There are a few outstanding parents out there in the world of homeschooling who are educating their children alone. And they are a special kind of amazing. Unique challenges are faced when homeschooling already. But, when you are homeschooling without your better half or you are single and homeschooling, it can be exhausting, overwhelming, and discouraging.
These struggles can only be experienced when one enters the homeschooling game solo. I’ve been there – done that.
Here are a few tips that may just help lighten the load.
5 Tips for Homeschooling Single or (Mostly) Alone
Homeschool Tip #1 – Never forget your situation is different.
We should not compare ourselves to other families who have both parents at home. It’s so easy to get accustomed to doing everything – we think that everybody else is doing everything, too.
This is not the case. Remember, most families have someone else contributing to the amount of work necessary to run a successful homeschooling household. Our days (and nights) will look different than our neighbors. The sooner we stop comparing our situation to theirs, the better off we will be. Don’t even go there!
Homeschool Tip #2 – Focus on the positive.
It’s natural to focus on all that we lack. The deficiencies glaring back at us are a constant reminder of all the work that still needs to be done. Shut those negative thoughts down.
Take sixty seconds and name just three accomplishments right now. It’s okay if they are super simple. Like: I read aloud to my kids today, I’m breastfeeding the baby even though it was hard at first, or I paid the mortgage on time this month.
Concentrate on what you’re getting right. Because you are. You are doing so much right on behalf of your family.
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Homeschool Tip #3 – Make your job(s) easier.
What do you find truly problematic? What do you dread? Identify these issues and brainstorm solutions.
For me, there are few chores as torturous as grocery shopping with little ones.
When I learned a grocery store thirty minutes away offered pick-up service, I just ignored the information. It didn’t apply to me. It couldn’t help me. Or could it? Once I stopped pouting that my local store didn’t offer this option, I started trying to figure out a way to make it work for me.
Mathematically speaking, I spend an average of 1 ½ hours shopping, loading, and unloading groceries. All while simultaneously wrangling three bored children throughout the entire store. Now, I spend the exact same amount of time utilizing the service, but I’m not working as hard! This little tweak to our weekly schedule changed my life.
Changed. My. Life.
The kiddos enjoy it too. I allow them to spend designated screen time on their devices or watch a movie as we drive. This gives me an unexpected break, offering a little peace and quiet. (I’ll take what I can get.)
Homeschool Tip #4 – Cook big meals anyway.
I am tempted to not cook unless my hubby is home. In theory, this is awesome. In reality, I regret it every single time. The rest of the non-traveling members of our family end up eating junk. We make a fast-food run, or put together sandwiches and chips (again), or bake a frozen pizza. This is all just fine. But it gets old after a while.
• Try making big casseroles instead. Guess what? They last so much longer when just one less person is not eating.
• Make big pots of soup. In addition, just go ahead and proclaim that crockpot your BFF. She will do all the hard work for you! Besides, you will appreciate a hot meal by dinnertime – even if you don’t feel like it earlier in the day.
• Toss a roast with veggies in the crockpot and enjoy that for a couple of meals.
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Homeschool Tip #5 – Consider what you love (or really need) and plan a special day around it.
I look forward to Fridays. Why? Because that’s the day we have absolutely nothing to do. We stay home for a solid twenty-four hours and chill. Fridays are all about resting for me. (Because you know Sundays are not a day of rest for church going mamas with little ones in tow.)
Maybe your perfect day is hanging out at the park while the children run amuck. Or maybe you prefer spending several hours at the library (while the children run amuck). Reminder: both options are free.
It doesn’t matter what we love to do. What matters is that we look forward to something that we love each and every week.
Homeschooling is a worthy endeavor for those who choose to participate. But, sometimes we are not homeschooling under ideal circumstances.
Try to remember there are no rules here. There is no right and wrong way to homeschool. Your family and your homeschool are unique. Your challenges and circumstances are unique. Therefore, your solutions will be unique as well.
What changes could you make that would make your job a little easier?
(One last thing – on a personal note. Is your spouse away from home because they are serving our country with the fiercest of commitments? If so, I’d like to say, “thank you” to you and yours. You have my utmost respect, gratitude, and appreciation.)
Angelene Woodard is a wife, mother, writer, and reluctant homeschooler who blogs about her frustrations and victories at www.unqualifiedmom.com where she encourages fellow Christians to embrace their weakness and accept His strength.
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