~ by ~
(Click on their names to go directly to their testimonies)
Meet three homeschooling moms
who are single, who homeschool, and who
are not only living to tell about it, but
are doing it WELL!!!!
And here is a bit more encouragement from Lisa,
a mom who is not single, but who works with single moms.
l am a single Mom and l homeschool my two teenagers, ages 14 and 15. lt is not easy and l can only do it because l have a very supportive family. lT lS WORTH lT, THOUGH!!!!!!
l had a strong desire to teach my children in a way that would be pleasing to the LORD and would bring glory and honor to Him. l knew this was not happening in the public school nor did l really see it taking place in private Christian schools in my area. l prayed about this for many years before it was able to become a reality for us. My first responsibility and my primary mission field is my family and my greatest desire is to have children who love the LORD and want to do his will in their life. lf my children do not have a personal relationship with Christ and have the hope of eternal life- then it does not matter what type of education/career, etc. they have. By the time l removed my children from public school, it was getting difficult to daily explain Christian world view versus what they were learning at school and from friends. They would even tell me my teacher is a Christian and they did have some wonderful Christian teachers, but the public school world view was not Christian, and my children needed to be taught absolute values in all area.
My children attended public school until the oldest was in 7th grade and the youngest came out middle of 5th grade. The first couple years l relied heavily on my mother to assist as l didn't want to leave them home alone.
l write all the lesson plans (we do a lot of unit studies, and Charlotte Mason is one of my heroes). l plan all the field trips and activities and when l arrived home at night we go over what they had accomplished that day and help as needed with unfinished assignments or explain assignments as needed. Because my children are so close in age Unit Studies have worked very well and the only text l have ever purchased was Abeka Math for current grade level and now for Algebra this year we are using a video by Leonard Firebaugh at:
Heil # 32
Our entire lives revolves around "homeschooling"! Everything is a homeschool opportunity (cooking, cleaning, shopping, gardening, reading, newspapers, visiting relatives, friends, etc.)
We do lots of field trips on the weekends ~ everything from driving around collecting wildflowers to plant in our yard to visiting local museums, etc. lf someone will let us tour we are there. Any vacation we take we make sure to visit the major historical/scientific/art exhibits, etc. When l travel for my job l take my children. l try to plan so l am in another locality on Friday and then we have the whole weekend to play and learn. We also accomplish a lot just driving around together- especially long trips. We usually take the scenic route at least in one direction.
l am able to take my children to work with me several times per month; sometimes l take both, sometimes only one child. They help file, make client packets, run the shredder, etc. as well as do their assignments and usually at lunch we go on a quick field trip- may only be to a cemetery across the street to see how many World War ll Veterans we can locate and what these veterans did for our country or it may be a shopping trip to the "big grocery" looking for specific items, price comparisons, etc. We have several small colleges in the area and if they are having any kind of art, music, scientific exhibit, we go.
l am fortunate my sister also homeschools, and when she takes her children to a local homeschool event, she is gracious and kind enough to take my children. Others in our group have been kind enough to take one or both of my children on field trips, etc. l generally use my vacation days for the "bigger homeschool events" and for four day weekend trips ~ all our own "lifestyle of learning."
We constantly scan the newspapers online looking for freebies or cheap field trips. A lot of our music comes from free concerts (church, local park, symphony gives Christmas and sometimes a summer concert free). We go to art exhibits at local colleges and even the high school, banks and libraries ~ wherever they are having an exhibit. There is an Art Museum about 80 miles from us that is free for the children and costs me $5.00 so l usually take my children and my sister's children for a fun day at the museum; same about 130 miles in another direction ~ free.
We have a membership at a Science Museum (about 100 miles from our home) and we use it all over the U.S.A. About every other year we get a zoo membership and then we can visit several zoos for free or reduced pricing. My sister has a membership to an Aquarium about five hours from our home, but the great thing is she can take any child under age 18 and then l go for a reduced rate- This is a great deal for our whole family and the membership is less than it would have cost her large family to attend one time.
My children are active in Boy Scouts, 4-H and Girl Scouts. My daughter is only in Girl Scouts, so she can play golf ~ for free ~ at the finest courses in our area and with a professional instructor. This is a program sponsored by the LPGA. They even provide her with her clubs and other supplies. We couldn't participate in this program when she was in public school as she would have to leave school early to get to her classes, etc. She does not participate in any other girl scout activities (their world view is not to my liking).
We plan most of our unit studies around upcoming field trips, BSA badges and current 4-H projects we are working on. My daughter has earned every BSA badge (without the honor or the badge). Our BSA troop is primarily composed of homeschooling boys and we do hikes, camp-outs during the week at times. Our local 4-H leader is wonderful to the homeschool club. She gives them a lot of extra time, helps with projects, makes sure their record books are current; makes sure they get to go on free camps, etc. My son attended 4-H Congress on the State Level and has been invited to be a junior leader at a summer camp. My children have had time to do many projects we didn't have time to do when they were in public school. lt was all l could do to get home, prepare dinner, complete homework, etc. Now dinner is done when l arrive (most of the time) and we spend time together studying or just having fun. The stress is gone as far as public school assignments, projects, etc. Our weekends are ours.
We truly delight in learning, and the LORD has blessed us tremendously through this experience. l could write pages about the things we do. Oh yeah, my sister and l get together do a unit study occasionally. We are preparing to do one on Election 2004. We ordered the lap book from the internet site which was recommended a couple weeks ago. Lap booking will be a new adventure for us, but as we are putting this together it is perfect with unit studies and just wish we had been introduced to it earlier. Working together is really fun for both of us and our children.
The sky is the limit as to what a single Mom can do. l do recommend the children be in at least 7th grade or older to be at home by themselves. Additionally, would recommend children be mature enough to obey to complete assignments, chores and to keep a low profile while Mom is working. As in everything, we have to rely on the Lord and seek his guidance on a daily basis.
Although l am not sitting home with my children all day, they have both been blessed by homeschooling, and neither wants to return to public school. They appreciate the opportunity to study things of interest at their own pace and in a way that is conducive to their learning style.
One more thing: l stay connected to my children by cell phone, telephone, and email ALL day. lf l am going to be out of pocket for even just five minutes, l call and tell my children and tell them to call Grandmother or Aunt if they need something. They know they can call me anytime for anything. l also have my ex-husband's blessing to homeschool.
Margaret, a Homeschool Mom for three years
l've been homeschooling my two sons ~ now ages 11 and 13 ~ for the past two years. Prior to that they were both in public schools but l was extremely frustrated with their lack of academic progress, even though they both had perfect attendance and nothing that should have prevented them from learning. l was a financial analyst in the corporate world, but often l couldn't figure out the point of their math assignments. When l'd question their teachers about the applicability of the methods to difficult problems in college, l was told they didn't expect the kids to use this stuff in college and that eventually they'd be taught the more "normal" way. What nonsense that one should be taught something only to have to unlearn it later! No wonder public school math tests show such poor student achievement.
l had also been unhappy with evolution being taught as fact which contradicted our Bible beliefs. l talked with my boys about evidence for creation because l've read many books that clearly show the world more clearly lines up with creationism, but it was still a constant struggle to keep up with the latest trash they were being fed.
l've worked full-time my entire adult life, but now that my sons were entering their teenage years, l knew l had just a few years left to influence their lives. l also realized that teenage boys who are unsupervised after school are much more likely to get into trouble than if someone is home with them. l prayed for guidance and insight because l am a single mom and the sole financial support for our family, and l knew God wanted me to be spending much more time with them.
One day l saw an article about a woman who interviewed people and wrote their life stories for them. Something about this just clicked for me. l've always been skilled at writing, and this felt like the kind of career l could feel good about - like l was truly making a difference in someone's life. l knew how grateful l would be if l had a written record of my grandparents' lives but they're all dead and it's too late. But l could help other people preserve their family history in a book that would become a treasured keepsake for generations to come!
l researched this new field and discovered there weren't very many people doing this type of work. Unfortunately that means nobody is actively looking for my services because few people know it exists. But it also means very little competition, although there are a handful of people doing this in my town. l love to write and talk with people, and l'm a quick typist so l can transcribe the interviews reasonably quickly. l get business by speaking at nursing homes, assisted living centers, seniors apartment buildings and churches. l give a short class about the benefits of preserving your life story, and have brochures and business cards for people who want to follow-up with me later on. l have a hand-out that gives them information they could use to start the process themselves, but most folks may start it on their own but they give up quickly.
This is the kind of business that lets me do the keyboarding, editing and setting up pages at any time of the night or day. l have to schedule interviews during the day, and l do classes whenever the opportunity arises, although mostly they happen in the daytime. But l'm almost always free during the morning for homeschooling.
My children spend about 3 hours a day "doing school" and then they've got the rest of the day free. They participate in team sports, and practice basketball every afternoon from 3-5pm at our local park gym. So those two hours are almost always available to me to schedule interviews, correct their schoolwork, read, type or do whatever l need to accomplish that day.
My income is nowhere near as high as it was when l was employed by a big corporation. But l am blessed in so many ways in this new lifestyle. After almost two years of homeschooling, my sons are both working ahead of grade-level in math (the youngest is doing 8th grade math at the end of fifth grade). l used the same math curriculum used by most private schools which taught them the "normal" way most of us grew up learning, and private schools always score higher on tests than public schools.
My older son had always complained that he would "daydream" at school but the teachers never noticed. But he was falling further behind in almost every academic subject because he wasn't paying attention much of the time, and he felt stupid. Now that l'm working so closely with my kids, l can see that his attention just wanders off sometimes when he's listening to someone else talk. So l was able to address this problem that nobody even caught in school.
When l don't have a lot of memoir writing projects lined up, l can also get income by offering typing services to small law firms in the neighborhood. Some of these clients are sole practitioners who can't afford to hire anyone on a long-term basis, but they frequently need extra help on special projects or during a busy time. So they can call me (or l'll keep calling them on a regular basis) to have me do some overload typing for them. Again, l'm a quick typist so l can complete the work faster and make more money per hour than someone who types slower than l do. Another benefit is that l can work on those projects after the boys are in bed or while they're doing some independent reading or study. With with email, faxes and scanning, these kinds of "independent contractor" jobs are easier to do than ever before.
Another thing l've done is sing at funerals. That might sound kind of strange, but funeral homes like to be able to offer someone who can play and sing during a funeral service. l play the piano and sing, so it's a nice all-in-one combo. l have many songs that l consider "standard", some old-time favorites and others more contemporary, but sometimes do a special request. l earn around $60 for each funeral, which is pretty good for about 1.5 hours of actual work time (if you don't count the time l spend on my own practicing and learning new songs, which l'd probably do anyway), although by itself it's not enough to live on since l rarely do more than one funeral per week. l suppose l could do more if l really wanted to push it, but it's a good pace for me right now. l also like it when l can see that my music has helped someone get through a difficult time.
l guess l'd recommend being very creative and assessing all your talents to see which could be used for profit. You don't need to have an employer to have income! lt's harder to think on your feet all the time - to constantly have to develop new business or to keep yourself in the forefront of someone's mind when they're thinking of who can fill a special need they have. But these part-time sporadic projects do add up, and they give me a chance to use my God-given talents to benefit my customers and my family in a personal way. And l'm so grateful that as a single mom l can homeschool my sons and give them the best possible chance to succeed in life. We're stronger as a family because of the time we share together, and God is an integral part of virtually every part of school, instead of a separate box that gets tacked on in Sunday School or home devotions.
A wise friend told me when l first started thinking about homeschooling: "lf God has placed a desire in your heart, He surely will bless it and make a way for it to happen. Trust in Him and it will work out somehow, even if you can't see it right now." Those words were so true, and they were my anchor when l felt overwhelmed about how l could provide an income and still homeschool my boys. l pass that wisdom on to anyone else who needs it because it's so very true ~ God can work miracles if we are striving to do His will in our lives.
Kathy, Homeschooling Mom of 2 boys for two years, Minneapolis, MN
"Education is what remains after one
has forgotten what one has learned in school."
"lt's a daily walk,
a daily leaning on the lord,
When l began homeschooling 5 years ago, l envisioned *school at home* complete with desks, textbooks (for my 4 year old even!) and schedules. That was horrible, and my children even went back to public school for a year. Then, l took them out once again, and began to do what l called "relaxed homeschooling" using unit studies, projects and lots of reading. The children's current ages are 14, 9,8, 3 and 1 year. Recently, l became a single parent, very very suddenly with no warning. My first thought was that l could not homeschool anymore. However.... l began to realize that God would not have put it in my heart to homeschool my children, and be mommy to them, then pull that out from under me and send them back to public school. l have read each of your books, plus quite a few others and l know that public school is not where my children need to be. So... that being said, l am continuing with homeschooling.
First, l still have complete cooperation with my ex-husband. He agrees that the children should be homeschooled. That makes it much easier. He pays very good child support but not enough to support all of us. l have made the decision to get an inexpensive apartment, and go onto food stamps, instead of going to work. lt was a hard decision to make, to be honest. However that allows me time to be home with the children., l have found there are many HUD programs out there, and other forms of help for single parents. ln July l will begin college at the local Community college, heading for my nursing degree. l chose that field, mostly because the money is stable, enough to support my children and l can work three 12 hour shifts a week, leaving me with the children most of the time.
There are many ways to make money while being home. Daycare is one way. l could take in 2 children a month, and that is 800.00 a month more income. lf you can do daycare in the evenings or weekends, you can easily make much more then that. Buying and selling on Ebay is another way to make money. l watch Goodwill, yard sales etc., and then resell books, containers, clothing etc. You can "make money" by watching your expenses very very closely. Things that previously were not thought about become important now. Anybody who is a single mother probably already knows this though.
As far as actual homeschooling goes... we are pretty much doing the same thing we were before. We visit the library at least 3 times a week. l'm amazed at how many free things there are to do. Our town has festivals every weekend of some kind.. art, culture, foreign countries, war stories.. anything you can think of. l try to mark things down ahead of time, and we spend time reading about the particular country or event. l use Rod and Staff math and English for the younger children, which is very reasonably priced and l can reuse it with the younger kids. Everything else we learn about from the library, the internet, and local resources. One of the best investments is a copier/printer so that l can put together packets of information before we head off to some new adventure. We do a lot of hikes, camping, nature sketching, visiting friends who have farms, or home businesses. l figure a week in a tent in the woods is a great vacation, you can get history, science, research, art... and many more *subjects* incorporated, plus your building wonderful memories for your children.
Other things are... trading childcare with another homeschooling family, trading work, books, curriculum or even meals can really take the burden off of yourself. l have forced myself to get more involved with other people, and to have people around me that support me, my children, and homeschooling. lt is SO easy as a single parent to get distracted because you WILL hear... "you can't" homeschool and work" or "you cant give your kids a proper education" etc. lt's the same story l got when l began homeschooling, but honestly, even staunch homeschool supporters have told me l cant be single and homeschool.
Keep your head up, your eyes on the Lord, and he will open the doors to you, showing you the way.
Katrina, Homeschooling Mama of 5
I am not a single mom - anymore. When I was a single mom, I had never heard of homeschooling, but if I had, I would have jumped in with both feet. Now I am married (17 years) and mother to 10. But I understand what it means to be single, knowing that those little ones have no one but you to feed, clothe and provide shelter for them. But remember, God is the Father to the Fatherless and a Husband to the Husbandless.
Encouragement #1 - God gives us the desires of our heart - if we are focused on Him. Spend time with Him in front of the children.
Encouragement #2 - there are ways to be a single mom and homeschool. I know, I have worked with many single moms here in Texas over the past three years, helping them with homeschooling resources, support group connections, and encouragement. They are all doing well. Some tutor other homeschoolers and public school students, one mom is a "Closer" for a title company and I share kid-sitting priviledges with several homeschool moms to help her out, several moms have home daycare, one drives a bus for the school district, and the list goes on. They encourage me with the determination to make it work so they can homeschool their children.
God WILL provide, but you are required to pray and seek His wisdom in the matter, find others that lvoe and support you and ask for their helps and suggestions.
Blessings and favor on you for desiring to be a light to your children!
- Lisa Guidry; Mother of the Tribe (6 girls - 23, 16, 14, 8, 4, 2 and 4 boys -21, 12, 8, 6) and homeschool mom for 15 years.; Houston, TX
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