Author Topic: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids  (Read 15526 times)

mamabear0314

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Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« on: May 31, 2014, 03:17:43 PM »
Income:
$1,470 from Child Support
$260 from Donating Plasma

Expenses:
$225 Car
$150 Gas
$115 Insurance
$25 Phone
$400 Food
$200 Misc

$1115 Subtotal

Assets:
$4000 Savings

Liabilities:
Student Loans (Will be about $25000 I think, I'm not sure how much payments will be because I don't start paying them until I graduate)
Car (Less than $10000)

My ex-husband left me and the kids when the baby was 2 months old, I had been a stay at home mom for the past 5 years. I immediately went back to school for finance and will graduate in May 2016. I'm taking as many classes as possible to get done as fast as possible.
To complicate things, my kids all have a chromosomal disorder (14q11.2 deletion if there are any science nerds out there) which causes developmental delays, autism, adhd and a whole lot of other acronyms (no physical disabilities, however). Luckily their dad is in the army so they have good insurance. The reason any of this matters is because I want to homeschool my kids. This means working from home. My degree will be with a personal finance concentration which I've been assured I can do from home.

So my plan is to finish school, then buy a nice big RV to live in while I pay off my student loans (I intend to pay off my car within the time I'm in school). I'd work from home and homeschool the kids. Once my loans are paid off I'd find a piece of land and park while saving to build my house or just buy a house, one or the other. The RV is kind of a lifestyle thing (we're minimalists) and I want to be able to take the kids to the things we're learning about (let's learn about the constitution..and go look at it!).

So I guess what I'm wanting to know is...do y'all think this is a reasonable plan or am I being ridiculous? Am I overlooking or oversimplifying things?

I am currently living with my parents but it is a very temporary situation and I will be on my own by the end of the year at the latest, by fall at the earliest.
I have medicaid for myself while in school.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 03:32:04 PM by mamabear0314 »

homeymomma

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 03:23:13 PM »
How much are you student loans debts and what are you monthly payments on those? How much do you owe on your car? Where do you live now? I don't see any rent on here... You must live with family? Curious as to the wisdom of buying an RV or home while you have student loan debt and currently *seem* to have free housing?

Do you also have imsurance through your ex's plan? Or is the $115/ health ins, not car ins?

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2014, 03:32:53 PM »
How much are you student loans debts and what are you monthly payments on those? How much do you owe on your car? Where do you live now? I don't see any rent on here... You must live with family? Curious as to the wisdom of buying an RV or home while you have student loan debt and currently *seem* to have free housing?

Do you also have imsurance through your ex's plan? Or is the $115/ health ins, not car ins?

I updated the OP, I won't have free housing for long.

Argyle

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 05:01:07 PM »
How old are the kids? 

Here are some concerns I'd have about the RV.  One, they're expensive and they depreciate.  A house will not depreciate.  Two, if you have three kids and they have special needs, having a community support system will be invaluable.  I don't know if your kids are high-functioning enough to have friends, but if so, that will be important to them.  It sounds as if they are high-functioning if you're thinking about looking at the Constitution with them.  So having a social network will be important to you and important to them.  Especially if they have some disabilities, being part of a social network can be an invaluable part of how to get things done when they're grown up.  They will also be happy to have friends come over (and your job will be easier when they have friends to play with).  Plus you'll have friends to commiserate with, to do things with, to lend a hand, and to have them over to give you some down time. Plus cultivating reliable babysitters.  All of this will be eliminated if you're mobile and not living in a fixed community.  If you'd settle in one place and just use the RV for occasional jaunts, it will be more beneficial to be in a house and just use a car for the jaunts.

So from my point of view, financially and socially/educationally, the RV is less advantageous than a house.

homeymomma

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 05:39:22 PM »
How much will you be able to save for a house (or RV) while you still have free housing? Is housing inexpensive where you want to live? Your numbers do not seem to support the purchase of a home right now. But honestly it seems difficult to judge without more information.
I'll let others speak to the benefits/disadvantages of building your own home vs buying. but without your future income to consider, it's hard to say if either are within reach.
Seems like if you can somehow get enough for a down payment and afford your mortgage on your future salary, buying makes sense IF it's lower than rent in your area. An RV would seem to me like the icing on the cake later in life when you've gotten a few more things ironed out, like a retirement plan (not MMM style, but at least the typical age 65 routine). Wanting to travel with your kids as you homeschool is admirable, but within reason can be done with a regular car and doesn't in my mind justify purchasing an RV.
You should be able to find out what your future SL payments will be (ballpark) by calling lenders. I'd look into that so you can plan for your minimum payments before you commit to anything you won't easily be able to scale back once your loan payments come due, (I'm thinking rent).

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 05:56:59 PM »
How old are the kids? 

Here are some concerns I'd have about the RV.  One, they're expensive and they depreciate.  A house will not depreciate.  Two, if you have three kids and they have special needs, having a community support system will be invaluable.  I don't know if your kids are high-functioning enough to have friends, but if so, that will be important to them.  It sounds as if they are high-functioning if you're thinking about looking at the Constitution with them.  So having a social network will be important to you and important to them.  Especially if they have some disabilities, being part of a social network can be an invaluable part of how to get things done when they're grown up.  They will also be happy to have friends come over (and your job will be easier when they have friends to play with).  Plus you'll have friends to commiserate with, to do things with, to lend a hand, and to have them over to give you some down time. Plus cultivating reliable babysitters.  All of this will be eliminated if you're mobile and not living in a fixed community.  If you'd settle in one place and just use the RV for occasional jaunts, it will be more beneficial to be in a house and just use a car for the jaunts.

So from my point of view, financially and socially/educationally, the RV is less advantageous than a house.

Those are great points, thank you for the input!

mozar

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2014, 05:58:33 PM »
It can take a long time say 3-5 years to get settled in personal finance fyi. There are also some certificates to get. You will need to build up a repertoire of well heeled clients to pay your fees. Once you do that though it is a nice profession. There are a few firms that will let you start right out of school if you don't want to be on your own yet. These are basically sales jobs where you are finding clients for the firm. The firms have a lot of hours I hear, more than 40. If your kids are young give yourself a few years to get established in your career, then home school them when they are older. My .02 cents

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 06:04:40 PM »
How much will you be able to save for a house (or RV) while you still have free housing? Is housing inexpensive where you want to live? Your numbers do not seem to support the purchase of a home right now. But honestly it seems difficult to judge without more information.
I'll let others speak to the benefits/disadvantages of building your own home vs buying. but without your future income to consider, it's hard to say if either are within reach.
Seems like if you can somehow get enough for a down payment and afford your mortgage on your future salary, buying makes sense IF it's lower than rent in your area. An RV would seem to me like the icing on the cake later in life when you've gotten a few more things ironed out, like a retirement plan (not MMM style, but at least the typical age 65 routine). Wanting to travel with your kids as you homeschool is admirable, but within reason can be done with a regular car and doesn't in my mind justify purchasing an RV.
You should be able to find out what your future SL payments will be (ballpark) by calling lenders. I'd look into that so you can plan for your minimum payments before you commit to anything you won't easily be able to scale back once your loan payments come due, (I'm thinking rent).

I can save up to $3000 by then, making about $7000 total. Not knowing my future salary is a problem, assuming their dad continues to pay child support I don't have to make much...I don't want to rely on him though (that's what got me into this). I think the reason I liked the RV idea os because I'd be able to buy it outright. Kwim? I do think I'm being idealistic and unrealistic though.

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 06:08:58 PM »
It can take a long time say 3-5 years to get settled in personal finance fyi. There are also some certificates to get. You will need to build up a repertoire of well heeled clients to pay your fees. Once you do that though it is a nice profession. There are a few firms that will let you start right out of school if you don't want to be on your own yet. These are basically sales jobs where you are finding clients for the firm. The firms have a lot of hours I hear, more than 40. If your kids are young give yourself a few years to get established in your career, then home school them when they are older. My .02 cents

Thank you, this is also an option. My issue with public school is that they would put my 5 yo in special ed kindergarten when I have him in 1st-2nd grade at home. They won't let him skip because they say it'll cause social issues, which is true. My other kids are 1 & 3 and daycare would cost as much as I'd make. :/

MoneyCat

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 06:14:05 PM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

Argyle

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2014, 06:14:22 PM »
I'm afraid you wouldn't get much of a used RV for $7000.  It would be the equivalent of an RV beater.  Here's a bunch of ads for used RVs:

http://www.guaranty.com/find/rvs/used/?gclid=CjgKEAjw-6WcBRCsgNjFy-2OuGYSJADf4R2s5LWc5Fsvbrwe25Ye-81BaqN0RUJO5N8lMOAGBmH14fD_BwE

Note that all the ones below $10,000 are trailers and not RVs, so you'd also need a car.

For something you'd want to live in full-time, an old RV could be pretty challenging.  You'd be in a very small space 24/7 -- maybe doubly challenging for kids with ADHD.  You wouldn't be able to shut a door and get your work done.  If you do think about going this route, rent an RV for 2-4 weeks (ideally in winter, to see how that would be) and pack the kids up and see how it goes.  Then run the numbers.

bobmarley9993

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2014, 06:42:12 PM »
With the 3 kids I think it might be best to just budget for an apartment.   I would see if there is some sort of social assistance on that given that you are a single mom with 3 kids.   

Otherwise, the alternative to an rv would be a mobile home but you would need to get financing for that.   It's probably a better bet than an RV as you actually have some space and depending on the financing terms you should have a very reasonable rate.

For travelling the country, you can still do it but you might just have to use a tent.   Nothing wrong with that, I've spent considerable amounts of time in a tent and they're just fine.  Kind of sucks when it's raining though.

former player

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2014, 06:46:59 PM »
Your immediate issue is to find housing for yourself and your three children by autumn/Christmas.  Your savings should cover the deposit and a month rent in advance (if needed) on a rental.  You currently have spare income over expenditure of $515 a month: will this cover your rent and all the bills? 

You are paying $490 a month to run your car: payments, gas and insurance.  That is a very significant part of your income: can you squeeze any of this?

Are your parents currently providing childcare while you are studying?  What will you do for childcare when you move out?

Your priority is to get through the next two years and then reassess.  At the moment that RV is a pipedream: you have more immediate concerns that need your full attention.

Mrs.FamilyFinances

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2014, 07:29:48 PM »
I'm a mom with a special needs child (from a traumatic premature birth) who has learning disabilities, but not physical ones. My advice to you would be to research what school in your area serves the special needs population and find a place to live in that district. They can do absolutely amazing things in these classrooms that are geared toward special needs kids. My daughter started in a birth to 3 program, then transitioned to a special needs preschool from ages 3-5. They provided 5 + hours of education, speech therapy, OT.PT and more. They even had a bus come pick up/drop off at our driveway! Now she is in a gen. ed. classroom and excelling!

I was a single mom too, and I understand how hard it is to have ideas that greatly impact your life, and your children's lives with nobody to bounce them off. I hated how all choices, both good and bad, fell squarely on my shoulders. Sometimes just getting a second opinion can make a world of difference.


If you are going to buy a house, see what options your county/city has for low income buyers. Many have small grants, sweat equity loans, and other types of assistance. Good luck!

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2014, 07:23:55 AM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

They get private services (through their insurance) and no offense but I know how to teach my kids better than anyone else. My 5 yo is doing 2nd grade work, in public school he would be in kindergarten and bored (thus a behavior issue). I will think about the last half of your post, however, and I appreciate your input.

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2014, 07:25:46 AM »
With the 3 kids I think it might be best to just budget for an apartment.   I would see if there is some sort of social assistance on that given that you are a single mom with 3 kids.   

Otherwise, the alternative to an rv would be a mobile home but you would need to get financing for that.   It's probably a better bet than an RV as you actually have some space and depending on the financing terms you should have a very reasonable rate.

For travelling the country, you can still do it but you might just have to use a tent.   Nothing wrong with that, I've spent considerable amounts of time in a tent and they're just fine.  Kind of sucks when it's raining though.

This is true, thank you for the idea!

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2014, 07:28:04 AM »
Your immediate issue is to find housing for yourself and your three children by autumn/Christmas.  Your savings should cover the deposit and a month rent in advance (if needed) on a rental.  You currently have spare income over expenditure of $515 a month: will this cover your rent and all the bills? 

You are paying $490 a month to run your car: payments, gas and insurance.  That is a very significant part of your income: can you squeeze any of this?

Are your parents currently providing childcare while you are studying?  What will you do for childcare when you move out?

Your priority is to get through the next two years and then reassess.  At the moment that RV is a pipedream: you have more immediate concerns that need your full attention.

I'm ashamed to say that I will be getting section 8 until I graduate. My car costs ao much because my parents live in the country and school is in town. My parents will watch the kids while I'm in school but not after I graduate.

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2014, 07:29:55 AM »
I'm a mom with a special needs child (from a traumatic premature birth) who has learning disabilities, but not physical ones. My advice to you would be to research what school in your area serves the special needs population and find a place to live in that district. They can do absolutely amazing things in these classrooms that are geared toward special needs kids. My daughter started in a birth to 3 program, then transitioned to a special needs preschool from ages 3-5. They provided 5 + hours of education, speech therapy, OT.PT and more. They even had a bus come pick up/drop off at our driveway! Now she is in a gen. ed. classroom and excelling!

I was a single mom too, and I understand how hard it is to have ideas that greatly impact your life, and your children's lives with nobody to bounce them off. I hated how all choices, both good and bad, fell squarely on my shoulders. Sometimes just getting a second opinion can make a world of difference.


If you are going to buy a house, see what options your county/city has for low income buyers. Many have small grants, sweat equity loans, and other types of assistance. Good luck!

Thank ypu, it's nice hearing from someone with similar experience. :) I will do some research for sure!

BFGirl

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2014, 07:45:57 AM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

This.  Additionally if something happens to you it will be a big shock to your kids.  I don't know what state you are in, but you need to research agencies that provide services.  In Texas the wait list can be 18 years for these programs.

As far as child support,   in Texas, the Judge can order child support to continue past age 18 for kids with disabilities.  If your state allows this, you should make sure this is provided for in your divorce decree and if not, then seek a modification.

BPA

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2014, 07:51:31 AM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

I disagree.  I am also a Spec Ed teacher and the mom of a child with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.  I would have homeschooled him if my ex had allowed it.  Class sizes are large, my son had to share an EA, and he was bullied significantly.  The school kept telling me that there was nothing that they could do because my son's needs were too great for the school.  This wasn't true.  The people there simply refused to become educated about Tourette Syndrome.  It may be easier to get help for kids with autism and developmental delay because teachers tend to understand those conditions better, but I am friends with a number of moms with kids on the spectrum or with similar issues, and many have opted for private school or homeschooling.  Even though I am a public school teacher and know what the law is, I know reality.  I can't tell you the number of times I had to pick my son up from school early because they couldn't manage him.  That impacts a career too.

Frankly, very few teachers are actually given a lot of instruction in how to teach Spec Ed kids.  And if you are in the States where they have the ridiculous Teach for America program with even less training and no career long buy-in, I'd be even more worried.

former player

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2014, 08:00:01 AM »
I'm ashamed to say that I will be getting section 8 until I graduate. My car costs ao much because my parents live in the country and school is in town. My parents will watch the kids while I'm in school but not after I graduate.

No shame in making use of something you are entitled to and which enables you to give your children a home.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 08:19:19 AM by former player »

BFGirl

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2014, 08:06:42 AM »
Whatever you decide to do about homeschooling,  please make sure they get socialization with people other than just family.  That way they can adapt if something happens to you.  Also make sure you have plans in place for them if something happens to you.  This may mean dealing with local agencies that can provide programs for them.

I work in guardianships which deals with adults with disabilities.   I had been telling a father for years that he needed to contact an agency to get his son on the list, but he refused to do it.  He said his girlfriend/wife would take care of his son.  He had a stroke last year and the girlfriend/wife couldn't take care of him and his son.  His son ended up in the ER in almost a diabetic coma.  Adult Protective Services intervened and put this man in his 20s in a nursing home.  He was so scared he was curled in a fetal position for weeks.  This is a young man who liked video games and fishing prior to this.  We got another guardian for him who was able to find him a placement with some foster parents who are nurses, but it took months to get it set up.  So please make sure you have a viable plan in place, otherwise you are doing your kids a disservice.

End of rant.

homeymomma

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2014, 08:09:24 AM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

I disagree.  I am also a Spec Ed teacher and the mom of a child with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.  I would have homeschooled him if my ex had allowed it.  Class sizes are large, my son had to share an EA, and he was bullied significantly.  The school kept telling me that there was nothing that they could do because my son's needs were too great for the school.  This wasn't true.  The people there simply refused to become educated about Tourette Syndrome.  It may be easier to get help for kids with autism and developmental delay because teachers tend to understand those conditions better, but I am friends with a number of moms with kids on the spectrum or with similar issues, and many have opted for private school or homeschooling.  Even though I am a public school teacher and know what the law is, I know reality.  I can't tell you the number of times I had to pick my son up from school early because they couldn't manage him.  That impacts a career too.

Frankly, very few teachers are actually given a lot of instruction in how to teach Spec Ed kids.  And if you are in the States where they have the ridiculous Teach for America program with even less training and no career long buy-in, I'd be even more worried.

I don't know you or your kids, but I personally tend to err on the side of an active, engaged, parent knowing what their kids need, even more than a trained professional. This being said, you may simply not have the option, at least for a while. You're kids need food and a place to live, however modest. It seems as though you have sole custody, so you're suddenly required to be breadwinner and caretaker. I applaud you wanting to be home with your kids but be realistic in the early years of your career and put them in school if your situation/career dictates. There is no shame in using the resources available to you. It would be foolish indeed to take on debt for your education but not utilize that education to,it's fullest potential.
Good luck! Sounds like you have some great family to help you out through school.

BPA

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2014, 08:29:08 AM »
Whatever you decide to do about homeschooling,  please make sure they get socialization with people other than just family.  That way they can adapt if something happens to you.  Also make sure you have plans in place for them if something happens to you.  This may mean dealing with local agencies that can provide programs for them.

I agree.  Or even if you were to try traditional schooling but were open-minded to pulling them out and homeschooling if necessary. 

In our case, my son is fairly happy in high school, but he does have one teacher who doesn't understand his condition and accuses him of doing Tourettes behaviour on purpose and bullying other students because of his coprolalia and it's making him miserable.  I have intervened and am glad the school year is almost over. 

Special programs tend to have specialized teachers who know how to teach the kids in their programs, but mainstream classroom teachers do not.  My colleagues have asked me to run a professional development session dealing with learning disabilities, MID, Tourettes etc. 

Not sure how "high functioning" (gosh, I hate that expression) your children are, but if they get dumped in a mainstream class, you will likely have problems.


totoro

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2014, 08:29:27 AM »
Well, first of all, I would not be ashamed to take advantage of low income and other social supports. 

As a taxpayer I have no problem supporting you and your children.  I think the majority of people would feel the same.   The more you do for your children now the better outcome they are likely to have and that is valuable to everyone for all sorts of reasons.

As for homeschooling, that is your choice and if you are suited that can work well.  It might be quite difficult to do that and work. 

In my province in Canada if you homeschool and your children are disabled you can take the funds the school would have received and pay them to tutors/assistants to assist (there are some additional rules).  Not sure about the US?  What kind of support would there be? 

You'll definitely need a break to be effective.  How is your plan going to impact your mental and physical health?  Will you have access to respite?

I don't think the RV is practical.  It is cold in winter, very small, and your children will grow quickly.  In addition, driving them anywhere is expensive and a cheap used one is probably liable to break down.  I can see the attraction to buying for cash and freeing up limited funds for other expenses, but could you not qualify for subsidized housing now?   In Canada you would.  I'd put more effort into that if it is a possibility by identifying great locations with access to services that would help you and getting on a wait-list if necessary.

I would also consider moving to a different state if there is one that provides better services for your children provided the support from family is not a factor.  In Canada, Alberta funds certain autism treatments that other provinces do not.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2014, 08:34:41 AM »
We have stuff in common :)

I am a sole parent (i.e., no child support, no other involvement, etc).
My kid is diagnosed with autism and something called severe nonverbal learning disability.
I homeschool him.
I have explored living in an RV.

Here are my thoughts:

1. I agree with the posters who say that accessing community supports is important. An odd thing that makes me happy is that if I die, my son will live with pre-determined people, and those pre-determined people will have a list of my son's support network. I have so much peace knowing that my son would be connected with all of these, especially during and after such a critical period. Of course, it rocks that he has these while I'm alive too! His network includes a couple of local librarians, our banker, the dude that did his assessment/diagnosis, our family doctor, our counsellor, his respite worker (four hours per week), etc. i.e., Some casual, some formal, all essential.

2. Homeschooling - Rocks! :)  I had my kid in school for a couple of years. He loved it at first, but by middle of Grade 1 he was starting to hurt. Despite my paying $2000+ for a private assessment so that he would have supports in school, and despite the government of BC sending $17000 to the district as a result, after a full year he still had not a single minute. Not a single minute. And they had no plans to implement any, simply because he was quiet thus could be ignored and the money could quietly be funneled elsewhere. After all my advocacy was unsuccessful, I finally pulled him. We both love homeschooling. I may have to put him in school (i.e., "free child care") for a few months next year so I can get a few work projects wrapped up, but then I would assess again.

Lots of kids with "ignorable" special needs in our area homeschool because the school system here is a bit of a nightmare for them. We love it. From October through April, my kid has about 10 hours per week of community-based classes (art, gym, lego robotics, etc), which is fun. He's always been smart, despite his clear developmental delays, but moving from school to homeschooling, it was amazing to watch his joy, self-esteem, and confidence -including in his ability to learn- reestablish then bloom.

3. RV - I have friends who raised their daughter/step-daughter from infancy to about age 3 in a van. No bathroom, no cooking area, just a regular little van. They did this so they could complete university. They parked within the city and stayed connected with their community. Now they have: degrees each, incredible careers they love, a very happy, healthy daughter who is about to graduate high-school, a new toddler, their dream home. So, I believe this is a solid way to go. More and more students in BC are living in vans so they can afford university.

This said, in researching RV-living for my kid and I, here's what I found: buying then parking such a beast would cost almost the same as renting an apartment for several years. Decision made. I'm sticking with renting the cheapest place I can get. (Things like diet and sleep have made the biggest differences for my son, so I'm reluctant to go kitchen-free, etc.)

4. Money - I have been self-employed from home for ages, which worked out beautifully when my kid was born with all these issues. I had really good income, and needed no government supports. Just over a year ago, a third-party business did everything in their power to take my "competing" business down -and succeeded. For the first time, we are newly accessing supports. (I've been detailing this in my Journal here on MMM.) I have indeed felt much shame, frustration, embarrassment, and sadness, but I still do it because that's what the programs are there for, and accessing these makes all the difference for my son's quality of life.

BPA

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2014, 08:39:26 AM »
If you haven't already, check out Jacob at ERE's experiences living in an RV.  http://earlyretirementextreme.com/rv-vs-apartment.html

totoro

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2014, 08:42:41 AM »
We have stuff in common :)

I am a sole parent (i.e., no child support, no other involvement, etc).
My kid is diagnosed with autism and something called severe nonverbal learning disability.
I homeschool him.
I have explored living in an RV.

Here are my thoughts:

1. I agree with the posters who say that accessing community supports is important. An odd thing that makes me happy is that if I die, my son will live with pre-determined people, and those pre-determined people will have a list of my son's support network. I have so much peace knowing that my son would be connected with all of these, especially during and after such a critical period. Of course, it rocks that he has these while I'm alive too! His network includes a couple of local librarians, our banker, the dude that did his assessment/diagnosis, our family doctor, our counsellor, his respite worker (four hours per week), etc. i.e., Some casual, some formal, all essential.

2. Homeschooling - Rocks! :)  I had my kid in school for a couple of years. He loved it at first, but by middle of Grade 1 he was starting to hurt. Despite my paying $2000+ for a private assessment so that he would have supports in school, and despite the government of BC sending $17000 to the district as a result, after a full year he still had not a single minute. Not a single minute. And they had no plans to implement any, simply because he was quiet thus could be ignored and the money could quietly be funneled elsewhere. After all my advocacy was unsuccessful, I finally pulled him. We both love homeschooling. I may have to put him in school (i.e., "free child care") for a few months next year so I can get a few work projects wrapped up, but then I would assess again.

Lots of kids with "ignorable" special needs in our area homeschool because the school system here is a bit of a nightmare for them. We love it. From October through April, my kid has about 10 hours per week of community-based classes (art, gym, lego robotics, etc), which is fun. He's always been smart, despite his clear developmental delays, but moving from school to homeschooling, it was amazing to watch his joy, self-esteem, and confidence -including in his ability to learn- reestablish then bloom.

3. RV - I have friends who raised their daughter/step-daughter from infancy to about age 3 in a van. No bathroom, no cooking area, just a regular little van. They did this so they could complete university. They parked within the city and stayed connected with their community. Now they have: degrees each, incredible careers they love, a very happy, healthy daughter who is about to graduate high-school, a new toddler, their dream home. So, I believe this is a solid way to go. More and more students in BC are living in vans so they can afford university.

This said, in researching RV-living for my kid and I, here's what I found: buying then parking such a beast would cost almost the same as renting an apartment for several years. Decision made. I'm sticking with renting the cheapest place I can get. (Things like diet and sleep have made the biggest differences for my son, so I'm reluctant to go kitchen-free, etc.)

4. Money - I have been self-employed from home for ages, which worked out beautifully when my kid was born with all these issues. I had really good income, and needed no government supports. Just over a year ago, a third-party business did everything in their power to take my "competing" business down -and succeeded. For the first time, we are newly accessing supports. (I've been detailing this in my Journal here on MMM.) I have indeed felt much shame, frustration, embarrassment, and sadness, but I still do it because that's what the programs are there for, and accessing these makes all the difference for my son's quality of life.

Good for you.  And please please do not feel ashamed of accessing programs.  I live in the same province and would be willing to pay more taxes if it went to folks in your situation.  We are a community and you and your son are part of it.  His needs are not just your responsibility.  Everyone has an obligation to help imo.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2014, 08:45:45 AM »
And please please do not feel ashamed of accessing programs.  I live in the same province and would be willing to pay more taxes if it went to folks in your situation.  We are a community and you and your son are part of it.  His needs are not just your responsibility.  Everyone has an obligation to help imo.

Comments like the one you had made earlier already help me to feel less ashamed. And then you posted this one, which made me cry. (((Thank you, Totoro.)))

totoro

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2014, 08:49:07 AM »
And please please do not feel ashamed of accessing programs.  I live in the same province and would be willing to pay more taxes if it went to folks in your situation.  We are a community and you and your son are part of it.  His needs are not just your responsibility.  Everyone has an obligation to help imo.

Comments like the one you had made earlier already help me to feel less ashamed. And then you posted this one, which made me cry. (((Thank you, Totoro.)))

Well, big hug.  Let me know if you run into any problems with advocating for services.  I help a few families in your situation pro bono.

BPA

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2014, 08:51:21 AM »
We have stuff in common :)

I am a sole parent (i.e., no child support, no other involvement, etc).
My kid is diagnosed with autism and something called severe nonverbal learning disability.
I homeschool him.
I have explored living in an RV.

Here are my thoughts:

1. I agree with the posters who say that accessing community supports is important. An odd thing that makes me happy is that if I die, my son will live with pre-determined people, and those pre-determined people will have a list of my son's support network. I have so much peace knowing that my son would be connected with all of these, especially during and after such a critical period. Of course, it rocks that he has these while I'm alive too! His network includes a couple of local librarians, our banker, the dude that did his assessment/diagnosis, our family doctor, our counsellor, his respite worker (four hours per week), etc. i.e., Some casual, some formal, all essential.

2. Homeschooling - Rocks! :)  I had my kid in school for a couple of years. He loved it at first, but by middle of Grade 1 he was starting to hurt. Despite my paying $2000+ for a private assessment so that he would have supports in school, and despite the government of BC sending $17000 to the district as a result, after a full year he still had not a single minute. Not a single minute. And they had no plans to implement any, simply because he was quiet thus could be ignored and the money could quietly be funneled elsewhere. After all my advocacy was unsuccessful, I finally pulled him. We both love homeschooling. I may have to put him in school (i.e., "free child care") for a few months next year so I can get a few work projects wrapped up, but then I would assess again.

Lots of kids with "ignorable" special needs in our area homeschool because the school system here is a bit of a nightmare for them. We love it. From October through April, my kid has about 10 hours per week of community-based classes (art, gym, lego robotics, etc), which is fun. He's always been smart, despite his clear developmental delays, but moving from school to homeschooling, it was amazing to watch his joy, self-esteem, and confidence -including in his ability to learn- reestablish then bloom.

3. RV - I have friends who raised their daughter/step-daughter from infancy to about age 3 in a van. No bathroom, no cooking area, just a regular little van. They did this so they could complete university. They parked within the city and stayed connected with their community. Now they have: degrees each, incredible careers they love, a very happy, healthy daughter who is about to graduate high-school, a new toddler, their dream home. So, I believe this is a solid way to go. More and more students in BC are living in vans so they can afford university.

This said, in researching RV-living for my kid and I, here's what I found: buying then parking such a beast would cost almost the same as renting an apartment for several years. Decision made. I'm sticking with renting the cheapest place I can get. (Things like diet and sleep have made the biggest differences for my son, so I'm reluctant to go kitchen-free, etc.)

4. Money - I have been self-employed from home for ages, which worked out beautifully when my kid was born with all these issues. I had really good income, and needed no government supports. Just over a year ago, a third-party business did everything in their power to take my "competing" business down -and succeeded. For the first time, we are newly accessing supports. (I've been detailing this in my Journal here on MMM.) I have indeed felt much shame, frustration, embarrassment, and sadness, but I still do it because that's what the programs are there for, and accessing these makes all the difference for my son's quality of life.

Good for you.  And please please do not feel ashamed of accessing programs.  I live in the same province and would be willing to pay more taxes if it went to folks in your situation.  We are a community and you and your son are part of it.  His needs are not just your responsibility.  Everyone has an obligation to help imo.

I completely agree.  I live in Ontario.  The supports are there for the people who need them. 

I think Totoro and I agreed about basic living expenses for seniors (ie OAS, GIS) on another thread.

Raising children with special needs is difficult.  I am happy to pay higher taxes to help those parents (although I am one too, but I felt this way BEFORE my son was born).

prosaic

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2014, 09:41:34 AM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.

This is NOT always true. Some kids with special needs benefit from having uniquely-tailored education and services that schools refuse to provide. I'm the mother of two kids with special needs (and a former educator at the college level) and in both cases, the school district (two different ones) wouldn't provide individualized education and services for our kids.

It would have taken a lengthy court battle to force the schools at a critical time in our kids' development, and outside evaluators recommended -- strongly -- solutions that included using the medical system for supports (PT, OT, speech therapy) instead of the services the district offered, because the district insisted on providing services that were for the incorrect diagnosis.

While it is *generally* true that school districts with strong SPED programs can be of great help to kids with special needs (and, by extension, their parents), it's not *universally* true.

Saying that mama bear does her children a "disservice" by choosing not to use district programs is a really unfair and generalized statement.

mjs111

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2014, 10:17:33 AM »
I'm ashamed to say that I will be getting section 8 until I graduate. My car costs ao much because my parents live in the country and school is in town. My parents will watch the kids while I'm in school but not after I graduate.

No shame in making use of something you are entitled to and which enables you to give your children a home.

I'd also say there's no shame in taking assistance which you're entitled to and using that as a springboard to get an education in something marketable to better your family's life. You're using it how I think everyone ideally intended it for.

Mike

Zamboni

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2014, 12:08:57 PM »
Quote
In my province in Canada if you homeschool and your children are disabled you can take the funds the school would have received and pay them to tutors/assistants to assist (there are some additional rules).  Not sure about the US?  What kind of support would there be? 

This is also true in the US, so please be sure to look into it.  For example, my brother's children have hearing impairment and need speech therapy, which is paid for from school system funds (they home school.)

I was going to suggest section 8, so glad to see later in the thread that you are already applying for it.  It will give you and your children a decent place to live.  Get that set up first, perhaps in combination with looking for the right school district in case you do need to use the school system at some point?  There is no shame at all in section 8.  We are all happy to make sure that you are your children have clean and adequate shelter while you figure out how to get the schooling you need to support yourself.

I know you don't want to hear this, but your car expenses are a bit high.  Do you have a car loan?  If so, can you consider selling the car, paying off the loan, then get a less expensive but still reliable car (the little Toyota I currently drive for me and two kids was ~$3000 used, runs like a top) and join AAA for emergencies.

I am curious about your schooling.  Are you going to school online?  At a local college?  Have you looked seriously into employment outcomes for the program you are pursuing?

Good luck with everything!

Catbert

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2014, 01:04:53 PM »
I'll stay out of the home school/public school debate; however, I don't see how you can homeschool 3 children (even if they weren't special needs) and work from home.  Most employers who allow employees to work from home ensure that the employee has childcare arrangements during working hours.   

Zamboni

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2014, 03:32:00 PM »
^Both my brother and sister-in-law work from home, and they home school their 6 kids there too.  4 of the 6 are special needs (all 6 adopted.)  They also take them to dance and tennis lessons and coach one of the boys sports team on top of a boatload of medical appointments.  It can be done.  In fact, they do it with flair.  But they are really self employed; both own their own businesses, so complete control in setting their own hours.

My main concern would be for mamabear's "me" time.  Hopefully her ex or her parents can take the tots sometimes to allow her to relax on a regular basis.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2014, 07:32:15 PM »
Ditto Zamboni.

I can only share my experience, but one thing that makes it possible is this: Covering school curriculum (if that is even the child's or the parent's goal) takes very little time. Schools spend many hours every day doing other things, such as waiting, lining up, playing, waiting, completing make-work projects, organizing, lunching, hearing announcements, planning, holding assemblies, preparing for and having "special events", recessing, lolling about in the library, walking from the classroom to the gym or music room, unloading and loading back packs, and simply spending time together. The curriculum itself can be covered in 30-120 minutes per weekday. Those not following curriculum or even "unschooling" devote even less time to organized learning. The rest of the day is available for everything else (lunching, recessing, creative play, etc), which does not require intensive parent involvement, especially when we teach the children to care for these aspects of their lives.

A parent working from home can work before the kids wake, after the kids go to bed, or while the kids are playing, reading, etc. I also work when my kid is in a community class, or in the swimming pool for the hours and hours he loves to be in there. (I bring my laptop so I don't have to travel back and forth twice.)

Most of the homeschooling families we hang with have 3-4 children. They note that having more than one child is actually an advantage, as the older ones will naturally teach the younger ones, and all will often create play together.

I share the concern about the parent have some "me" time. I'm strict with my kid's 8pm bedtime because 8pm-10pm is when I can be alone to think. I found, though, that having him in school was much more draining on both him and I. With his specific impairments, it was hell getting him organized and out the door every morning, and then when I'd receive him back at 3, I needed to spend a good three hours "recovering" him from his experience of school. He was drained, confused, overwhelmed, sad, frustrated, and loaded with "homework" (tasks he had been unable to complete during school, given that he has a severe learning disability, autism, and absolutely zero support there). It was really, really hard for him to go through that every day, and really hard work bringing him "back to center". Tacking that job on to the end of my workday was wildly hard, and he was not served by having an exhausted mother. Homeschooling has been so much lighter and simpler on every level, resulting in far less need for "me time".

Bookworm

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2014, 08:45:48 PM »
I have a child with developmental delays, Aspergers, and Tourette's, as well as three neurotypical children.  I homeschool(ed) the special needs child and two of the others, and sent the other to school.  I really don't believe there's a single "your child has X, so he needs Y" solution here...you have to know your own children, and I see no reason to think you don't.  They are all different, and even "regular" children have different needs, which is why we sent one of our kids to school.  She needed it.  I feel that the others are getting their needs met (or, in the case of my oldest, got them met) better at home.

With that said, I think I'd go absolutely bat shit crazy if I had to live with even one of them in an RV.  We lived in one last summer for 5 weeks while we were visiting another state, and it was SOOOO challenging.  And remember, I'm used to them being home 24/7.  Maybe it's the teenager effect...

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2014, 10:04:51 PM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

I disagree.  I am also a Spec Ed teacher and the mom of a child with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.  I would have homeschooled him if my ex had allowed it.  Class sizes are large, my son had to share an EA, and he was bullied significantly.  The school kept telling me that there was nothing that they could do because my son's needs were too great for the school.  This wasn't true.  The people there simply refused to become educated about Tourette Syndrome.  It may be easier to get help for kids with autism and developmental delay because teachers tend to understand those conditions better, but I am friends with a number of moms with kids on the spectrum or with similar issues, and many have opted for private school or homeschooling.  Even though I am a public school teacher and know what the law is, I know reality.  I can't tell you the number of times I had to pick my son up from school early because they couldn't manage him.  That impacts a career too.

Frankly, very few teachers are actually given a lot of instruction in how to teach Spec Ed kids.  And if you are in the States where they have the ridiculous Teach for America program with even less training and no career long buy-in, I'd be even more worried.

Thank you for your perspective :) Bullying is a big concern of mine in addition to academic concerns, glad get your input.

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2014, 10:08:36 PM »
I'm ashamed to say that I will be getting section 8 until I graduate. My car costs ao much because my parents live in the country and school is in town. My parents will watch the kids while I'm in school but not after I graduate.

No shame in making use of something you are entitled to and which enables you to give your children a home.

Thank you for this kind comment! I live in west Texas and it can be socially ostracising to get "welfare"...

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2014, 10:12:07 PM »
Whatever you decide to do about homeschooling,  please make sure they get socialization with people other than just family.  That way they can adapt if something happens to you.  Also make sure you have plans in place for them if something happens to you.  This may mean dealing with local agencies that can provide programs for them.

I work in guardianships which deals with adults with disabilities.   I had been telling a father for years that he needed to contact an agency to get his son on the list, but he refused to do it.  He said his girlfriend/wife would take care of his son.  He had a stroke last year and the girlfriend/wife couldn't take care of him and his son.  His son ended up in the ER in almost a diabetic coma.  Adult Protective Services intervened and put this man in his 20s in a nursing home.  He was so scared he was curled in a fetal position for weeks.  This is a young man who liked video games and fishing prior to this.  We got another guardian for him who was able to find him a placement with some foster parents who are nurses, but it took months to get it set up.  So please make sure you have a viable plan in place, otherwise you are doing your kids a disservice.

End of rant.

We are joining a homeschool co op, attend a homeschool recess group and they go to a social skills group. ;) I have my will set up but I'm worried that if I die they'll ignore my will and give the kids to their dad. :/

mamabear0314

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #41 on: June 01, 2014, 10:13:54 PM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

I disagree.  I am also a Spec Ed teacher and the mom of a child with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.  I would have homeschooled him if my ex had allowed it.  Class sizes are large, my son had to share an EA, and he was bullied significantly.  The school kept telling me that there was nothing that they could do because my son's needs were too great for the school.  This wasn't true.  The people there simply refused to become educated about Tourette Syndrome.  It may be easier to get help for kids with autism and developmental delay because teachers tend to understand those conditions better, but I am friends with a number of moms with kids on the spectrum or with similar issues, and many have opted for private school or homeschooling.  Even though I am a public school teacher and know what the law is, I know reality.  I can't tell you the number of times I had to pick my son up from school early because they couldn't manage him.  That impacts a career too.

Frankly, very few teachers are actually given a lot of instruction in how to teach Spec Ed kids.  And if you are in the States where they have the ridiculous Teach for America program with even less training and no career long buy-in, I'd be even more worried.

I don't know you or your kids, but I personally tend to err on the side of an active, engaged, parent knowing what their kids need, even more than a trained professional. This being said, you may simply not have the option, at least for a while. You're kids need food and a place to live, however modest. It seems as though you have sole custody, so you're suddenly required to be breadwinner and caretaker. I applaud you wanting to be home with your kids but be realistic in the early years of your career and put them in school if your situation/career dictates. There is no shame in using the resources available to you. It would be foolish indeed to take on debt for your education but not utilize that education to,it's fullest potential.
Good luck! Sounds like you have some great family to help you out through school.

Thank you :)

BFGirl

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #42 on: June 01, 2014, 11:09:19 PM »
I'm ashamed to say that I will be getting section 8 until I graduate. My car costs ao much because my parents live in the country and school is in town. My parents will watch the kids while I'm in school but not after I graduate.

No shame in making use of something you are entitled to and which enables you to give your children a home.

Thank you for this kind comment! I live in west Texas and it can be socially ostracising to get "welfare"...

I am in Texas and grew up in West Texas.  These are the types of programs I am happy for my tax dollars to support.

Mrs.FamilyFinances

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2014, 11:40:06 PM »

[/quote]

We are joining a homeschool co op, attend a homeschool recess group and they go to a social skills group. ;) I have my will set up but I'm worried that if I die they'll ignore my will and give the kids to their dad. :/
[/quote]

Wouldn't that be a normal course of action? One bio parent dies, the next bio parents gets custody? I'm not sure you could avoid that, regardless of what your will says.

BFGirl

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #44 on: June 02, 2014, 05:23:02 AM »


We are joining a homeschool co op, attend a homeschool recess group and they go to a social skills group. ;) I have my will set up but I'm worried that if I die they'll ignore my will and give the kids to their dad. :/
[/quote]

Wouldn't that be a normal course of action? One bio parent dies, the next bio parents gets custody? I'm not sure you could avoid that, regardless of what your will says.
[/quote]

Yes the other biological parent normally gets the kids.

MayDay

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #45 on: June 02, 2014, 06:00:04 AM »
One option to consider, is you may be able to send them to public school part time. Not all schools will cooperate but often, legally, you can choose to send them for two hours in the morning for specials and math, then pick them up and do reading at home. I know a few people who did this successfully.

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #46 on: June 02, 2014, 06:41:04 AM »
Homeschooling means that you stay home and act as a teacher to the kids.  It's a full-time job.  You can't work another full-time job while homeschooling.  You either work and send the kids to school, or you don't work and you homeschool.

I worked from home for seven years, as a freelance writer, while my kids were babies and young school-age.  They always had childcare while I was on.  I only worked part-time, 20 hours per week, and I didn't have a commute, so the arrangement did give me more time with my kids, but you really, really can't work and take care of kids at the same time, IMO.  I have seen people try to do it, and you either end up neglecting the kids or your job.

ETA that I understand the concern on the will.  My ex is an unfit parent due to severe mental illness featuring episodes of violent psychosis.  I have full physical and legal custody, but I also had to get a will in place naming my sister and her husband as guardians in the event of my death.  This doesn't prevent a custody battle, but it does give them legal standing to engage in a custody battle in court.  Without the will, they wouldn't even have the right to petition for custody.  In his lucid moments, my ex completely agrees with all of this.  It's just that he is not always lucid.  So we have to have documents in place.  I also left $40K from my insurance policy ($1 million+) for my sister, specifically to use in case it becomes necessary to fight for custody in court.  If there's no court battle, that's fine -- I'm sure they will use the money raising my kids. 
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 06:46:51 AM by iwasjustwondering »

mmmellen

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #47 on: June 02, 2014, 07:42:32 AM »
I also have full legal and physical custody of my two children.  I have put in my will that I would like my sister and brother-in-law to have custody if I die.  My lawyer told me it does not mean my ex won't get custody, but it will certainly make the judge question why my ex should be given custody and why I prefer my sister to my ex.

Luckily, my children are older and would probably be given a say in who they would want to live with.  I have also appointed my sister as the one who would control my childrens' inheritance (life insurance policy), until they are 30, which also helps to give my sister more control.

Also, you should look into food benefits.  These can be a great help for people in your situation.  Do not feel bad about receiving benefits!  They are there for a reason.  I have heard of some families who refuse benefits over pride and their children are hungry because of this.  In my eyes, you should take advantage of any program you qualify for without shame.  All of us would do the same in your situation.  You just want the best for your children, and this is responsible and admirable, not shameful.

Zamboni

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #48 on: June 02, 2014, 03:45:16 PM »
Quote
You can't work another full-time job while homeschooling.  You either work and send the kids to school, or you don't work and you homeschool.

This is simply incorrect.  However, if you work full time AND homeschool your children (and cook and clean), you will not have much time to relax by yourself.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Reader Case Study - Single Mom 3 Kids
« Reply #49 on: June 02, 2014, 07:34:57 PM »
I have a Master's Degree in Special Education.  I hate to say it, but if your children have special needs you would be doing them a disservice by homeschooling them.  Special needs kids need specialized instruction from teachers trained to help them with their disabilities.  If you send them to public school instead, the school district will pay for everything without added cost to you.  This will save you a considerable amount of money, plus it will also allow you to pursue opportunities outside the home if they appear, instead of being stuck working-from-home which doesn't always work out for the best.  Just something to think about.

+ 1

I taught for 12 years.  You can either work or you can teach 3 special needs kids.  Trying to do both at once will be nearly impossible -- not if you want to do either one well.