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Caregiving in the Homeschool Community

Dad's dementia is progressing.  He needs ongoing help using the restroom, feeding himself, brushing his teeth, that sort of thing.  Mom needs to work, so Jacob is homeschooled.  He gets his schoolwork done and just keeps an eye on Dad to make sure he doesn't wander.  Not a biggie, but it does mean life is a bit harder.  Co-ops are harder to get to if they happen at all for him, as is studying at a higher level in high school courses via tutoring.  Extracurricular sports, field trips to the state capitol and so on are simply out of the question. 

I know several families who are homeschooling in whole or in part because of the needs of a family member.  It isn't always Grandma and it certainly isn't mostly single parent households as this article implies.  In fact, the people I know with this sort of arrangement usually have multiple siblings who take turns helping out here and there.  And they're married families with higher education statuses than you might expect. 

They often don't have very much money.  Get yourself eight or ten children with a working parent and a healthy homeschooling mom, and you're ok.  If a kid or Mom suddenly develops disability or needs intensive medical treatment?  Oh yeah, your life is hell.  Casseroles and visits from church friends only last the first week, folks.

I would venture to say that some families also homeschool specifically so they have that caregiver in the home at all times.  There are just beginning to be programs for children who have caregiving responsibilities who also go to school.  May I just say gently, these school-attenders are probably the people who have some extra help or a person at home who does not need help 24/ 7.  No one seems to care about homeschoolers who deal with parents with MS or other conditions.  You'd better be attending an accredited school if you want help (read the link if you don't believe me).

That's really chicken and egg to me.  I'm super pro-homeschooling, but I also see the reality these families face and the opportunities they miss.  In many cases, they're afraid to seek help or tell things as they are for fear of losing their children.

I don't mean to paint it as all bad, however.  There is something to be said for helping one another, spending time together as a family and that sort of thing.  I just wish people would recognise that you don't have to be in some poor, city-dwelling single parent family to deal with "issues." 


  1. "Casseroles and visits from Church friends only last the first week.."
    That's a bit shabby of them. Why start at all if you're not meaning to go on with it?

    1. I suppose it's an ungracious observation on my part but depending on your popularity within the church, it would more or less be an accurate one. In fairness, fewer people have a stay at home mothers and most people don't volunteer for anything on a regular basis.

    2. oops "a stay at home mother in their family"


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