View Full Version : Homeschooling 11 year old but working outside home

04-11-2011, 03:55 PM
Hi everyone,
We have a fourth grade son who we're thinking of homeschooling either for fifth or sixth grade. However, we both work outside the home (and commute) full-time during the day so it would mean he'd be home alone most of the day. I'm not worried about him being alone in terms of maturity or getting his work done (we'd help him plan out things the night/week before) but mostly because of loneliness and isolation.

Each of us might be able to work from home one day a week and we do have retired grandparents who would be able to spend time with him but is that enough? I also thought he could come downtown with me and go to museums on his own one day per week. Our son is sociable in that he gets along with most people but tends to like to be alone (like me!) but I worry this would be too much. What do you guys think - is this not a feasible plan for now with both working outside the home or do others do it and it works out fine? Any advice is appreciated!


04-18-2011, 08:12 AM
Do you know any homeschooling families in your area? Maybe you could co-op with them, and he could spend some time outside of the home for balance and life lessons in the community?

04-18-2011, 06:20 PM
First thing: Can you legally leave him home alone for that long at his age in your state? I know there are some states where it wouldn't be.

If so...

You could look into homeschooling groups, after school classes, sports, scouts, and the like to provide some socialization opportunities if he could either get there on his own or have someone else (grandparents, another parent, a babysitter that you hire for a few hours a week).

Personally, I think that's too much time for a kid that age to be alone and responsible for himself on a regular basis, and that even good, self-motivated kids are likely to be getting into some sort of mischief without something beyond self-enforced schoolwork to occupy them. Keep in mind that he's likely to be getting his schoolwork done with 2-3 hours of work without all the distractions of school going on. Afternoon activities of some sort might help, and also provide some supervision and accountability.

04-18-2011, 06:33 PM
Right now I don't work outside the home and the few consulting jobs I've picked up have only required me to drop off things at clients and meet via the internet. If and when I do find something that requires me to work away from home full time I'm not sure I could leave my DD alone all day. I really don't think she'd get anything done as she's not always motivated. I know I'd be easily distracted wondering what she's up to. She doesn't lack the maturity so much as the common sense.

I would think you'd have to find a co-op of some sort or a group like jess mentioned above. My MIL was going to be very involved with our HSing but because I won't do a Christian based curriculum that has fallen by the wayside. I'm glad I didn't count on her as I sort of knew this would happen.

I would think it would be cool to have someone he can work with a few hours a day a few days a week to cover any legal issues. Then if he's able to handle the going to work with you to hang out downtown one day without him having to explain over and over he's allowed to be out it sounds like it could be a great thing. Think of the independence he'll gain plus knowledge.

My DD can't even spend the night over anyone's house without freaking out. We have no clue why she's like this but she doesn't seem to be outgrowing it!

It sounds like a great opportunity and I hope you can figure out a way to make it work!

04-18-2011, 09:51 PM
Let me start by saying that I regularly leave my kids alone and there are definite benefits. But there are also problems so if you're thinking about this think long and hard.

A fulltime week plus commuting is what? 45 to 48 hours each week? That's a long time. Even B1, my aspie kid, gets lonely if he's left alone for more than a day or two each week.(and he's a kid who happily spends hours and hours and hours either reading or programming little computer games. Sometimes I won't talk to him just to see how long it will be before he wants a little company. We're totally companionable, just parallel play all the way.) He doesn't say anything but he starts acting weird, I take a day off or rearrange things to minimize time alone and he's less weird. BOO tells me, in no uncertain terms, when he's had too much alone time.

Those are my boys, yours might be different. It sounds like you are thinking about ways to minimize the time alone which is good. I'd suggest thinking about what you would do if you get to October or November and it isn't working at all. What are the advantages of homeschooling in this situation? I don't know where you live, but in VT you can homeschool and have your kid take classes at whatever school they'd attend if they were in ps. Legally, this is at the discretion of the school but I've never known anybody to have any trouble sending their kid for just art or music or pe or whatever. That might be a good compromise for your family. How hard would it be for you or your dh to drop what your doing and leave work if he needs you? What do you envision him doing all day? If your hearts are set on homeschooling is there any way either you or your dh can flex your time or work opposite shifts so he doesn't have to be alone so much? If both of you could arrange to work from home one day, that would leave 3 days to cover and that might be ok.

I don't know that this is terribly encouraging, but I hope it helps.