by Lyn Lomasi
Homeschooling is a challenging educational choice. When I became a single parent and decided to go back to homeschooling two of my four kids at the same time, many wondered if it was the right choice. Sure, schooling the kids at home can be challenging -- especially for single parents. But I knew it was the right choice for my kids, so I made it work.
Relax. This is crucial to remember. If you are calm, things go much smoother. When you stress, so do the kids -- and that isn’t a conducive learning or teaching environment. We like to do yoga together before starting the day. This helps clear the mind for better focus and is also extremely relaxing and energizing at the same time.
Scheduling should make sense. Remember that if you homeschool, you do not have to teach and learn in a strict time period. Just be sure that your child is learning at least the required number of hours in your area. Check with your local educational department for homeschooling regulations. Single parents generally have a work schedule and other things to work around. Keep that in mind when making time for learning.
Don't forget the fun! We like to take frequent field trips, use games for teaching, and go hiking on the trails with the dogs. Most local venues can double as fun and education. For instance, on a tour in a food factory, children may have fun tasting. But they will also learn how that food was made, which could enhance current lessons. These fun trips can help relieve the stress of doing the school thing on your own. We sometimes meet other homeschooling families, which helps as well.
Work remotely when possible. If you can, find a job that allows you to work from home. If this isn’t possible in your field, check with your boss to see if there are certain tasks you can do at home to cut down on the hours you need to be at the office. Some parents may not be able to do this. However, working at home has helped me immensely with homeschooling as a single parent. It is much easier to make arrangements the rare times when I do need to go to the office than to do so every day. I somehow feel more comforted knowing that even if I have a large workload, I can still supervise my children with their lessons because we are all in the same place.
Split up schooling times. If you have other kids who are not homeschooling (like me) or have a job outside the home, this may be the best way to handle things. For instance, if you work a traditional 9-5 job and your child needs 6 hours of school per day, you can teach from 6 a.m. - 8 a.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. During the day when you are at work, if the kids are younger, they could attend day camps. If they are older, they could do the same or attend extracurricular classes, such as photography, art, dance, or music. They can also study some of that time if there are things they can do without your assistance.
Have more than one teacher. Is the other parent available to teach some of the classes? What about a grandparent, nanny, tutor, or daycare provider? Before setting this up, be sure the homeschooling laws in your state allow for this, as some only allow the legal guardian to be the teacher. If you are able to split schooling time with another responsible adult, this can help get around some common scheduling issues single homeschool parents face.
Lyn Lomasi is the Community Advocate at Yahoo! Contributor Network. She's also a freelance web journalist and founder of Write W.A.V.E. Media, parent company to LifeSuccessfully.com and several others. From parenting techniques, to energy usage, to humane animal treatment, homeless aid, reducing waste and more, Lyn is committed to saving the Earth as a whole. For this self-made momtrepreneur, green living and sustainability is not about a few small product choices. It s a way of life and a labor of love. She is currently raising her kids and pets in Colorado.