Another comment about Mary Jo’s homeschooling series:
“I am impressed with all that you have accomplished but most of all with the three amazing men you are raising. So proud of you!”
Whether you are single or married, I promise you will find strategies to help in your homeschool in this 4 part series.
The necessity of providing for our families financially, as well as training and educating our children, often presents the biggest challenge to single parents. Just as some two-parent families use creative scheduling (such as evening lessons) to maximize children’s time with Dad, single-parent homeschoolers can take advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling to meet their families’ unique needs.
Working from home has always been popular with homeschoolers, and this is a particularly good option for single parents. I work at home as a freelance editor, writer, and writing coach. Typically, I try to concentrate my instructional time with the boys in the mornings and assign them independent lessons, chores, and free time in the afternoons while I work.
I also work in the evenings, especially after they go to bed (somehow it’s easier to concentrate when the house is quiet). Because my boys visit their father two weekends a month, I reserve that solo time primarily for concentrated work to free up more of my time when they’re at home. I also try to schedule a break for myself during their absence: lunch with a friend, a movie, or a couple of hours with a good novel.
Including your children in your work, when possible, is also helpful. Andrew does all my photocopying for a penny a page, and Forrest goes with me to entrepreneurial conferences, where he is learning skills that will help him support a family some day.
Depending on their ages, children can learn to design or maintain websites, answer calls from customers, pack and ship orders, take inventory, and many other business tasks.
If your work cannot be done at home, perhaps you can rearrange your schedule to maximize your time at home. A family friend who lost his wife to cancer shifted his work schedule as a piano tuner to two ten-to-twelve-hour days a week so that he can be home with his two young sons most days. He hires homeschool graduates to care for his boys and home on his work days, and his mother and sisters help out occasionally as well. Because he is working more efficiently with this concentrated schedule, he is still earning about 75 percent of his previous full-time income.
Finally, don’t neglect to make time for fun as a family. Particularly when you work at home, it is difficult to identify when your “work day” is over. I know just how hard it can be to pull away when deadlines are looming and the electric bill is due, but taking a break is good for you as well as your children, and it can actually make your work time more efficient.
My boys know that no matter how busy I am during the week, on Friday night I’m all theirs. “Family Night” is a firm commitment around our home.
Even with all the systems and routines I’ve described, things don’t always go exactly as I’ve planned. But through God’s grace, my children are growing, learning, and flourishing . . . right here at home with me. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
© Mary Jo Tate
Mary Jo Tate educates her four sons at home in Mississippi, where she has a home business as a writer, editor, and book coach ( http://www.WriteAGreatBook.com). Her home study course on powerful strategies for balancing family life and home business is available at www.HowDoYouDoItAll.com.
SPECIAL for MY READERS:
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