Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Homeschooling with foster kids....

Once upon a time it was very easy to get permission to homeschool foster kids. Not so much anymore. I have homeschooled a few kids in the past, with great success. Somewhere around 2008 Oregon made some pretty intense changes to foster parenting rules. Now it is really hard, nearly impossible even, to get permission to home educate the displaced youth in foster care.
The trouble is, in my humble opinion, the kids in foster care seem to be the ones who would really benefit from homeschooling. Academically as well as socially. Keep in mind that as of yet, the past 8 or 9 years, my family has worked with kids from birth to 10 years old. I have little to no experience with preteen kiddos in foster care. Keeping that in mind, here are some ideas for homeschooling with foster kids.

If the foster child is of a similar age or educational level as one of your own children....Save some of the daily lessons which would benefit both children and have them do the work together either in the evening or perhaps on the weekend. I have found it to be beneficial to my kids to (if younger) receive instruction from a peer who understands a concept, as well as (if older) be the peer to explain a concept. There have been many occasions in which my kids have further cemented a concept in their mind by simply explaining it to another child. Not to mention, the ego boost a child receives when they are able to "teach" a concept. A lot of my foster kids have had really low self esteem and that damaged self image proves detrimental in school and blocks their ability to learn. Sometimes a simple task of helping a younger sibling with their school work, can go a long way towards building up their self worth.
If the foster children are younger or not educationally similar...
Have the older sibling be responsible for a ten to fifteen minute daily assignment together with a younger sibling. It is nice for the little ones to have something fun like a story or drawing or craft time together with another child each day.
As much as possible I try to work with my foster kids on whatever areas of weakness they have. Sometimes that is education based sometimes not. I try to make up for what they miss out on as far as one on one and small group activities. i know public school teachers are tasked with educating a wide range of kids daily, their skills are so vastly different from each other. I have yet to meet a teach, who was unwilling to share what needs a child has that could be improved to help make school more pleasant for both the child and their classmates. Sometimes that is a deficiency in healthy boundaries, sometimes it is learning to be patient, sometimes an educational goal. I highly recommend working with your foster child's teacher and school. More often than not, they will be grateful.

Foster parenting is an important job. Today's youth need loving homes when their homes are no longer safe. I'd like to personally thank those who choose to be the shelter in the storm.

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