Black single mom in Colorado seeks to make homeschooling possible for all ‘regardless of their background’

Joyelle Naomi knows what it’s like to live in poverty. After escaping from a violent marriage, she homeschooled her children while also working to provide for her family’s needs.

“I was…

Joyelle Naomi knows what it’s like to live in poverty. After escaping from a violent marriage, she homeschooled her children while also working to provide for her family’s needs.

“I was teaching at 3 in the morning, and then sometimes would work in the evenings as well,” she said of her job teaching English virtually to children in China. “So I would be up until 11, sometimes midnight, and then get up again.”

Today Naomi is thriving in Colorado and paying it forward for other homeschool families, many of them living in poverty and working other jobs like she once did.

After creating several programs to provide mentorship, financial aid, and high school internships to families, she plans to open an independent school to let Colorado parents homeschool independently, apart from public school districts.

“I really want to see generations of families able to homeschool regardless of their background,” she said. 

‘God, what am I supposed to do?’ 

Naomi’s homeschool journey started while she was still married and raising her son. When he was in first grade, Naomi placed him in public school after facing significant health challenges with another pregnancy, giving birth later to a daughter. 

However, learning challenges began for her daughter when she was attending first grade in public school. Those challenges continued even after Naomi moved her daughter to a private Montessori school in third grade. 

“I kept praying, ‘God, what am I supposed to do?’” she recalled. “I heard Him say, ‘Homeschool her.’” 

Although she began homeschooling her daughter, Naomi encountered difficulties four years later when her now ex-husband disagreed with her decision to homeschool their son, who was still attending public school. 

“All three of us spent a lot of time praying and just asking the Lord to shift the situation,” she said. “And my ex-husband agreed as a result of the Lord answering our prayers.” 

Through her connections in the homeschool community, Naomi launched a co-operative, or co-op, with two other black moms and called it “Kulan,” or “together” in Somali. 

Many of the families in their co-op come from different cultures and live in poverty, Naomi noted. For example, she noticed children who often wore clothes they had outgrown or attended without any lunch food. 

From her interactions with them, she knew many of these children had working single moms who had also fled abusive relationships. 

“These moms are really, really committed to homeschooling,” she said. “We have a deep conviction that this is what’s right for our families, and some of us are white-knuckling it and doing it through blood, sweat, and tears.” 

Planning for the future 

Naomi’s long-term goal is to open an independent school system, which will allow parents in Colorado to homeschool away from public schools. 

Meanwhile, Naomi continues to run her “Homeschooling in Color” program, which features webinars and workshops to educate and encourage working parents who cannot stay at home while homeschooling their children. 

Moms can receive one-on-one mentorship and financial aid through Naomi’s CHOICE program, while their teens can experience a high school internship to gain skills and leadership while helping nonprofits. 

Finally, Naomi is preparing to host The Heart of the Homeschool Conference to “uplift voices of color in homeschool through storytelling.” 

She plans to bring local business professionals to the event, who can connect attendees to practical resources such as food banks and housing assistance. 

“I would love to see whatever the Lord is gifting me to build to have a strong and lasting foundation,” she said, “and to produce fruit continuously from generation to generation.”