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:
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.
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.
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?