Homeschooling is a great option for some families, offering flexible educational solutions and ensuring that each child’s unique needs are met. However, homeschooling during or after divorce can be a challenge. Once parents are no longer working together as a couple, navigating educational issues is tough. If you currently homeschool or want to homeschool, it’s important to know your options.
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Maintaining the Status Quo After a Divorce
Divorce can be incredibly hard on children. For that reason, you may want to continue homeschooling after the divorce if you homeschooled before the split. The court is likely to agree, especially if the children are meeting educational milestones. The changes that come with divorce are already challenging for children; if you completely change their schooling routine, they may struggle.
It’s not uncommon for one parent to claim they no longer want to homeschool during a divorce. They may say that the homeschooling parent is ill-equipped to teach or ignores the children’s educational needs. Try not to worry—a judge will see that they were completely on board with homeschooling and confident in their co-parent’s abilities before the divorce, and they will take that into account.
It’s a little different when a parent wants to start homeschooling in the midst of or after a divorce. This is quite a bit harder, as they have to prove that they are capable of meeting the children’s needs and that this choice will not negatively impact the children’s time with their other parent.
When Parents Disagree on Educational Choices
If one parent wants to homeschool and one does not, a few different things can happen. If one parent has sole legal custody, they are the only one who can weigh in on this decision. It’s more common for parents to share legal custody, in which case they may both be able to make their case in court.
These discussions and conflicts can be emotionally charged since both parents often strongly believe that they alone know what is best for their child. Issues that may arise include:
- Quality of education: The non-homeschooling parent may worry about the other parent’s knowledge, teaching skills, and ability to provide education on par with or better than the public school system. They may also worry about socializing and other common issues that come up with homeschooling.
- Financial support: While some parents homeschool while still working and bringing in an income, this is a challenge. If one parent wants to be a stay-at-home parent to homeschool, the working parent may not want to be financially responsible for two households.
- Time commitment: Homeschooling is a major time commitment, and it’s not uncommon for one parent to worry about the other’s ability to keep up with the demands of homeschooling throughout the year.
- Time with both parents: If the non-homeschooling parent wants a 50/50 split, they may be concerned about how homeschooling may affect that. The other parent would get more than 50% of the time simply by being the parent in charge of education.
Navigating These Issues
While this will be a difficult issue to work out, keeping a few tips in mind can help you minimize your stress and advocate for your children. At all times, focus on your children’s best interests—not your ego or goals. It’s not a failure to admit that your ex-partner has good points and good ideas regarding your child’s education.
If you do homeschool, ensure that you keep thorough records of what you teach, projects the children do, and outings they participate in. You want to prove that their experience is at least as good as what they’d get in a public school. Keep your co-parent involved and informed at all times so they don’t think that you are trying to cut them out of their child’s education.
Explore Your Legal Options with Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short
Family law issues can be very stressful, but having a strong legal advocate on your side can make a big difference. Let’s talk about your options together—just call us at 334-560-1936 or connect with us online to set up a consultation.