Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Support of Single Parent Homeschooling

One of the first homeschoolers I ever met was a woman homeschooling her daughter in the city. At that time, I was newly married and she was a single mom dating one of our juggling friends, Billy. This was one of many encounters I would have over the years with a unique member of the homeschooling population, the single parent.

I admit, I've lived a charmed existence. I am grateful to have found a wonderful husband who is so in sync with me and who is the person I consider my best friend. He supports and trusts my decisions regarding our children's education. I know that is a blessing. In fact, of all the excuses I've heard over the years, "My spouse/family doesn't support me" is the only excuse I consider valid after someone tells me "I could never homeschool."


That is why I am in awe of those of you who try to make homeschooling work as a single parent, those who continue homeschooling after the loss of a spouse, and those who homeschool in spite of adversity from your exes. You are my heroes. You make this work. Whether because your children really want it or because you know it is the right thing to do for your children, you homeschool them. Some of you do this while holding down steady jobs or make ends meet with part-time work. I know I can't imagine the stress that comes with being a single mom. I don't know what it's like to struggle after the death of a loved one or to pick up the  pieces after a divorce. And you're homeschooling? I think that is incredible. Be proud of yourselves. Educational freedom is a difficult choice in the best of circumstances, and I think you deserve all the props of the homeschooling community for making this decision. 


Dear readers, if you know a single parent homeschooler, support them. Ask how you can help them. Whether you offer to take their kids for an activity or simply offer a shoulder for the parent to lean/cry on, let them know that you value their choice and are glad they chose homeschooling. I sure am.

9 comments:

Inner Elder said...

I can't imagine either how they do it. And I also agree - you are blessed with your wonderful supportive husband. Hopefully, single home- schoolers will find someone to support them on this adventure. Love, Mom

Janet said...

Thank you for this. The hardest thing for me about being a sole parent who is homeschooling is that there are so many family functions and mom's retreats. I love my community and they have carried me at times when I wasn't able to care for myself and my children. People are so kind and thoughtful. It is humbling to work among such wonderful friends. There are some days though when it feels like you're getting hit over and over again. Mom's retreats are the hardest because most of the moms go and leave their kids with their husbands. I don't have that option and because I have special needs kids I can't just send them to spend the night at someone's house. Mom's retreats are out for me. I don't begrudge my friends their opportunity for a break- but it makes me feel a bit mean and spiteful because I'm bitter about it. :-) Sorry, didn't mean to write a book here- but if anyone reads your post and wonders about what to do to support the single parents on this path- let them know you support them and realize that they CAN'T just go on the retreats and special "mom only" events. Moms like me don't get breaks and we're so busy that we're not going to ask another mom to spend her time and energy taking care of OUR responsibilities. It's an area that we always welcome help with :-) Even if we won't admit it.

jugglingpaynes said...

Janet: What a powerful message, thank you for taking the time to comment. It is so much better to hear from someone who is a single homeschooler how we can support you. I can only speak for myself, but I often find myself at a loss of how to help a single mom. It's good to have suggestions. :o)

churu's mom said...

Thank you for such a lovely post. Those of us going through this very much appreciate the thoughtfulness :)

jugglingpaynes said...

Churu's mom: I am humbled by your comment and I wish you great success in your homeschooling adventure. Thank you for stopping by!

Demetra said...

I am a single mom who homeschools my two daughters. I am a widow so there are no weekends or times I have a break when they they go their dad's. And I'm probably not alone. So I would say offering to watch the kids for a single mom you know would be a big help. They often won't ask. But it's nice to be able to go to a doctor appointment or even to the grocery store once in awhile without kids in tow.

jugglingpaynes said...

Thanks so much for commenting Demetra. I'm so sorry for your loss. It is so helpful to hear your thoughts on this. Take care of yourself, you are awesome!

Crystal said...

This is true-- We will not ask for someone to watch our child(ren). And, like the other single mommas who homeschool, impromptu trips are out for me, as well as any mom's nights. It's tough watching the conversations online and in person about a trip the other homeschooling families are going to take together, or the antics of the other moms, without being able to participate. I do appreciate it when they try to schedule evening activities around the nights that I work. The single-parent's balancing act requires a little more attention simply because there is not another person on our team who will pick up the pieces.

jugglingpaynes said...

Thank you for commenting Crystal. The comments here make me wonder if anyone has set up a discussion board for single parent homeschoolers? Our area has a number of these homeschoolers, but if you are in an area where you are the only one, it seems like you need that extra support from others who know exactly what you are going through. And I truly think you are all amazing for choosing homeschooling when it is such a challenge for you. You are giving an incredible example to your children about doing what is best for your family, even if it is hard.

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