A Single Parent’s Guide to Homeschooling

You might wonder, “How can I be a single parent and homeschool?” Admittedly, homeschooling can pose a challenge to any parent, but especially the single parent. However, a growing number of single parents are either already homeschooling or are thinking about homeschooling their children. The reasons for wanting to homeschool are many, but most importantly, the experience can be a treasured time that you share with your children.

It won’t be easy, but it is possible for a single parent to homeschool their children while working outside of the home. Because finances can be even more difficult for the single parent, the public library is both a practical and excellent resource to utilize. You can always borrow books from other homeschool families as well. Who says that homeschooling has to be expensive? Keep the receipts for books and other supplies that you purchase throughout the year for possible tax benefits. Still, because the family is likely making due on a single income, some financial sacrifices may have to be made.

Before you begin homeschooling, remember that self-discipline is needed on both the part of the parent and that of the children. Many homeschooling parents find that it helps to solicit outside support. You may well need the encouragement of others, so don’t be afraid to ask other parents what has worked for them and what hasn’t. Keep in mind that you can learn a lot from the experiences of others. Accept from the start that homeschooling your children is going to take time, energy, and commitment – and plenty of it. A good rule of thumb is to take it just one year at a time.

Before you begin, however, you will need time to prepare. And, as a single parent, you will have to know your limits. It won’t help anyone if you overextend yourself; therefore, it is critical that you be realistic in your expectations of yourself. Realize that it will be necessary for you to set priorities in order to remain balanced. Remember that flexibility is an important key.

You may even decide not to homeschool all of your children. You will not be a failure if you permit some of your children to continue to attend public school. Should this be the case, many veteran homeschooling parents recommend homeschooling the oldest child, particularly if you can homeschool only one child – the reason being that the oldest sibling can act as a role model for the younger children to emulate. Younger children learn a lot by watching and imitating what others do.

For obvious reasons, the single homeschooling parent must become an expert at multitasking, which may require expert juggling of your daily schedule. If your workload at the office is especially heavy, you might consider teaching some of your children’s curricula via online classes. Another timesaver is to teach certain subjects simultaneously at different grade levels. Older children frequently are able to study some material independently, allowing you more time to work individually with younger children. Another option is for your middle school or high school age homeschooler to enroll in classes offered by a community college when it comes time for learning higher mathematics, lab sciences, or foreign languages.

Some of the best advice that a single homeschooling parent can follow is not to try to model his/her technique after someone else’s style. Homeschooling success largely depends on building on your own and your children’s individual passions and interests. Since your children’s education should be considered as an investment, which will serve them throughout a lifetime, homeschooling parents need to equip their students with the resources that will motivate them to seek learning on their own initiative.

Lastly, homeschooling is about much more than educating your children in academic curricula. Homeschooling helps to foster a child’s individuality. You and your children also can have a good deal of fun learning together, as homeschooling provides all kinds of opportunities for parents and children to strengthen their relationships.

Remember, it isn’t impossible for a single parent to homeschool; the trick simply is to find the right balance.