Stepparenting and homeschooling

Discussion in 'Homeschooling' started by Super Stepmom, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. Super Stepmom

    Super Stepmom New Member

    Feb 24, 2016
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    Hi everyone,

    I am hoping for some advice as I discuss homeschooling as an option with my children's bio mom. My stepkids are 8 and 9. We have a 50/50 custody agreement with their mom, but she is the custodial parent. All four parents--mom, dad, stepmom, and stepdad--work full time Monday-Friday, so our plan would have to include childcare for whenever we can't be at home with the kids. Their mom and I are both very keen on the idea of homeschooling, but we have completely different standards for what we want to get out of homeschooling.

    In my opinion, I am the most invested in a quality education for the children, and I have the most determination and capability to make sure my two stepchildren are learning as much as possible and study subjects they are passionate about, basing their education around stuff they love and avoiding as much as possible the strict standardization typical of public schools. I would want the kids to be involved in as many extracurricular activities as we could afford, such as scouts, 4-H, music lessons, or sports, to ensure that they were participating in the community and gaining real world experiences from it. I was an Education major in college, and so I feel confident that I have a background that could develop a good structure for the kids where needed, but also allow room for interest-led learning to take place where possible.

    I do not want to offend or disrespect the droves of very successful homeschool parents that have not been to college. I understand that it is not necessary in any way, shape, or form to have a Bachelor's Degree in order to provide a well-rounded and accurate education for a child. However, in this case I feel strongly that I am more qualified to be what I guess we could define as "head teacher" for our children's homeschooling endeavor. Of the four parents involved, I am the only one to have gone to college, and I am also the only one to have a desk job where work from home could be a possibility when necessary to take the kids on field trips, etc. I have the educational background to understand learning styles, educational psychology, and any sorts of special needs that may or may not arise as we embark on this adventure. For these reasons, I strongly feel that the best way to approach homeschooling is through working together and keeping closely in contact with each other about the kid's progress, but I believe it's important for me to have "authority" as we move forward. Ideally, we would not follow the homsechool route whatsoever unless I were given the main reins for the kids' education .

    I believe that is enough backstory to come to you with my question now. What do you think is the best and most tactful way to approach the subject of who is "in charge" when it comes to homeschooling? Is it even worth discussing? We have had some minor scuffles about "what's Mom's responsibility" vs. what I am allowed to do. This I feel could potentially provoke much more than a minor scuffle because I am challenging not only the mother's authority but also her intelligence. I do not know what angle to approach this from because every way I slice it, I feel like I am arguing that I get to be in charge just because I'm smarter. That is admittedly egotistical and inappropriate and not the message I want to convey. However, I think it is important that one person be allowed to have a "final say" if there are elements of discord within the homeschooling. I don't want to feel like I am either spying on her to make sure she's actually educating the kids during her time with them, nor do I want to feel like I am hiding our activities from her because they are going in a different direction than her work with the kids.

    Okay, I am anxious to hear your thoughts and feedback. Thank you so much in advance for any advice you may have!
  3. Lindina

    Lindina Active Member

    Aug 19, 2009
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    My thought is that you should probably pick some curriculum for the 3Rs where the assignment is generally "do the next thing" and that the kids can be mostly independent with. Then nobody has to be "the teacher" because the kids can more or less do it themselves, especially while they are in the care of someone else (the "babysitter"). Then any adult (even the babysitter) could check their work using answer keys or teacher's manual. At their ages, the science and social studies could pretty well take care of themselves with Scouts (they have a pretty rich curriculum, actually), library books, videos/movies/documentaries, field trips, and the like, with the occasional project of the kids' choice (which they could do together). The way things usually work out, it will be you and the mom overseeing the academics (with the right curriculum all you have to do is see that it gets done and check it off the list, not *teach it*), with the dads "in charge" of the "extra stuff" like Scouts, sports, etc.

    I hope all of you can work together with the benefit of the kids uppermost at all times.
  4. mschickie

    mschickie Active Member

    Aug 15, 2007
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    I also was an education major and worked in ps. I can tell you that has been the largest hindrance to me in my homeschooling journey. I also homeschooled my sd for high school. In your situation I would say the persons who get to decide who is in charge of the homeschooling are the biological Mother and Father. They may determine that you should have an equal or larger voice in the process but that is up to them since they have 50/50 custody. I ended up as the person in charge of school because that is what they decided.

    I know you feel like you "know" more than the other parties involved but homeschooling is more about knowing the kids and a lifestyle than knowing educational theory. You need to take direction from the Mom and Dad, they should be the ones in the discussion not you. Dad will probably want to talk to you, get your opinion and figure out what your joint vision is but he is the one that needs to discuss it with the Mom and they need to come up with a plan, standards and possibly curriculum. You need to step back and let them co-parent and then be supportive of their decisions.
    ochumgache, Lindina and featherhead like this.
  5. ochumgache

    ochumgache Active Member

    Jan 14, 2008
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    I agree with just have too many cooks in the kitchen. Homeschooling is great, but when you have four parents trying to co-raise two kids, it's probably not the best option as it requires a united front. If you have already had disagreements about what the bio-Mom perceives as your role, then there is no way to start the conversation you want to have and hope for it to end well.

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