Homeschooling and the Single Parent

Stories about a disturbing number of parents abandoning their children in Nebraska have captured national headlines.  A safe haven law with an unfortunate loophole allows parents to drop off their children at any hospital in the state without consequence.  Although the law was initially designed to protect infants in unwanted circumstances, parents of older children are using this law as a way out of difficult situations.  These types of stories shine a negative light on all parents across the nation, stealing the spotlight away from truly newsworthy parents.    

Headlines rarely feature the small group of dedicated single parents willing to give up everything to provide the best education possible for their children.  This growing group of single parents may not get the recognition that they deserve, but the movement continues to expand.  It seems impossible that a single parent would be able to home school their children when in fact they must work full time to support their family.  Bearing in mind a few vital factors, this difficult task can be accomplished.

Flexibility Factor

When children attend a traditional school they must conform to the school curriculum and schedule.  However, when a child is home schooled, there is much more flexibility.  For example, classes can take place at times convenient for both parent and child such as on evenings or weekends.  That flexibility is possible because a home schooled child may not require as much time to learn a lesson as a whole classroom of students.  In addition, there are curriculum available where older children can work independently, then review with an adult.   

Family Factor

A single parent needs to secure the assistance of friends and families in order to be successful with a home school program.  Some fortunate parents already have a close knit support group within their own communities.  Other parents may need to relocate in order to be closer to family members who are willing to help.  Churches are also filed with people who are more than willing to lend a hand to single parents in their attempt to educate their children.  Some churches even have programs for home schoolers.  Often, participating families are happy to include children of single parents on trips and special events.   Even some babysitters may be willing to work on academics while watching the children.  It is possible to find support by simply reaching out.  

Faith Factor

Some home schooling parents are willing to take the risk of working from home.  For some, a career change is necessary in order to be able to work from home.  For others, it means working out a work-from-home deal with their company.  Wise financial planning and budgeting play a major role in successfully implementing a home schooling program.  Shopping at yard sales, consignment shops and good will stores may be a necessity.  Other sacrifices such as downgrading a vehicle or moving into a smaller home may also be necessary in order to afford less hours of work.  Parents need to have faith in themselves and know that although these are significant sacrifices, they are well worth it.  

Behavioral Issues

Death and divorce are the main reasons why a person might be left a single parent.  Although behavior issues rise in all types of children, those who have experienced a death or divorce are more likely to exhibit behavior problems.  For these children in particular, home schooling is the best option.  Children who have lost a parent crave stability and need to feel like they can trust the adults who are still in their world.  A parent who is present consistently will have more insight into their child’s behaviors and know how to best handle them.  It’s hard to provide consistency when you are a single parent responsible for handling all things, without taking a break.  But, single parent home schoolers consent that their children are worth all the sacrifices.  

Support for Learning Disabilities

Just because a child has a learning disability does not mean that they must be enrolled in public school.  One of the most common childhood learning disabilities, ADHD, had been proven to be best taught in the home.  The advantage of having children with learning disabilities taught in the home is that parents can tailor the curriculum specifically to their needs.  In a classroom of 30 children, the teacher will not be able to give a child with a learning disability the time or attention necessary for their success.  When parents teach their children, they give them their undivided attention, which leads to understanding their unique needs and better addressing those needs.

If you think your child has difficulty learning, have your child evaluated by a professional.  Finding out the specific disability will help parents research the nature of the disability and the most appropriate practices for teaching the child.  Knowing the specific disability will also help parents get connected with support groups made up of other parents.  Support groups can often be found online.  Seminars are available to empower parents to deal with specific disabilities.  Never believe that children with disabilities are better off in public school.  A special education teacher deals with such a wide variety of disabilities that they only scratch the surface of each.  As the parents of one child with a disability, you would become a subject matter expert in your child’s disability.  Your love and concern as a parent qualifies you as the best teacher.

Child-focused Curriculum

Single parents home schoolers have found that the best curriculum for them is the child-taught one.  Robinson Curriculum is one such curriculum that has proven results throughout the years.   It was developed for her children by Laurelee Robinson, whose husband was left a single-parents home schooler after her passing.  The children began to teach themselves with much success.  These types of curriculum’s give single parents the freedom to guide their children in their learning, without the hassle of preparing and teaching lessons.

Being a single parent requires great strength, commitment and support from others.  No one plans to be a single parent.  But when caught in that situation, many parents are choosing to sacrifice even more in order to provide their children the best education possible.  In the end, these parents have no doubt that they are doing the best for their child.