Single Dad Needs Advice About My 8 Year Old Schooling Situation.

Updated on May 04, 2018
C.M. asks from Orlando, FL
23 answers

His mother has moved 2 1/2 hours away to another city and now wants to take him out of his school that he has attended since Kindergarten. Her plan is to home / Virtual school him for 2 weeks of the month with her, then 2 weeks in a private school living with me. My feeling is that this could because very taxing on him and cause unnecessary reactions. There would be a lot of driving/ traveling. He will also be taken away from the same group of kids that he has known and bonded with for the past 3 years, I feel that this could hurt him socially.
Please help with some advice, if this sounds like a good plan or not, thanks in advance.

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D..

answers from Miami on

Have you asked the private school about her plan? I can hardly believe that they would do this...

Don't go by what she says. Find out directly from the school.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

No school is going to agree to allow a child to only attend half time.
It sounds like a terrible plan, tell her no.

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

As a teacher and a parent, I have to say this idea will be a disaster for your son. There is no way that he can have a consistent educational experience if he is only with his class for half of each month. There is no way she will be able to match his curriculum/studies closely enough to what the class is doing while he is with her. School is not made up of a collection of isolated lessons that can be seamlessly exchanged for one another. It is a cohesive experience of social-emotional development, numerous subjects that have their own curriculum, long term projects, short term projects, art, music, maybe foreign language. How on earth does she think this wouldn't turn into a stressful, chopped up experience for your son?

I very much doubt the private school would even allow him to only attend half time. The 2 of you need to come up with a plan that is in the best interest of your son, not what is convenient for one or the other. Best of luck to you.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Who has primary custody? Is there a provision in the agreement about what is to happen if one parent decides to move away? You need to talk to your lawyer about adjusting custody so he can stay in school full time. No school is going to agree to allow him to home school and then return for every two weeks, that would be way to disruptive not only to him, but for the teacher and the rest of the classroom.

8 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

This sounds extremely disruptive to your child. He would do better in one environment or the other, but not shifting back and forth. Staying where he knows kids/teachers and where he school knows him would seem, on the surface, to make the most sense, but we don't see the full situation of course.

I taught in 2 private schools, and I cannot imagine that any of them would agree to 2 weeks on, two weeks off. They also have state standards to adhere to, and I can't imagine that they would think that two weeks a month somewhere else (with a parent home schooling) would help the child keep up. I'm not opposed to home schooling at all, but usually it's done by people who have planned it out, investigated curricula, and so on.

I'm not sure the realities of transportation have been thought out either. One of you is going to drive 5 hours (2.5 hours one way, 2.5 hours the other)? That's going to get really old really fast, especially for your son. New house, new room, new school materials, shifting from friends to on line classes?

What's her plan? She's not going to work, because she will be home all day schooling him? Then what happens for the 2 weeks your son is with you? Are you working while he's in school? Is she planning to hit you up for child support? What are the repercussions of that?

Get with a mediator if your ex will agree to work cooperatively, otherwise get a lawyer who will advocate only for you.

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L.H.

answers from Abilene on

I don’t see how this can be in his best interest. No continuity in education means lots of gaps. I homeschool and there’s no way I would subject my kids to this. Is the virtual school a continuation of the private school? Maybe you can see a mediator for help? Is the reason for going with a private school because a public school would never agree to this arrangement?

Kids move around and do fine. I’ve not known anyone who does the 2 weeks at each parent’s house when there’s a 2.5 hour distance. That seems pretty unsustainable.

I would be more concerned about his education. Have you checked into this virtual school? Have you checked what the homeschool laws are in your state? If not, I encourage you to do so before you agree to anything. You can look online at www.hslda.org. Will she be supervising his schooling?

Sorry you’re facing this difficult situation. Please advocate for what is best for your son.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

Can you provide more information so that we can give more insight, or more moms can relate?

I have never heard of such an arrangement. The closest thing I have heard to this would be when a child has an illness and goes to school part time and then does schoolwork from home. That would be kind of an extreme situation - not something people would typically plan for.

Isn't there some kind of legal agreement you have with the mom about moving and where child goes to school/lives? I do have a relative whose ex lives 5 hours away but mom has primary custody. The child only sees father at holidays and summer vacation.

I agree - this would be taxing on a child - the driving alone, not to mention the switching of homes and school systems/learning.

Kids can handle switching schools - I can speak to this. We did and kids adjust. Ultimately, no it's not ideal, but it happens all the time and kids make new friends. The key is to put them in activities so that they meet friends from their new school and also from their neighborhood. They will bounce back with encouragement and support.

My personal recommendation is for you to meet with a lawyer, mediator and possibly a child psychologist - whoever you need to in order to be your child's advocate here.

Good luck

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I don't think it's a good idea.
I don't think the school would like it either.
You can't have a part time student who is in class only half the month.
It would be very disruptive and it would be hard on your son too.
I'm not sure why she moved so far away but it sounds like she's abandoned her family and now wants to play tug of war with your/her child.
You should discuss this with a lawyer and work out custody and visitation.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

I have never heard of a school that would let a child attend part time. His mom moving so far away is creating a very difficult situation for her child. He should stay in his current school in my opinion.Also, when he is with her and she homeschools him...what about work? Doesn't she have to work? My friends who divorced are in a similar situation - the mom moved an hour and a half away to start a new job. She has to do a ton of driving now to get her boys to school when she has them. She sees them less during the week, but gets them on most weekends and most of the summer. This is one problem when getting divorced...you are stuck in that city/town. Your wife really should choose to stay there to make life easier on her son. You might have to get a mediator/ lawyer or go through the court system to get a custody arrangement down in writing.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

C.

I'm sorry, this sounds like hell for your son.

I can't think of ANY school that would allow a child to attend "part time".

I think you need to go back to court and get sole physical custody of your son and allow your ex to have visitation over the summer, school breaks, etc.

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B.A.

answers from Columbus on

It sounds like a horrible plan. I don't think that you're going to find any school that's going to be willing to agree to a student attending part time. And even if a school agreed to it, it would be really difficult for your son. The only way I think that her plan would work is if you both home schooled or did virtual schooling. But that would require that both of you have an adult at home during the day to care for him. And he'd still lose all of his social connections.

Most custody agreements specifically address this situation. Have you looked at your agreement? It might be time for you to seek primary custody.

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L.C.

answers from Washington DC on

That’s crazy! Get an attorney, file for permanent sole custody with specific visitation for Mom. She does not have your child’s best interests in mind.

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P.C.

answers from New York on

Mom does not have your son's best interest at heart. As parents, we make all kinds of sacrifices for our children. Its what we do and we do it willingly. If she chooses to move away, that's just that...Her choice.
Mom doesn't seem to understand that she will do more harm than good towards your son. This proposal she's suggesting would be very trying on your boy and taking him away from his group of friends will cause even more turmoil for him. Plus there would be no continuity since home/virtual schooling and private school curriculum will differ greatly. He will be so confused!
Sadly, children are always victims in one way or another when parents split...Unfortunately your son is no exception.
Dad, I'm on your side and I think your lawyer needs to get involved...as does your school district! Was there a court appointed attorney for your son? Your son needs someone to speak for him.
I cannot see this even being approved as a good plan....but these days the courts are not always deciding correctly.
Seriously, what is she thinking???
I pray things work out for you and your son. Best wishes

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

It sounds to me like you need to talk to an attorney. Is there any clause that says she can't move and do you have split custody? My guess is that you will need the custody agreement redone. I don't see how a judge in their right mind would even allow this. You also need to talk to the school and see if they will even allow that. My guess is NO. The virtual school would probably not allow it either. My son did virtual school for almost a semester. It is online class time and assignments and they can get to a point if they are not caught up they can't go any further in a subject till the are caught up and they will not say oh well that's when he was with his dad so he doesn't have to do them. That is totally unreasonable and unfair to your son. If he does the virtual school at his moms he needs to do it when he is with you. Again I think your first step needs to be an attorney!

Good luck!

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J.J.

answers from Buffalo on

No, not a good plan. Have him stay where he is. The mom sounds selfish...
I know many of my dd's friends of divorce who get shuttled all over the place...it is really unfair. How old is the son? Why did she move so far? I knew a family where the mother kept taking temporary jobs out of the country...I couldn't believe it. She would just up and leave her son and her husband for "the great opportunity".
Totally selfish!
Fight for your son - keep him where he is. Depending on how old he is, maybe he needs to let his mom know that he is against this too (is he?)

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

kids aren't 'hurt socially' by moving.

kids move and go to new schools every day. life happens. kids who are parented, supported and taught to be resilient deal with it just fine.

what's very weird is the disjointed virtual school/private school plan. i doubt either one of the schools will agree to it.

i suggest you both get on the same page and homeschool him. it'll still be disjointed with your difficult custody setup but it'll be less jarring for him. the two of you would need to get together on a syllabus plan, of course.

if you make the effort to keep him connected 'socially' he'll maintain friendships. if you make the effort to contact and get involved with homeschool groups he'll make new ones.

but i don't see a constant switchback being a good thing at all.
khairete
S.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

This is just a horrible plan. I've taught school, and there is no way any school is going to go for having a child there only half the month. I can only imagine how impossible it would be for a teacher to keep a student up with the curriculum. The same goes for the virtual school. That just isn't how school works. His mother is the one who decided to move, so the burden should be on her. You need a good lawyer to push hard for your son to stay with you during the school year and she can take alternate vacations, some weekends, and part of his summer break. Also since she left, you can ask the courts that she do/pay for traveling to get your son to and from her town. She should also be paying you child support, medical support, and help with other extra expenses as you and your lawyer see fit. Don't sit back and let this happen to your child! Be proactive and fight for what's best for him.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

Well, what does your divorce/child custody agreement state? Usually, BOTH parents have to be on board with such decisions. If they aren't, they are supposed to go in front of a judge with their attorneys. For her to have just moved without even addressing that was wrong, and she could lose custody of him for not having discussed the subject with you and gone to court to get the court's permission to move him. I agree with you that this back and forth in schooling is only going to cause instability and chaos, since different schools will be covering material at different times, and this is unfair to him. By the time he is caught up with one school, he goes back to another school and jumps in at a different point of the curriculum.

Instead, maybe she should plan to have him stay with one of you during summer and winter break, and he can stay in school and with the other parent the rest of the time. That sounds more practical than the back and forth she suggests, which is only going to cause confusion, stress, and require constant adjustment from the child. I am sure she will need a job to support herself in her new place of residence, so how does she plan to do this if she is going to be homeschooling? This is why I am stuck in my city, I don't want to deal with custody issues with my ex-husband and have it affect our child's schooling. Once our daughter turns 18 though, I am out of here if I can help it, and hope she will choose to stay with me and go to a college in my new city of choice.

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E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

The biggest issues to focus on are not the driving, not the traveling, and not the friendships. Kids are resilient. Kids move and make new friends.

Your biggest focus must be the educational aspect of this plan. And it's the educational part of this plan that is potentially disastrous.

All schools are different. Even schools within the same district are different (like a 1st grade in one part of town vs a 1st grade in another part of town - each school will have different staff, different teams, different focus, different teachers and methods, and different resources).

Can you imagine an employee who spends 2 months at an office in one city and 2 months in an office in another city, having to answer to 2 different bosses, having to function with 2 different sets of colleagues, having to use 2 different computer systems, having to accomplish 2 different goals and turn in 2 completely different sets of work? It's not the same as the employee whose job it is to travel to different corporate sites and manage a particular system, because that employee is responsible to a single administration and boss, he just travels. What you're talking about with your son's school situation would be comparable to an employee having 2 completely different jobs, for half of each month.

Most likely, each school that you're contemplating would not allow your son to be enrolled for only 2 weeks of the month. So there's that aspect to consider.

How could an 8 year old (or for that matter, an 18 year old or a 28 year old person) possibly keep up with X school's math test is on the 6th and Y's school's project is due the 7th and oh there's a math test at Y school on the 5th but on a different area of mathematics and X school tryouts for basketball is on the 8th but if I play basketball for X I can't go on the field trip for Y and is this the vocabulary for X or Y school and on and on...

My daughter attended a virtual/cyber school, and many of her classmates were in a similar situation as your son: their parents resided in different school districts or states. The student attended one school, just in different locations (at mom's house, at dad's house). But the student had the same teachers, the same curriculum, the same classmates. It provided continuity and structure.

Virtual schools today provide opportunities for socializing. My daughter went on field trips (some for fun, some of an educational nature), went bowling with fellow students on school-sponsored trips, etc. The parents must be involved - this is not like taking a college class online. Parents in reputable cyber schools are encouraged if not required to function as "learning coaches", to know their kids' schedules and teachers, to log into the parents' sites and view grades. The parents don't do the teaching like in homeschool, but they are active participants in the students' education.

The plan as you describe it will be devastating for your son, and will pretty much guarantee that his education will flounder and that he will fail. No one, especially a child, can succeed in half a program. For your son's sake, figure out a system that will provide him with structure, stability, consistency, and comfort, along with the tools and resources to enable him to have a solid education.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

C.

Welcome to mamapedia.

You really need to talk with your lawyer. This is NOT good. No school is going to allow a child to go to school part time. This is NOT good for him - no matter what age he is. I can't imagine the courts would allow this.

Take her to court. Get full physical custody of your son and keep him where he is comfortable.

VERY RUDE and SELFISH of the mom to move and expect him to be able to do school part time. NO FREAKING WAY.

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K.J.

answers from Portland on

Can you even do that? When my son was around that age I moved from OR, just over to WA. My son did not want to switch schools, so he ended up living with his grandparents during the school weeks. Then, since all his friends were there, he ended up living there all the time, not just for the school weeks only. Hardest thing I did but my son was happy & he graduated with all his friends, from Kindergarten-High school.

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S.B.

answers from Washington DC on

First, you might want to find out why mom wants to make this change. Is he being bullied? Is he falling behind? Try solving it through the school... tutoring or mediation. If he's thriving socially, academically, and emotionally, don't move him. Twenty years ago, I home schooled the youngest two of my 7 children (all honor students and most college educated) for a few years because I saw a drop in academic & behavior expectations at the school my children had all attended. I had the advantage of having had to purchase textbooks for the older kids so I had something to work with and they maintained their connections with their peers outside of school so they were able to transition back into public school at the junior high level. School has changed in the last decade. My 8 year old grandson attends a STEM based charter school and is learning basic geometry in his math class and I spend a lot of time on my computer learning the concepts and the language just so I can supervise his homework. With dedication and consistancy on the part of the parent, homeschooling can be great for some kids... but teaching, even at home, is a full time job, so if this is just a way to get out of getting up and getting the child to school each morning, don't kid yourself! I can't see any benefit to two weeks at home and two weeks in school. Education is too important to be part-time, sometime, in the meantime. I hope your custody agreement includes a "decision making" clause so your son doesn't get caught up in battle, although I doubt any judge will see the benefits of such a plan... just hate to see it come to that!

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E.T.

answers from Rochester on

I’m guessing a school won’t allow this. Most schools (even private) have attendance policies. No way would this fly in a public school! I’m guessing a private school would be the same.

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