For many Single and living fab women, motherhood is part of the package. Single parenting isn’t easy and usually takes twice the effort. No matter what, you want to make sure your child is getting the best of everything, especially when it comes to his or her education. Recent studies reveal that more and more families are home schooling their children. That’s because we’re seeing that students being taught at home are having a more productive learning experience. Single moms who want to home school their children probably think it is impossible to achieve, especially if you have to work. But S&LF spoke to LaToya Edwards, who found a way to home school her two young boys, without being independently wealthy.
S&LF: What first made you decide to home school your two boys?
LaToya Edwards: When my oldest son was 2 years old, I started noticing some concerning behaviors. After talking with our pediatrician and a few specialists, he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and then a few years later ADHD. I really felt that the best way I could help him be successful in school was to teach him at home. Also, it is really important to me that my children be taught from a Christian world view, and this doesn’t usually happen in a public school setting.
S&LF: How did you manage to do this, particularly in the middle of going through a divorce?
LaToya Edwards: I have learned to figure out what is essential in times of crisis. My divorce was a 3-year-long process. In the middle of that, I had some serious illnesses and we had lost my grandmother and father to cancer. During that time, there was not a lot of book work being done. My focus was on helping my children deal with all these big changes and emotions in their lives. We took it day by day. It was something that was the same for my boys so they could have some much needed consistency in their lives.
S&LF:What are some of the challenges you face with homeschooling, specifically as a single mother?
LaToya Edwards: I have a lot of critics, people who don’t see the value in what I have chosen to do for my children. When they are in your family or really close to you that can be really hard. The one challenge that I think is really unique for single moms that choose to homeschool is bearing all the responsibility of parenting and educating the children. That’s a lot. I don’t have another adult here with me to share the burden or to talk about things with at the end of the day.
S&LF: Financially, how do you afford to home school?
LaToya Edwards: Homeschooling is only as expensive as you make it. I don’t spend a lot of money on expensive curricula. There are a few things that I do purchase each year (but it’s usually something that I buy once and then I can use with both boys). I look for sales or used copies and we take advantage of having really good libraries in our area.
S&LF: What have been the benefits of homeschooling?
LaToya Edwards: There are many benefits to homeschooling. My boys get to work at their own pace and have time to really dig deep into the things that interest them. Right now, my oldest had been learning about snakes for a month and my youngest has been learning about cheetahs. I have a lot of time to be with my boys and I get to be a part of all those wonderful moments when they figure something out or accomplish a goal. My youngest started reading this year and it was so fun to watch him read his very first book knowing that I got to help him learn that skill. I really love that we can take time off from school to go on a vacation or just hang out whenever we want to. My boys also have more time to spend with their dad because of our schedule. If he has a weekday off, they can be with him the entire day instead of the few hours they would have if they had to wait to get out of school.
S&LF: How has home schooling impacted your relationship with your two boys?
LaToya Edwards: My relationship with my boys is great. Being with my boys allows us to work on character development and establishing our family culture. I have time to talk with my boys during the day. We also have time where we just have fun together as a family and my boys are best buddies.
S&LF: With all of your time commitments, how do you make time for yourself? Is there anything you do to maintain balance?
LaToya Edwards: I don’t know about balance, but I do take time to take care of myself. I think self-care is something that all moms struggle with at times, especially during the younger years. My boys have a bedtime and once they are in bed, it’s my time to relax. I read, write or watch a movie. Once a week, I give myself a pedicure and facial and watch a fun movie.
S&LF: Have you been able to date since your split with your husband and if so, how have you managed to balance that as well?
LaToya Edwards: I don’t date. My boys are so young right now that they are my priority.
S&LF: Where have you been able to seek support, both in educating your children and raising them?
LaToya Edwards: I have an amazing circle of friends that I lean on for support. I have a few really good friends local to me and we get together for playdates and talk on the phone. My friends that live farther from me are really great about calling or texting and praying for us all the time.
S&LF: What advice do you have for other single women who are contemplating homeschooling their children?
LaToya Edwards: Take some time to pray about it. It can be done, but it will be hard but rewarding work. And you may have to think outside the box when it comes to things like scheduling and materials.
For more information on LaToya and home schooling, check out her website www.latoyaedwards.net.