If you don’t yet know how to homeschool as a single mom (or dad!), you may be shocked to learn that it is even a possibility. How can you homeschool when you are the sole breadwinner? How can you homeschool if you don’t even receive child support? How in the world can you homeschool when you are already struggling to make ends meet?
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When my son was younger and I came to terms with being a single mom, I thought that it was impossible to homeschool. I didn’t really have anything against public school, but I was immersed in the alternative mothering community and many of them viewed homeschooling as the best choice.
I didn’t research it much because I figured it was something that I could never do. Now I know better! And I want to make sure that every single mom knows that it is possible to homeschool, so that we can all make schooling decisions that work best for our children!
What Does Homeschooling As A Single Mom Look Like?
One of the reasons you probably don’t already know how to homeschool as a single mom is the lack of information about all the different ways that people homeschool.
Most people envision the stay at home mom who can stay at home with her kids and test this or that method because she has a husband who can cover all the family’s expenses.
If you thought of any alternatives, you probably think of the ex-wife who gets enough alimony and child support to continue living life almost the same as she did while married, maybe with less stress or maybe a hint of sadness.
You probably don’t realize that homeschooling comes in a wide variety of ways, and not all of them actually involve your children actually being at home. Gasp!
Because of this, homeschooling as a single mom looks different for each single mom, depending on her unique situation and the needs of her child(ren)!
For me, personally, I’ve been through several different forms of homeschooling:
At first, my son went to a play school learning community. It was perfect for de-schooling from my son’s awful kindergarten experience. The owner had a health scare and had to close the school, at which point he moved to a learning community that puts a higher focus on education, but also provides therapy for executive functioning and social skills. He has really thrived in that environment!
During that time I was working full-time outside the home, while working on my own small business. A few years in, I was able to leave my full-time job and focus solely on my business. This made homeschooling life much easier, as I was less stressed, had more time-flexibility, and was able to attend a few field trips as well!
Since the pandemic, I decided not to send my son back in-person because he is immunocompromised and already struggles with breathing issues. I have been teaching him on my own most days, and one day a week he meets virtually with the learning community teachers and students. He is a social butterfly and misses them so much!
He also does one hour of tutoring weekly, which he loves. I leave the tutoring subject up to the tutor, but generally they work on English or Math.
What homeschool options are available?
As you can see from my experience as a homeschool single mom, there are multiple options available! Hopefully one of these options can work for you!
1. Traditional Homeschooling
This is where mom stays home with the kids and delivers lessons. I would also lump unschooling, homeschooling co-ops where mom is required to attend, and subscription kits under this category because mom is still the primary caregiver.
2. Learning Community
A learning community is similar to a co-op, but generally it is ran by one person or a group of person who deliver lessons to the children. It is similar to a school but may be more lax in lessons, and/or offer individualized lessons. Some learning communities also have a particular focus, such as nature, social skills, learning through play, etc.
3. Alternative Schools
There are some alternative schools that offer a la carte classes, so that you can pick and choose what your child enrolls in. Some of these schools also offer tutoring sessions, where you can choose the materials you’d like the instructor to work on with your children.
4. Virtual school
Virtual school is gaining in popularity because of the flexibility that it offers. Depending on the program, they may meet briefly with the children a few times a day, or they may have full session classes. Some give the educational materials then have teachers available only if you need additional help.
If your child is in a virtual school program, typically they are not registered as a “homeschool” student, however they can complete the program at home, with grandma, with a babysitter/nanny, etc. There are also “virtual school hubs” popping up where they will help your student with their schoolwork or just make sure they are staying on task.
5. Tag-Along Homeschool
This is not an official name, but I don’t know if there is an actual name for it. This is when another homeschool mom agrees to homeschool your child(ren) along with her own.
When I joined my local homeschool community, I was shocked to see how supportive the community can be. Moms already homeschooling taking on an additional child is not necessarily an easy feat!
6. Private Tutor
This is probably the most expensive of the bunch, although it can be relatively inexpensive depending on your area and if you can find enough moms to form a group, pooling resources to hire a teacher.
It will also depend on what subjects the teacher needs to teach, how many hours, etc. You might be able to strike a much better deal for a 3-hour stint than a full-day program mimicking real school.
I’ve seen prices anywhere from $200/per child per week to over $1,000 per week.
How To Homeschool As A Single Mom
While it is amazing that all these options are available, there are probably still several questions on your mind.
At the top of the list is probably how can I afford any of these? How can I do this if I work full-time outside the home? How can I find these resources?
1. Find Local Groups
One of my first suggestions would be to join homeschool communities in your area. Search on Facebook as that is where I found my local homeschool community group. Search “homeschool + name” with name being the name your town, city, and county.
This would be the place to find out what options are available in your specific location, as well as finding moms that might be willing to homeschool your child on your behalf. These groups are also great for finding out what’s legal in your area, as this varies from state to state.
2. Search For Scholarships/Grants
There are several programs available to help fund alternative schooling options, such as homeschool and private schools. Private school funding sometimes covers the different options they offer such as homeschool programs and tutoring sessions.
Your local homeschool community may be a great resource for finding scholarships, but you can also check with your current school as most schools keep up with the different types of scholarships available.
3. Make A Budget
Make a budget so that you know exactly what you can afford to spend on school for your child without affecting savings and causing yourself to end up in a bind.
Once you know how much money you have available to devote to education, you can more easily determine which homeschooling option(s) will work for your budget.
4. Ask Your Employer For Option To Work At Home
If you are working outside the home, see if your employer is willing to let you work from home. If your employer is open to this idea, it will make your life much easier.
Working from home means you cut out the commute/gas expenses, expenses on clothing/shoes, and many times you’ll spend less money on food as it is easier to cook your meals if you are at home.
Working from home can save you precious time and money, and make it easier to homeschool your child(ren) as a single parent!
5. Search For Work At Home Positions
If your boss is not open to allowing you to work from home, then you might want to start job hunting. If you can find a job with similar pay and benefits that will allow you to work at home, you can make your dream of homeschooling your children a reality.
6. Start A Small Business
This is probably the best option, and once your business is up and running and profitable, it would probably be the easiest way to homeschool as a single mom.
Depending on what type of business you start, it can take anywhere from 1-3 years to get to a place where you feel comfortable living on the income you make from your business.
Some businesses will allow your child(ren) to be involved. Many home businesses allow time flexibility where you can homeschool and work comfortably.
I personally have more than one home business that allows me to homeschool. One of them is blogging. I love blogging because I enjoy writing, teaching others, sharing my knowledge, connecting with like-minded people, hearing the opinions of those who do not agree with me, and making money “talking” about the things that I enjoy.
7. Hire It Out
If you absolutely cannot work at home and homeschool yourself (including if you just don’t want to), then the next best option is to hire a babysitter, nanny, or private tutor who can help, find a homeschool mom who doesn’t mind adding other children to her roster, or find a homeschool learning community you can send your child(ren) to.
These options are perfectly fine and don’t make you any less of a homeschooler!
Homeschooling as a single mom is far from easy. There are many factors to consider, and those factors will vary for each individual family.
I do believe that making homeschool happen is possible, even if you are a single parent. I hope that these tips helped you, and if you have a unique situation or need more help, feel free to leave a comment with any questions you have.
It is so important for us to have a choice in how our children get an education, and for some of our children homeschooling works best.