Thursday, 17 December 2020

Top Tips for Home Schooling as a Single Parent: is it Possible?

Thinking about home schooling your children, but worried that it’s not possible as a single parent? Think again…

Considering home schooling your children is a huge step. Not only does this take them away from the usual curriculum, putting the onus on the parents to prepare them for higher education, it’s also a lot of work. After all, the usual convenience of school as a day-care won’t be available.


As a single parent, this challenge will no doubt be compounded. Whether you’ve consulted a Bristol, Bath, Birmingham or Blackheath lawyers for a divorce, or have recently become a widow or widower, will it be possible to do it alone?


In this article, we hope to show you that yes, it totally is possible. With these top tips, you should be home schooling like a pro in no time.


1.   Begin with a Vision – and Make it Strong


First and foremost, you need to come up with a vision of what home schooling will realistically look like for you and your family. This vision should focus on answering a number of questions, including:


·         What are your reasons for wanting to home school your children?

·         What do you want to gain from the experience?

·         What do you hope your children will gain from it all?


Start with this, and it should help you to see the bigger picture when things get tough. This will also help when it comes to the opinions of those around you; most kids head to the local school, so you will probably be the odd one out. With this, having knowing what you want to gain from this all will help you to ignore the nasty words and opinions.


2.   Check it’s Legal


Depending on whereabouts you live, there may be laws restricting you from home schooling. In the UK, it is completely legal, but in some countries, for example Germany, it has been completely outlawed. Because of this, you need to research your area to see if it’s possible, and what the process will be to get the ball rolling.


3.   Work from Home


With home working becoming a realistic possibility for many parents, you may be considering home schooling now more than ever. That said, it really is only possible if remote work is a viable option for you. If you’re heading to the office, construction site, or hospital every day, you won’t be able to unless you have a lot of outside support.


4.   Choose a Style of Home Schooling


Once you’ve got all the legal and practical considerations out of the way, it’s time to think about the style you want to go for. This will very much depend on your own work schedule, and how flexible you can be with it. It’ll also depend on your personal values and your goals for it all, so you should research the different types of schooling and make a decision before going any further.


5.   Rely on Pre-Prepared Curriculums


Although you might have this vision of putting together eclectic and detailed plans for each week, the reality is probably not going to look like this. On top of home schooling and work, you have to consider cooking, cleaning, and general admin. So, in order to act in a time efficient manner, try using pre-prepared curriculums from a school, or online.


6.   Set a Schedule That Works for You


The usual 8 ‘til 3.30 school day may not be realistic for you, especially if you have a demanding job that requires your full attention. Throw out these preconceptions of when home schooling should take place. Instead, why not try mixing it up a bit?


For example, you could work in the morning, encouraging the kids to get washed and dressed and make their own food, with a little of your help. Then, the first lesson can begin, and you can set them assignments while you work. Throughout the day, your kids can enjoy breaks, TV time, and mealtimes while you work, whilst dipping in and out of schooling during your breaks.


Alternatively, you could home-school in the evening, as it won’t take as long as normal school hours do. Whatever you decide, plan a schedule and stick to it. This way, you can feel like you’ve really accomplished something, whilst getting the best out of a system that works for you all.


7.   Consider a Four-Day Home Schooling Week


As we’ve discussed, home schooling doesn’t have to take as long as normal schooling. So, you could consider a four-day home schooling week, with the fourth day for the kids to do homework, or simple play to their heart’s content.


This way, you can dedicate a solid day to working yourself, catching up on anything that may have gone amiss throughout the week. You could even dedicate Fridays to educational “field trips”, for example enjoying a museum, zoo, or adventure park.


8.   Consolidate Errands


With work and schooling on your plate, it may seem impossible for you to get all your errands done. That said, it is entirely possible if you consolidate all of these into one single day, for example on the weekend or the fifth weekday.


This should help you to fit everything in, including groceries, dentists and GP visits, car MOTs, and anything else that may be required. Having this dedicated day will also mean you can focus your attention on work and school during the other days, without having to concern yourself over what else needs doing.


9.   Learn to Adapt


You can always plan a schedule and an errands day, but some days things won’t work how you intend them too. You might fall behind schedule, you may have a work problem which needs dealing with, or your kids might not want to cooperate. So, be prepared to adapt and change your system for these issues as and when required.


What’s more, it’s unlikely that your teaching style will remain the same year in and year out. Embrace adaptations as and when they come, and know that these are all part of the process.


10.   Allow Them to Teach Themselves


Kids have a real knack for teaching themselves things, be it through reading, games, playing outside, and more. Give them time to do this by scheduling in self-taught sessions and fun time. This will, no doubt, help them with a lot of life skills, including:


·         Independence

·         Self-confidence

·         Mental health and wellbeing

·         Innovation

·         Comfort in being alone

·         Motivation


11.   Don’t Forget Break Times!


Break times are just as important as working times. Not only do they give you the chance to get on with work whilst they enjoy themselves, it’ll also be a lot better for their mental health to do so. What’s more, it’ll give them that all important time to teach themselves through play time.


12.   Encourage Them to Help Around the House


As a single parent, you have to juggle a lot of balls, and household tasks will certainly add one extra thing to the list. That said, involving your children in all of these tasks will be instrumental in helping them learn essential life skills. For example, you could get them to help with:


·         Household bills, so they can learn the ropes on mortgages, tax and more.

·         Budgeting for the shopping.

·         Meal planning and cooking.

·         Cleaning around the house.

·         Gardening.

·         Knitting and sewing.


This will not only allow you to tick a lot of boxes off your daily to-do list, it’ll be a learning curve for them in the process; all part of the home schooling world.


13.   Prioritise Engaging Activities


Learning doesn’t have to be all about the boring subjects, like maths and science. You can also think about more engaging and exciting activities, like arts and crafts, building blocks, and online learning games. Don’t forget about these, and spread them out throughout the week to keep motivation going.


You could even have days where the kids choose their own educational activities to give them more of a say on what they would like to learn. This will ultimately make things a lot simpler for everyone involved. After all, engaged and motivated kids means more time for you to do your own thing.


14.   Make Use of Online Tools


These days, there are so many online tools for home learning that it’s changing the whole picture of education. Don’t ignore these brilliant devices, and use them as a way to keep your kids engaged. It’ll also help you to bring some structure to the learning days.


15.   Take Support Where You Can


Finally, seek support if you need it. There may be family members and friends who are better at certain subjects than you, and have days to spare within the week to teach your kids. Or, you could rely on a professional to come in some days, if you can afford it. Be sure to take all the help you can get.

Is Home Schooling as a Single Parent Possible?


Today, we’ve shown you the possibilities of home schooling, and demonstrated that it is entirely possible for a single parent to do it all. All you need is a bit of determination, organisation, and grit, and you’re sure to succeed.


Be sure to leave your thoughts and tips in the comments down below. Let’s educate one another about the world of home schooling, so we can all make a decision that works for us.

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