In September of 2002, I suddenly became a single mom. I had two daughters, ages 2 and 6, our clothes, and my car. I had about $200 to my name and no source of income. I was living in my parent’s not-quite-finished new home. The future looked very bleak.
Besides my parents and a few close family members, everyone expected me to put my daughters in school and daycare, get a job, and live like everyone else.
We already had one year of homeschooling behind us, but that was in a comfortable home, and I had been a full-time stay-at-home mom. How in the world was homeschooling going to be possible now??
I was committed to homeschooling. I was not impressed with the direction public schools were going. But even more, I didn’t think that this sudden life change we were going through would get any easier for my little girls if they were also put in the care of strangers just weeks after moving out of the only home they’d ever known.
I was determined to keep our little family unit close together for the emotional health of my daughters. So, I had to find a way to earn money and still be a full-time mom, and also have an answer ready for all the nay-sayers.
That was 18 years ago. My daughters are now both graduates of home education, and are well-adjusted, fully functioning adults.
So yes, I did find a way.
In fact, I found many ways. There were some rewarding times and some very hard times. There were days and nights that I cried. A lot. We lived on a meager income many times. School subjects got delayed sometimes.
But when I look back over the years, I see the days and the hours that my children spent in the comfort and safety of home (wherever that was), and the gentle learning environment they grew up in. I remember days where they struggled emotionally from divorce, and I was there to comfort them.
I don’t remember the stuff we couldn’t afford to buy or the things we couldn’t afford to do. I remember the moments with my children. And looking back, I know I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
Yes, I do mean anyone
You may be shocked by the title of this book. I know many people don’t actually believe that ANYONE can homeschool. But I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true. This book is the result of my own experiences, along with the stories of many friends of mine.
The first two chapters will introduce a way of thinking that you may not be familiar with if you’re new to the idea of homeschooling. I will discuss what it means to teach and educate, and how children learn. I will hopefully open the door to a wider view of education: simply, that it doesn’t all have to happen in a school building, and that it doesn’t require a highly trained staff to accomplish it.
The entire book depends on understanding these concepts.
The remaining chapters each address a specific concern for those who think they have no options. Feel free to jump to the chapter that addresses your need first. See the possibilities. Think outside the box. If you’re like many, you may have a combination of issues. Maybe you’re a single working mom and your child has dyslexia. Maybe you’re a working mom with little extra money for curriculum. I hope to help you see that the possibilities are there, and to point you to the resources you will need.
What I won’t tell you is that this is a breeze. It’s a commitment. It requires dedication. You will need to invest time, especially if money is not plentiful. You will become your child’s principal, teacher, counselor, coach, and bus driver. You will be parenting on a major scale. You will have a new hobby and a new job.
And it will be worth every single minute.
I know this is possible because I have done it all. I was a homeschool student from 6-12th grade. That was in the 1980s before the explosion of homeschool curriculum vendors, co-ops, and the internet.
I attended a small private school for my senior year and graduated with straight A’s. I went on to college and received a Bachelors Degree in Business.
Did I forget to mention that my mom homeschooled me with a 9th grade high school education?
My own journey as a homeschooling mom has had its ups and downs.
After my first marriage ended, I was financially broke, and had to start life over. I was unemployed, and then I worked part-time. In order to continue homeschooling, I tried running my own business.
I remarried when my girls were 7 and 3. My new husband and I ran my business together, and it was not profitable. He took a part time job on top of that, but we still struggled financially. There was no curriculum budget.
The first year of our marriage I was on pregnancy bedrest, and then lost the baby at 4 months. Later that year I got pregnant again, with more bedrest.
A year later we sold our business and our house. We rented a house and I took a part time job waiting tables at night to help with finances. After a few months I got pregnant again (yep, more bed rest). After 6 months in that house, we moved again.
We were in a new, smaller house (which was going to be very temporary!), now had four kids (including 2 little boys), and a small curriculum budget. Oh, and high school was approaching for my oldest daughter.
One more pregnancy (with bedrest). Now 5 kids in a 960 square foot home, aged newborn to 14. It was a little bit crazy.
Add in chronic migraines and you see a picture that no one would think conducive to homeschooling.
So in my homeschooling journey, I was taught by a mom with no high school diploma, my own divorce, single motherhood, working single motherhood, business ownership as a single working mother, remarriage, multiple pregnancies with bedrest, miscarriage, multiple moves, as a working mom, with no budget, multiple children of widely-ranging ages, tiny house, and chronic migraines.
I am not a super mom.
There is no such thing. It is only that I made a choice to home educate and learned through each step of this journey that there is a way. Each stage had its challenges and its rewards, and our homeschool looked different in each stage, as well.
And I’m not alone. My friend Mary holds a part-time job and homeschools an only child with dyslexia. My friend Dianna is a single mom with four daughters. Tiffany works part time and homeschools her two children, one with special needs.
Through every stage of this journey, the one thing that gave me the confidence to keep going was my faith in God and my conviction that this was absolutely His will for my children.
As I mentioned earlier, I was a product of the early homeschooling movement. That homeschooling movement, that took root and grew through the 1980’s, was a distinctively Christian event. Though there were pockets of homeschoolers from a non-religious background, the current homechooling movement owes its growth to the Christian parents who removed their children from the public education system for religious reasons. The first handful of curriculum sellers and homeschool conventions were created and run by fundamental Christians. They were true pioneers. The homeschoolers of the 21st century stand on the shoulders of those first Christian parents.
So, while you do not have to homeschool for religious reasons, you will find that the majority of veterans, their advice, and the lessons learned are going to come from a Christian perspective.
This book will be no different.
If you have a desire to homeschool, I want to show you that there is a way. It will require your time, your flexibility, some research, and an investment of yourself, but it can be done.
I hope that this book inspires you to see the possibilities, the flexibility, and to have the courage to step into the world of home education, no matter what your circumstances are right now. No matter why you want to homeschool, it is possible for everyone.
And since I believe the Bible’s admonitions to parents include the full-time upbringing of their children, I pray you will rest in knowing that when God calls you to do something, He absolutely provides a way to do it.
Charles Spurgeon, the great preacher of the 19th century said, “Home is the grandest of all institutions.”
Moms and dads, you have all that it takes to educate your children, whether your circumstances are ideal or not. You might hear from well-meaning family members that you can’t do this. You might be told by school personnel that you’re not qualified. You may be hearing from uninformed strangers that homeschooling just isn’t for you.
But now I want you to hear it from people who are doing it, even in the most difficult circumstances. You can do it. I did. They did. We still are. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have picked up this book, you already have the will. Now let me show you the way.
Now available on Amazaon!