Anyone who has been called by God to homeschool will immediately understand the title of this article. Homeschooling can be romanticized in our minds. We have pictures in our head of our sweet children getting along, breezing through a school day, being kind to each other and doing their chores without being asked.
The truth is usually not as pretty as our imagined picture. Our children are rebellious or don’t get along; teaching is harder work than we envisioned, and we get discouraged and are tempted to believe that we misheard what God was saying!
When they consider the day-to-day things that also must be done, it’s no wonder single moms feel like they can’t make homeschooling work. Time is at a premium, and there already aren’t enough hours in the day for all of the other things, besides teaching our children.
Though the task feels overwhelming, nationwide there are a lot of us doing it every day—approximately 137,000 home educated students in single parent homes according to a 2012 study by the National Center for Education Statistics. We admit that most nights we collapse into our beds and pray that the next day will be easier, but with determination and God’s help, we make it through each day. We were called to homeschool, and as long as God wants us to, we will.
So how can you homeschool as a single? We hear this question a lot! Here are some things that have helped us along the way:
- Prayer, prayer and more prayer! We want to emphasize that we wouldn’t make it through the day without prayer.
- Organization—It helps to have a routine so that the kids know what to expect when they start their day. This does not mean that you don’t ever stray from your routine, I (Debbie) admit that I don’t always follow my plan, but it’s there to guide me if I get stuck and forget what I need to do next. A family calendar is a must!
- Flexibility—You need to learn to be flexible! Changes to your schedule are going to happen. A child getting sick, getting called in to work or a sports game not written on the calendar will throw you into a tailspin if you are not flexible.
- Teaching with practicality in mind—Math can be taught while measuring ingredients for dinner. Science can be taught while outside working in the yard or garden. History can be taught with educational and fun videos. Don’t forget to teach life skills, such as cooking, cleaning and other chores; this is very important, as every child should be able to do basic housekeeping and cook at least a few meals before they leave for college.
- Remembering that we are not out to duplicate the public school system. Do what the schools can’t—find out about your child’s learning style and tailor your teaching to it.
If you are recently divorced or widowed and struggling with whether or not to start or continue to homeschool, please do not underestimate the healing power of the relationship you have with your children. This relationship will only be strengthened as you educate them at home. Most of the greatest moments of joy in our lives are those that have involved our children. Let the power of your conviction to honor your commitment to the Lord to raise your children so that they will not leave the faith (Proverbs 22:6) be your driving force. Our children are precious to us, and we are all precious to our Father in Heaven. We wish you peace and joy in the storm. Have faith to step out and join Jesus on the adventure of a lifetime, one you will never regret.