The Single Parent Homeschool
If someone had told me fifteen years ago, after the birth of my second child, that within a short period of time I would lose my husband to cancer and go on to raise and homeschool my two children alone, I would have thought that person was delusional. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. It has not been easy, but I am here to tell you that a successful single parent homeschool is possible.
Choosing to homeschool my children was a very scary decision. Where I live, it is not the norm. Plus, when you are solely responsible for your kids, it can feel like you face increased scrutiny in the eyes of the world with every decision. Family and friends may question your decision to homeschool. Pediatricians or other caregivers may question your decision. I faced a lot of questions and doubts from others, especially in the beginning, but I stood firm. I really felt like the Lord had led me to homeschool my children, and I was determined to follow that path. If you are a single parent considering homeschooling, here are three things to consider that may help you succeed.
First, figure out the logistics of your homeschool. Do you need to be away from your home to work? If so, who will supervise your kids during this time? Do you have family or friends that can help? If not, are you willing to seek out a community of other homeschooling families for support? Or are you able to hire a babysitter? Will you teach your kids during the day, in the evening, or some combination of both?
Second, make a household plan. Time spent on homeschooling is time away from everything else, and the household will not run itself. As a single parent, everything falls on you, and it can be overwhelming. A daily schedule is extremely helpful. Make a list of absolutely everything that needs to get done, even the basic things like showering. Write it all down, set a time for it, and check it off as you go. Include daily tasks that your kids can do, too. Even little ones can help with chores. Your home will run more smoothly if everyone works together.
Third, keep it simple. Stay away from anything overly complicated and time-consuming. You don’t need a fancy curriculum, gourmet dinner, or spotless home. So much learning can take place simply from reading a book. Familiarize yourself with your local library and the free resources available. Have a list of quick, healthy meals and keep those ingredients on hand. Teach your kids to tidy up after themselves, and spend a few minutes together at the end of every day to put away any odds and ends. You can even make a game out of tidying up. Accept that your home will never be perfect and that it was not meant to be that way. It is meant to be lived in.
Homeschooling can bring an abundance of blessings to your family. I am grateful to have been able to spend so much time with my children over the years, especially after enduring a tragedy. Single parents may need to get creative in how they operate their homeschools, but they can absolutely find ways to make it work. I wish you every success in your homeschool.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer and editor. Her background includes professional teaching in the area of mathematics, as well as writing and editing for several educational publishers. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. She shares homeschool resources and lessons on her website, SharedLessons.org.