In my last post, I stated that I believe today's single moms are the equivalent of orphans and widows, and shared many ways that you can minister to these broken families.
In many cases, there is an added dimension: homeschooling.
Yep, that's right. There are times when a family was happily homeschooling along when a sudden tragedy caused a split in the family, leaving a stay-at-home mom to face a very big decision: do I put my kids in school and get a job, or try to continue homeschooling? Sometimes, there is no other option; a complete lack of income forces the mom to go into the work force.
But sometimes, the option is there, albeit a rather gloomy one.
I was in this situation one time. I had two children, ages 2 and 6. They had never been in a public school or daycare. Homeschooling was my heart's desire before I even had children. When their dad and I divorced, I felt that the worst possible thing I could do to the girls, on top of moving away from the only home they had ever known, was to send them to school and daycare for 8+ hours a day. I wanted to give them what security I could by keeping them with me.
I started with absolutely nothing. I had no money and no income. I moved into my parents' home for what I thought would be a couple of months. I got a job as a church nursery worker at first, and then my own church hired me to clean weekly. This was a blessing since my girls could be with me while I worked. So we homeschooled.
I was able to get temporary food stamps, and then received child support. I also used a credit card for gas and other essentials.
It was a very hard time, but also a time of peace for us. My 6 year old learned to read, and my preschooler learned to count and sing. We took walks to the park and fed ducks at the pond. We sang songs in the car, and memorized scriptures and hymns together.
As the months went by, I continued to struggle financially. My parents were very gracious to let us continue to live in their home. But I was barely scraping by. So I found a part-time job as a medical transcriptionist at a small, local hospital. I was able to request my own hours to work around my preschooler's nap time. I worked from 1-5 p.m. each day. But this presented something new: child care needs. I prayed desperately in this situation and was able to hire a nice older lady to come to our house for those 4 hours each day.
But this isn't what I wanted for us. I needed a long term solution to a) provide for my little family, and b) continue to homeschool.
So I bought a store.
It was right there waiting for me. A craft mall/craft supply store, up for sale, in the town where I already worked. My reasoning was this: I can be my own boss, set my hours, bring my kids to work, and accomplish all of my goals and desires.
Did it work?
Well, it did accomplish those goals. But running a business has its own set of worries. It provided a whole new level of financial needs, long hours, and huge responsibility. But I was with my children all day. They had a playroom at the store, so they could play, rest, or be with me. We had school when there were no customers. Some of my work I did at night while they were sleeping. It was a mixed blessing, but it got us through.
I am telling you this story for this reason: single moms can homeschool, too. Circumstances are widely varied, and it may not work for all, but I highly encourage moms not to immediately assume that they must give up this desire. And I encourage those who want to minister to single moms, that if you know one who was or is homeschooling, and they would like to continue, please ask how you can help.
Here are a few suggestions:
* Help with lessons.
* Help with income.
* Hire them to work from home.
* Hire them to work hours to fit their homeschooling schedule.
* Mentor them in a new career from home.
* Pay for their curriculum.
* Help with living expenses.
I made a commitment to continue homeschooling through some very tough years, and I do not regret it. I would do it all over again. Nine years later, I am still dealing with credit issues stemming from a huge financial shortage, but I wouldn't have done it any other way. The relationships I have built with my children were, and still are, worth it all.
Children suffer just as much (or more) in a broken family, whether from divorce or death. I just wanted to be there for them. There are numerous other moms who feel this way, too, so I implore you to reach out and help them.
I have several single mom friends, and they have been very creative with combining homeschooling and working. One became a nurse and has hired some help with schooling, one owns a bed and breakfast, one just opened a grill at our local zoo.
If you are the single mom who wishes to continue homeschooling, here is a great link for you.
You probably already know that my story has a happy ending. After two years of single motherhood, I married a very wonderful man who jumped right into my ready-made family and my craft store (even though he didn't know a seed bead from a glue stick!), and we have been going strong for 7 happy years!
God is good!
Labels: Christianity. Faith35 36 37 38