Are you a single parent who is contemplating homeschooling? Know that it is possible; plenty of single parents successfully homeschool their children! Check out these tips on homeschooling as a single parent.
How to Homeschool When You’re a Single Parent: The First Step
The first step in homeschooling (for everyone) is figuring out if it is right for your family. As a single parent, you may have the advantage of deciding this on your own. Consider why you want to homeschool. What do you hope to gain from homeschooling, both for yourself and for your children? What are your goals for your child, both short-term and long-term?
Write these answers down because this is your vision for homeschool. It will get you through the days when everything goes sideways. Know your why. That is a powerful first step.
Setting the Stage for Success
If you want to be successful as a homeschooler, set the stage for success by keeping these four things in mind.
As a single parent, your plate is already pretty crowded. Encourage your children to be somewhat independent with their school, so they don’t need to ask you about every. little. thing. This does not mean that they have no oversight or accountability; it simply means that you encourage them to do at least part of their schoolwork independently.
The best way to encourage independence is to stay organized. Implement a workbox system, where all the subjects and supplies are located in their own respective boxes. Or try an online system like Easy Peasy Homeschool. If you are balancing working from home with homeschooling, this free printable can help you and your student stay on track.
Save Money Where You Can
Many homeschooling groups (even curriculum publishers) offer discounts to single parents. It never hurts to ask! The HSLDA often gives grants to single-parent homeschooling families. You can also check out this article on homeschooling on a budget.
Think Outside the Box
Your homeschool is not going to look the same as the family’s down the street. You may school at night, on weekends, or during different months. Let go of the thought, “How can I do this like everybody else?” and replace it with “How can I do this so it works for my family?” Homeschoolers are mold-breakers anyway, so give yourself permission to be creative with how you structure your homeschool.
Getting Outside Help
Everyone–I repeat, everyone–needs help to homeschool. Check out these options to remove some of the load from your shoulders.
Virtual learning is homeschooling. You can opt to school entirely through an online school or pick classes a la carte. You can use online resources or programs to homeschool as well where you are still the teacher who evaluates work and assigns grades.
Homeschooling does not have to mean your child is at home all day, every day. Hybrid schools teach your child certain days of the week, and then she stays home with you the other days to complete her assignments. This type of schedule may be the best of both worlds for your family.
Partnering with Friends
Not only does your child need friends, but you need some as well. Check out the homeschooling support groups or co-ops in your area. Your child can take classes or go on field trips, and you can have that much-needed fellowship you crave. You can also have an informal co-op of a couple of families. For instance, you teach history and the other family teaches science. It’s like a homeschool barter system!
Tending the Parent-Child Relationship
As a homeschool parent, you are now wearing two hats–parent and teacher. Make sure you prioritize your relationship with these tips.
Stick to School Hours
You are parent 24 hours a day, but you need to clock out as your child’s teacher. Keep the teacher-taskmaster role to your schooling hours. Then flip the switch (schoolteachers get time off and so should you). Even if has been a day of distraction, forgotten assignments, or shoddy work, you need to make time to be the parent who eats pizza and watches movies with her kid.
Expect the Unexpected
Life happens. You get a cold. Your mom comes to visit. A work deadline looms. Your ex plans a last-minute trip and wants to kids to come along. While a homeschooling routine is important, you need to stay flexible. Earthquake-resistant buildings have a little flexibility built-in so when the tremors occur, they can bend without cracking. You should do the same. Take a breath, deal with the unexpected, and then pick back up where you left off.
Be the Fun Parent/Teacher Sometimes
Even classroom teachers have fun days where they go on field trips, watch movies, and throw class parties. Make sure your homeschool has a dose of fun.
Be Okay with Mess
You are raising kids and now teaching them too. Something has to give, and that something is usually the state of your house. Lower your expectations a little for this season. Go back to your vision for homeschooling. I am guessing “So my house can be neat” didn’t make the list.
It helps to have an outside perspective on your schooling. Whether you opt to complete standardized tests or just have a friend look over your child’s work each year, this outside assessment can show you the gaps that need shoring up in the coming year.
Single Parent Homeschooling
As a single parent, you are already a superhero. Homeschooling? You can do this! Just don’t expect perfection; there is no such thing. Give yourself and your child heaps of grace as you adjust to school at home. It has its challenges, but it yields priceless rewards.