I’m homeschooling as a single mom. What exactly does that look like? Well, I imagine it looks very different for each single mom who home educates, depending on the amount of child support they receive and how much they have to work to make ends meet.
I am one of the lucky single parents who get to stay home with their children. I receive adequate child support, and I am able to work from home as a bookkeeper to supplement the support I receive. I don’t take that privilege lightly. I have seen many single moms work long hours while their kids are in school, as well as before and after school, just to put food on the table and pay their bills. And to those women, I give a standing ovation. They work hard and deserve to be recognized for all they do for their children.
Being a single parent is not an easy task, even without the added job of home educating. There is not another adult to back you up when you have to make tough decisions, or when your children test your authority. There is not another adult to share in the daily household and childcare tasks. When I’m exhausted at the end of the day (or heaven forbid – sick), there is no one else to step in and tuck my children in at night, so I can soak in a bubble bath or get lost in a good book.
Add to that the work of home educating, which we all know can consume hours of planning as well as actually sitting with the kids and learning together. Sometimes I wonder how I manage to do it all.
Oh wait, I don’t!!! And I’m OK with that.
If you showed up at my front door tomorrow, you would find gardening gloves and tools on my front porch that never got put away back in September. And, with a glance at my garden, you’d see pretty quickly that those tools never actually finished their assigned jobs! In the front entrance hall, you’re likely to find a couple of overnight duffle bags dumped there when the kids returned from their most recent visit to their dad’s, bags that have yet to make their way upstairs to their rooms to be emptied. And those shoes and jackets keep forgetting that they really belong in the closet!!! OK, I think you get the idea, and I don’t need to walk you through my entire house! Yikes!
My point is that I am making a choice as a single mom to do what I believe is of most value, raising and educating my children. Sure, there’s stuff that needs to be put away. And yes, we have our days when we all clean house together. They need to learn that too. They are learning that many hands make lighter work. And they are learning that everyone needs to contribute to the maintenance of our home, not just Mom. I could spend my every waking moment cleaning and tidying my house until every last item is in its rightful place.
And it still wouldn’t get all done!
But I’d rather spend my time investing in my children’s education. There will come a day when they have grown up and moved out, and then my home will be tidy and quiet (too quiet). But right now, I choose to spend my time with them learning and discovering new things. They are growing up way too fast, and I want to savour the time they have at home with me before it’s gone. The dishes will just have to wait.
So, I’m a homeschooling single mom. And I love it. I love that I have my children at home every day. Yes, there are days when I feel like loading them into the car and making a beeline to the nearest public school building just to see if I can remember what sanity feels like. But really, I don’t ever want to send them back to school. This is way better for them. Somehow I manage to muddle through those crazy days, and I get back on track. And believe me, I make mistakes. But probably the biggest thing I’ve learned as a single mom is to forgive myself and keep moving forward. Tomorrow is a new day.
If you’re a single mom and you are considering homeschooling, I encourage you to talk to someone about how it can work for you. If you can’t work from home, perhaps you can figure out a schedule where you can homeschool and still work. Do you have family members who can help with the kids while you are working? Homeschooling can be flexible. Nobody says you have to “do school” from Monday to Friday. Oh, and one more thing, single moms, this is very important….. Be sure to find some time for YOU. I can’t stress the importance of taking care of yourself. You are way more effective as a parent if you are taking care of YOU. The dishes will wait.
This guest post was written by Deb from Homeschool Canada Store.