Tips for single-parent homeschooling

Tips for single-parent homeschooling

The following is a guest post by LaToya Edwards of Learning to Let Him Lead.

When I first became a mommy I never imagined that I would want to be home with my babies, and I had never heard of homeschooling.

When my first son was born and I started thinking about his education, my heart was really drawn towards teaching him at home. I had no idea how I was going to manage to homeschool a child and have a full-time law career, but I figured that between my husband and me, we could work it out.

All those plans went out the window when I suddenly found myself a single mom to two boys.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to finish school and provide for us but I never let go of the dream of homeschooling. It has not been an easy road homeschooling as a single parent.

I’m often tired, exhausted and worn out. But little by little I’m finding my way and figuring out what homeschooling looks like for us.

When people learn that I’m homeschooling and a single mom they often have lots of questions. I have emails all the time from people wanting to know how I manage or from other parents that are single and have the desire to homeschool.

There are many things about homeschooling that are the same no matter how many parents live in the home.

But there are some things unique to single parents that are educating their children at home.

I don’t have all the answers and I’m definitely not perfect. But I have found a few things that have really helped me on this journey of homeschooling without the support of a spouse.

Here are my sanity savers:

Don’t Compare

My homeschool does not look like anyone else’s. That’s not a bad thing.

As a single mom there are many aspects of my life that look different from my married friends. I have had to learn not to compare. When I start comparing I find myself getting jealous, bitter and feeling inadequate.

The beauty of homeschooling is that there are many ways to educate children and each family has the freedom to find what works best for them.

Don’t look at your friends and other bloggers and see all the things they have that you may not. If you find an idea that you like then find a way to make it work for your family. And if you can’t make it work then don’t feel bad about it.

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Keep it simple

As a single mom I’m solely responsible for everything that goes on in my home. I do the cooking, cleaning, the shopping, the teaching, the disciplining, etc.

Honestly I have much more on my plate than any one person can handle. The only way that I have found to manage the best I can and not go totally bonkers is to keep things as simple as possible.

Our days are routine and simple. We have breakfast, we do devotion and then our lessons. My boys are young so I try to be done with our school day by lunch time so that the afternoon is free for playing outside and fun. This also gives me afternoons to write or catch up on house work.

We are not involved in a lot of out of the house activities partly because of cost and also because I just can’t keep up with the pace.

Take a look at your schedule and your goals for your children and decide what is most important. Make those things a priority and leave the rest off your plate. I don’t have a lot of money for curriculum so I do like other frugal families and make use of our local library and other free resources.

Find your village

I mentioned that we don’t do a lot of activities outside of the house. That doesn’t mean that we never go out.

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It is really easy for me to go into hermit mode and never leave the house at all. I don’t recommend that. When you are responsible for all the duties of parenting, running a house and homeschooling, you need to have a support system — people that can help you out and give you a break sometimes.

I have a small circle of friends that really get me through the tough times. They check in on us and they make sure that I’m taking care of myself and my boys. I have one friend that I get together with on a regular basis. Our boys get to play and have time together and we get to catch up and hang out.

Each of these tips help me when I start to burn-out. Usually when burn-out hits it’s because we are too busy, or I’m trying to do too much with schoolwork or haven’t made the time to get out and be with people.

Single parent homeschooling is a lot of work, and most days leave me exhausted. But I love being home with my boys and watching as they grow and learn new things.

Are you a homeschooling single parent? What are some ways that help you stay sane?

About LaToya Edwards

LaToya Edwards is a homeschooling single mom to two boys. She writes about homeschooling her boys, single parenting and walking through hard times in life at her blog Learning to Let Him Lead.

Comments

  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing! Do you work full time from home, then? I’ve been wanting to move in this direction with no idea how to start. How do you make ends meet with your career while homeschooling? You sound like an amazing woman. May God bless you!

    • Erica I don’t practice law. I could not afford to take the bar when I graduated. My full-time career is motherhood. I work part time as a virtual assistant and make a little money freelance writing and with my blog. That income plus child support and living very frugally allow me to stay home with my boys
      LaToya Edwards’s latest post: Welcome Simple Homeschool Readers!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing, LaToya. I am currently making the transition from work at home mom to work at home single, homeschooling mom as my oldest starts kindergarten this fall. I’ve had a lot of anxiety about how everything will work out, and I loved reading your tips.
    Shaunna @ Fantastic Fun and Learning’s latest post: Lipstick Art for Kids

  3. This is a very inspiring post! I have the same question as others, though: do you in fact have a full-time law career now? Or have you shifted to a less intensive job?

    • Amanda I never took the bar so I don’t practice law. My ex husband faithfully pays child support and I work part-time from home (virtual assistant, blogger, freelance writing). We also live very frugally. We don’t have a lot but we have what we need and each other
      LaToya Edwards’s latest post: Welcome Simple Homeschool Readers!

  4. Great job! I did it really similar when my boys were younger. As they have gotten older, I found we had to be more involved in things outside in the community.
    Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Off the Beaten Page by Terri Smith

  5. The elephant in the room… how to earn an income while homeschooling as a single parent. Follow-up post? Maybe with some “day-in-the-life” of several moms who pull this off and how they support their family?

    • That would be a great post!
      Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Off the Beaten Page by Terri Smith

    • Agnes Bartle says:

      I adopted and brought home my 8 yr. old daughter in Sept. I’m a teacher in Canada and am fortunate in that I had a 35 week parental leave which has given me time to adjust with her and go through the early transition very much focusing on her. I decided to homeschool her next year – she’ll be starting in Gr. 1 – and am so fortunate that I was able to switch tracks to work for the distance ed. school that she’s signed up with. I won’t be earning as much as I did teaching in the public system but hopefully it will work out and allow me to be with her. Now to balance out all the work and homeschool and regular mom work ;)

  6. Hats off to you!! What an amazing job you are doing. My husband works 12-14 hour days so sometimes I feel like a single parent, but at the end of the day, I have my partner with me. I totally relate to the not going out much due to cost and it just gets to be too much with all the other things that need to be done. Keep it up! Thanks for sharing :)
    Katie | The Surly Housewife’s latest post: This Moment

  7. Charlotte Quevedo says:

    My husband works long hours due to the kind of work he does and on top of that I have an autistic child plus a 3 yo daughter. I wanted to hs both of my children. My son with autism is aggressive and I am struggling with that right now. I decided to reduce him to part time enrollment in hopes of reducing his stress level. I am bound to become a hermit this summer. All of my previous friends have drifted away and it is extremely hard to make new friends. I had one person I felt I was connecting with who is not too far but now that school is out I have too much anxiety about bringing my son to her house, so I ended up cancelling our meet up, and I don’t really think I can go anywhere besides the park, until he calms down. I am working on that.

  8. I am full time blogger, i write for single parents educational program i.e grants and scholarships options. By the way Great post and this blog will be useful for Single mothers. Thanks for sharing.
    Ravi kumar’s latest post: Tours and Vacations For Single Parents

  9. Great article, LaToya. Here’s my story: I became a single homeschooling mom when my youngest (of five) was 13. Natural learning was my forte (learned through experience with the older children). But I thought I needed a regular job in order to pay the rent, etc. Someone finally hired me for office work, so on the weekend I rented a home and moved out of my sister-in-law’s basement. But as a pioneer homeschooler, people were always calling me for advice, plus my son really needed Mom to help him cope with the loss of Dad, etc. These thoughts kept running through my mind until the following Monday, when my boss said they really needed someone younger, etc. I was SO relieved to be let go! I went home and made a bargain with the Lord: If He would take care of the rent, I would stay home and do whatever work came my way. I taught a few piano lessons. I was hired by a church as music director. I taught tatting (craft) classes, and I continued to travel around the State teaching how-to-homeschool classes (with son in tow). I made use of food banks and bought our clothes at GoodWill and our books at yard sales and the library. The only time I didn’t have the rent by the end of the month, I was told the landlady was on vacation and I would have to wait a couple of weeks to pay the rent (!). God blessed us in many ways and soon our little home business was supporting us quite well. One of my student moms told how she had a newspaper delivery motor route. She would pile her kids into the car, with books, paper, lunch, etc. and they would homeschool on the road. At lunch time they parked under a tree and the kids ran around for awhile. On the way home, they reviewed what they had learned and planned what they would do on the weekend.
    “He will feed his flock like a shepherd.
    He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart.
    He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”
    Isaiah 40:11 NLT

  10. I hear you on God providing! We don’t receive any support, and I really questioned how I would finish my schooling while wanting to stay home as much as possible and hopefully homeschool. I was really lucky in terms of working hard and earning scholarships, and now I’m studying during naptime and bedtime, and running a part-time Montessori daycare from home, which has been AMAZING. I can write off learning materials, we have built-in “playdates,” I’m bringing in an income, and I’m HOME. I truly think that if you’re mind is set to making it work, and you trust that God will fill in the gaps, you can make the leap and it will work out. I’m not sure where this will take us long-term, if I will eventually have a therapy practice out of my home, or operate part-time out of a firm/clinic that my daughter can join me at, or attend lessons/school part-time while I work. But living frugally is a must — when you’re not spending more than you need to, you also don’t need to earn as much. Its simple, but its so overlooked.

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