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Working school year calendar around visitation with other parent

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The background info: We have had custody of DH's 11 year old daughter since she was 3, and visitation with her mom used to be every other weekend, sometimes more often, there's no set schedule. Back in October, her mom moved off and now lives almost 5 hours away. I already had the school calendar made out, so when she was able to go to her mom's, we let her go, and if she missed "school days," we simply changed her calendar, leaving our son's the same. That worked fine, until May arrived, and he finished his year on the 13th, and she still had 3 weeks to go. (If she had finished her curriculum, I would've let her be done, too, but she was even further behind than the 3 extra weeks she was gone.)

Fast forward to now, I'm trying to figure out our schedule for next school year, working around when bio mom is able to have DSD come visit. (Both she and DS have asked they not have different breaks; neither of them liked her working when he was done.) Because her step-dad's work schedule has him in our area every three weeks, that's the only time they'll get her for a visit. This is making planning my calendar very difficult. We don't usually do "fall break" or "spring break," because we like a long break for Christmas and getting out early in the summer, but since I don't want to keep DSD from seeing her mom from start of school to Christmas, I'm going to have to plan a 3 week fall break. I like to start them back the last Monday of July, but they're going to have her from July 17-Aug 6, pushing our start date back quite a bit. 

My question is, is there anyone else here who has to plan their school calendar around parental visitations, and if so, how do you do it? Even if you don't have to deal with it, do you have any advice? I think I just need some fresh perspective on it, but the way I'm feeling now, they're either going to have to have different breaks, or we're going to have to change to *official* year-round school. :(

by on Jun. 27, 2014 at 12:51 AM
Replies (21-26):
TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Jul. 3, 2014 at 7:43 AM
If it's and option to just have them follow your schedule more then I would do that. Three weeks off every three weeks? That's probably why she's behind, she's not retaining anything because they aren't helping at all..it's like the "summer slide" every three weeks. I would try making breaks not be so long if that's an option (based in your court order/visitation agreement).

Just a side note, I am hsing an 11 yo SD as well! The difference is her mom moved far away and decided to just never take any visits..or even call anymore. It's hard to say if it's better this way or not..but I am sure it makes my job of homeschooling easier.

Good luck, hopefully more structure and less time off will help her make more progress.

Quoting dougiesmom:

She doesn't go every three weeks, but her step-dad works on a riverboat and works three weeks on, three weeks off. His port is close to us, so he picks her up on his way home and brings her home when he heads back to work. In order to work with their schedule, I have to count weeks to try to coincide our breaks with him going back and forth. DH and I finally decided we'd schedule our start date to convenience them, but the rest of the breaks we're doing as usual and they will have to just make the extra trips. Surely they'll come this way to see their families here at some point, anyway.

We already count everything as school; even playing outside is PE! ;) We also did a lot of Saturday school this past year, but then they tend to burn out. I like them to have at least one day off to just play each week. Even kids needs stress relief. The worry with DSD is that she's so far behind academically, she needs more instructional time to grasp basic concepts. (She's 11, but has the mentality of someone much younger *by choice.* Every evaluation she's had, they've found nothing wrong with her except her attitude toward learning.) The curriculum she has should be able to be completed in 150 days; we scheduled 170 and she ended the year two months behind in everything except math. I can't send work with her because they will do it for her, either by telling her what to put or just outright doing it. I just sent her with a list of things we were working on last time that included hours in a day, number of days in a week/month, how many months in a year, and measurements. She came home knowing the months. Not how many, what they are (which she then could count how many by naming them off, but I want her to just know *12*). That's all they did with her in three weeks' time. So I don't count on her doing anything while she's with them other than just playing the day away, and when she's here, we do school. 

Quoting TJandKarasMom: I didn't read all the replies, but I have a couple ideas....

-do work on some weekends
-do workbook pages or reviews in the car on the ride to her moms
-on beautiful days/dr appts etc, do something that can be considered instruction (nature walk, give them each $10 and let them buy some snacks at the store..doing math, dealing with the cashier, etc)
-count everything possible..so if one weekend you do some kind of family field trip count that as a school day, when you take vacation, try to have a day or two or something educational and count it as a school day (Christmas baking and shopping can count as 'school')



How long does she stay with her mom? And it happens every three weeks?

dougiesmom
by Member on Jul. 3, 2014 at 2:08 PM

We don't have a court order. Last year, before they moved, she went to her mom's on the weekends. Once they moved, she went for Christmas and spring break (which we extended to fit step-dad's schedule). The problem came in when our son kept on doing his schoolwork while she was gone, then his summer break started at the beginning of May while she had to go to May 27. I think it would be easier for the sake of school if her mom just cut off contact, but I also think that would be harder on her emotionally and her schoolwork would suffer even more. She already has a hard time coping with the fact that her mom has her other two kids (not my DH's) but not her. What we can't explain to her, though, is that they only live with mom because their grandparents who were raising them passed away and (a quote straight from mom's mouth): "no one else would take them so I have to take them back." 

Quoting TJandKarasMom: If it's and option to just have them follow your schedule more then I would do that. Three weeks off every three weeks? That's probably why she's behind, she's not retaining anything because they aren't helping at all..it's like the "summer slide" every three weeks. I would try making breaks not be so long if that's an option (based in your court order/visitation agreement). Just a side note, I am hsing an 11 yo SD as well! The difference is her mom moved far away and decided to just never take any visits..or even call anymore. It's hard to say if it's better this way or not..but I am sure it makes my job of homeschooling easier. Good luck, hopefully more structure and less time off will help her make more progress.
Quoting dougiesmom:

She doesn't go every three weeks, but her step-dad works on a riverboat and works three weeks on, three weeks off. His port is close to us, so he picks her up on his way home and brings her home when he heads back to work. In order to work with their schedule, I have to count weeks to try to coincide our breaks with him going back and forth. DH and I finally decided we'd schedule our start date to convenience them, but the rest of the breaks we're doing as usual and they will have to just make the extra trips. Surely they'll come this way to see their families here at some point, anyway.

We already count everything as school; even playing outside is PE! ;) We also did a lot of Saturday school this past year, but then they tend to burn out. I like them to have at least one day off to just play each week. Even kids needs stress relief. The worry with DSD is that she's so far behind academically, she needs more instructional time to grasp basic concepts. (She's 11, but has the mentality of someone much younger *by choice.* Every evaluation she's had, they've found nothing wrong with her except her attitude toward learning.) The curriculum she has should be able to be completed in 150 days; we scheduled 170 and she ended the year two months behind in everything except math. I can't send work with her because they will do it for her, either by telling her what to put or just outright doing it. I just sent her with a list of things we were working on last time that included hours in a day, number of days in a week/month, how many months in a year, and measurements. She came home knowing the months. Not how many, what they are (which she then could count how many by naming them off, but I want her to just know *12*). That's all they did with her in three weeks' time. So I don't count on her doing anything while she's with them other than just playing the day away, and when she's here, we do school. 

Quoting TJandKarasMom: I didn't read all the replies, but I have a couple ideas.... -do work on some weekends -do workbook pages or reviews in the car on the ride to her moms -on beautiful days/dr appts etc, do something that can be considered instruction (nature walk, give them each $10 and let them buy some snacks at the store..doing math, dealing with the cashier, etc) -count everything possible..so if one weekend you do some kind of family field trip count that as a school day, when you take vacation, try to have a day or two or something educational and count it as a school day (Christmas baking and shopping can count as 'school') How long does she stay with her mom? And it happens every three weeks?


TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Jul. 3, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Aw, that's so sad :(  My SDs mother is the same way really.  SD is her oldest, they used to share custody but once SD was around 2 and stopped being able to be dragged around and not complain she always asked us to take her more.  Then when SD was 4 her mom had another DD with another guy, she left when that one was 4, his parents have guardianship and are raising her now (he lives with them as well and has now started being her primary parent..she is 7 now).  As far as we know she has had another child with a third guy and the grandmother of the other little girl told me she thinks she is pregnant again now.  But SD doesn't even know she has a brother because mom hasn't called her in that long...we just heard through the grapevine that she had a son but we chose not to tell SD because we felt it would be harder (why is she keeping him, but didn't keep her? Just like your SD wonders...) and honestly we don't feel like we need to spread rumors, we honestly don't know for a fact if she actually had a baby or not. 

Some people just shouldn't have kids.

But anyway, I am glad it seems you have worked it out and that your DH is on board with you.  I agree with them needing to follow your schedule more and to keep it all so it's best for SD. (which it obviously stinks and isn't best for any kid to see a sibling be done with school and still have 3 weeks left!)

How does it work without a court order?  Do they pretty much just agree on everything?  We had to have an extremely specific court order/visitation agreement when SD mother left because she has a really hard time following any kind of guideline, especially if it was made up by DH.

Quoting dougiesmom:

We don't have a court order. Last year, before they moved, she went to her mom's on the weekends. Once they moved, she went for Christmas and spring break (which we extended to fit step-dad's schedule). The problem came in when our son kept on doing his schoolwork while she was gone, then his summer break started at the beginning of May while she had to go to May 27. I think it would be easier for the sake of school if her mom just cut off contact, but I also think that would be harder on her emotionally and her schoolwork would suffer even more. She already has a hard time coping with the fact that her mom has her other two kids (not my DH's) but not her. What we can't explain to her, though, is that they only live with mom because their grandparents who were raising them passed away and (a quote straight from mom's mouth): "no one else would take them so I have to take them back." 

Quoting TJandKarasMom: If it's and option to just have them follow your schedule more then I would do that. Three weeks off every three weeks? That's probably why she's behind, she's not retaining anything because they aren't helping at all..it's like the "summer slide" every three weeks. I would try making breaks not be so long if that's an option (based in your court order/visitation agreement). Just a side note, I am hsing an 11 yo SD as well! The difference is her mom moved far away and decided to just never take any visits..or even call anymore. It's hard to say if it's better this way or not..but I am sure it makes my job of homeschooling easier. Good luck, hopefully more structure and less time off will help her make more progress.
Quoting dougiesmom:

She doesn't go every three weeks, but her step-dad works on a riverboat and works three weeks on, three weeks off. His port is close to us, so he picks her up on his way home and brings her home when he heads back to work. In order to work with their schedule, I have to count weeks to try to coincide our breaks with him going back and forth. DH and I finally decided we'd schedule our start date to convenience them, but the rest of the breaks we're doing as usual and they will have to just make the extra trips. Surely they'll come this way to see their families here at some point, anyway.

We already count everything as school; even playing outside is PE! ;) We also did a lot of Saturday school this past year, but then they tend to burn out. I like them to have at least one day off to just play each week. Even kids needs stress relief. The worry with DSD is that she's so far behind academically, she needs more instructional time to grasp basic concepts. (She's 11, but has the mentality of someone much younger *by choice.* Every evaluation she's had, they've found nothing wrong with her except her attitude toward learning.) The curriculum she has should be able to be completed in 150 days; we scheduled 170 and she ended the year two months behind in everything except math. I can't send work with her because they will do it for her, either by telling her what to put or just outright doing it. I just sent her with a list of things we were working on last time that included hours in a day, number of days in a week/month, how many months in a year, and measurements. She came home knowing the months. Not how many, what they are (which she then could count how many by naming them off, but I want her to just know *12*). That's all they did with her in three weeks' time. So I don't count on her doing anything while she's with them other than just playing the day away, and when she's here, we do school. 

Quoting TJandKarasMom: I didn't read all the replies, but I have a couple ideas.... -do work on some weekends -do workbook pages or reviews in the car on the ride to her moms -on beautiful days/dr appts etc, do something that can be considered instruction (nature walk, give them each $10 and let them buy some snacks at the store..doing math, dealing with the cashier, etc) -count everything possible..so if one weekend you do some kind of family field trip count that as a school day, when you take vacation, try to have a day or two or something educational and count it as a school day (Christmas baking and shopping can count as 'school') How long does she stay with her mom? And it happens every three weeks?


KrissyKC
by Silver Member on Jul. 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Tell them if they want visitation to be at their convenience, then they can help chip in or provide for a laptop for her.   You can get a decent used one for between $200-400 depending on how "nice" you want it to be.    

Give the girl her own laptop and she can take it with her.   If she refuses to do her work while gone, she misses free time to double up on her workload when home.


dougiesmom
by Member on Jul. 4, 2014 at 3:35 PM

DH got temporary custody and bio mom put on supervised visitation (at everyone's convenience) when she was being charged with neglect. The court was supposed to revisit the custody/child support agreement after the criminal case was done, and they never did. DH didn't push it because he was afraid they'd send her back to live with her mom; mom didn't push it because she was afraid they'd up her child support (or send SD back to live with her). She's not as bad a person as she used to be--she's really cleaned herself up over the past few years--so we don't mind letting SD go whenever they can get her as long as it doesn't interfere with what we've got going on here. If it ever became an issue where we couldn't all agree, we'd have to go back through the courts and have an order made up. Luckily, we've never had issues like that. We all want what's best for SD, and we've all grown up enough to know it doesn't hurt anyone but her if we fight. (It hasn't always been this way; it's been a long road to get here.) 

Quoting TJandKarasMom:

Aw, that's so sad :(  My SDs mother is the same way really.  SD is her oldest, they used to share custody but once SD was around 2 and stopped being able to be dragged around and not complain she always asked us to take her more.  Then when SD was 4 her mom had another DD with another guy, she left when that one was 4, his parents have guardianship and are raising her now (he lives with them as well and has now started being her primary parent..she is 7 now).  As far as we know she has had another child with a third guy and the grandmother of the other little girl told me she thinks she is pregnant again now.  But SD doesn't even know she has a brother because mom hasn't called her in that long...we just heard through the grapevine that she had a son but we chose not to tell SD because we felt it would be harder (why is she keeping him, but didn't keep her? Just like your SD wonders...) and honestly we don't feel like we need to spread rumors, we honestly don't know for a fact if she actually had a baby or not. 

Some people just shouldn't have kids.

But anyway, I am glad it seems you have worked it out and that your DH is on board with you.  I agree with them needing to follow your schedule more and to keep it all so it's best for SD. (which it obviously stinks and isn't best for any kid to see a sibling be done with school and still have 3 weeks left!)

How does it work without a court order?  Do they pretty much just agree on everything?  We had to have an extremely specific court order/visitation agreement when SD mother left because she has a really hard time following any kind of guideline, especially if it was made up by DH.

Quoting dougiesmom:


dougiesmom
by Member on Jul. 4, 2014 at 3:39 PM

They actually did buy her a (used) laptop, but 1. it was crap and is already dead and 2. if I send work with her, they do it for her and say she did it. She won't learn anything doing that, except that if you whine enough someone else will take care of what you don't want to do. ;) 

Quoting KrissyKC:

Tell them if they want visitation to be at their convenience, then they can help chip in or provide for a laptop for her.   You can get a decent used one for between $200-400 depending on how "nice" you want it to be.    

Give the girl her own laptop and she can take it with her.   If she refuses to do her work while gone, she misses free time to double up on her workload when home.



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