Ministering to the Single Homeschool Mama
November 6, 2019
In This Issue:
Rest and Balance

Hey Mama,

This is a shout out to one particular type of homeschool mama—the single mom—BUT if you are not that mama, keep reading anyway. You'll find some encouragement that will fit your needs, too.

First off, Mama, we know you're out there, and we know you are struggling. Life didn't go the way you had planned. But you've got to remember the God of the universe is still on the throne. And He works inside of His own “vacuum,” so to speak. He doesn’t need you to work, work, work (cause) for Him to bless and provide (effect). He has His own cause and effect system going on, and it’s based on His sovereign will and perfect plan for our lives.

If you're finding yourself struggling to remember that God is good today, read these encouraging articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.




And remember, Mama. . .

Just do your work. Play with your kids. Smile more. Because unless He builds the house, we labor in vain anyway. Let’s let Him build it. Let Him do the hard work of unweaving all the webs. He’s faithful to complete the work He has begun in you and your family.

Rest, Mama. You have a heavy load on your shoulders, but the Lord wants you to have balance. To look up at Him and feel the lightness of His love and compassion and mercy, which is new every morning for you. Turn around. Go the other way if you’re on the wrong track. Follow His direction which He has promised to give. Read His Word; pray; proclaim His goodness. The Good News is Christ! Be happy, be joyful in your salvation.

“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalms 127:1-3).

- gena
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Diane Heeney
Concerns of a Single Homeschool Mama

I have a vested interest in writing this. Our oldest daughter is a brand new, first-time mama. She is single. Here is the story of God’s grace in her life.

Erin knows she has a solid support system here in our home. I can provide guidance and insight from over twenty years of homeschooling experience. But not everyone is in a similar situation. Homeschooling can feel like an uncharted path, so noisy with options and opinions and so overwhelming with responsibilities. I asked Erin to imagine what her concerns might be in such a case. She mentioned these primary areas:
  • Schedule.
  • Support system.
  • Legal concerns.
  • Finances.

Schedule
One of the most wonderful beauties of homeschooling is its flexibility. So if you have a special needs child, nursing babies, a bout of chicken pox, a teen who needs extra rest—it’s all doable. You make the schedule. Just be sure to adhere to the homeschooling requirements for your state. If you work, you can send papers and assignments along to the caregiver, or get caught up in your “off” hours (I’m not sure there is such a thing for any mom, though!). 

Support & Legal
Seek out groups on social media where you can throw out ideas and get advice. There are many good ones on Facebook. Here are a few:

Find out via your home community social media platforms or newspaper whether there are local homeschooling groups or co-ops you could join. Inquire at your church. Libraries are also a good resource for finding out about homeschooling events. You need to talk with others. Prayer support is invaluable. Find local conventions or mom groups so you’ve got a team. I also highly recommend joining HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) so that you have all the legal support, resources, and advice you’ll need. 

Finances
This brings me to the topic of money. I am a ministry mom—and that means we live frugally. When I first started homeschooling, I used free resources like our library and Google (you’ll be amazed what you can find these days!). I started the Schoolin’ Swag community to post all of the freebies and bargains I found. I make good use of our dollar store, yard sales, online swap groups, and back-to-school bargains at Walmart. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Schoolhouse Teachers—which is easily the best “bang for the buck” available, offering a complete curriculum for every grade from preschool through high school graduation! 

Homeschooling requires sacrifice, regardless of what your family structure looks like. God will provide! Know that your Heavenly Father will gently lead those that are with young. Having a front row seat for all the new discoveries your children will make is priceless! In turn, you equip them with the unparalleled wealth of a Biblical worldview and an education that is uniquely tailored to help them fulfill the Lord’s purposes for their lives. 

Diane Heeney  is a graduate of Bob Jones University, where she served on faculty for ten years. She has been Assistant to the Director of Advertisng Sales at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine since 2016. She’s homeschooled her three children over the course of the past 18 years, having graduated their two oldest. Diane, her husband Patrick, and their youngest child, Katie, reside in eastern Wyoming.
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Come Alongside and Love

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” -James 1:27

I had a lot of jobs in my life prior to 20+ years of homeschooling. None of them have been near as tough or rewarding as homeschooling a large family. But the last five years I’ve had to do it as a single mother, and I can’t even begin to compare to the hardship of schooling a whole family as to that of schooling a broken family.

If you find yourself ministering to a single, homeschool mom, always assume that there is more going on than you know. Tread carefully on their hearts especially when you see behavior that is out of character for the mother or the children. They are hurting people bumping into each other. Their time of suffering isn’t a time to look for a harvest of fruit in their lives or giving your opinions on how to fix it. God is working in their lives; so move aside and let Him. However, it is a time to come alongside them and just love them. Love them in their mess and their hurt.

One of the ways that has been especially helpful to me is Godly men surrounding my eldest son. Each had a different trade to help him with, but all had the idea of training him up to be a man. He can now fix small engines, run construction equipment, make wood furniture, and has blossomed in leadership skills and can speak publicly (not a fan but can do it).

Another way is assuming the mother doesn’t get time alone. Invite her kids over for a meal, game night and a movie, or even a Saturday out, just letting the mother be alone and doing what she wants (if she wants to do anything at all!).

Meals, meals, and meals. (even frozen or gift cards!) Meals are a struggle for you; they are a double struggle for her.

Finally, many stepped up and helped me school. If you have a subject you are particularly wonderful in, especially music lessons, ask her if you can serve her in this way. Trust me; its huge for her, fun for the kids, and helps with financial pressure.

Finally, ask her. Don’t assume. Sometimes the things she needs the most haven’t even occurred to others that haven’t been in her shoes. Oftentimes, it will go without being said because she doesn’t want to ask and she doesn’t want to burden others.

The homeschooling single parent is definitely a category no one wants to find herself in, but if you know one, it can give you a perfect opportunity to be a vessel of grace to one of God’s children and be a reminder that He is a Husband to the widow (or divorced) and a Father to the fatherless.

Kerry Tittle is a mother of nine children and a 20-year homeschool veteran. She was the owner of ReformationKidz with her husband Rob until a tornado destroyed their home and business in 2014, taking the lives of Rob and two of their daughters, Tori and Rebekah. Kerry is the founder of  Refined Family , which is created to encourage others to find hope in the gospel in the midst of trials.
Dear Homeschooling Mom & Dad: Your friends at The Old Schoolhouse® are thankful for you! In appreciation for your commitment to home education and your love for your children, we are offering a special November promotion called “A Thankful Year with The Old Schoolhouse® Family.” From November 1-30, 2019: Secure a one-year subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine for only $19 (reg. $29; valued at $48.40). All four 2020 issues of homeschooling’s trade publication will be delivered to your door. As an added BONUS, you will receive the ENTIRE SERIES of Curiosity Files—18 digital downloads valued at more than $125!

(New subscriptions only; first issue will be Spring 2020; Canadian/International price is $49 [reg. $59]; free shipping to US customers.)

Sherri Seligson
Be the Body

Whether a homeschooling household consists of a dad who works and a mom who teaches at home or a household where both parents work and share the teaching responsibility, both situations involve a division of labor and mutual support and encouragement. But what about single parent homeschooling households? The single parent bears the responsibility alone.

How can we support these families? Well, we first need to realize that none of us can do this homeschooling gig without God’s support and strength. I know that it is through the grace of God that I was able to complete our 21-year homeschool journey with our four children.

Additionally, I had the support of my husband and other homeschooling mamas. Yet, some of those mothers in our homeschooling circle were single, and it was important to be there as part of their homeschooling community to offer help and encouragement when we could. Here are some things we can do.

1. Be the taxi – Particularly as children get older, homeschooling can occur less and less in the home and more and more at co-ops, piano lessons, job shadowing, and field trips. Sometimes a simple offer to pick up the kids and take them somewhere gives a single mama a few hours of break time or time to catch up on other responsibilities.

2. Be the ear – Personally, when I was frustrated or struggling, I benefited from the ear of my loving and patient husband who kindly listened with concern and a desire to help me reason through challenges or just to offer a sounding board for me to “vent.” Sometimes just offering to pick up some coffee and bring muffins to a single mama creates a time for your kids to spend time together while you two can chat. Single parents, like all of us, need real friendships to be transparent in a safe place.

3. Be the guest teacher – Think about the ages of your single friend’s children. Do some of them do similar work as yours? What subjects do you feel more capable of teaching? Would her kids benefit from your strengths, too? For me, I love science; so I looked forward to teaching my children that subject. When I realized that other parents didn’t like science ( who doesn’t like science?!?), I offered to open our home up one morning a week to do science experiments and go over the material as a group. It actually benefited my family, too, because my children LOVED having other kids to do science classes with. (One of my children actually explained that “misery loves company. . .”). 

Maybe just offering to tutor one of her children in a challenging subject or listening to another child as he reads to you could provide some relief to an overly-busy single friend.

4. Be the arms of the church – Look for ways you can spiritually encourage this sweet mama in her endeavor to train and raise her children and keep their household. Ask for specific prayer requests, PRAY for and with her, and then follow up to encourage her. On a practical level, does her lawn need mowing? Does she need some light repair work done? If you are making a pot of chili, maybe it would help to make a double batch and tell her you are making a boat-load of chili and want to bring some over for her family to enjoy.

We have to be intentional if we want to minister to others, and hopefully these are some ways to get you thinking about loving and serving those whom God places in our midst.

Sherri Seligson and her husband David homeschooled their four children for 21 years. Before being promoted to motherhood, Sherri worked as a published marine biologist at Walt Disney World. An MEd. grad in Curriculum and Instruction, she has authored Apologia’s General Science, Marine Biology, and five upper level instructional video courses. An international conference and retreat speaker, Sherri uses transparency, truth, and humor, as she encourages moms on their homeschool journey and teaches families the importance of studying God’s creation. www.facebook.com/SherriSeligsonAuthor www.sherriseligson.com
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We at SchoolhouseTeachers.com know that single moms face special challenges when homeschooling their children in addition to providing for their physical and material needs. We’re here to help! Need a sympathetic ear? Log in to the Members’ Forum where moms gather and support each other. Prefer something more structured? Check out our collection of articles entitled Homeschooling Through the Rough Spots or our study of common homeschooling issues in Encouragement for Homeschool Moms. Remember, we want you to succeed!
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Congratulations to Yvie Field from Sparks, OK, who won our September Contest Corner giveaway!

Contest Corner
for the month of November
If you come across this symbol (. . . ) go to the link provided to read the full review.

History can be so boring! I cannot remember all those dates and places. Who cares what happened back when?

Are these types of comments familiar to you? Do your children complain when the history books come out? If so, the World Changers Biography Club from Tied 2 Teaching might be just the thing to bring a little fun into your homeschool and, at the same time, bring some world changing folks to life for your kids.

This ever-growing digital bundle currently has 30 mini biography units with plans for another 30 in the works. It was easy and quick to order and download from the Teachers Pay Teachers website and will continue to receive updates and additions as they are added each month. (. . .)

While this package is recommended for grades 2-4, we found the variety of titles made them a good addition to our sixth grade reading and history lessons. Having a student with ADHD who is a reluctant writer, I am always looking for fun activities that will encourage him to write while not being overwhelming. These units fit the bill. (. . .)

Of course, we will not always have the opportunity to expand on our units, but there are plenty of ways these units can be tied in with other studies. For instance, if your kids are studying the Civil War, the units on Clara Barton and Abraham Lincoln fit in here well. There are units on Oprah Winfrey, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, and Anne Frank. As you can see, a good variety. (. . . )

You now know a few of the finer mentionables about the World Changers Biography Club , but you’ll really want the full scoop, so go and read the full review on our site

AND most importantly, ENTER THE CONTEST for your chance to win this Biography Unit Bundle by Tied 2 Teaching.
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