Few people plan to be a single mom. Whether it’s death, divorce or deployment, many women find themselves “suddenly single.” Circumstances rage out of control and questions beg for answers.
Questions like… “how will I get out of bed tomorrow”,”where will we live?” and “can I still homeschool?”
Often we think these questions have obvious answers. Especially when it comes to homeschooling. Everyone assumes that you will immediately stop homeschooling and go back to work. Well-meaning friends and family are certain that this is the only option for your family. But what if it’s not?
Friend, I want you to hear this. Homeschooling is a GREAT option for a single mom! If you are like me, many will tell you that it isn’t so. They will demand that you think of yourself and race those babies to the bus stop immediately. They will proclaim that school is the best option and the only way to stay sane.
After almost 3 years of homeschooling as a single mom, I can confidently say that this simply isn’t true. As we have walked through the fire, homeschooling has been one of my biggest blessings. Homeschooling has held us together.
1. Build family unity
Regardless of how it happened, kids that grow up in a home without their father have deep wounds. Their very identity is questioned and the unknowns set nightmares in their hearts. They need you, mom. They need God’s truths in their hearts and they need to be held. As the child of a single mom, I can tell you that extra time will not be found by sending the kids to school. We went to school 8 hours a day, only to return in the wee hours of the evening. When my mom went back to work, those evening hours were filled with dinner prep, paying bills, and tackling that mountain of laundry. Quality time was scarce.
Yes, homeschooling will take time and energy, but a great homeschool curriculum can be done in less than 3 hours a day, leaving time for the children to help with chores and time for everyone to enjoy being together.
Homeschooling your children will help foster a much needed family unity and begin to rebuild your children’s identities.
Curious what a homeschooling schedule looks like for this single mama? Check out our daily homeschool schedule.
2. Provide stability
Counselors agree that stability is a crucial issue for children experiencing loss (even if daddy just moved down the street.) When children experience these traumatic circumstances, stability becomes a necessity. If you were already homeschooling when you became a single mom, sticking with it will provide much needed security for these precious little ones. If you were not already homeschooling, keeping them at home would be a change, but it can keep them from facing the changing tides of the school environment.
3. Protect them from bullies
Just read the news and you will be mortified by the stories of bus monitor bullies and the likes. Kids are mean and the school setting can not provide the supervision to stop it. Do you know who those bullies are picking on? Single parent kids. The kids with ripped jeans, out of style shirts, and moldy lunch boxes. Believe me, I am speaking out of personal experience here. There wasn’t a single year of my educational career that I wasn’t picked on. Even as early as kindergarten. I grew up absolutely terrified of people and without a single ounce of self worth. I even seriously contemplated suicide multiple times as a teen. Friend, I am not the exception, countless stories have been told of such horrific experiences in school.
Of course, homeschooling will not exempt your kids from this mean behavior (unless you hide under a rock), but it will drastically decrease it. Plus the times that your children are with other children, the adult ratio is much higher, making it easier for parents to intervene when the comments get out of hand.
4. Take breaks when YOU need them
Homeschool will give you the opportunity to step back from learning when your children are going through a hard time (or when you simply can’t get out of bed). When your heart hurts, it can be difficult to think about a math lesson. On tough days, we change plans and stay in bed with read-alouds or ipod apps. Even with taking off as many days as we needed, my kids recorded more than the required 180 days during the last school year. Had they gone to school, it is likely that they would have fallen behind.
5. Save money
Sending my older kids to school would cost me money. Yes, going back to work would provide some income for me, but on a teacher’s salary, it would hardly pay for the huge daycare and after school care bills. Plus even public school costs money when you calculate things like school clothes that won’t get your kids beat up, supplies, lunch money, field trips and even gas (if you have to drive them).
Believe me. I know what you are thinking. Yes, it is harder to homeschool when you are a single mom. No one comes home and changes diapers while you take a bubble bath to get away from it all. But the truth is, everything is harder when you are a single mom. It really doesn’t matter what activity you are doing, you now do it without help. Don’t buy the lie that you are not able to homeschool simply because he left. You can do this momma!
Being a mom is a sacrifice. We must daily chose to act on the behalf of our children, often setting aside our own personal agendas. Being a single homeschooling mom may be the ultimate sacrifice, but aren’t they worth it? Perhaps I could have a little more money if I worked outside the home. Perhaps I could find a job where I would be able to sit and stare and get paid to do so. (But probably not.) Honestly, this isn’t about what I can gain. This life is about serving the one who made the ultimate sacrifice for me. Yes, being a single homeschooling mom is a sacrifice.
But it is a sacrifice that I am willing to make..to train them up to be like HIM, the one who made the ultimate sacrifice. Because I am but a vapor, yet the legacy I leave will last an eternity.