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Should CPS be called??


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I am really torn and could use some advice.  I have known a family for several years now.  They are fellow homeschoolers and my DD and one of their girls have become the best of friends.  They have 5 kids total.  The dad works full time and the mom has always worked on and off part-time.  I'm really worried for these kids.  I don't doubt what so ever that the parents love their kids, however they do barely any IF any schooling at all.  I'm not talking about un-schooling or anything like that either.  I mean they do nothing even close to what would be considered anything like that either.  They used to be good about it and even attended our co-op one year, but then things really went downhill.  They aren't involved in anything other than extra-curricular stuff (karate, dance class).  I honestly think the mom just either doesn't want to or doesn't have time between juggling her job and family.  I don't know.  I worry especially for their youngest daughter who seems to have a learning disability.  The mom talked a couple years ago about putting her in public school to get her some help, (At the time, I thought Finally!, she's going to do something to help her daughter) but she never did and it's only gone done hill from there.  I am not the only family who's noticed this either.  Two other mutual friends of ours have both expressed the same concerns too.

 

I hate to consider calling CPS, part of me thinks it's none of my business.  But, then, we live in a REALLY lax state when it comes to homeschooling and there's no oversight what-so-ever and I do believe that children deserve the right to be educated.  Would love advice (even if it's flaming, believe me I get it.  I'm quite torn over this).   

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As these are friends, I would approach them first. Since the mom has expressed some openness towards public school in the past, maybe find some positive stories about the local school to share--especially if you know anyone whose child receives special education services there and who is happy with the support. If this were a friend of mine, I could tell them about having my kids evaluated for speech services and dyslexia and about the support options that we have found.

 

I would not jump to calling CPS without trying other interventions first, I have seen the stress placed on an entire family by a CPS investigation. Also, depending on the actual laws and practices in your state, CPS may really not have much to offer in the way of educational intervention.

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Are the kids able to read? This is a huge factor for me because literate kids can somewhat self educate and you can point the mum to resources or online programmes. They might not get the best education but they will be getting something. If they can't read and no one is putting in the time to get them reading the fall out is much greater.

 

I would be looking at conversation and support before a cps call but I don't know what you've already done along those lines.

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I understand that you want to do what's in the best interests of the children. It's just that it's been very rarely--essentially, just cases of extreme abuse--that I have ever seen the intervention of cps actually be good for the children.

 

Also, I'm not sure you should have so much faith in how well you can gauge what's going on from the outside. Even if you have testimony from the girl yourself, honestly kids don't always give the clearest picture of what is or isn't being taught.

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Even in lax regulation states, kids of compulsory age are supposed to get a bona fide education (which can look very different in many families, but will cover basic areas like reading and math). Not-schooling is not unschooling. If the children are otherwise healthy and well cared for, your point of contact is probably a local truancy officer rather than the CPS, which typically investigates physical abuse and neglect.

 

 

But I agree with PPs that a talk with mom first--since you know her--expressing your concern for the children and support of their family as people you care about is probably your best starting point.

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I'm a former CPS/DCS employee. In my state, with very lax homeschooling laws, homeschooling is not investigated. At all. Never. You could call all you want and it would be screened out (not investigated). Therefore in my state, I wouldn't bother calling unless I believed there to be other neglect or abuse.

 

In other states, I might call if a conversation with the parent(s) leaves me believing that the children are being educationally neglected.

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Before calling the government, think about what YOU can do to help.  Can you include one or more of the children in things you are doing with your kids?  Outings, classes, joining your kids for math or literature?  Can you offer to do a little tutoring with one or more of the kids?  This will not only help the kids but give you an ongoing relationship with mom, though which more help can be offered.

NT kids who are behind do not always find help in the school system that is targeted to their needs and their strengths.  They are often put in "basic" level classes without the opportunity to do higher-level work.  If you can do anything to help shore up these kids' basic skills so that later on they can merge into a more formal school setting at the appropriate level of challenge, you can make a significant positive difference in their lives.

 

If not you, are there other resources in the community which can be drawn upon?  Other homeschoolers who can help?  

What is the mom's take on all this?  Is she purposely going down an unschooling path, or is she overwhelmed and embarrassed about her children's situation?  How receptive will she be to offers of help?  

Ways to talk about it
- "Have you considered doing X?" <listen, nod, listen, allow yourself one gentle suggestion, then move on - you've planted a seed>

- Tell a story about someone who was in a similar situation, what they did, and how it went for them

- "What do you see child A doing for high school (or college, or whatever)?" <listen, listen, listen>

- Be open about your own struggles and decisions regarding your dc and other areas of your life.    

Edited by justasque
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I am really torn and could use some advice. I have known a family for several years now. They are fellow homeschoolers and my DD and one of their girls have become the best of friends. They have 5 kids total. The dad works full time and the mom has always worked on and off part-time. I'm really worried for these kids. I don't doubt what so ever that the parents love their kids, however they do barely any IF any schooling at all. I'm not talking about un-schooling or anything like that either. I mean they do nothing even close to what would be considered anything like that either. They used to be good about it and even attended our co-op one year, but then things really went downhill. They aren't involved in anything other than extra-curricular stuff (karate, dance class). I honestly think the mom just either doesn't want to or doesn't have time between juggling her job and family. I don't know. I worry especially for their youngest daughter who seems to have a learning disability. The mom talked a couple years ago about putting her in public school to get her some help, (At the time, I thought Finally!, she's going to do something to help her daughter) but she never did and it's only gone done hill from there. I am not the only family who's noticed this either. Two other mutual friends of ours have both expressed the same concerns too.

 

I hate to consider calling CPS, part of me thinks it's none of my business. But, then, we live in a REALLY lax state when it comes to homeschooling and there's no oversight what-so-ever and I do believe that children deserve the right to be educated. Would love advice (even if it's flaming, believe me I get it. I'm quite torn over this).

I understand being torn over this. As others have said, can you speak honestly with the parents about this? As sexist as it sounds, is the dad aware of the situation? Maybe you and the other families could speak with them together?

 

I'd personally not call CPS until speaking with them and trying to help. Are they even open to a conversation? It's a tough decision to make. Educational neglect is a very real thing, and my opinion of how it's handled has changed over the years. Best wishes as you make an agonizing choice.

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No. No. No. This is not a CPS event. Don't even consider unleashing that monster.

Sincerely asking -- what would be your course of action? As homeschooling has gotten more popular, there are some who aren't as conscientious about educating their children. It's just the thing to do in some areas. CPS would never be our first course of action, but do we need to see it as an option if everything else fails?

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I agree with the most of the others; my understanding is that CPS exists to deal with children who are truly being abused (physically, sexually, or emotionally) and/or neglected (not being fed or properly cared for or supervised, etc.). So, in my view, this is definitely not a case for CPS. Besides, given that your state apparently has very loose and vague homeschooling laws, I'm not sure CPS would even have the authority to actually do anything (legally speaking). Because what would intervention from CPS even look like? They can't, like, force the family to buy Math U See or something, know what I mean? (In my state, the law says that we have to "demonstrate regular, thorough instruction" in eight specific subject areas, and while we have a lot of freedom to interpret that how we wish, I still have to show up to my review with some sort of proof that my kids are learning math, etc. They COULD insist that I begin explicit math instruction if I wasn't doing any. But in a low-regulation state like yours, I'm not sure local government has the power to insist on anything specific when it comes to education. So, it seems to me that it would do no good to get CPS involved; I think all that would come of it is this family would get flagged by local authorities, really mucking up their lives in deeply serious legal ways. 

 

Instead, I would ask around/discuss this with friends who also know the family and maybe you guys can stage some sort of intervention. You could approach the parents and say something like, "We love you and we want the best for you and your kids. We're coming to you because we want you to know that from the outside, it looks an awful lot like you are not educating your kids at all and we're deeply concerned." That sort of thing is what I would try first. (SO MUCH easier said than done, though!) Because who knows...maybe they're just radical unschoolers who are doing all kinds of things for their kids that you simply aren't aware of. But I really feel for you in this situation! As a homeschooler, nothing is more important to me than great education, but the freedom to educate my children the way I see fit matters to me just as much, so it gets messy in situations like this. (The tricky part of the bargain is that all families are entitled to that same freedom, even if you don't happen to agree with their methods.) Best of luck to you; this situation sounds awful. Sorry you're facing it right now. ::hugs::

 

 

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No, don't call CPS. Let CPS investigate situations of physical/emotional neglect and abuse. They are already overwhelmed in dealing with true cases of abuse.

 

I agree with the PP's who say talk to the mom first. If you don't get anywhere with that, then involve the local truancy office.

Okay -- CPS vs Truancy Office

 

Of course the first line of action is speaking with the family first and trying to help. Now I'm thinking about your assertion of truancy. Thanks for offering the idea.

 

Eta: have no idea of the legalities here but am willing to learn.

Edited by Artichoke
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Personally, if you know the kids are in a loving home, and you consider them your friends, I would not unleash CPS on them. That would do more harm to the children, Imo, when we are discussing a loving home. What are the actual laws in your state? What evidence do you have that absolutely no school or unschooling is taking place? If laws are lax, do you have a legal course of action to take? I agree with pp about talking to the mom first. That would be awkward for the friendship, but calling CPS would sever it for sure. I wonder if HSLDA would have any advice for you. Maybe not, but possibly worth trying. Truancy officer would be better than CPS, but they might call in CPS anyways.

 

Edited a typo.

Edited by AdventuresinHomeschooling
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As a foster parent, here is what you could expect with CPS involved...

1. They have no legal power to investigate in a low regulation state and the call is ignored.

2. A case worker is assigned who counsels them to put their children in school rather than ignore their education.

3. CPS rips kids out of the home, there are 5 of them so they would be separated into different foster homes. Teens would likely wind up in an institution if there are not enough foster homes in your area. If they got a poor foster home: they would be enrolled in school and left to flounder in the foreign environment without the skills to catch up.  Even in an excellent foster home, they would need to stay for a minimum of a year to begin to get the services needed to catch up.

 

Calling CPS may feel like doing something positive, but unless the kids are in danger, you risk destroying their family and security in a way that would make it impossible for them to ever gain the scholastic capabilities to get caught up.

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Oh, and one more thought just occurred to me: you obviously like this family enough that you have allowed your daughter to become "the best of friends" with their daughter. So, have you had much opportunity to be inside their house during a play date or anything like that? (Because it's possible that the inside of their house is a treasure trove of books and art supplies and you're just unaware of it.) I hope you don't feel attacked; I don't want to discredit your version of events. But is there any chance you're jumping the gun? I guess I'm just suggesting that maybe it's a bit of a misunderstanding--especially since you're very convinced that these parents love their children. So, if you're that deeply concerned, why not get together with the mom first and simply talk homeschooling. I talk homeschooling constantly with other homeschooling moms, so it seems like it'd be easy enough for you to casually say something like, "Hey what are you guys doing for math this year? I'm thinking of switching to x curriculum, etc." And see what she says once you get that whole conversation going. I guess I'm hoping that maybe if you got a little more information, you'd have a little more to go on before going from zero to CPS without any loving conversation in between, know what I mean? Again, good luck! (And I'll shut up now!) 

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Sincerely asking -- what would be your course of action? As homeschooling has gotten more popular, there are some who aren't as conscientious about educating their children. It's just the thing to do in some areas. CPS would never be our first course of action, but do we need to see it as an option if everything else fails?

 

How someone chooses to teach her children is not my business. As long as the children are healthy, then I'm going to butt out.

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Sincerely asking -- what would be your course of action? As homeschooling has gotten more popular, there are some who aren't as conscientious about educating their children. It's just the thing to do in some areas. CPS would never be our first course of action, but do we need to see it as an option if everything else fails?

 

The first line of action, IMHO, is to "take care of our own" as homeschoolers.  

 

Prevention is often the easiest way to help.  If you're reading this thread, and are concerned, ask yourself what you are doing to help other homeschoolers with this daunting task we have set for ourselves.  Our lives are already busy, so think about where you could fit some help into your normal routine.  Can you bring another kid on your next outing?  Can you do your literature through a "book club" with other kids?  Can you give another child a ride to co-op classes?  Can you make your co-op classes accessible to kids whose parent's can't contribute much?  Can you tutor a child in exchange for the child's mom sharing some of her skills with your children?  Are you open and honest about your challenges, rather than trying to present a "perfect mom" image out of fear of others' judgement, thus creating a space where others feel it's ok to share their own struggles?  Are you supportive of moms who find themselves with challenging choices to make, listening while they sort through their options?  Do you sell or otherwise pass on hsing materials you no longer need?   Can you invite another mom to your next "mom's night out"?    Can you do these things without expecting anything in return, including recognition or even awareness on the part of those to whom you are extending a helping hand?

 

We none of us can do it alone, but if each homeschooler reaches out a bit to help another as we go along this path together, we can make a difference, and we may even find that we ourselves and our children benefit from the experiences and friendships that ensue.

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I am currently dealing with a very similar situation. In this case their home is also filthy and cluttered to the point of being dangerous and with human and pet waste. The condition of the home and their constant state of filth was my main concern. My husband and I thought really, really hard about if we should report them. I do not have a close enough relationship to discuss it in depth but others who do have tried unsuccessfully. I see that they are trying, it's just so far gone though that the climb up is hard. In your situation it may be that it seems overwhelming at this point and they don't know where to start. I would funnel books and offer experiences to them when I could.

 

The thing that was the decision maker for me was that would their lives be better off if an outside authority were to intervene? We decided that for whatever the issues are, they are loved and provided for and they are very bonded to their parents so risking their removal was not a positive outcome. If the parents are already stressed and it has just filtered down to the children, then the added stress of calling CPS would not be in their best interest either. What I decided to do instead was to help the children when I could and be encouraging to her when I see efforts made. Whether or not their children are reading on level or at all is none of my concern. 

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It sounds like this mom is overwhelmed. If she needs to work part time on top of taking care of 5 kids every day, she could be under tremendous financial stress too. She probably needs a shoulder to cry on. Does she have a support network? I'm wondering how she finds someone to watch the kids while she's at work. 

 

Can you and the other moms you mentioned get together and include her in a girls' lunch/coffee out? She could probably use some adult time and friendship. If the conversation can include your challenges and frustrations, she might feel safe to open up with you and share what's going on. Maybe she thinks you and your friends have it all together and it might help to hear what your lives are like.

 

If the conversation could include some talk about planning for next year, maybe she would share or ask questions.

 

She might be drowning and needs someone to throw her a lifeline. 

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No CPS please. Maybe she reads to them at night. Maybe they watch brain pop or netflix documentaries. They probably all read here and there throughout the day. 

Maybe they do school, but not noticeably? 

 

How old are these kids? If they are elementary, then I would just try to help out as much as you can.

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Because different states have different rules, you can run it past CPS and see what they would say about it. I believe that all US states have an 1-800 number you can call anonymously.  You can call and just see if it rises to the level of abuse or neglect in your state. They are going to be looking for statements that you have heard from the kids or the parents about education. For example, have you ever asked the kids what they do all day? Have you asked them if they can multiply? Or have the parents flat out told you they don't get to any education on most days?

 

If your state is really lax, then there might not be much you can do.  Even in my 'high reg' state, there isn't much the state can do as long as someone is filing their paperwork and is legally homeschooling.

 

But if you are worried to the point that you think an intervention by an outside authority is needed, call the 1-800 number, without giving your name, and just see what they say. There is a chance they won't do anything about it anyway.

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I think not educating a child at all is very neglectful. It is very detrimental to that child in the long run. I do not get why parents who cannot do it themselves do not send their child to a school of some sort. I would not be able to take the educating of another child on all on my own so the suggestion of taking them on or have them come over would not work for me. I also think calling CPS is a last resort. I am not sure what I do in that situation. If I was close I would probably tell them like it is but I am not sure if it would work.

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I agree, unless there is physical and emotional neglect, or an unsafe home, I would not call CPS at this time.  I don't think they can help.

 

I also agree that maybe you and the other mothers could be a lifeline if you are all willing.  Could you have a Mom's coffee chat while someone, maybe a responsible teen, offered to babysit her kids?  Maybe she really does need a sympathetic ear.  Is there anyone you know that used to homeschool but has kids in public school right now that could come and share a positive experience with that option?

 

Does the mom read much?

 

You could offer her a copy of Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner by Kathy Kuhl and The Mislabeled Child by Brock and Fernette Eide.  Perhaps those would help her find another path for her struggling student.  

 

As for the rest of the kids, how much do you know first hand regarding what they do inside the home?  Are you certain they aren't learning anything? Are they not reading at all at home?  Are there no life skills lessons?  They aren't doing any math whatsoever?  At all?  I am just wondering if maybe there is more learning happening through unconventional means?  Maybe the kids aren't being "taught" per se, but perhaps they are teaching themselves some things?  It might not be ideal, especially for any students that don't do well with self motivation or struggle with executive function issues but I have to hope that at least some learning must be going on, even inadvertently.  That doesn't address any long term potential consequences if the children end up academically behind/crippled for getting a high school diploma or a job or college later on, I realize.  

 

It is nice that you care and want to do what is best for the family.   :grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:   I know this is a hard position to be in.

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My children have been known to tell people they don't do any school.

 

Somehow, my non-dyslexic children test at or above grade level in everything. The dyslexic child is making progress.

 

It really is hard to know from casual interactions and children's reports what is happening in a home.

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No, do not call CPS.  The example is not abuse. Yes, poor educational options for the kids but not abuse. The stress and emotional trauma for these kids would be horrible if CPS gets involved.  Be a friend.  Talk to her about your concerns, try to help her without involving CPS.  Really CPS is a last resort, reserved for the truly abused and neglected.  Signed former Social worker

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I do not think that CPS would have any jurisdiction in this situation in my low regulation state. There would need to be factors other than educational neglect even to get an investigation.

 

 

And yet we know that CPS is more than happy to get involved in our state. :-(

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I do think CPS should be called in cases of true educational neglect. Educational neglect is a form of neglect, it is usually on the books as a law separate from the homeschooling laws of a state. It is a real form of neglect and can have real negative consequences for a person as they grow up.

 

I don't know if this case is actually educational neglect. For one thing, the kids are engaged in the community and doing extracurriculars, which says to me they have access to peers and some education, even if it's arts and sports centered. For me, one of the key things I'd personally expect in a case of educational neglect would be kids not having access regularly to books and other educational materials. I think it's hard to know what's going on in a home and even if a parent says things like, "Oh, I'm not doing enough," then that's not really evidence that nothing is being done - people talk like that all the time when they're doing plenty or when they're doing nothing. It doesn't mean anything per se.

 

I also am generally suspicious of what people think does and does not constitute unschooling.

 

I agree with others that if you're concerned, step in and offer to help before you call the government. However, I'm not there. Maybe the situation is really dire. I think the OP has to decide herself.

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Not only does this situation not sound like one where calling CPS would be remotely appropriate, I don't believe you have enough information to determine that educational neglect is even occurring. Are they regularly having family conversations about various educational topics? Are there read alouds occurring? Do they ever visit the library? Do the kids do educational games on the internet? Or watch educational programming? Would they tell a child no if they asked for curriculum or academic help? This sounds like a non-ideal homeschooling setting rather than a no-schooling situation to me.

 

ETA: I am also curious about the ages of the kids involved. 

Edited by abacus2
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Do NOT call CPS. That is the worst thing you could do for these kids. Unless the kids are in some form of danger from abuse or neglect calling CPS is only going to make things worse. Educational neglect is terrible but that isn't anyone's business nor is it a reason to get authorities to take kids from loving parents. If they were truly neglecting the kids there would be other issues.

 

You said the family is very loving. You also said that they are involved in extracurriculars and are/have been in co-ops. The children are likely learning all sorts of things that you aren't aware of. Even if they don't use a single curriculum product doesn't mean no schooling. It might not be what most of us would prefer but it IS possible for kids to learn through only online resources, games, shows, etc. They could be learning plenty just from daily life and conversations. I don't know how many times in a day my kids deal with measurements (cooking), math problems (budgeting), spelling (making a grocery list or fbing nana), science or history via netflix shows, online educational games like spelling city or prodigymath, etc. My kids have learned a lot from osmosis. They surprise me often with some fact that I wasn't aware they'd learned like the 5 yr old explaining to me which dinosaurs were omnivores, herbivores, or carnivores once I'd defined those words.

 

Worst case scenario they aren't homeschooling at all. If these kids have picked up being able to read and do very basic math then they'll survive. They won't be scholars and they may never go to college but they'll be fine. Text to speech, spell check, calculator, and audio will get them through whatever they're too slow to do well. I see plenty of kids that "graduate" from public school and don't seem to have any more education than my 8 year old. (Using an in place of and anyone???) I know it sucks and I'd hate to see any child I'm close to get a very low level of education but they will survive. I truly believe calling in authorities would do nothing more than traumatize the family especially the kids and possibly never even allow these kids to learn more than those very basics that they likely would have picked up in the not-schooling home in the first place. I also agree with the other posters that said CPS has better things to do. Some child could be raped or beaten again while CPS is wasting time torturing this family all because we weren't happy with how much math they'd learned or their reading level. 

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DS may very well think he doesn't do any school.  Math games online are just games, no different for him from kill-the-zombies games; reading is a voluntary activity and not something he thinks I have anything to do with (of course I buy the books! :)  he hasn't yet figured out that this means I pretty much decide what he reads); history is currently done through reading, which he thinks is voluntary and completely arbitrary; science is mostly TOPScience kits, which he doesn't see as school at all, and BFSU, which we do conversationally and without direct reference to the book - he just thinks we're talking about rocks or balloons for some reason; Bravewriter is generally very gentle and just discussions about books he's reading anyway (since I supply the books!) and writing projects that sometimes don't look like "writing" at all.

 

The only thing he does that he definitely thinks is school is HWT Cursive.  

 

Beast Academy can go either way; currently he really likes it, so I don't push it (or suggest it) much at all, and he does it when he feels like it (every other day or so).  I am not sure if he thinks it is school, exactly.  I am sure he doesn't think it is *required* school.  He doesn't realize that if he *weren't* doing it voluntarily I'd find him something else to do voluntarily :)

 

 

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If this is even a real situation, start by talking to the parents. You may be way off in your assessment or not understand things going on or being done. Or maybe they just need to hear from a friend to help them through this.

 

Next step would be a truancy officer. 

 

The post seems somewhat suspicious since you seem to have arrived recently on these boards it appears, not a long time active poster who has had this come up.

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Ugh. I hate these threads.

 

Look, the mom is probably completely overwhelmed and not schooling at all. She has probably also been told that the public school will indoctrinate her children into communists or devil-worshippers or the New World Order or something. She's stuck between a rock and a hard place.

 

Best thing to do, I think, is investigate some local options for low-cost Christian schooling. A Christian school which allows students to enroll part-time and pay a la carte would get her kids into math and English for cheaper than full price. Likewise, a home schooling co-op which offers classes might work. Make the calls to figure out exact pricing and ask for discounts ahead of time. You'd probably need to offer logistical support getting the kids to and from these places while mom is working. I don't know how old the oldest is, but I would lobby hardest to get the oldest into something, at least. If the oldest has a particular interest in math or writing or something you can tag it as providing a tutor or mentor for that subject.

 

And maybe see about getting her tickets to a homeschooling conference this summer. Maybe she's burned out and getting away to recharge would help.

 

 

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As a foster mom, I interact a lot with child welfare social workers. They are generally overworked but well-meaning and I would not hesitate to report a seriously unsafe situation. But if the kids are loved, fed, and minimally safe, then nothing needs to be reported. They can catch up academically as adults and be entirely productive people.

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My children have been known to tell people they don't do any school.

 

Mine have done that before, too.  Sometimes, if they've always homeschooled, they don't quite grasp "what's schoolwork", because learning is interesting to them.  

 

My 14 year-old did no schoolwork yesterday (we're on summer break), so if you asked her if she did school, she would say, "No."  However, she read a chapter from SWB's History of the Ancient World, read a chapter from Padraic Colum's Children of Odin, read a chapter of Mossflower, she took several pages of notes on species of tropical plants that she plans to plant around our pond (that are non-toxic to dogs) and she taught classes in the evening to special needs kids.

 

But she would tell you that she didn't do anything all day.

 

Oh, and my 13 year-old son would tell you that his sister is on electronics all day, because researching plant species = computer/internet...Padraic Colum = Kindle...YKWIM?

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And yet we know that CPS is more than happy to get involved in our state. :-(

 

 

Yeah, this is true...

 

I think it really depends on the area of the state, the local people involved, and whether custody is also an issue...

When I read of the rare case in which CPS becomes involved with a homeschooling family, I know that something else besides schooling is involved but CPS cannot say (and the parents will not admit fault, for obvious reasons).  So not all is known about these cases by the general public.

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When I read of the rare case in which CPS becomes involved with a homeschooling family, I know that something else besides schooling is involved but CPS cannot say (and the parents will not admit fault, for obvious reasons).  So not all is known about these cases by the general public.

I agree.

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No. No. No. This is not a CPS event. Don't even consider unleashing that monster.

As a foster parent, here is what you could expect with CPS involved...

1. They have no legal power to investigate in a low regulation state and the call is ignored.

2. A case worker is assigned who counsels them to put their children in school rather than ignore their education.

3. CPS rips kids out of the home, there are 5 of them so they would be separated into different foster homes. Teens would likely wind up in an institution if there are not enough foster homes in your area. If they got a poor foster home: they would be enrolled in school and left to flounder in the foreign environment without the skills to catch up. Even in an excellent foster home, they would need to stay for a minimum of a year to begin to get the services needed to catch up.

 

Calling CPS may feel like doing something positive, but unless the kids are in danger, you risk destroying their family and security in a way that would make it impossible for them to ever gain the scholastic capabilities to get caught up.

Do not call. Edited by Alessandra
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I wouldn't call CPS.  (not with what you have said)  I have personally known two families who would appear a lot like that on the outside.  Bringing in CPS would have just made things 100X worse.  In both cases, I was friends with the mom (one lived out of state), the other in a nearby town.  Both cases unfortunately involved a dead-beat dad, which brought on all sorts of problems and stress for the moms who were trying to keep things as normal as possible for their sweet kids.  (One mom's situation was much worse than the other.)  I'm not saying this is the case for the person you're referring to, just that there is most likely other problems going on.  

 

In my friends' cases, what they needed most of all was an ear to hear about what was really going on and then a voice to encourage them to do what they already knew, deep down, they had to do.

 

In both cases it took some years to unravel and move forward, but things are looking very good now for both them AND their children.  Some of the children are still in the midst of becoming healthy, whole adults, but they have made amazing progress and are on very good paths.

 

This isn't to say that their lives were normal or without many problems.  But, I don't think CPS would have made it any better.

 

So if you have the inclination to get a little more involved, I'd simply begin by taking the mom out for coffee and steering her in the direction of talking about her family.

Edited by J-rap
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I dealt with this exact conundrum a little over a year ago with a friend of mine.

 

Here is the thread I started about it if you want to take a few hours to read through it. It got long!!!

 

I'm happy to report that in January of this year the friend I started that thread about stopped all of her outside commitments to focus on her kids. I had a long, serious talk to her in October before her announcement when we were at a weekend church event together. I know that it was huge part in her decision because she told me so. All that to say, definitely talk to her and be brutally honest, but as kind as you can. I didn't mince words with my friend, but I wasn't rude or obnoxious either. Plus my friend knew I truly cared about her and her family. It worked out without any intervention from authorities and for that I'm thankful.

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My children have been known to tell people they don't do any school.

 

Somehow, my non-dyslexic children test at or above grade level in everything. The dyslexic child is making progress.

 

It really is hard to know from casual interactions and children's reports what is happening in a home.

 

This.

 

I'm not saying there aren't genuine cases of educational neglect, or that the one being discussed isn't one of them, but it IS SO HARD to know what's really going on in other people's homes.

 

My 9yo thinks he doesn't really do much school.  He doesn't do very much that looks like school.  We don't follow standardized academic paths/content.  On top of that, he's very immature for his age.  His days probably look like a mash up of unschooling, relaxed schooling, and no schooling, but who sees that other than my family?

 

He's doing his standardized testing now.  So far, he's scoring above average.  If I wasn't legally required to have him test, perhaps people might think he's being educationally neglected.

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I dealt with this exact conundrum a little over a year ago with a friend of mine.

 

Here is the thread I started about it if you want to take a few hours to read through it. It got long!!!

 

I'm happy to report that in January of this year the friend I started that thread about stopped all of her outside commitments to focus on her kids. I had a long, serious talk to her in October before her announcement when we were at a weekend church event together. I know that it was huge part in her decision because she told me so. All that to say, definitely talk to her and be brutally honest, but as kind as you can. I didn't mince words with my friend, but I wasn't rude or obnoxious either. Plus my friend knew I truly cared about her and her family. It worked out without any intervention from authorities and for that I'm thankful.

 

I remember your thread. I'm so glad things worked out well.

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Mine have done that before, too.  Sometimes, if they've always homeschooled, they don't quite grasp "what's schoolwork", because learning is interesting to them.  

 

My 14 year-old did no schoolwork yesterday (we're on summer break), so if you asked her if she did school, she would say, "No."  However, she read a chapter from SWB's History of the Ancient World, read a chapter from Padraic Colum's Children of Odin, read a chapter of Mossflower, she took several pages of notes on species of tropical plants that she plans to plant around our pond (that are non-toxic to dogs) and she taught classes in the evening to special needs kids.

 

But she would tell you that she didn't do anything all day.

 

Oh, and my 13 year-old son would tell you that his sister is on electronics all day, because researching plant species = computer/internet...Padraic Colum = Kindle...YKWIM?

 

Oh yeah....

 

My kid when he was around 8, once told someone we had "sex movies".

 

Guess what he was referring to?  Somehow he had located a old copy of Chevy Chase's Vacation movie, and apparently someone is kissing someone while partially clothed in that movie (don't remember). He thought this meant it was a "sex movie" and told some other kids his parents had sex movies!!!

Don't take kids' words for things without independent verification.   I did not enjoy having to explain to the parents of the kids he told that we did not in fact have ANY sex movies. 

 

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