Let’s talk about single-parent homeschooling. Maybe you’re newly divorced or widowed and want to continue homeschooling. Then again, you might be a single mom who wants to switch from public school to homeschooling. The questions are the same in either situation: Can a single parent homeschool? How do I do it? Is it possible?
Yes, Single Parents Can Homeschool
While we may picture a homeschool family as a two-parent household, that’s not always the case. While our numbers may not be as large, single-parent homeschool families do exist, and our numbers are increasing.
I had two sets of kids from two separate relationships. My older kids, who are adults now, were public school students when I was with their father. After we split up, I homeschooled them.
My younger kids are 17 and 13 years old. Their dad wanted them homeschooled, which we did. Unfortunately, he died in 2010, so I am a single parent in every sense of the term. Still, I continue to homeschool.
If I can do it, anyone can.
Setting Up Your Single Parent Homeschool
As a single parent, you’ll probably need to work. That will leave you questioning how you could possibly homeschool your kids. You can. I promise.
I suggest the following four steps to figure out just how and when you’ll homeschool.
1. Decide or figure out what homeschooling style fits your family best. Is it the classical method? Charlotte Mason? Unschooling? Once you determine the type of homeschooling you want to do, move to the next step.
2. Decide what schedule works best. (If you’re unschooling, you’re covered. Move to the next step.) If you are choosing a method which will require your presence or more structure, you’ll need to work around your work schedule. If you work a 9-5 job, don’t worry. You can still do it.
Some options include:
- Sending assignments with your kids to wherever they’ll be while you work. (See my post about homeschooling when your kids are away from you.)
- Homeschooling in the evening. Remember, homeschooling doesn’t take as much time as public schooling does.
- Implementing a four-day homeschool week. I like to homeschool Monday thru Thursday, leaving Fridays free for field trips, nature studies, dance class, and other extracurriculars. Your reasons may be different.
3. Stick to the plan. I’m the first to admit to letting one aspect of my life or another start to run me over. I’m either working so much that I let homeschooling fall to the wayside, or the other way around. I’ve even let extracurricular activities take center stage. I solved this problem with a good planner.
4. Be flexible! You may lay out the greatest plan only to find it didn’t work after all. That’s OK. It’s a process sometimes.
I’ve been homeschooling for 16 years, and I assure you there’s not one of those years that didn’t see changes in my homeschool. In 16 years, I’ve changed our homeschool method a few times, I have changed our schedule innumerable times, and I’ve had to make adjustments as I discovered what works with my kids’ specific needs.
It’s not wrong to be flexible and make changes. What is wrong is sticking with a system, method, or schedule that stresses you or your kids. Don’t do that.
Give yourself time and patience. Homeschools aren’t perfect, even for those of us who have been doing it a long time. That’s OK.
The little imperfections make our homeschools as individual as our families. And that’s a beautiful thing.
In Part 2, Michelle addresses how to afford homeschooling as a single parent.
Michelle Cannon is a single mom homeschooling children who have dyslexia and bipolar disorder. She is also a parenting and homeschooling consultant. You can find her blogging at The Heart of Michelle.