Special Needs

The Unpopular Choice

My decision to homeschool was not an easy one for me. I’m a single mom. I’m a graduate student. I don’t work. And my oldest son has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), ADHD, and he’s gifted. Clearly I’ve got a lot on my plate.

Unpopular Choice

When I first mentioned that I wanted to homeschool my boys I was told, “When you get done with law school, you’ll be making enough money so you won’t have to homeschool. You’ll be able to afford private school.”

When it became clear that I was going to be a single mom I was told, “You can’t homeschool. You have to find a job to support yourself and the boys.”  When I graduated from law school and opted not to take the bar and work so that I could pursue more education, everyone wanted to know, “How are you going to go to school, work, and homeschool?”

And when my son was diagnosed with all those lovely (at times scary) letters, people kept telling me, “You know there are people that are paid to deal with kids like your son. You don’t have the education to keep him at home. It’s just going to make things worse for you and him in the long run.”

Even after homeschooling for a year I still hear from the naysayers. “Exactly how long do you think you’re going to keep this up? Don’t you think you should be working? They have drugs for that so he can go to school you know.” It’s never ending.

I know that I’ve made an unpopular choice when it comes to my children’s education. But that doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice.  It doesn’t mean that it’s not time-consuming and exhausting or that I don’t have days when I want to throw in the towel.

But it does mean that we have more time together as a family.  It does mean that I can allow my son to work at his own pace and in his own way. I feel proud of us when I see him reading at a second grade level and understanding third grade science and math.  It warms my heart to listen as my son teaches his younger brother to read. And it brings tears to my eyes when my boys come to me and tell me how happy they are that I’m home with them and helping them to learn.

LaToya is a single, homeschooling mom of two bouncing boys. She lives for the quiet moments of the day which are few and far between with two rambunctious young men running around the house. She strives each day to life fully for God and although she often falls short she is determined to stay the course. LaToya blogs about her life at Christian Momma. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • LaToya: I applaud your commitment and continued dedication to homeschooling your young family. The journey can be lonely and hard when you are surrounded by naysayers but the rewards are great and life-changing for both you and your boys. Continue to keep your eyes on the goals you have set for your family. Enjoy your learning journey together!

  • Our family started looking into homeschooling when our eldest was given a few scary labels too. He is 3 years from graduation now. and although he still struggles he will tell you that he is glad I allowed him to stay home. It is hard work but its worth it.

  • GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! love, love, love your post! You are doing a beautiful job and what an inspiration you are! One of my children has been diagnosed with SPD (oh, the letters!) and I know that it is quite (to put it lightly) the challenge sometimes.

  • It is difficult to make a choice that your family and friends don’t understand and don’t support. I am not a single mom (although with the way the last few years have been it could be a possiblility) and people still wonder “why” i want to homeschool when I could send the kids to school for free and then I could go back to school, get my degree and get a job and make more money for our family. As if having more money were the most important thing. I worry a lot about what would happen if I were a single mom. I sometimes feel like homeschooling is the biggest reason that we are still married at all. I mean, HOW could I possibly do it without my husband’s income. Oh, gosh, I think I have given TMI here, I love my husband and THAT is why we are still together, but we have our times of doubt too. So, how do you homeschool 2 young ones? Do you work from home or have family to watch the kids while you work? I just can’t comprehend how it could all work out. Obviously I’m just not very creative because I know that mothers like you find a way to make it work.

  • Thanks for the inspiration and encouragment of your story. I’m also a single mum who is about to start home schooling my son. Not looking forward to the opposition of misunderstanding, but your story again confirmed in my heart to hold true.

  • You’re awesome LaToya! God bless your determination and give you the strength and endurance to cont. doing what you feel is best for your kids!

  • THANK YOU!!!!!! Oh my goodness THANK YOU! I am almost in tears. Girl, I am struggling– STRUGGLING!!– with this very question!! I have homeschooled my three boys for two years now, and I love homeschooling them. I love being with them, and being there for the best part of their lives! My husband and I have been separated for 18 months, and we’re in the middle of a nasty divorce. He is not a fan of homeschooling and is fighting to force me to put the boys in school. My custody attorney has a paralegal who’s wife homeschools their kids, so I felt like I didn’t have to explain homeschooling. But now my lawyer is pressuring me to put the boys in school because it will eliminate half the battle I’m having with my husband. I want to go back to school, and I need to work at least part time. We’re still living with my parents and need to get our own place. I keep waiting for the Lord to close the door, to tell me clearly that homeschooling is no longer an option, but I don’t feel He’s done that yet. Can I even do it? Can I be single homeschooling mom/student/breadwinner? I think I can! I think it’ll be hard, but I think I can, and I’m so tired of having to justify myself to everyone. Sorry to get all crazy there, but your post struck a cord and gave me a little strength. God Bless You and your efforts to be mom first, everything else second!

  • You a blessing to your sons and all of the other things will come in time, but this is the only time you have to impart into your boys what God means for them to have! So I will be praying for you and your family! Peace & blessings!

  • Love it!! What a strong amazing mom…thank you, thank you for sharing! People can be so unkind, it takes character to do what is right inspite of others. It won’t go unrewarded though…just wait!!! 😀

  • I am so proud of you LaToya! My situation is similar. I have 3 kids, one with Asperger’s (and lots of sensory processing stuff), one with dyslexia and all three with ADHD or ADD. I quit working on my Master’s degree and gave up my career to homeschool them. The rewards by far outweigh the paycheck I used to get! I also get asked a lot of the same questions that you do? “How long are you going to do this?” “You suresely don’t want to homeschool high school do you?” I wouldn’t trade the reading classes all snugly in my bed with my struggling reader who now loves to read or hearing my oldest, who has real math struggles say, “I LOVE geometry!” or cooking classes with my little girl for all the paychecks I’d ever get!
    Good for you and your resolve to do what you knew you needed to do!

  • I was encouraged reading your post that you are following what you believe is right for you and your family! I applaud you tremendously and wish you all the best!!!

  • I am a public school teacher. My best friend and co-blogger is a homeschooling mom. I believe that what’s best for children varies from child to child and educator to educator.

    My friend is wonderful at educating her children at home. She has helped one overcome most of the obstacles he faced in public school. Two have severe environmental, chemical, and food allergies that prevent them from participating in a public school environment. They are all thriving, learning, and getting so much more out of their homeschooling than they would in the public school.

    On the other hand, I give so much of myself to all of my students. I go above and beyond to lead them to their individual successes.

    From what I’ve read, it sounds like your choices have been the best ones for both you and your children! Keep the faith!!

  • LaToya, I have to commend you girl! I wish I had met you years ago when I was single and wanting to homeschool my children. I had no support and even though I am happily remarried to a wonderful man of God that agrees to homeschool, we still get flack from people in our family. You should have heard some of the nasty comments we were getting. It would blow your mind! My next to oldest son was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder with pervasive developmental delay and he is now 14 years old. We have homeschooled him for the past two years now and have never regretted it. Needless to say, I am now homeschooling four out of six of my children. I will continue to keep you and your children lifted up in prayer. May God Bless you.

  • Just because public school is the more popular chose “It doesn’t mean that it’s not time-consuming and exhausting or that you wouldn’t have days when I want to throw in the towel.” Having had my kids in school and also homeschooling I know that there are benefits to both. Really I found that all of the things involved with public school (or private school too) can be pretty overwhelming as well. So though I HAVE lost a fair amount of sleep homeschooling my 6 kids, when I pray about it I know that is what I am supposed to be doing right now.

    If you are doing what the Lord has directed you to do then you know you have one solid supporter.

  • WOW! I can’t tell you how much your entry means to me. I am homeschooling my 5 year old at night because I’m tooooooo (get the extra ooooo’s) scared to completely pull her out of school since we so secluded and she is an only child. I’m dealing with this whole crazy issue of what to do (state run district due to failing grades….child with mild cp/adhd…) and the fact that I’m a former educator and an Army wife isn’t helping. Reading your entry, and seeing how you have pushed through the cloud of what you heard from others, find wonderful family time and true magical learning moments…and are doing it ALONE…well….it makes me realize my indecision (minor whining) must cease! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and making me realize it IS POSSIBLE with a smile.

  • I’m a single, homeschooling, graduate student (well, I finished in May) mom too with a gifted teen. I do work, but have been blessed with flexible options and employers that are ok with my son coming along. It CAN be done. It CAN be done WELL. It just takes a lot of faith, determination, and flexibility.

  • Thanks for this article! I love it. My son also has many letters for his diagnosis as well. I am just starting my homeschool journey with him this year for kindergarten. Thanks for the great article that gives me faith I can do this!!!

  • Wow – you are inspiring!! Good for you going against the odds and making it work. We all have days when we are ready to throw in the towel and knowing that there are others out there doing the same thing can really help us get through the day. Good luck on your continued journey!!

  • Thank you for writing this. It is hard not to listen to the world, but we must do what God leads us to do—especially if it is against the grain. Congratulations on making a brave choice 🙂

  • Good Job! Homeschooling is not the easy way and there is lots of opposition out there, but God is with us and we must find strenght and conviction in Him. I rather deal with naysayers than seeing my children lost and set for failure far from God.
    Thanks for the inspiring words!!!
    Blessings 🙂

  • Hi Latoya,
    I hope you get to read this message of gratitude since it’s been a few years since you posted it. Your story has impacted my heart a great deal. You see, I’m a mother of 4 children, 3 adults and 1 toddler, and I’m also a grandmother of soon to be 3 grandsons. I have a soon to be 3 year old grandson whom I’m raising and who is diagnosed with autistic traits. Since before he was born, my daughter and I decided to home school him but when he was diagnosed this past summer, we wondered if it was still the right choice. Well, after being blessed with awesome therapists from early intervention, I realized it is still the right choice, however I have had some moments of doubt on whether or not I could do this. Although I’m not a single mom nor a working mom, I am however, near 50, raising my toddler grandson and daughter with very little or no help at times. Unfortunately, my adult kids are not available as much as I’d like and dad works around the clock in order to support us. Your story inspired me because ive always considered myself a married single mom. For just about 23 years, dad has always had to work around the clock to support the family, so much of the child raising was left to me. Just like you, I’ve had similar reactions from family as well. Your determination reminds me if myself when I was your age and I realized, although I’m older, my determination still remains, praise God. I’m grateful for your spirit, thanks for sharing.

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