The single parent who homeschools is typically stretched to the limit by the additional responsibility of working to support the household. Sometimes support groups and co-ops can help fulfill the academic goals, but homeschool materials can be a financial burden as well.
The FPEA offers a program designed to assist single parents as they tackle the challenge of homeschooling their children on their own. Through alliances with vendors such as Rainbow Resource Center, FPEA members who are single parents can apply for financial assistance in purchasing curriculum and supplies.
Each applicant is reviewed individually, and upon approval receives a credit from participating vendors toward the purchase of educational materials.
An application form for this scholarship may downloaded from the FPEA website. For more information, call 877-ASK-FPEA (275-3732) or visit www.fpea.com.
A SINGLE PURPOSE
Many people think it is impossible for single parents to homeschool. Someone has to work to pay the bills, right? The only options are outside the home, right? Maybe or maybe not. Regardless, single parents can homeschool! When I was seven months pregnant with my daughter, my marriage was destroyed in one fell swoop. That was 17 years ago, and I’ve been a single parent ever since. I was the one who taught her to walk, talk, eat with a spoon, dress herself and pump her legs on a swing. Why should that change just because she became school age?
I’ve worked at home and occasionally part time outside the home, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Working at home gives me tremendous freedom with my time. Unfortunately, sometimes I end up working late at night or very early in the morning to meet deadlines because I’ve helped my daughter with her assignments or we went on a field trip. I enjoyed working in a clinic because I was able to dress up and go somewhere, but I knew I could never leave my daughter for eight hours a day, five days a week.
My life sounds like the best of both worlds, doesn’t it? Homeschooling my child and earning a paycheck! It’s not as simple as that, but it is worth it. We’ve made plenty of sacrifices and difficult choices along the way. I could be making more money if I worked outside my home 40 hours a week and kept my daughter learning at home under her grandparents’ supervision, but I’d be missing out on her life. Work will always be there; I won’t always have a child to raise and teach. I want to be the one she comes to with questions. I don’t want her to say, “My mom was too busy for me, but she always got her work turned in on time.”
How can you make single-parent homeschooling work? Here’s what I’ve learned:
Pray and pray often.
Pray for God’s will in the first place and keep praying all through each school year and as you approach new school years. Pray for vision, keeping the future in mind without losing sight of the present.
Get help and support.
Join a local support group and the FPEA. Go to the FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention if at all possible. We went for the first time last year, and I wish we’d gone sooner! Go to park days and field trips when they’re offered so you can get to know other families and make friends. I was blessed to have family members very close by who were able to babysit when I worked outside my home and who still help with academics.
Be discerning and eliminate unnecessary things.
If park days just don’t fit into your schedule, don’t feel like you must attend so that your child will not miss out. You have to have balance. We did park days for years and loved it, but for the last two or three years, it just hasn’t worked for us.
Know that there will be good days and bad days.
Sometimes we finish everything I want to accomplish in a day. Sometimes we don’t. Both kinds of days are fine. There are days when I’m on top of the world and want to tell everyone I meet how great homeschooling is. There are days when I seriously consider something different. On the good days and the bad days, enjoy your children and this very short window of opportunity to pour into them.
From the FPEA Guide to Homeschooling in Florida. This article was written specifically for this manual by Michele Oswald Ervin, who lives in St. Petersburg. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.