Homeschooling: You Can Do It

Do you believe you can't homeschool?

There are a multitude of reasons parents believe they can't homeschool.

I say you can homeschool. I can say it because I homeschool.

I can't homeschool because I'm a single mom.

So am I. I have homeschooled two sets of kids on my own.

The first set of kids, now in their 20s, were homeschooled after their father and I split up. The second set (ages 10 and 15) are being homeschooled solely by me because their father died 3 years ago.

You can do it.

I have to work, so I can't homeschool.

So do I. I'm a single mom and the children have no father. I have no choice except to work. I have worked all manner of jobs and shifts over the years. 
  • I have worked evenings so that I could homeschool in the day. 
  • I've had work-at-home jobs
  • I've owned my own business which allows me to create my own schedule. 
You can do it.

I'm am struggling financially.

So am I. So are a lot of two-income, two-parent households. There is no perfect situation. My experience is that sending my kids to school was a much bigger expense than keeping them at home. Let me show you.
  • School clothing. I don't have to buy separate clothing for school. 
  • School supplies. Yes, I have to buy pencils, paper and such things. I don't, however, have to buy all this stuff in addition to spending a huge amount of money on clothing. 
  • Additional costs throughout the year. Note that many schools are adding additional fees and costs, such as laptops onto their standard supply requirements. There are also field trips, year books, transportation costs, extracurricular costs and special occasion activities. These costs can easily add up to $1000 per year per child. 
I buy my kids clothes when they need them. I get school supplies when I can (and usually at a discount store) and most of what we do is free by using living books instead of textbooks. For the 2012-13 school year, I spent about $30 on basics such as pencils and paper and $6 on books on my Kindle. $36. 

There are all sorts of ways to make homeschooling affordable.

You can do it.

I have special needs kids.

So do I. I have homeschooled children with a range of issues from A.D.H.D. to Aspergers, dyslexia to bipolar disorder. Some of them have more than one of these. It can be done. I'm not saying it's always easy, but my kids have attended public and private school. I can attest that sending them to school is not easier. If anything, I found it more difficult.

When they're in school, you don't see them as much. You only experience the afternoons and evenings with them. Trying to finish what they started elsewhere (homework) is not simple, because you've missed the beginnings of the child's experience. You may have missed where their challenge began that day. 

You may only hear the teacher's version of misunderstandings or behavior issues. You may hear your child's version, but this is a child. You can't always count on their under-developed perception. Sometimes, the child doesn't tell you things that you need to be told.

Trust me. It's not easier.

You can do it.

I have challenges.

So do I. I have fibromyalgia. 

Fibromyalgia can impact a day. I am often fatigued, my muscles inflamed and painful. I haven't experienced a painless day in over a decade. Cold and rain increase all symptoms, including fibrofog. During those times, I can't learn new things, create new memories or retain anything. Those are the days when "I can't think!" is my catch phrase. 

When I wake in the mornings, my body is almost rigid with muscle stiffness and aching. For the first 2 hours of my day, all I can do it sit. I must wait for my muscles to relax enough that I can walk without leg pain or straighten my back so that I don't look like I stepped off an evolutionary chart. My day begins 2-3 hours after I wake.

Can you see me trying to get up, run around getting kids ready and out there door to take them to school? I'm not physically capable of that. OK, perhaps I could do it, but I'd be in much more pain if I did and probably the chronic fatigue would cause them to be late to school regularly because I'd oversleep. (Never mind their own challenge of not being able to be awake in the day and asleep at night.)

Seriously. You can do this.

I have no one who will support my choice to homeschool.

Neither did I. In fact, I homeschooled for 10 years without knowing any other homeschoolers. All that's changed these days, but once upon a time I couldn't leave the house during the day without answering questions about why my kids weren't in school. When I explained we homeschooled, people didn't even know what that meant. Yeah. I homeschooled in those days.

Currently, I live in a town with a population of 1600. How many homeschoolers do you think are in this town? Just me and my two daughters. That's it.

These days, even if you live in an area that doesn't have a large homeschool community, you can at least find support and information through online groups and blogs.

You can do it.

You are not alone.

Never feel you're the only one. You're not. 

If a single mom, who has fibromyalgia and has to work to be the sole bread winner, for special needs kids, living in a town where she is the sole homeschool mom can do this....

YOU can do it.

Perhaps you have other obstacles. Visit I can't homeschool because... for more encouragement. 
Still struggling? Let me help. Check out my homeschool consultation service.

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Happy Homeschooling!


  1. Thank you for this!

    I've been doing K4 and K5 with my special needs son. Lots of play, speech therapy, etc etc. I've heard a lot of "you're pushing him too much" even though it's what he needs and he's thriving. It's made me doubt myself, but I have to keep remembering he's not like other kids - he's not capable of playing on little kids' sports teams yet, tying his shoes, and he just now is able to wear blue jeans with a zipper and snap button and he may not pedal a bike for years.

    My husband and I decided to follow a year-round schedule, Jan to Dec. At this point, it just makes sense. K6 and our first official year starts in a few weeks. Scared. to. death. I don't even have to turn in attendance, but I'll be starting officially and it scares me.

    I also work from home, help care for relatives, etc. This was a very timely, very helpful post and I thank you so very much for it!

    1. Crystal, I'm glad you found this post helpful. Life can be challenging, but mothers know how to adapt. :-)

  2. Love this, Michelle! Even on bad days (like I've been having!), I still believe in the choice. And I truly think that if I can do this thing, anyone can! ;)

  3. Umm, I love this Michelle! *Standing ovation!!*

    1. Thanks, Marlene. You're a sweetheart.

  4. Anonymous1/24/2014

    Thank for this post!! I'm currently home schooling our only daughter. She is almost 5. We are enjoying Pre K:) I had NEVER thought about home schooling in the past. A couple years ago, a friend of mine was telling me about how she home schooled her kids. This is the first time I had ever thought about the idea. My initial response was, "I'm sure YOU can do it. You're smart!!" And being the friend that she is, she told me that I could do it too. I didn't believe her. I thought she was just being nice. I was brought up in a VERY emotionally abusive household. I was told I was stupid on a daily basis. (and that was my parents being "nice" to me) I always knew the kind of life I wanted to have, I just didn't know how to go about it. I was lost. I DID NOT EVER THINK I COULD HOME SCHOOL. I was LOST. I had NO idea who I was. I barely passed High School. I was terrible at ALL subjects. Never went to college. Battled with ADD/OCD and a Personality Disorder/Bi Polar disorder. HOW IN THE WORLD COULD I BE BETTER FOR MY DAUGHTER THAN A PROFESSIONAL???
    I OBSESSED over whether or not I COULD/SHOULD home school for a couple years. Praying and praying about it....I KNEW inside this is what I was MEANT to do.....I was scared to death. I was certain I would ruin my daughter. Period.
    We took her to her Preschool enrollment...paid the fee and had her registered. We were a week away from her starting school and I thought about not being there for her learning the ABC's or counting....writing her name...etc. It brought me to my knees. I couldn't stand the thought of her doing something for the first time or "getting something" for the first time and it not being celebrated the way I would celebrate it with her. That is when I knew. I was REALLY UNEDUCATED. I had A LOT to learn....But I KNEW I HAD to keep her home. I was a wreck. I was not completely prepared....I was all over the place for a long time when I was teaching her at first. I had bought Horizons Pre K but I was TERRIBLE at being a "teacher". I knew NONE of the material.....and wasn't disciplining myself to PREPARE! And you know what??? I WOULDNT TAKE IT BACK FOR ANYTHING!!!!! SOME HOW through my CRAZINESS she learned how to WRITE HER NAME. Her letters(upper case and lower case) and their sounds. And she can count to 30 on her own, count to 100 with us coaching her....And is comprehending simple Math...and can tell time to the hour. I HAVE NO CLUE "HOW" I taught her all of this. **GOD** was there with us EVERY step of the way. I have learned to be FLEXABLE and NOT think that EVERY THING has to be PERFECT everyday. I thought I had to do it the way every one else did....and I DONT!!! I do it the way it works for US. And the way GOD is leading us. There are days that all we do is PLAY and she TRULY is still learning. Want to find out how your child learns?? SPEND TIME WITH HIM/HER. YOU WILL LEARN!!!! I've went from being a very STRICT "teacher" (because I had to be PERFECT) to setting a basic routine...and then just FOLLOWING my instincts....and MY daughter!!!! Not every day is the same. And I have come to ACCEPT that. Some days we do "school" more traditionally at her desk....using worksheets...and other days I incorporate subjects into PLAYING with her. And other days all we do is read books :) IM telling YOU. I AM DOING IT. SO CAN YOU!!!!!! I PROMISE!!!!

    This post is probably FULL of mistakes....and might be jumbled all over the place. I'm OK with that. Because I know that as I need to TEACH....If home schooling is something you desire...for whatever reason.... I'm here to tell you that you CAN do it.

    It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. The BOND between my daughter and I is UNBELIEVABLE. And I have GROWN in patience and understanding....I have grown confidence in my ability to teach her. ONE moment at a time :)

    God Bless You!!!!


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