View Full Version : Hi from NJ (soon-to-be homeschooling a HSer)

05-02-2010, 07:58 PM
Hi all,
I am probably withdrawing my bright, creative 16 yo DD from HS this week with the plan of doing a mix of different types of homeschooling (some unschooling, some GED prep). She has medical and emotional issues and an IEP, and we are exhausted from constantly being victimized by the District.

After fighting with the District off and on for 2 years, last year they shoved her in a horrible "therapeutic" day school for smart, troubled kids and things went from bad to worse with numerous IEP violations, harassment, etc. Needless to say, DD is in much worse shape now than she was before and she has learned NOTHING her sophomore year (this year) because the classes at this school are too basic and boring and it's really just glorified babysitting. The only real schoolwork she did all year was with her private math tutor whom I paid for. She has incompletes or Fs in every subject, and there's no chance of turning that around at this late date.

I finally came to the point where I could either hire an educational lawyer (I've spoken to two) and spend megabucks and energy continuing to fight a District that doesn't care and doesn't want her, or free my child from ongoing abuse. My prediction is that this kid will be on half the meds she's on now once she is out of the system.

Glad to find this forum, as our aim is to homeschool in a secular fashion. I've got her math tutor lined up to handle the math because I'm abysmal at that, and am investigating some interesting looking free online programs such as the Biology and History courses on hippocampus.org. I'm open to any other suggestions for curriculum, textbook companies, etc (doesn't have to be free, but I don't think we want to go the "entire package" route as that could be too rigid for her). There will now be more time and energy for DD to go back to oil painting, drawing, and playing guitar. Up until now, she's been too wiped out from the daily school battle to handle much of anything.

I'm planning to sign the papers to let her "drop out" rather than send a letter of intent to homeschool, even though NJ's homeschool laws are very liberal. I'm doing this because I read somewhere that they can make it difficult for a kid to take the GED unless you have proof that the student has dropped out of HS, so if I say I'm homeschooling, the District may not give us the documentation needed for the GED. I realize some homeschoolers create their own diplomas, but I am not comfortable with this and want DD to work toward her goal of taking and passing the GED and slowly starting to take classes at the local community college.

We have a "pre-IEP" meeting at the therapeutic school on Tuesday at which time I am going to inform them, along with the district, that we are pulling out. I debated whether to even go through with the meeting but DH thinks I should in order to get some closure.

I have very mixed emotions about all this. I am sorry I didn't consider homeschooling earlier or hire a lawyer when she first got sick because I think a lot of damage was done to her psyche as a result of the District's mishandling of her situation. I am also sad that my DD couldn't handle school and worry that people will pre-judge us for withdrawing her. But I am absolutely convinced that school is killing her spirit and resulting in the doctors having to drug her more and more just to be able to function in an environment that is so damaging to her.

Thanks for "listening". Looking forward to learning a lot on this forum.


05-02-2010, 10:24 PM
Welcome Nikki! I'm so sorry you're having to go through all of this. I hope that homeschooling will provide the peace and progress you desire for your daughter. It's got to be exhausting for the both of you having to deal with this type of situation day in and day out. Kudos to you for having the courage to pull her despite all the pressure to keep her in the p.s. system and for being an advocate for your child.

We have several members with high schoolers who might be able to provide some guidance, as well as NJ members who might be able to help with NJ-specific questions. I would also advise you to look for a local secular group for IRL support. Go to the Resources tab and scroll down to the Secular Homeschool Support Groups by State section.

05-02-2010, 10:24 PM
Wow, Nikki!! I am in awe of all you and your daughter have been through. I can only imagine how exhausting it all must have been. I've been in support groups with moms of kids with special needs (both our sons have challenges) for many years, and have heard incredible "horror" stories like yours, but it still makes me saddened to hear them. It sounds like you have really done your research and have a good feel for how your daughter will do in a less structured and more nurturing environment, so I can't help but already feel happy for you both!! :)

My 14 and 15 year olds are both using an unschooling approach right now which is working out really well. They self-direct most of their own learning, although they both are enrolled in structured math courses online. I think you are absolutely right when you suggest that the stress and anxiety will be lessened once she is homeschooling. Here's hoping that is just the case!! Please keep us updated on your progress!


05-02-2010, 10:34 PM
Wow, Nikki, that sounds like a terrible situation for you all. I hope that things get better for you soon. Welcome to the site.

05-02-2010, 11:27 PM
Thank you all for the fantastic welcome! I am looking forward to sharing ideas and learning from you all.

05-03-2010, 09:02 AM
Welcome, Nikki. I'm glad to see you here! I agree with Nathalie - take advantage of all the support you can get, both online and IRL. While I haven't had half of the challenges with the school district that you've had, I've also had mixed emotions as I start the path to homeschooling - it's more than understandable that you'd have some trepidation. Hang in there and know that you're doing the best you can do for your daughter.

05-03-2010, 12:38 PM

I'm also in NJ. You didn't say if you were in Northern or Southern NJ but there are a lot of yahoo groups for homeschoolers in NJ. I'll list some below, all of these are secular or inclusive (much easier to find here in NJ than some areas of the country) but other than the all state one, they are in the Northern part of the state. Even if you're not local enough for the get-togethers, there's a lot of good information in the message archives.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_revisited/ - secular group for those in NW NJ.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NE-NJ-Homeschooling/ - for those in NE NJ.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NJLoop/ - all of NJ
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SkyHomeschoolers/ - for the Skylands area of NJ (North/Central/Western NJ)

My 16 year old dd is actually in public school and I'm just starting out homeschooling my younger kids. Sounds like you're doing the best thing for your daughter. Good Luck.

05-03-2010, 07:25 PM
Ww thanks for all the great support and the links to groups! I've had some trouble finding local homeschooling groups, but will check all of these out now that I know about them.

05-04-2010, 02:30 PM
Hello and welcome Nikki! :)