What Would They Do?

October 25, 2011 | 1 Comment

Rebecca Miller
The Sandwiched Homeschooler

What Would They Do? 2011

I can't even remember what the "important" papers are in this stack; I doubt my family would figure it out on their own.

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine (the same age as me, but in much better physical condition) suffered sudden cardiac arrest.  My friend had not experienced any warning signs of impending danger.  And, thankfully, the location of where this event occurred was staffed with people who knew how to perform CPR which saved my friend’s life.  After some time in the hospital, several evaluations and a surgery, my friend is well on the way to recovery. 

I think that when things like this happen, you can’t but help but review your own life: 
*How is your relationship with your kids, your spouse, your in-laws, and your friends? 
*How many of the goals that you set out with early in your life have you managed to achieve?  And how can you complete the others that you haven’t reached yet?
*Is your support system strong?  Will it be there when you need it?
*And the bills…of course, we can’t forget to worry about those!  What will happen with the bills?

As a homeschooling parent, I took my concerns to another level.  What do I have in place for our homeschooling if something should happen to me—whether I am temporarily incapacitated or left this world permanently?   

I am the person (in our family) who oversees the education of our kids.  My husband is too busy working to worry about what subjects our kids have completed and where the kids “are” with their education.  He relies on me to make sure that things are progressing as initially planned.

But I came to the realization that should something suddenly happen to me, my kids and husband would be in chaos trying to figure things out about our homeschooling.  I imagine that my husband, because he does have to work and does not have the time to oversee our kids’ education, would, in all probability, enroll our kids into the local public school.  But he would not know where to even begin with locating their grades, their transcripts, samples of their school work, previous test scores, or the list of the materials that we have used; and this would definitely put our kids at the mercy of the school system with proper grade level placement.  It would be a nightmare—for both my husband and kids. 

Like that fire escape plan that you put together with your family—you know, the one where everyone knows where to meet and what to do should the house catch on fire—but that you hope to never use, the same type of plan needs to be in order in case of an emergency while homeschooling.

  1.  Make sure your spouse and kids knows where to find “the box” (or whatever filing system you use) that holds all of the important papers for your kids’ education: attendance, transcripts, samples of school work, test scores, and anything else important and related to their homeschooling.  If you are registered with your county/state or use an “umbrella” school of some sort, make sure the information to contact them or the procedure to follow is included.
  2. Keep your kids’ school information updated.  I am a procrastinator.  There are times that I go six months without logging in grades for subjects that my kids are working on; and that would be a great disservice to them should something happen to me and my family tried to piece things together.  They should not lose credit for the time they worked on material because I didn’t record it as completed.
  3. If you’re kids are old enough (or mature and self-motivated) to attempt to continue with homeschooling on their own, talk out the options ahead of time.  Will homeschooling continue the same way, or will an umbrella school or online school be the alternative? 
  4. In our household I added another backup—my mother.  I have modified some things to make it easier for her should something happen to myself and my husband. 

a.   I input our kids’ transcript to a secure online website, which also allows for me to keep their transcripts constantly updated.  I use Teascript, which costs me $5.00 per month.  My mother can access and print out my kids’ transcripts anytime and anywhere should she need them.
b.  I opened two Yahoo! groups, which I have kept private and accessible to only myself, my kids, and my mother.  (I filled the file section in the first group and a second group for file storage was necessary.)   I keep scanned copies of table of contents for their textbooks (which are correlated to the scanned copies of my daily lesson plans for each subject), scanned covers of DVD/VHS homeschool related movies we’ve watched, scanned book covers for the books they’ve read, scanned copies of daily planners and grade books (by subject), attendance, report cards (from the college),  yearly evaluation tests, awards, material lists, and anything else I think may be needed later in relation to their homeschooling.  However, because it is a group which may be hacked, I do not keep their social security numbers or things of that nature within the groups.
c.  If you have a safety deposit box, you might want to store the same information on a disc or flash drive; but you also can include those documents which do contain medical records (immunization records, for example) and personal information (items that do contain social security numbers and birth dates).

The importance of step #4 was not only in the event that something happened to me personally, but also in case something did happen to my home—such as a fire or hurricane—in which the loss of my kids’ original paperwork for school could be jeopardized.   

Different homeschooling styles may require a different type of record keeping or items of importance.   Those homeschooling parents with better computer skills than mine (which is everyone else in the world) may come up with a better way of utilizing a private, personal website to store their homeschooling records; but I think you get the idea of the importance of being prepared. 

Lesson plans are not the only things we need to prepare.   

–Rebecca Miller
The Sandwiched Homeschooler

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