Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty and Homeschooling

One excuse I often hear from people who would like to homeschool is that they can't live on one salary. Living on a single income in one of the wealthiest counties of the country, I confess that I understood their concern, but always saw it as a cop-out. My feeling was that most people could live on one salary if they budgeted better.

That was before I met a single mom at one of the homeschooling information meetings.

This mom was interested in eventually homeschooling her 2 year old. I later learned that she had moved to NY to be closer to her family and had taken a job as a professor at a local college. Not realizing how expensive our area is, she quickly ran through her savings because of the high rent on her small basement apartment and the high cost of childcare in the area. The college added to her woes by paying her less than they promised when she agreed to take the job. I agreed to help her by babysitting her daughter a few times a week during the spring term and witnessed many of her struggles trying to make ends meet. She has since moved to a college in another state where it is cheaper to live and the college offers childcare.

I feel for this mother. It is always hard to do what you believe is right for your family. For homeschooling families who struggle financially, it is very easy for others to point and say, "Why don't you just put your kids in school and get a job?"

I believe that parents should be able to choose how they want their children to be educated. Public education should not be the only option for middle or low income families. A single option is not a choice. We chose homeschooling knowing that it might be a financial struggle at times and it works because we are willing to make sacrifices, utilize free services such as the public library, clip coupons, etc. But I am lucky because I don't have to do this alone. What choice is there for single parents who want to try homeschooling?


Vicki said...

Very well stated! I was a single mom for a few years and used school so I could sleep as I worked the graveyard shift and left my daughter sleep at her grandparent's home. It wasn't easy and I wasn't even homeschooling then.

Now I work and my spouse works, and I know just how hard it would be if either of us lost our jobs. Shoot, it's hard even WITH two incomes.

The county pays me if I put my kids in school as they don't supply transportation. That's about $400.00 a month I give up for refusing their services.

There is hope for those who want better for their children but feel they can't afford it. Libraries and websites abound so no need for expensive curriculums. And then there's also wonderful people like you who lend a helping hand. =)

The world is a better place for having you in it.

Jessica said...

I can't imagine the hard times of the single parent who wants to homeschool. I know for us, we are a one income family, we really do struggle financially. For us though, we have seen that it really wouldn't make us too much more than it does now. With transportation to and from work and childcare, etc. it wouldn't be worth it from a financial stand point and definitely not worth it to me from other stand points. Especially if be cutting back, we can make it.

We also utilize all the free things we can get. Library, field trips and we shop used for school resources. Where it gets hard is now when we are trying to find a place to live, be able to afford it and live in a decent area. Luckily for us though, the schools of the area don't become part of the decision making. And if they ever did for any reason, we live in a state where I could pick the school that I wanted her in. But, yes, finances for us, haven't stopped us so far.

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