Single Parents Can Homeschool, Too.
If you’re a single Mom or Dad with the intent to homeschool, chances are you’re feeling the pinch. It goes without saying that working to support both yourself and your children single-handedly can be overwhelming. You have a tight budget for cash, time, and energy.
It’s a tricky position that requires an efficient system, planning, and of course, sacrifice. It’s true, it is one of the biggest sacrifices you could make for your kids and one that requires frequent affirmation, but it lands high on the list of the most rewarding!
Income and Spending: Think Outside the Box
Once I decided to be a single homeschooling mom, I had to take an icky spoonful of reality, put on my big girl pants, and set hard-and-fast goals and boundaries for myself. I desperately wanted to make my schedule flexible and available to my son. Within two months, I was making enough working from home and flexible jobs to support my son and I single-handedly.
Part of this was significantly increasing my income, but a large part of it was cutting our spending. We found ways to learn and have fun without spending a penny. We were eating nutritious meals for a few dollars a day. It was possible because I decided it would be the only option.
It was not easy; I spent many sleepless or nearly sleepless nights searching for jobs, writing cover letters, researching opportunities, or clipping coupons, but once I saw it as the most important investment I could make, it became a no-brainer. I just had to do it.
A few flexible work-from-home resources to look into:
- Delivering for Shipt, UberEats, etc. while kids are at co-op or with friends
- Social media management
- Data entry
- Web design
- Customer Service/Answering phone calls and emails
- Freelancing on Upwork
- Home cleaning or pet sitting jobs that you can take your kids to for a few hours a week (maybe they’ll even help!)
Creating a More Efficient Schedule
Juggling work, school, bathing your kids, cooking dinner, and then cleaning up after said dinner leaves about 2.7 hours dedicated to sleep and -7 hours devoted to bathing yourSELF. This is why the single homeschooling parent must learn to budget time similarly to budgeting money; you only have a little, so make it stretch!
Teaching your children to be more independent can be hard; I love being able to give my son my undivided attention all the time! However, I would be doing him a disservice if I didn’t encourage him to do more on his own. When kids are given healthy boundaries and know what’s expected of them, they are comfortable exploring what they can do while flying solo. This not only encourages positive growth in them, but it creates an environment where they are self-sufficient during the hours that you need to be in your office. (Oh… and letting Mr. Rogers teach the kids for a few hours a week doesn’t hurt, either.)
In addition, part of the beauty of homeschooling is that you do not have to fit into somebody else’s mold. You teach your kids in precisely the way that works for your family.
Did you know that grammar lessons can be taught over dinner? Or that you can look over the dishes you’re washing to see your toddler enjoying her home art class? So much is possible when you choose to let the world be the classroom and let home tasks and environments become part of your school routine.
Be Okay with Needing Help
For some reason, it is instinctual for me to want to do it all by myself. I fear burdening people and as a result, I take on too much by myself, and then I crash and burn. Sometimes I need a big lesson in humility and honestly ask for a hand.
Oftentimes, families who co-teach or share school time teaching each other’s kids allow families in more difficult positions to work some more hours during the week. You can typically do a social media or Google search to find local homeschool groups who may already have something similar in place where families help each other out with time management.
If you have someone trustworthy (maybe another homeschool parent, a relative, or someone in your church), you could ask them to keep your kiddos for a few hours a week while you get some work done. You could even swap time with other parents and take turns teaching each other’s kids while the other works.
It CAN Be Done
At the end of the day, do not get caught up in discouragement and comparing yourself to what could be. Be the ultimate example to your kids that when you put your mind to something, you can achieve the goals that seem impossible. Put one foot in front of the other and take one day at a time. You are doing a great job.