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Homeschooling Alone Through Deployments






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Recently I asked my readership to name topics you would like to see more of on So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler? I had several responses via FB, email, and Twitter. And one that kept coming up is homeschooling as a single parent. Although I, myself, am not a single parent I do have several year long periods of my marriage (due to combat deployments) that I have had to physically do it all alone. At first I would have never made the connection, however a few of my dear friends who are single mothers told me that physically during these deployments, I am a single mom. After some reflection, I understand what they mean.

I do want to clarify that in no way am I claiming to “know what it’s like” to be a single parent. I have my dear husband’s support, even if we are on different continents and he is at war. I still have someone praying for me that loves me, understands me, AND PROVIDES for my family. I do not have to worry about how to provide for my family, but one thing I do have on my mind is the threat of danger that my beloved husband is exposed to during our separations, and that is no easy feat. This article is a brief insight to the challenges I face when I am (due to deployments) a single homeschooling parent.

I remember the first time I said goodbye to my husband for a year in June of 2004. How do you prepare for that? How can you say goodbye to the love of your life and make it good enough to last for a year? That is something that I have had to figure out several times over the last 8 years. And let me tell you – you can’t. You cannot prepare yourself for a good-bye to last a year. Nor can you prepare yourself for the ups and downs of being a single parent 24/7 for the next long 365 days ahead. The bottom line is – you have no choice – so you figure out how to manage the best with what God has given you.

Although homeschooling has ALWAYS been a blessing for my family, I wanted to share the unique challenges that military spouses face while homeschooling during a long combat deployment. It is imperative that we share the good AND the bad experiences with one another to provide encouragement during the tough times – and we ALL have them.

These are the greatest challenges I face in times of homeschooling and life in general as a single parent (during deployments and other military separations):

  1. Being on the clock 24/7 ALONE. Every single parent that is reading this article knows what I mean. Sure, I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for nearly 12 years now, but having the support of my husband makes a HUGE difference. I commend the single mother’s and father’s out there that do this all the time. I know for me that I feel like caving in at least once during the year my husband is away. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to do it by yourself for years at at time.
  2. Being there emotionally for my children when they cry for their father. Nothing prepares your heart (not even previous experience) for the cry of a child that has dreams that their daddy is killed at war. Nothing prepares your heart to hear your child cry and wail because they think that daddy CHOSE to be away because he doesn’t love you anymore. Nothing prepares your heart to see your babies cry because they want to “touch” their daddy and are sick of only hearing his voice. And knowing there is nothing – nothing at all, I can do to take the pain away. All the kisses, hugs, and prayers cannot replace the fact that daddy is away.
  3. Having to be the strong one all of the time – and the truth of the matter is: I miss him too. I adore my children and do my best to be strong for them. But the reality is I am human and unable to keep this up all of the time. Yes, I get my strength from Christ and that is the ONLY reason I am able to carry on the way I do.
  4. Being blamed for daddy’s absence. All three of our children, at least once, have held deep anger towards me as in their minds they believed daddy was gone because of me. I am not entirely sure what shapes this idea, but I can tell you this: It is very hard to see your child mad at you for something that has NOTHING to do with you. However I cannot expect them to comprehend this as my children all felt this way somewhere between the ages of 2 and 3-years-old. But we deal with it the best we can and move on. We always move on.
  5. Homeschooling on the days when I am tired and miss him {my husband} the most. This is a personal challenge for me. There are always days that I miss my husband so bad it HURTS. I find it more and more difficult to stay focused on days like these and it is a real challenge to lead a productive school day. But like I said above, I give it to Christ, speak the Word and pray. And them I move on. I always move on.

How do I cope? In addition to praying and reading my Bible daily, I make sure I am involved with outside activities (and support groups) and have accountability partners. It have been these three tools that have helped keep me in line when things get tough.

Despite the challenges, it is not ALL bad. There will always be great joy when parents are raising their children. I want to be clear that I do not focus on the negative – rather the positive. However, I do feel it necessary to show my human side of failure as I know that others out there are going thru the very same things. We need to encourage one another in our struggles to make sure that JOY is at the forefront of our lives – no matter the circumstances!

Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!        Philippians 4:4

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16: 11

I want to encourage all of the single parents out there to continue to be strong. You are a source of encouragement to not only your children, but to everyone around you. I know at times it gets hard – as does life for any living person – but we must CHOSE to keep moving on. I encourage you to become involved in any local support systems for homeschool families, single parent ministries, and anything else that supports the way you lead your family. I commend you for the job you do and want you to know that I am praying for you – ALL of you. And YOU CAN DO IT. You can do whatever it is you put your heart and mind to. I BELIEVE IN YOU!!

 



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About Carlie Kercheval

Carlie Kercheval is a happily married stay-at-home homeschooling mom. She and her college sweetheart have been blessed with 3 precious children to raise while traveling the world as a military family. Carlie is the founder of Today's Frugal Mom™, So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler?™ and Managing Your Blessings. Carlie and her husband co-author the Learning to Speak Life™ family Bible studies and together they co-host the Learning to Speak Life™ Radio Show. When she is not busy enjoying her family and the great outdoors, you can typically find her cozied up somewhere under a blanket with a good book. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Great article, Carlie! I’ve been a single homeschooling mom for years now and can relate to most of the emotions and situations you’ve expressed. Being a single homeschooling mom can be tough at times. Heck, just being a single mom can be tough! But hang in there, single homeschooling moms of the world. The pay off is so worth it and the deep relationships you are building with and the values you are instilling in your children are priceless. My hat is off to all of you! Stay strong!

    • Thank you so much Kimm! You are an inspiration to women everywhere! You have overcome the odds and are blessed to not only homeschool your precious children, but run your own successful business as well! Bless you, dear friend!

  2. becky long says:

    Wow, this made me cry:( We just got back my husband after 10 1/2 month long deployment. Birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving missed. Now homeschooling is the one thing that makes it easier. For us, my husband was gone 4 months in 2010, he came home we went on vacation for 12 days. My sons school did not like it. My husbands Dad in April 2011 had failing health. My husband just left for a 10 1/2 month deployment. April we went out to Missouri to see his Dad. June another trip to Missouri, so many missed days at school. The school became frustrated. Our son after his Dad being home 2 weeks, gone 1 month, then home again 2 weeks,It was hard for him to function in school. June we saw a child pychologist and they suggested pulling him out of school. Wow, DEEP BREATHE:) My husbandfinished his 10 1/2 months and not I am battling the school. Well, long story short, we started homeschooling this year 2012. Wow, my husband came home, we went 2 weeks on vacation. We are not SCARED to go on fieldtrips. We can bring the schoolwork with us.
    THANK you for posting this:) It is hard to be Mom and Dad, also to worry about Dad at war. Many nights tears fall. Homescholling also allows my son to learn about different regions of the World. When Daddy is (*) we study that place.

    • Becky, bless your heart! I am so sorry that your family had to go thru such difficult times with the school. It is great that you now have the flexibility to accommodate the military life by homeschooling. I am sure you are aware of the many benefits for military families that homeschool. Here is an article I wrote about it at the Hip Homeschool Moms site: http://www.hiphomeschoolmoms.com/2012/02/homeschooling-and-the-military-a-match-made-in-heaven/

      Thank you so much for connecting here with me. Bless you and your family – and thank you for your service to our great nation! Feel free to contact me anytime through the “contact” tab on the menu!

  3. Great post! We are just shy of our first week in to this deployment (our first homeschooling) and I just googled something like “find time to work and homeschool while spouse is deployed.” Desperate to “see” someone else doing what I do! I am just feeling like I gogogogogo with the kids/school/housework and am doing nothing for myself. I’m sure in the next weeks we will fall in to a groove…until then…thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks, Nellie :) I know what you mean, it always helps to connect with others who understand what we are going thru. And you are right, you will find your balance again with this new endeavor. I am praying for you and your family – THANK YOU for all of your family serving our great nation!