I suddenly became a single mom – a single homeschooling mom – years ago with a 1st grader, kindergartener, 2 year old, and baby on the way.
At that time, I bought the lie that homeschooling families were perfect. I tried hard to “make” our family fit this perfect mold. It was such a crazy lie and so far from the reality of life.
It took me a long time to accept reality. Somewhere in there, I was forcing homeschooling into a box. One that closed the lid and said- “Keep Out: imperfect families and single moms.” I bought the lie that I wasn’t enough, so I kept quiet. In God’s merciful grace, I didn’t quit homeschooling, but I did hide.
For so long I prayed that our family would be reconciled and once again fit into that perfect homeschooling family mold. But God has gently taught me that the perfect homeschooling family doesn’t exist. He’s taught me that I can still homeschool in the broken world because we are all broken, even those who aren’t showing it.
How does a single mom afford to homeschool?
It’s a question I get all the time.
It’s really quite a fair question. I know it was on the forefront on my mind when I first became a single mom. However, it’s not that easy to answer due to the wide variety of situations.
So how does a single mom afford to homeschool? Sweet friend, by the grace of God, if you desire to homeschool- it can be done! God never calls us to something and leaves us stranded. Trust Him to provide for all of your needs: financially, logistically, and educationally.
I polled a Facebook group (of over 350+ single moms that homeschool) for some insight into how single moms afford homeschooling and can I just say that I was humbled and amazed at the sacrifices these ladies make in order to homeschool their kids? Make no mistake. Homeschooling is almost always a financial strain for families because there is only one income. When a single parent chooses to homeschool things naturally get a little more complicated…but God specializes in the complicated! Here are just a few ways that he provides.
Many single moms get some form of child support and/or alimony. Sadly, the court rarely orders enough for single moms to care for their family alone even if she was a stay-at-home mom when he left. For most, it would seem wise to go back to full-time work, but this choice often leaves children in daycare. The decision to homeschool can be very wise as often the cost of day care is more than mom would be able to make in the workforce. This fact alone made my own decision fairly easy, but I knew that I would need to get creative.
Creative Job Options
Single moms who desire to homeschool need to think outside the box when it comes to jobs. Most of us need one, but it doesn’t have to look the way it used to. Some moms work nights or off-hours outside of the home and pay babysitters. Others work from home.
Some questions to think about: What are your skills and how might you use those at home instead of in a traditional setting? Is there something that you are qualified to do, but have never pursued?
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- teach nights at the university
- blogging, virtual assisting, social media work
- tax preparer in home
- licensed in home child care
- private speech therapy in home
- professional organizing business
- direct sales such as Tupperware
- writing, ghost writing
- web design
- party planning
- creating and selling products (etsy, ebay)
- freelance editing
- massage therapy
- house keeping for others
Creative Cost Cutting
You know the saying…“a penny saved is a penny earned.” There are lots of practical ways to save money so that you can survive on a very limited income.
There’s no question that homeschooling as a single mom can be a drastic sacrifice, but most of us would say that giving up those new jeans or trendy haircuts will reap amazing benefits in the hearts of our kids. The list of ways to cut costs could never be covered here, but how about a few ideas to get you started?
- By far, one of the most common things that I hear from single moms homeschooling is that they live with their parents. What a blessing to be able to split the costs of living! Perhaps this is an option for you.
- Look for free or cheap ways to obtain homeschool materials. Free Homeschool Deals is one of many sites with ideas. Many states have programs for materials. There are also foundations that provide scholarships.
- Coupon, bargain shop and yard sale. Look for a site that does a lot of the work for you such as my two favorites Southern Savers or Money Saving Mom. Can’t keep up with a website? Like a Facebook group that offers daily tips, such as Living on a Dime.
- Live without…novel idea, huh? Seriously, there are so many things that we think we need that are simply not necessary. (I am preaching to myself right now!)
- Ask a family member if you can be on his/her cell phone bill. This dramatically cuts the cost of your phone and most people would love to help in this way.
- Sell your stuff. If you are done with it, sell it. Ebay or craigslist might be an option. I consign all of my children’s clothes and that pays for their clothes for the next season. I have also learned to keep material possessions lean. I’ve kept a roof over our head for quite sometime by selling the things that once seemed necessary, but now seem irrelevant. (Such as a TV!)
Allow others to help you
Even with child support, alimony, and a job, most single moms struggle to make ends meet. Some studies show that single moms live on 50-70% less than even women who are married but live on one income. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Consider asking for scholarships or reduced payments on things. Ask your church if they have a program to help. Most ministries have funds set aside to help single moms. I’ve gotten discounts to the zoo, on car repair, and even medical care (since I have no insurance). It never hurts to ask for help.
Many single moms also find it necessary to use government assistance such as WIC and food stamps. We should not be ashamed to use this service. It was designed to help those who face hardship. I think we can all agree that single moms qualify…at least for a time!
If you have found yourself “suddenly single” or even if you have been there for a while, I hope that you will be encouraged by the possibilities before you. Homeschooling will certainly be a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice that reaps amazing rewards. One day these precious little hearts will be thankful for what you’ve given them!
Need more encouragement? Have questions that still aren’t answered?
I’ve actually written an entire book for single moms wishing to homeschool. I pray that you will be blessed by it! Click the image to read more about it.