Homeschooling your child comes with its own set of challenges. When you add in being a single parent, things can be a bit more complex. However, complex doesn’t mean impossible! There are definitely ways to make it work.
8 Tips for How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #1: Establish a Routine
My first piece of advice for homeschoolers, regardless of the composition of their family, is to strongly consider setting a daily routine. It doesn’t have to be a strict routine where every hour is accounted for (though it can be, if that works for you). It just needs to be something that gives you a sense of structure each day and helps to manage your family’s expectations. Having a routine not only helps you to accomplish all of your goals, it also makes it easier for you to make decisions. If something won’t fit into your routine, it is easier to say no. I am all about saying no to things that are not necessary. Establishing a routine that works for your family may take some trial and error. You may try things that just do not work. But don’t give up! Tweak your routine until you find something that is effective and that can be maintained over time.
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #2: Set Clear Boundaries
Speaking of saying no, it’s important to set clear boundaries. Not just for others, but for yourself. If part of your daily routine means that you and your family are working on school stuff during a specific time frame – stick to that! Let people know you are unavailable during that time. Say no to any opportunities that will take place during that time (unless you feel like they will help you move towards your goals, of course). It’s one thing to be flexible – it’s a completely different thing to have everything always up in the air. You should also have clear rules set for your family. For example, you could have a rule that all morning schoolwork must be done before your child can play with their friends and that all work for the day must be done before they can use any electronics. Thin about rules and boundaries you can set that will make life easier and help your family accomplish goals.
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #3: Connect with Other Homeschoolers
Another piece of advice that I have for all homeschoolers is to connect with each other. Having a network of other homeschoolers is an indispensable resource. It’s helpful to have people to turn to for support, advice, and encouragement – especially people who have similar goals as you. I highly recommend connecting with local homeschoolers. If you live in an area that doesn’t have much of a homeschool community, then joining online groups and forums is the next best thing. If you can do both, that’s even better.
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #4: Have a Support System
On a related note, I think it is important to try to get as many friends and family members on board as possible. They don’t have to be homeschoolers. They don’t have to understand how homeschooling works. They just need to be supportive of YOU and your goals. Although not everyone will be on board with your decision to homeschool, you may find that some are actually excited about it or find the concept to be interesting. When you identify those people, hold on to them. You never know when their support will be something you need to lean on.
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #5: Be Willing to Accept Help
Which brings us to this tip. Don’t be too proud to accept (or ask for) help. Sometimes we get so caught up in feeling like we have to do everything ourselves, that we turn away help. That help could be the very thing that keeps us from getting burned out. If a friend, family member, or fellow homeschooler offers assistance, take them up on it. It could make life a lot easier for you. Now, this isn’t to say that you should let people try to run your life or make decisions for you. If someone’s “help” is really just a form of manipulation, by all means turn the down. However, if they are offering help with watching your kids, paying for materials, or something else that could actually help you, accepting their offer is not likely to have negative consequences.
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #6: Consider an All-In-One Curriculum
If you find yourself stressing out over putting together a curriculum, one option is to purchase a ready-made curriculum. You may have to do a bit of research before finding the right fit, but once you do, you will probably find that it makes the teaching process a lot more simple and less stressful.
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #7: Keep it Simple
As a single parent, you already have so much on your plate. You have to make sure our kids are safe and healthy, cook the meals, keep the house in order, run errands, and 101 other regular tasks. Sometimes the weight of everything that has to be done on a daily basis can be heavy. That’s why I believe in simplifying things as much as possible. A big part of this is cutting out any extraneous stuff. Look at what you do on a regular basis and decide which ones can be eliminated. Think about each task and ask if your family can survive if you stop doing that. If so, cut it out. You might be surprised by how much time you waste on those types of activities. If something can’t be cut out completely, see if there is any way to make the task either easier or shorter.
How to Homeschool When You are a Single Parent Tip #8: Stop the Comparisons
There is a saying that comparison is the thief of joy. Not only that, it can cause undue stress. When we compare aspects of our lives to what everyone else has going on, it is easy to feel inadequate or even jealous. But the reality is that everyone’s homeschool situation is unique because we all are trying to figure out what works for our families. Spending time feeling bad about what other people do/have that is different than what you do/have won’t serve you and your family at all. It’s fine to look to others for ideas and inspiration, but don’t make the mistake of feeling like you have to be like everyone else. Focus on finding what works for your family.
These are just a few tips for how you can make it work as a single parent homeschooler. I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.