorously is the classical method which is outlined in TWTM, wouldn't that get you off the hook so that you've fulfilled your civic duty? ;)

 

You and I know that that are many ways to do this well, but if you point them to TWTM, they'll either adopt a really great, specific plan and do well, or they'll roll their eyeballs in disgust at the hard work outlined therein, and move on post haste. :lol:

 

Presto, magic-o, you've quickly given your two cents, and all is good.

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If you tell them that the best overall plan for homeschooling rigorously is the classical method which is outlined in TWTM, wouldn't that get you off the hook so that you've fulfilled your civic duty? ;)

 

You and I know that that are many ways to do this well, but if you point them to TWTM, they'll either adopt a really great, specific plan and do well, or they'll roll their eyeballs in disgust at the hard work outlined therein, and move on post haste. :lol:

 

Presto, magic-o, you've quickly given your two cents, and all is good.

 

LOL! You're right - I think that would send them on their way pretty fast :lol: I tend to get myself into trouble because I try to solve their problems rather than just trying to avoid the topic. And I can refer them to our local library because it has a copy of TWTM :D

 

Thanks!

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If you tell them that the best overall plan for homeschooling rigorously is the classical method which is outlined in TWTM, wouldn't that get you off the hook so that you've fulfilled your civic duty? ;)

 

You and I know that that are many ways to do this well, but if you point them to TWTM, they'll either adopt a really great, specific plan and do well, or they'll roll their eyeballs in disgust at the hard work outlined therein, and move on post haste. :lol:

 

Presto, magic-o, you've quickly given your two cents, and all is good.

 

:iagree: My default is to refer to TWTM

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Honestly? For those types I usually just refer them to the local charter school. Perhaps not the best response but the charter school has the time and energy to hold their hand, provide accountability, etc.

 

Independent homeschooling isn't for everyone and there is no way I'm going to suggest it to a mom who doesn't even really want to homeschool.

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about how to start homeschooling, but you know that they are really just in a bind and must somehow educate their children?

 

I've had several incidences recently in which I've been asked how one goes about starting to homeschool. These requests were from moms whose children had been suspended and/or expelled for bad behavior.

 

Many parents who have children who are having difficulties at school are looking for alternative ways to educate their children. Sometimes school is not a good fit for children and they have behavior issues as a result. Many students with learning issues and mental health issues act out in school due to their frustrations or pressures.

 

I always assume a parent genuinely wants information. I point them to our state homeschool association website, as it has "getting started" information as well as information about state laws and resource lists.

 

If they come back to me after they have explored that site, I am more than willing to meet them at a bookstore for a couple of hours to answer questions or brainstorm with them.

 

There seems to be no real desire to homeschool on the part of either the kids or the parents. But when I try to avoid the topic and suggest alternatives I get the feeling that they think I think they cannot do it. And it makes me look arrogant. The truth is that I don't think they can do a good job of it (these particular moms) because of a total lack of commitment.

One has to gain information about something before they decide to commit to it. Sometimes that information makes them realize that they aren't up to the task. It's a valuable exercise.

 

In the past I've spent hours and hours with moms who have claimed to want to homeschool. I've given them websites, books, sample curriculua, etc. only to hear that they decided not to do it. It really seemed to be a waste of my time. At this point in life, I have precious few hours to waste. These moms are not my friends - they are usually referred to me by a mutual acquaintance.

Setting boundaries is a good idea. Think carefully about how much time you are willing to spend with anyone and how you can effectively use that time. Perhaps make up a sheet of information w/web sites, how to find state laws, etc. and be willing to email that to them. Tell them after they spend some time exploring that & they still want to learn more, then they can email you to set up a convenient time to meet up.

 

 

So...how do I let them know that they really should look for alternatives other than homeschooling without making myself look arrogant?

They probably are already looking at alternatives.

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I am of a different mind. I believe there is a homeschooler called a "reluctant homeschooler". That would have been me. I had 2 boys in middle school when I started. One was being harassed, he was small and very, very intelligent. The other was very popular, but would have rather stayed home in the house with the siblings then go to school. His grades were dropping, too. This was all very unlike him. After not getting the proper help and support through the school, I pulled them and chose to homeschool them. I didn't really want to, but felt that for their welfare I really had no other choice. I had a friend that homeschooled and she helped me a little bit a long the way. I was always grateful I had someone's footsteps to somewhat mimic. But I'll admit, it took me awhile to find my own footsteps, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

 

What I didn't know was that, my popular one had gotten into some fights at school. The school never called me. He was also skipping a little, and not turning in work, etc... I suppose some might have looked at him as a problem child. But what I think you may be forgetting is a lot of times kids are acting out because something is going on. School can be so easy to get these kids caught up in the drama, the rush of adrenaline, and hormones. They react, rather then think. For instance, someone calls their friend a name or takes a friends boyfriend, and next thing you know there is a group supporting the one girl, and all h-e-double hockey sticks is breaking lose. Fights happen, it's easy for them to get caught up. Next thing you know they are suspended. These days though, at least here, even getting something as simple an ISS, can be because you dress-coded, or swore, or were making sexual jokes amongst friends and a teacher over heard.

 

I have had my kids both in and out of the school system on different ocassions, in different states and counties. I saw firsthand what can happen. As a matter of fact my 17 yr old asked to pulled out because he was tired of the drama and feeling like he was always responsible for helping his friends out. That meant if a friend needed a shoulder, he'd skip class to be there for them. If a friend in class was high, he'd try and get them food and help out rather then doing his work. He is a helper, and it was doing a disservice to himself.

 

All I am saying, is that you don't know these families well. As you said they came to you on a recommendation from a mutual friend. So really, you may not know everything. But even though the circumstances may not be ideal, it could be the gateway to helping the family find a path that may bring them peace, closeness, and help work on resolving whatever issues are going on within the child. You just don't know.

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I have a standard list that I e-mail or print and out to folks who express interest in homeschooling. It includes checking the list of state standards for their child's grade, books that I have found helpful ("100 Top Picks" by Cathy Duffy and "TWTM" are the top two), and a rough outline of how we do things at my house, since that's usually what they want to know, even though there is such a wide variety of ways to homeschool. I have found that I never hear about homeschooling again from most people; those who are seriously interested get the books and find their own path and only contact me to ask further questions for reassurance purposes later on.

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I have a standard list that I e-mail or print and out to folks who express interest in homeschooling. It includes checking the list of state standards for their child's grade, books that I have found helpful ("100 Top Picks" by Cathy Duffy and "TWTM" are the top two), and a rough outline of how we do things at my house, since that's usually what they want to know, even though there is such a wide variety of ways to homeschool. I have found that I never hear about homeschooling again from most people; those who are seriously interested get the books and find their own path and only contact me to ask further questions for reassurance purposes later on.

 

That's a good idea. It would be easy enough to e-mail them something.

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I always assume a parent genuinely wants information. I point them to our state homeschool association website, as it has "getting started" information as well as information about state laws and resource lists.

 

This is a good idea as well as the pp who suggested a list to e-mail.

 

It isn't so much that I'm assuming that they don't really want to homeschool, but I usually come to that conclusion after spending time talking with them. They seem to think there is no other option in which they won't have to invest time or money. And, IMO, time invested is essential. They seem to think that their student (either a failing student or a poorly behaved one) will be self motivated and work on their own.:001_huh:

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But I see your situation as different from the situations I hear about. The ones I'm referring to are those who would not under any circumstances pull their kids from ps. They simply find themselves in a bind because of suspension or expulsion.

 

I have spent many hours with others who have felt their kids were being bullied, had poor performance, or had teachers with whom they did not get on well. Those moms are sincerely looking for the best for their kids. These other moms would not consider homeschooling unless it were the only option they had. I don't mind spending time and effort for those who are sincerely wanting to make a change for their kids.

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I think there's a middle ground here. Despite less-than-ideal circumstances leading to their curiousity about homeschooling, you really don't know whether they can homeschool. That doesn't mean that you have to spend hours getting them started! I can understand how discouraging it must be to invest that much energy, only to see it wasted.

 

Why not take only 15 minutes to list your favorite books and community resources instead? :) It gives you a chance to help without sucking away your time. Refer them to the library and the local homeschool co-op, if there is one. If they are interested and you have time, describe your particular method and a typical school day for you. Then ball is back in their court. They get to decide how much time and energy to spend pursuing the information they need, and if they don't follow through, any time spent has been their own.

 

If you click with someone and think they're more motivated, then you can always let them know you're available for support after they've started homeschooling.

 

Cat

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But I see your situation as different from the situations I hear about. The ones I'm referring to are those who would not under any circumstances pull their kids from ps. They simply find themselves in a bind because of suspension or expulsion.QUOTE]

 

I actually have an acquaintance who I've talked out of homeschooling 2 or 3 times. I really hate to do it and I feel like a hypocrite (she's overwhelmed without homeschooling). I also told her to check out a VA.

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I used to get so many phone calls (some people wanting to talk for long periods of time) during the school day from parents that acquaintances "referred" for information. Trying to get these people off the phone during my homeschool hours, was ridiculous. So, I not only made "acquaintances" aware that I was not giving away free homeschooling consultations, I made this my mantra; "I'm sorry. I am not a professional homeschool consultant. You should purchase the Well Trained Mind and the Well Educated Mind. I really must get back to our math lessons. Have a nice day." Eventually, the phone calls ended. I don't mind talking to someone briefly in person and I love chatting here but I do so when it isn't detracting from our homeschooling. I found that most of these phone calls were intrusive and most of the parents seemed to think that since I stayed home with my kids and didn't have a "real" job, that I should just drop everything and talk for an hour or two.

 

I do teach a three-consecutive Wednesday night seminar on getting started in homeschooling every other year. This is offered through our church and secular homeschoolers are welcome...it's not religiously centered. However, in the off year, I teach a "how to homeschool through high school, classically" seminar and one on teaching theology to children. I figure that in this way, I have done my part in helping others get going but in a time frame that works for our family. I have found that otherwise, I am taken advantage of....(how does one end that sentence without the preposition last????"

 

Faith

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All I am saying, is that you don't know these families well. As you said they came to you on a recommendation from a mutual friend. So really, you may not know everything. But even though the circumstances may not be ideal, it could be the gateway to helping the family find a path that may bring them peace, closeness, and help work on resolving whatever issues are going on within the child. You just don't know.

 

I'm really glad you found homeschooling.:grouphug:

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I had a friend who wrote up a two-sided handout on homeschooling that she kept on hand to give people who asked her how to start homeschooling. It included everything from names and addresses of curriculum suppliers, info on the state's law, summaries of popular educational philosophies and where to find more info, average costs per year per student, typical time commitment per grade, etc. I found it very helpful when beginning to research homeschooling. (Wish I still had a copy of it... this was about 14 years ago.) My friend offered to help me further after she saw that I was serious about homeschooling; she said most people she gave the paper to never mentioned homeschooling to her again. :tongue_smilie:

 

I've considered writing up one of these myself. Like the OP, I've been approached quite a bit recently by parents curious about how to start... mostly parents of children on my kids' sports teams who have ADHD or LD boys in the local public school system and feel that the system is losing their boys. In these cases, I usually just encourage them to seek out additional resources through the system or recommend them to a friend of mine who works as an educational consultant for the local government and private schools.

Edited by Tutor
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I actually have an acquaintance who I've talked out of homeschooling 2 or 3 times. I really hate to do it and I feel like a hypocrite (she's overwhelmed without homeschooling). I also told her to check out a VA.

 

This could have been true of me as well. I was a stay at home mother to 8 kids at the time. A month later, we found I was expecting #9, AND my husband lost his job!! I had been overwhlemed since I blended his 3 and my 3, and went from 3 to 6 overnight. Then we added 7, but by then I was getting the hang of things. But then came 8, and I remember feeling shot!! It was like looking a HUMONGOUS plate of spaghetti that you could barely see over, and knowing you have to finish it all!! But at the time, I felt I had moved on from that and was finally getting the hang of things... and then BAM! The world shifted again... it happens. It always happens, it's apart of being human. I don't know anyone that would have looked at me and thought I was NOT overwhelmed, or that I had it together. My husband was unemployed for approximately 18months. All I am saying is adversity happens, but as human beings we are meant to adapt and persevere. We can never really estimate how another human being will react, or what they are capable of rising to. Remember God will never give us more then we can handle. And as mothers, we have learned to be play-dough to our children. We bend and mold and change our shape depending on what they need from us at the time. So you just never know... I would never sell anyone short. Who knows, it could end up being one of the things that defines them, like it did for me ;)

 

I'm really glad you found homeschooling.:grouphug:

 

Thank you :001_wub: I am glad I did too... and I hope one day my children will be too... LOL

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