Home schooling was once the standard education for most families. After public schools began providing quality education for our children, this became a rarity, a thing of the past. Recently, however, we are seeing an increase once again in the number of families that are opting to educate their own children at home, rather than hand them off to an already over-crowded, understaffed school.
The single parent is no different in their desire to see their children succeed in life, starting with their academic pursuits. The decision to home school your children is one that should be made carefully, especially if you are going to be doing it alone, but it can be done. Determination and organization go a long way for the single mother in most areas of her child-rearing, so this is nothing new to them. It is one more task that they are taking on because they feel that it is the best thing for their children.
Although I am not a single parent, I do home school my children and I do it alone. My husband’s career as a pilot keeps him away from home four days a week, so most of the childrearing, including their education, falls to me solely. If I had to work outside the home at a full-time job, I am sure that it would be challenging, if not impossible, to do both. That is one thing to give careful consideration to if you are still deciding whether home schooling will work best for your family.
There are pros and cons to almost every decision that you make as a parent. The following is a short list of some of the things that you may want to consider as you look at your child’s academic options.
*You will spend more time with your child and therefore build a different relationship with them than those who spend the day in the public schools system.
*Your schedule will be much more flexible.
*You will save money on some things, such as school lunches, various school fees, school supplies, and other variables that come up throughout the year.
*You can decide if something in the curriculum does not agree with your belief system or morals.
*You can usually decide which curriculum you want to use from a list found suitable in your state.
*There are many life lessons that you can incorporate into home schooling that public schools don’t cover.
*Emotional and peer pressures are certainly lessened, if not eliminated entirely, in the home setting, which can make your parenting experience as a single mother easier in the long run.
*If you are also working outside the home, you may feel overwhelmed and never get any time to rest and rejuvenate for the following day. The stress can feel extreme at times.
*You may have no help if you don’t have a good support system in place.
*You may struggle with subject areas that you don’t know as the sole teacher at your “school”.
*If you are not naturally organized, it may be difficult to keep records in order.
*It can be difficult to stick with a schedule that can get through the year on time if you are someone who likes to take time off.
There are some things that you can do to make your home schooling experience easier as a single mom of multiple children. The easier you can make it on everyone, the more enjoyable you will find it. Charts are a great tool to keep your kids on task. Allow them to put star stickers by their name as they complete each task for the day. Have a reward system in place using the stars, a “star store” where they can redeem them for things like small toys, their choice of field trip, a movie and pizza day, etc. These are great motivators for your students.
Have the children work together on some things. Older children can read to the younger ones or they can do a workout video for physical education that is focused on children. Art projects can be done together with very little help from you. These are times that you can use for a break or getting some of the household chores done. A cooking class is a wonderful elective and a great way to get help with dinner from all hands available.
If your curriculum is online for the most part, you will need to become as tech-savvy as possible. You may even want to consider taking a short computer course. This will help you on days that your internet connection is giving you troubles as well as with various programs that will be used. At least, have the tech support number handy!
I have enjoyed the experience of home schooling my children, but I know the challenges and struggles as well as the victories and fun times. Home schooling isn’t for everyone, not every parent and not every child. I have one child who excels at home, one who can go either way and one who did not take to the home schooling environment well at all. She is back in the standard school setting now and that’s okay. Make your decision based on you and your child and what works best for you.