While homeschooling is a wonderful option for all children,
it may be the one thing that promotes lasting bonding, attachment
and security when one adopts an older child. Homeschooling a
child adopted as an infant is not any different than homeschooling
a biological child because that child is being raised by you,
and only you where as a child adopted when they're older,
has have been raised by other people, maybe several, before you
brought them home.
At the time of our adoption, our children were 5, 8 &
11. We adopted three children, siblings that had been in foster
care for four years. After about a year, I started to feel as
if we had hit a plateau in terms of bonding as a family. Sure,
we knew which of us was not a morning person, which of us didn't
like eggs and who could be counted on for remembering directions,
but I wanted more for us. I felt that we needed to start
bonding on a deeper, emotional level. Also, there were emotional
issues that needed more private family time in which to be addressed.
I knew we couldn't accomplish that with them being away from
us for 35 hours a week at school.
And it didn't end at that 35 hours.
After school hours, there was homework that needed to
be done, tests to be studied for, teachers to meet with and over
priced candy to sell. School seemed to have a way of creeping
into our personal lives and stealing our family time.
I realized that school didn't only want to teach my children
math and writing, they also wanted to pass along their morals
and values to them. As a new family, my husband & I wanted
to share our values with our children and it became increasingly
difficult to compete with the school system. Children identify
with those they spend the most time with and those they spend
less time with become less important. School likes to give the
impression of a close knit atmosphere and promotes themselves
as "one big family." Loyalty and trust to school is
often placed before loyalty and trust in family. Children learn
to look to teachers for guidance, advice and information. While
this can be damaging to any child, it may hurt or weaken the
bonding process when a child is adopted at an older age. Let's
face it, school is not the place to learn about lasting relationships
and it sends mixed signals to children by expecting them to trust
a revolving door of care givers. My children had a lifetime of
being raised by strangers and identifying with the system and
it was time for that to change.
We also started to question the message they were getting
from school that they were learning disabled and failures at
certain subjects. It's not uncommon for children in foster care
to be placed in special ed classes and have more F's on their
report card than A's or B's. The pressure placed on these children,
(children who are already struggling with emotional issues),
to keep up with other children and process information in a way
that they may not be able to, is almost cruel.
Terry, a homeschooling and adoptive parent has this to say
about her daughter (who came home to her at the age of 9):
"Her education could focus on meeting her specific
needs in all areas and the time we have together has strengthened
our family bonds. I see so many families who are divided into
adults vs. children and I firmly believe that the forced socialization
standards of the public school system foster that adversarial
relationship. We are fully committed to teaching our children
and happily accept the responsibility for their total development.
We constantly evaluate our methods and materials and make changes
as needed to benefit them and accommodate their learning styles.
We are building strong bonds that will last forever!"
Vickie, another parent who adopted a sibling group of four
"Kids who are adopted through the foster care system
already have so much going on in their lives. Even if homeschooling
isn't forever, in all cases of older child-foster/adopt, just
a year or two alone with parents educating/encouraging/being
with their "new" kids is surely the best way to transition
a child into permanency."
It's been a year and a half since we started taking our children
out of school (we removed them one at a time over a four month
period) and the benefits of homeschooling (and also being free
of the school system) continue to have a tremendous positive
impact on our family. We would never have come as far
as we have, if our children were still in school.
If you are considering (or already have) adopting an older
child, I highly recommend homeschooling as a way to foster bonding.
It may not be easy, especially when most of the children adopted
through the foster care system struggle with a variety of emotional
issues. But if you've adopted older children then you're
not the type of person who shies away from something just
because it's not easy.
You can do it. Your kids are counting on you.
is a community for adoptive and waiting parents.
This group is especially geared towards supporting and discussing
the unique challenges associated with homeschooling OLDER internationally
adopted children, but any homeschooling adoptive parents are