This is a good question, as I've been wondering about this issue myself. My daughter is 12, and I won't be getting into nursing school for another 2 years, so she'd be 14 when I actually start. However, some people say that a 14 year old should not be left alone, even for a couple of hours, because they can get into trouble, while others say 14 year olds need to learn how be alone and take care of themselves. Also, I don't have relatives nearby who can stay with her, so that's out.
I'm also worried about whether she can stay alone now. I might have to work the midnight shift for the CNA job that I will hopefully be training for, and there is no childcare facility that's open from 11pm to 7am to watch her. I do know people who have left younger ones home during the night, but I don't want to do that. However, the nursing home facilities around here really need people for the midnight shift, and I'm worried that I won't be able to find a job if I can't work that shift. Also, many of the childcare centers here only accept children up to the age of 10, so I couldn't depend on them to care for my 12 year old now. It is really hard for us parents to find someone to watch our children these days, especially if we don't have any family members around to help take care of our kids.