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Copyright 2005 Julie Shepherd Knapp
Deep Thoughts

The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Basics

What if Both Parents Work or I Am a Single Parent?
Can We Still Homeschool?

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

The short answer is -- yes!  The long answer is --  you need to figure out how to make it work out for
everyone involved.

There are many single parent homeschool families, and homeschool families where both parents work
full time.  Needless to say, it takes a lot more organization and planning to make homeschooling work
when adults only have a few limited hours each day where they can be actively teaching their children.  
The good news is that, for younger children, a few hours a day is plenty of time... and, for older
children, you won't need to actively teach them everything -- they will be able to do some things while
you are away.

So, it really comes down to a few basic questions:

Do you have someplace for your child to be while you are away?
If you are lucky enough to have supportive family members near by, are they willing to act as day care
for your child while you are at work?  Is there a friend or neighbor who could provide day care for times
when no parent is home?  Can you or your partner switch to a different work shift, change to flex time,
or work from home to help with scheduling child care?   Can you afford to hire a nanny, au pair, or tutor
to mind your child and teach or supervise lessons while you are at work?

Is your child old enough and mature enough to spend some time home alone each day?  (Or
Would your child be able to work independently while you are at work?  Is your child old enough to
secure a job or a volunteer position to take up some of the time that your are at work?  Can your child
go to work with you and read or work on projects?

Can you find another homeschooling family to help out?
Once you become acquainted with your local homeschool community you may be able to find a
homeschooling mom who is willing to provide child care (or child minding) as a source of income.  She
may or may not be able to actually do some of the homeschooling, too -- state laws vary as to whether
or not another homeschooling parent can legally provide daily schooling to children other than her
own, so check the regulations for your state.  

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make it work?
Will you be willing and able to do homeschool activities when you get home from work and on your
days off?  Homeschooling doesn't take nearly the amount of time that classroom teaching does... so it's
not like you will spend every free moment homeschooling... but it does take a certain amount of daily
commitment at all ages.   

It also takes time to decide on a homeschooling approach and to locate a curriculum and other
resources to get started.  Can you or your partner spare the up-front  time for research?  If not, maybe
you are interested in a
public charter e-school?  Is your child old enough, maybe, to include in the
research process?  Could he or she decide on an approach and present you with options?  Take the
quiz at the
"Click-O_matic Guide to Choosing a Homeschool Approach" to see what options will
work with your particular situation.

Is your child willing to do whatever it takes to make it work?
Is your child a willing partner in this adventure?  Or is this a choice that you felt necessary to make,
even if your child doesn't agree?  Will your child be intentionally uncooperative?  Do you anticipate that
your child will be getting into trouble if left alone?  Is your child a special needs student who may not be
capable of independent work or of being left alone?

All of these issues are complications.  They don't mean that you can't or shouldn't homeschool... but
they do call for extra preparation and planning on your part, in order to make sure that your child stays
safe and out of trouble.  Even if it gets complicated... sometimes the alternative of leaving a child in a
bad school situation makes homeschooling worth a try.

Find a good homeschool support group.
Most large homeschool support groups have a few double income families and a few single parents --
just ask online for advice.  There are also a few support groups specifically for single parents --

Homeschool_1 --  for single parent homeschooling support

NewRisingHSNetwork -- Christian-focused single parent homeschooling support

Single Parent Homeschool -- A Christian ministry equipping and encouraging single parents to

1Parent_hs -- for single parent homeschooling

HS1Mom -- single moms homeschooling

homechoolbusinesses -- for those who homeschool and run any type of businesses or are looking
to start home businesses

WORKandHOMESCHOOL -- for those who work or attend school and homeschool

WAHHSMs -- for Christian work at home homeschooling moms

Related Issues

Homeschooling and Custody -- an online support group for homeschoolers involved in custody
try out our
Yahoo! Group

join the conversation!
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You can teach a student
a lesson for a day;
but if you can teach him
to learn by creating curiosity,
he will continue the learning process
as long as he lives."
-- Clay P. Bedford