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I knew before my daughter was even born that I wanted to homeschool. At the beginning of my daughter’s life, I was a single mom. I knew that homeschooling was at least 5 years away, but I felt like I needed to plan for the future. I needed to do some research on ways to homeschool as a single parent. I didn’t expect to find a husband in the next 5 years. I was lucky to find that man, but others are not so lucky.
I started asking other single homeschool parents how they manage. What do they do for money? How do they work and teach all in a day’s time? I got an overwhelming response.
1. School Online
In today’s society, many parents are choosing to homeschool. There are many programs online for homeschooling children such as k12 online school and Homeschool Buyers Co-Op. The Homeschool Buyers Co-Op even offers some free courses, and it’s free to join. Schooling online helps free up some time for yourself to shower, plan other lessons, do laundry, exercise, or work from home.
2. Older Kids Help Younger Kids
I use to watch the Duggers all the time. I loved how the older kids helped the younger kids with their school work. This benefits everyone. It benefits you because you get free time to do what needs to be done. It benefits the younger kid because they are learning what they need to learn, and it benefits the older kid by redeveloping old skills. In my teacher training, I was told quite frequently that you learn best when you can teach it. By having the older kid teach a skill they are deepening their understanding of the skill.
3. On/Off Days
This is the beauty of homeschooling. You don’t have to have school every day! On the days you have to work or have more to do around the house make that a shorter school day or an off day. On the off days, have kids play educational games or educational apps to keep their brains learning. No immediate instruction from you on the off days. Explain to the kids that off days are a day for you to catch up or work and that you are not to be bothered. Make up for the lost time on another day by schooling longer.
4. Work Nights or Weekends
This may be a challenge for some. Who wants to work when you have been teaching all day? Some homeschooling parents don’t want the extra responsibility of running their own business from home, so working nights and weekends is the best choice. You can set up independent lessons for your kids to complete when they get up which will bide you some more sleep time in the morning.
5. Ask for Help
You probably hear this all the time, but asking for help is not a bad thing. Have grandparents, friends, or neighbors watch your kids as you work during the day. If they know you are struggling, they may offer to watch them for free. Plan lessons that these caregivers can do with your kids during the days you work or provide independent activities.
6. Have a Lazy Day
This is similar to the off day. Take 1 or 2 days a week and call them your lazy days. These days are for educational board games or apps. Still keep it educational, but plan it so you don’t have to teach or be with the kids all day. Set guidelines with your kids about these lazy days. Make them accountable! If you are working all day and you ask your kids to play an educational game, what are the chances they will play this game and take it seriously? Usually not a good chance. Hold them accountable. Tell them you want to see their scores or make them show their work, so you know they actually did something.
7. Use an Independent Curriculum
When searching for curriculum find one that is independent and does not require much preparation or instruction from you. Finding the right curriculum is key when homeschooling. As a former public school teacher, I can tell you that many homeschooling children that came to public school were far behind. The reason being is that they were not exposed to a great curriculum. There are many great curriculums out there. You just need to take the time to search for one. Do your homework before choosing a curriculum. Each kid may use a different curriculum as well because every child is different. Reach out to other homeschooling parents in your community for advice or events. I know a place near me offers a curriculum fair every April for homeschool parents. Homeschool Buyers Co-Op also offers some great curriculums and resources. Check them out!
Curriculum is not the place to skimp on money. Curriculum is the single most important part of a successful homeschooling program.
I cannot stress this one enough! Again I will reference my former teaching days where homeschool children would come to school unprepared. Part of this was also because there was no routine followed. A successful homeschooling program has a great routine and strong curriculum. Follow the routine as close as possible every day and every week. Kids thrive on routine. If they know what to expect, you will see better behavior and better learning.
9. Find Free Field Trips
Don’t assume a place will not offer field trips, or better yet free field trips. Call around to local establishments. Let them know that you are a homeschooling parent and would like your kid to go on a field trip at their facility. News stations and radio stations are great places to starts. You can find virtual field trips as well if you do some research. Homeschool Buyers Co-Op offers some free field trip ideas as well. Do not underestimate field trips. This is one of the main reasons why I want to homeschool my children. Field trips are great learning opportunities!
10. Find Free Books
Check out your local library or get in contact with your local public school. I know as a former public school teacher, we were asked to give away books to our students. We had bought a brand new curriculum a year after we had purchased a different brand new curriculum. We were told to just give away the books from the first curriculum. Do some homework and make some calls. You can find free materials if you take the time to look.
11. Save and Make Money by Recycling
Save money by recycling curriculum and other materials. Create DIY projects from those recycled materials. Are you crafty with recycled materials? Sell your creations on esty.com or write a post on http://www.guidecentr.al/. You get paid for every DIY how to post you create, plus a commission for each like your post gets.
12. Save Money by Buying in Bulk
Stores like BJs and Sams Club offer products in bulk at discount prices. Sometimes they send out coupons for an even bigger discount.
13. Save Money by Cooking from Scratch
Cooking from scratch may seem expensive as you go through the checkout line, but it really isn’t. Yes, you may be paying more out of pocket in one trip to get all the ingredients for the week, but you will make more servings. You may spend $100 on prepackaged food and only get 5 meals out it, or you spend $100 on fresh ingredients to cook from scratch that gives you 10 servings. Cook in bulk and place some in the freezer. I love making soups and strews, especially in the winter, from scratch. I place the leftovers in the freezer and pull it out for lunch a month later.
14. Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op
This is a great little corner of the internet for homeschool parents. It offers curriculum, planners, and resources for the homeschooling family at great prices. Plus you can earn points to use towards your purchases. Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op does all the hard work for you. They have found some of the best homeschooling curriculums in all areas imaginable and put it in one place for you. They also offer free resources for those low on income. They have this neat school ID card that you can create that enables you to get teacher and student discounts at places like Barnes and Noble. You can print a free card at home or order a professional looking one for only $7.95. I encourage you to take some time and look around. I’m sure you will find what you need here. Plus, sign up for a free membership to earn 100 SmartPoints to use towards your purchases.
The Homeschool Buyer Co-op is a free homeschooling organization for both new and veteran homeschoolers. Co-op membership is free and confidential, and entitles homeschooling families to GroupBuy discounts on high-quality curriculum. On the site you’ll find lots of free information, such as databases of free curriculum, field trips, and educational contests and scholarships. Highly recommended. Click here for more information.
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I hope this information helps!
What are some other tips for making homeschooling easier?