Dear Helping Hand,
How does a single parent without any family or good social supports homeschool a child? I have to work full time.
Boy, this is really a toughie! If I sound like I’m being overly negative in my response to you, please be assured that I’m doing my best to be honest. I’d hate to "oversell" homeschooling to the extent that you rush into it hurriedly.
In most states, the word "homeschooling" connotes the image of "children being taught in their homes by their parents". Any other version of this, i.e. children being taught in someone else’s home by someone other than their parents may or may not fall under your state’s homeschooling laws. What you are talking about in these cases is a type of private tutoring arrangement.
First things first: Homeschooling does not mean that children can stay home all day by themselves. The first hurdle is "Who will watch my child?". Perhaps you have an arrangement with your employer where your child could have some unused office or desk space to work. Or, maybe you work shifts that would allow you to be with your child during most of the waking/school hours to teach, and someone else could take over child care when you leave. I know of very few situations where single parents paid other homeschoolers to teach their children. The fact of the matter is that homeschooling is such an involved task that you couldn’t pay homeschool moms enough to take on someone else. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you couldn’t find a non-homeschooling friend or relative to supervise your child. You’ll just need to be persistent in your searching!
Whatever you do, please try to find a local support group of like-minded homeschooling families. That, and your church, can both provide those vital social supports. Don’t try to do this alone!
If, for whatever reason, homeschooling isn’t in your immediate future, don’t despair. Perhaps "afterschooling" is an option where you can get more involved in your child’s education. Or maybe just getting involved with other families at church can be a way to start building relationships. Perhaps you and your child can find a way to jump in with both feet and get involved together!
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