Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Homeschooling Others' Kids

A few weeks ago, my husband and I separated. My initial thought was, "what can I do to keep my children at home?" While many moms may have decided to head back into the work force, this simply is not an option for me. It didn't take long for me to decide to open a private school in my home. Not only would it bring in some extra income, it would allow me a tax deduction on part of our home, which is now way too big for the three of us.
Luckily, the State of Kansas is pretty easy on homeschoolers, and there are no rules against teaching others' kids in your home. This makes it easy for homeschool co-ops where parents trade off teaching different subjects. We will be starting school the day after Labor Day, and so far I will have my two (4 1/2 and 6), boy/girl siblings which are 8 and 7, and two little day care kids (brothers) who are 3 and 8 months. It is an interesting mix, but I feel it will work out well. The 7 and 8 year olds are being removed from public school, and are a year behind. That puts the 7 year old even with my 6 year old. I'm hoping to also have a 5 year old join us part time that will pair up with my daughter quite well.
God has been good to me in providing the right people to come into our school. I acquired the two little ones from my friend (a teacher) who lost her babysitter a week before she went back to work. The older two came to me through God's divine providence, and I'll share about that one day. I don't know if I will make enough to be able to stay in our house, but I know that God will work it all out by either providing the income or providing a different home at the right time.
School starts in about three weeks, and I'm slowly getting things ready. Luckily, I already have a lot of resources for all ages, including books that I ordered last year that I thought were for kindergarten but were for first, second, or third (did God know?) I will also be adding some Bright Minds books as well. We have turned our living room into our class room, which also spills into our dining room. Our new living room is the old guest room, which is on the same level and right off the dining room. We have two bathrooms downstairs and a huge kitchen for "class." How could I NOT open up our home to other children?
I'll take the first week to get to know the kids and figure out what they know and don't know. I'll combine a lot of the learning by using Five in a Row and reading from Little House on the Prairie and other classics. Science and social studies are easy to combine, and math and reading will be fairly individualized. My main priority is to not stress out over any of this and to stay relaxed. I can go overboard very easily, and I just have to remember to take it one day at a time and do what I can in the time that I have.
I also have other projects as possibilities, and if they come to fruition I will share those, too. But right now, I'm homeschooling other people's kids and trying to make sure I know what I'm doing! Wish me luck!


CA109 said...

Wow! You're doing exactly what I would love to do someday. I didn't know that other women had the same desire I do to homeschool their own kids along with others' children. I would love to find out any information I could from you, such as where to begin, how to find out about the laws in my state (Missouri, just next door to you!), and anything else I need to know to get started.
How is it going for you, now that school has been in session for a couple of months? I'm so curious to find out more!

Evie said...

Well, it lasted a few weeks. I have learned a few things, some of which might help you out. First, don't just take anyone into your school. :o) I took in the two kids I did because I truly felt it was God's calling to take them on even though they could not pay my rate. When I told people in town who I would be teaching, their faces dropped. I found out later why. Without going into details, the 8 year old boy needs help I could not provide. The sister was fine, but I was not the right person to teach this boy. I suggested he attend the local VERY affordable Christian school (ACE curriculum) because I knew the discipline and structure of this setting would be what he needed. (His mom had attended this school and was against it until they realized I was not an option anymore. I truly feel it is the best place for him.) They wanted to keep the kids together, so the girl went, too. I am now down to my two and two day care kids.

That said, I see now more than ever why we should be teaching our own kids. This family was unable, as the mom is single, going to school, and lives an hour away. The kids live here with their grandparents and aunt who takes care of them. As you can imagine, this type of setting is not doing the best for these children, hence the boy's "issues." I can see where a stable home life and attentive parents (who happen to work and are unable to homeschool) would be a better situation. But I still feel strongly that parents should teach their own children.

I don't know about Missouri, but in Kansas they are very lenient toward homeschoolers. If you homeschool, you can teach others' children with no problem. Some states are stricter on this, so you would have to find information for your particular state.

Once the two older kids were gone, I found the joy in homeschooling that had disappeared so quickly, I didn't realize it was gone. It was a totally different environment for myself and my kids. I was more relaxed and we felt more free to be on our own schedule. I am thinking about offering tutoring services, but I don't think I would be in a rush to teach other kids full time for a while.