Friday, June 25, 2010

The Challenges of Being a Single, Homeschooling Mom

Right now, with working full time, and cleaning house, and generally living as a single, homeschooling mama, some of the formal part of the kids' education is going by the wayside.  We still go to the library, and I encourage them to sit under a tree (now that it's FINALLY warm outside!) to read, and I help with math when they ask, but it's challenging to "do school" in a formal way at all.

Some days are left almost entirely to play.  The kids get up at the very crack of dawn. Now that school is out, their friends are out playing nearly at sunrise, so I shoo mine out to play too.  Partly so I can get another few minutes of sleep.  Partly so I can stagger to the shower and get ready for work without worrying about them every minute.  Or having Mercedes study the way I do my hair and makeup.  It's unnerving at 8am.  (I am emphatically NOT a morning person.  Mornings would be great if they just came in the afternoon.)  Or having the kids at my elbow asking me if I want a fresh Diet Coke.

It's challenging sometimes to hear about 13 year olds headed off to college and wondering if I'm failing my kids because I'm determined to keep them home.  I'm reviewing my goals for my kids and determining what reality looks like for us.  It's not going to look the same as it does for my married friends where mama is the homemaker and the kids go to public school.  It's not going to look the same as my married friends who homeschool their kids because daddy is there and makes a bunch of money so mama can stay home with the kids, either.  No, in my family, everything falls on my shoulders.

There are things the kids need to learn for themselves.  One is self discipline.  No, you cannot go outside to play until your schoolwork is done, and that is written on the white board. Doing what you enjoy means getting through things you don't care for too much.  Example:  I like to cook.  I hate to clean.  But if I want to cook, I have to have a clean kitchen to do it in.  So I have to clean the kitchen. 

Another is routine.  Habits will make you or break you.  Get up, do your morning routine - and for my homeschooled kids, that should include reading, writing, 'rithmatic, and history.  C'mon kidlets, that can be done in an hour or two!  We're also working on routines of cleaning the house before bedtime.  That was a lot easier in the winter, when they were in by 5 because it was dark.  It's a bit more challenging now - but then again, they're OUT of the house all day, instead of making a mess inside.  That's a plus!

Are there any other single parents (or not single!) who have some ideas on how to maximize the kids' education without sacrificing my health, or putting them in public schools?  I'd love to know!

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