Homeschool Diner Logo -- 1960's style sign with atomic starburst
Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
site map
Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Basics

What if Both Parents Work or I Am a Single Parent?
Can We Still Homeschool?

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

The short answer is -- yes!  The long answer is --  you need to figure out
how to make it work out for everyone involved.

There are many single parent homeschool families, and homeschool
families where both parents work full time.  Needless to say, it takes a lot
more organization and planning to make homeschooling work when
adults only have a few limited hours each day where they can be actively
teaching their children.  The good news is that, for younger children, a
few hours a day is plenty of time... and, for older children, you won't
need to actively teach them everything -- they will be able to do some
things while you are away.

So, it really comes down to a few basic questions:

Do you have someplace for your child to be while you are away?
If you are lucky enough to have supportive family members near by, are
they willing to act as day care for your child while you are at work?  Is
there a friend or neighbor who could provide day care for times when no
parent is home?  Can you or your partner switch to a different work shift,
change to flex time, or work from home to help with scheduling child
care?   Can you afford to hire a nanny, au pair, or tutor to mind your
child and teach or supervise lessons while you are at work?

Is your child old enough and mature enough to spend some time
home alone each day?  (Or not?)
Would your child be able to work independently while you are at work?  
Is your child old enough to secure a job or a volunteer position to take
up some of the time that your are at work?  Can your child go to work
with you and read or work on projects?

Can you find another homeschooling family to help out?
Once you become acquainted with your local homeschool community
you may be able to find a homeschooling mom who is willing to provide
child care (or child minding) as a source of income.  She may or may not
be able to actually do some of the homeschooling, too -- state laws vary
as to whether or not another homeschooling parent can legally provide
daily schooling to children other than her own, so check the regulations
for your state.  

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make it work?
Will you be willing and able to do homeschool activities when you get
home from work and on your days off?  Homeschooling doesn't take
nearly the amount of time that classroom teaching does... so it's not like
you will spend every free moment homeschooling... but it does take a
certain amount of daily commitment at all ages.   

It also takes time to decide on a homeschooling approach and to locate
a curriculum and other resources to get started.  Can you or your
partner spare the up-front  time for research?  If not, maybe you are
interested in a
public charter e-school?  Is your child old enough,
maybe, to include in the research process?  Could he or she decide on
an approach and present you with options?  Take the quiz at the
"Click-O_matic Guide to Choosing a Homeschool Approach" to
see what options will work with your particular situation.

Is your child willing to do whatever it takes to make it work?
Is your child a willing partner in this adventure?  Or is this a choice that
you felt necessary to make, even if your child doesn't agree?  Will your
child be intentionally uncooperative?  Do you anticipate that your child
will be getting into trouble if left alone?  Is your child a special needs
student who may not be capable of independent work or of being left

All of these issues are complications.  They don't mean that you can't or
shouldn't homeschool... but they do call for extra preparation and
planning on your part, in order to make sure that your child stays safe
and out of trouble.  Even if it gets complicated... sometimes the
alternative of leaving a child in a bad school situation makes
homeschooling worth a try.

Find a good homeschool support group.
Most large homeschool support groups have a few double income
families and a few single parents -- just ask online for advice.  There are
also a few support groups specifically for single parents --

Homeschool_1 --  for single parent homeschooling support

NewRisingHSNetwork -- Christian-focused single parent
homeschooling support

Single Parent Homeschool -- A Christian ministry equipping and
encouraging single parents to homeschool

1Parent_hs -- for single parent homeschooling

HS1Mom -- single moms homeschooling

homechoolbusinesses -- for those who homeschool and run any type
of businesses or are looking to start home businesses

WORKandHOMESCHOOL -- for those who work or attend school and

WAHHSMs -- for Christian work at home homeschooling moms

Related Issues

Homeschooling and Custody -- an online support group for
homeschoolers involved in custody issues