Home Schooling and Single Parents | Focus on the Family

By Elizabeth Summers / April 23, 2019 / No comments
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Let’s make one thing clear: homeschooling children is incredibly challenging for single parents. Homeschooling among single parents has been increasing and despite the challenges, the trend of single parents choosing to educate their children at home indicates that it is doable. For two-parent homeschooling families a single parent homeschooling may seem impossible, but according to Brian D. Ray, the president of the National Home Education Research Institute estimated that there are approximately 185,000 single-parent homeschool families in the US.

(https://www.nheri.org/about-nheri)

So, is it possible to be a single parent and homeschool my kids?

Brushing aside common assumptions that single parents don’t have the same priorities or motives as to two-parents when it comes to homeschooling, Ray argues that it’s a misconception. “In home-based education, parents may offer better academic options, stronger parent-child relationships and customized individual education plans to their children. These reasons apply to single-parent families, too,” Ray says.

Some parents think that homeschooling provides a kind of continuity that is been lacking in mainstream educational options. The passing of a parent or a divorce can have a lasting impact on children, so keeping them at home is beneficial after those unfortunate events, Ray says. It is the need for continuity that is compelling most single parents to opt for homeschooling after such a major life-changing event.

Andrea La-Rosa, the creator of singleparenthomeschool.com, agrees with this presumption. “A single parent who home schools can be there for [her] children in a way that most single parents can’t be,” she says. “It’s a way to keep families more intact, minimize the damage of a broken home and reclaim the positions of primary caregiver and guide in children’s lives — things many single parents often count as losses.”

But how can working single parents cope with homeschooling?

The above circumstances apply to single parents who are out of the work or take a leave from work, but what an about working single parents? Many will argue homeschooling while working a 9-to-5 job isn’t a viable proposition for most single parents. Sure there is some logic to that given the fact single parents like La-Rose work from home. Then there are single parents who get child support, sufficient alimony, or life insurance payments. But, as we already mentioned the majority of single moms and dads are employed full-time outside of their homes. So how can they get hold of their families and make ends meet?

All isn’t doom and gloom here — there is a way out. Many single home-schooling parents ask for help from their immediate family members, close friends, child care services and academic assistance as well. In addition, some single parents hire home tutors or ask for assistance from home-schooling communities within their localities. Some parents hold classes in the evenings after work or ask their kids to complete their homework or assignments during the workday.  “It’s important to remember that your home school doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s,” La-Rosa says. “Get out of the mindset of what should work. What does work for you and your children is what counts.”

So, if you’re a single parent and want to homeschool your kids, is it right for you?

This may sound unsettling, yet not entirely untrue — there are many single parents who have an inner doubt about their parenting abilities. The issues become more aggravating when single parents think about homeschooling. Brian D. Ray, however, offers encouragements to single parents who are questioning whether they should take this educational path. Ray reiterates that homeschooled children tend to do outperform academically, socially, psychologically, and emotionally than other students.

“When a child is home-educated, regardless of having a single parent or two, the child does as well academically, socially, emotionally and psychologically as other students,” Ray says. He also said that various studies have proved that home educated kids outperform students in public school as well as private school students to some degree. This assumption applies to both single-parent and two-parent families.

However, if a single parent realizes that homeschooling is to demanding on her physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, there are options as we mentioned in the discussion above. There is absolutely no need to give it up entirely. Additionally, it is necessary for single parents to combat self-imposed isolation.

“Knowing when and how to ask for necessary help is crucial for the success of single-parent homeschooling,” La-Rosa says. “If you no longer want to home school, by all means, put your kids back in school. But if you want to continue yet feel as though it’s too challenging, reach out to your family, neighbors, fellow home-schooling families and church.”

At last but not least, it’s just a matter of time when the concept of single-parent homeschooling will become a social norm, but we can escape the fact there are some cultural elements that demotivates it.  We have to promote that it is a decision that single parents have to take because it is the best choice for their families. Single-parent homeschooling isn’t ideal for everyone, but there is no way children should not be allowed to be homeschooled simply because of the marital status of their parents.