Picture a typical street in a middle-class American neighborhood. Visualize the houses lining each side of the block. If you could see beyond the curtains, you would find that nearly one out of every three of those homes is headed by a single parent. Likewise, 30 percent of children on that block are being raised by just Mom or Dad.
You can see these single-parented boys and girls in the mornings, waiting for the bus or catching a car ride to school. What you probably won’t see is one of them taking a test on their couch at 10 a.m.
Just two percent of all homeschool families in the U.S. are headed by single parents, according to homeschool researcher Dr. Brian D. Ray.
Two percent doesn’t sound like much, but that represents approximately 20,000 single moms and dads who have overcome the challenges of this seemingly superhuman feat.
So, how do they juggle everything? Where do they find the time to parent, teach, and work? And how do they make ends meet? Let’s find out.
How Do Single Parents Pull It Off?
Homeschooling is an extraordinarily challenge, even in a two-parent home. How does one parent do it alone?
Whether you homeschooled before becoming a single parent and God is calling you to continue, or you’re a single parent who feels God’s hand on your shoulder, gently prodding you toward a new adventure, you can be successful in homeschooling as a single mom or dad if you stick to three key concepts:
Necessary to any homeschool, these elements become crucial when you’re the sole parent, teacher, and breadwinner.
Penelope Trunk is an author, career coach, and homeschool mom who blogs about homeschooling on her website.
“The question of how to homeschool as a single parent is actually how to make money and homeschool at the same time,” Trunk said.
Most single moms who homeschool must make compromises in their home life by working part-time and supplementing their income with a second source, such as child support or government assistance. They blog, sell on Etsy or eBay, work as independent sales consultants, and perform odd jobs, while a handful manage full-time jobs.
“The work-from-home possibilities are endless as long as you are willing to be flexible and creative,” said Skeet Savage, editor of Home School Digest and an advocate of single-parent homeschooling.
“If it is truly your desire to homeschool your children, then you must be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal,” Savage said. “If it becomes necessary to downscale, do it! If being able to homeschool the children under your roof means yard sale clothes, dented cans and stale bread, no entertainment budget or luxuries such as eating out at restaurants (or maybe even a smaller roof) so be it! What a small price to pay for the privilege of being together.”
Here are eight helpful strategies for single parents who want to homeschool.
1. Prioritize. Your kids’ education comes first.
2. Find work that will allow you to stay at home and take care of your first priority – your kids.
3. Get good at multi-tasking and time management.
5. Pray. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
6. Build support communities.
7. Be innovative.
8. Stay realistic about homeschooling. It’s do-able, but only if you comprise, commit, and get creative with your resources.
Homeschooling without a partner isn’t easy, but be confident in God’s grace and provision. In fact, once you work out the kinks and get into a groove, you may just find that the very people who thought you were attempting the impossible are now realizing you can teach the rest of us a thing or two about how to balance work, play, learning, and life.
“Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3).