natural family living, natural home,  natural home magazine, natural parenting, natural family

Featured Advertiser:


The first magazine to offer natural living tools for every family
We're your down-to-earth, "how-to" resource for natural family living, natural beauty, natural home, natural parenting, and health & wellness. No matter what your personal or parenting style, we offer natural tips, tools and information everyone can use! Life is only natural, so why not live it more naturally? Let NFO show you how.

Free eNewsletter
Visit our chat board
Natural Family Living
Natural Family Living
Do It Yourself
Entertaining & Holidays
Natural Beauty
Natural Pets
Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness
Children's Health
Fertility to Menopause
Natural Soulooooo
Healthy Eating
Cooking & Recipes
Baby & Toddler Nutrition
Vegetarian Lifestyle
Education & Learning
Education & Learning
NFO Bookshelf
<e New on the Bookshelf
Babies & Children
Attachment Parenting
Children's Health
Diapering & Potty Learning
Feeding Baby & Toddlers
Pregnancy & Birth
Questions & Answers
Product Reviews
<e New on the Bookshelf
Resource Links
Subscribe to free eNewsletter!
About NFO
NFO Staff & Contributors
Advertise with us
Writer's guidelines
Reprint Permissions

Product Reviews

<e New on the Bookshelf



Would you like to see NFO by postal mail? We may go to print. Send us a YES here. Include your full name, e-mail and mailing address. 


Can a Single Parent Unschool?

By Jan Hunt

These days, many parents find themselves alone, whether by choice or by circumstances. Many of these parents assume that homeschooling is not an option for them -- but like many other assumptions, this can be self-fulfilling. Happily, homeschooling in single-parent families is easier now than it has ever been. With commitment, creativity and support, single-parent homeschooling can be not only possible but very rewarding.

If a parent considers herself a resource person rather than a teacher, homeschooling will be much more feasible. "Unschooling" (interest-led learning) is much easier and more enjoyable for both parent and child than a structured curriculum. It also takes far less energy. This is likely to be especially appreciated by a parent who has the full responsibility for raising the children, whether he or she is a single parent or a parent whose partner travels frequently or works long hours. Without the unnecessary burden of a curriculum, parents are free to respond to their children in a more natural and far less time-consuming way.

Researchers consistently find that an unstructured approach is the most effective anyway – and the most fun for both parent and child. Instead of following a curriculum and hiring a tutor, many parents instead hire household help. This gives them a break from tiring chores and allows them more time to enjoy helping their child learn.

The family at home
A major factor that makes single parent unschooling a viable option today is the increased opportunity for working at home. Many parents have started home businesses or have found contract work that can be done at home. Still others have found outside jobs that allow them to bring their children along.

Many single homeschooling parents receive government assistance for some length of time when their children are younger. While most such parents would be in a better financial position if their children were in school, they feel strongly that homeschooling is best for their children, and they find ways to make it work.

For parents with small children, I often recommend a "mother’s helper," a young person who can spend time with children while the parent is also in the home. This can provide the parent with some uninterrupted work time. If the mother’s helper is a homeschooler, he or she will be available during the day and is likely to have been raised in a similar environment.

Put your finger on the resources you need
Books and websites on voluntary simplicity and frugal living can be excellent resources. Inspiring articles on starting and running a home business and home management can be found on the Natural Life website, and offers many helpful ideas and suggestions. The book Homeschooling on a Shoestring by Melissa Morgan includes ideas for earning money, lowering expenses, finding affordable learning tools and discovering low-cost field trips. The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs offers suggestions on money, housing, work, health, nutrition and travel.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for single parents is the need for sufficient financial resources, time and energy. Supportive friends or family can offer essential emotional support, help and encouragement. Unschooling support groups and parent co-ops are invaluable resources for creative ideas and emotional support. Jon's Homeschool Resources includes a list of support groups in many locations. The Single Parent and Working web page offers advice on homeschooling for working single parents, and the Homeschooling While Single Parenting mailing list offers a connection to other parents facing the same challenges.

While homeschooling can be challenging and time-consuming for any parent, having a child in school can be even more so. My mother often asked me if I wouldn’t have more time to myself if my son were in school. I told her, "No, I wouldn’t, because I would always be on the phone to the principal about whatever educational issue had come up that week." By unschooling, I felt that I had more time than I would have had if school and all of the demands it puts on families had been a part of our family life. Knowing that my son was free to learn in his own way and at his own pace, and watching him do so, was a profound delight that made unschooling an easy choice despite any sacrifice. And with sufficient determination, creativity, and support, single parent homeschooling can be an immensely fulfilling experience.

More book recommendations

Being There: The Benefits of a Stay-At-Home Parent by Isabelle Fox

The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn

The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

Mompreneurs: A Mother's Practical Step-By-Step Guide to Work-At-Home Success
by Ellen H. Parlapiano and Patricia Cobe

Staying Home: From Full-Time Professional to Full-Time Parent by Darcie Sanders

The Stay-At-Home Mom's Guide to Making Money from Home: Choosing the Business That's Right for You Using the Skills and Interests You Already Have
by Liz Folger

What's a Smart Woman Like You Doing at Home? by Linda Burton

The Work-At-Home Mom's Guide to Home Business: Stay at Home and Make Money With
by Cheryl Demas

This article first appeared in Life Learning, November-December 2003.

Jan Hunt, M.Sc., is a parenting counselor, director of the Natural Child Project and editorial assistant for the Canadian journal Empathic Parenting. See more about Jan.

NFO is maintained by volunteers. If you enjoy NFO, please help us cover our costs. Every single dollar counts!


"The media have become the mainstream culture in children's lives. Parents have become the alternative. Americans once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition to it." -- Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe columnist


Natural Family Online Home Some of our Articles    
  Alcoholism & Homeopathy Do it Yourself - Home Parenting Teens
Free eNewsletter ADD - ADHD Do it Yourself - Hygiene PMS Articles
  Attachment Parenting articles Do it Yourself - Kid's Crafts Positive Parenting
Natural Family, What is Attachment Parenting? Emotional Intelligence in Kids Potty - Infant
Natural Parenting & Baby & Child Natural Remedies Exercise Articles Potty Learning - Potty Training
Natural Health Articles Baby Care Flu Articles Pregnancy Health
  Baby & Kids' Teeth Gentle Child Discipline Pregnancy Homeopathy
Natural Parenting Message Boards  Baby Sleeping Homeopathy Articles Pregnancy Morning Sickness
  Babywearing - Baby Slings Homeschooling Articles Pregnancy Nutrition
Key Resource on the Web Award Breastfeeding Information Health & Wellbeing Pregnancy Problems
  Breastfeeding Problems Healthy Home Pregnancy & Relationships
Visit the Balter Catalogue Co. Breastfeeding - Other Internal Cleansing Pregnancy Articles
  Breastfeeding in Public Kids & War Reading to Kids

Home, Business & Travel Solutions

Breastfeeding & Thrush Natural Labor & Delivery Sleep Articles
Cognigen Business Opportunity Breastfeeding Weaning Natural Family Lifestyles Stress Articles
  Cloth Diapering Natural Family Meals Unschool Articles
© 2003, 2004 Blame Mama Media C-sleeping & the Family Bed Natural Family Planning Vacation Articles
All Rights Reserved.o Dad Articles Natural Parenting Vaccination Articles
Graphics by   Diaper Rash Natural Soul - Home Winter Health & Family Articles
Disclaimer and user agreement  Do it Yourself Gardening Parenting Stress Womem's Health