Saturday, July 2, 2011

Homeschooling an Only Child

As a homeschool newbie, I spend quite a bit of time reading other homeschoolers' blogs.

Many of them are filled with three or four children running around the yard, playing ball, reading around the kitchen table together, going on field trips together...

Ours is quite a different picture.
We have one child and are not going to have more.

My list of reasons for not having another child is long and includes: wanting to give more (financially) to my son pursuing his dreams; contributing to population reduction; having very little interest in going through another pregnancy; and, because I love my work and don't want to take another two year pause from it (I did Love the first one though!).

Being an only child has lots of advantages. I know because I am one. Only Children get a different perspective on life and the world. We have more space and time to ourselves - which is equal to time to philosophize, daydream and THINK. We don't have the distractions of comparison, competition, jealousy, etc... We have more time to develop our imaginations. We don't have older siblings to copy, so we have to make it all up ourselves. I think the world could do with more Only Children.

When it comes to homeschooling an only child, well, I'm still figuring it out. My son doesn't complain about it at all, and really loves spending so much time with me. He has a friend that comes over to our house at least once a week, and they also participate in an arts program together.

My son is happy to have one good friend who he spends big chunks of time with, and the contact with a larger group in the arts program twice a week seems to be enough. But, when I see those pictures of four children tumbling on the perfect lawn, or swinging in a white hammock in a big group cuddle, I wonder how different his experience will be from theirs.

With us there's no hustle and bustle, no fighting or crying, just two peaceful thinkers pondering the universe together.

Here are some other advantages I see to Only Child homeschooling:
  • Our meal table is quiet, just the three of us. We can tailor our dinnertime conversations to include him in meaningful discussions that are challenging but comprehensible for him.
  • We can cuddle in real close when we're reading together.
  • We can take all the time in each subject and extend our classes if we're really enjoying something - without having to consider others´ schedules.
  • I have plenty of time to design and create, or adapt, every activity to his specific needs.
  • We don't have to worry about money as much. We can invest the whole of our resources on giving one person a most excellent life, instead of dividing it up (which wouldn't spread very far).
  • We don't need a big house, so we don't spend as much time house-cleaning.
I don't mean to say that some multiple-children families don't have some of these things too, and I do know that having siblings is in itself an invaluable life treasure. It's just good to keep in mind some of the great things to being a One-Child family.

Someone asked him the other day if he ever got lonely, and he answered with a duh! expression -
"No, I'm with my mom all day long."
I think he values his time alone even more now that we're homeschooling because of it.


  1. I have two children, and when we lived in Utah where there were a lot of very large LDS families, people were constantly asking my kids if it wasn't lonely for them to only have the two of them. It always made me laugh because I was an only child and having one sibling seems like lots to me!

  2. I am homeschooling an only (she is 5) and I also work full-time from home! She gets lonely, but only when I am working for long hours because I need to get a report done. But, we have her in The Little Gym and during the regular school year she goes to a sitter one day a week. She also gets to play with her cousin quite often. She has said that she was lonely, but I know that it's a phrase she has gotten from family members and ignoramuses who tell her that she must be lonely being homeschooled....

  3. I am homeschooling an only as well! I love having the ability to pick up and go to museums, amusement parks, etc. because it's not such a huge cost since I only have one child. I love being able to buy whatever curriculum I like, and I love having such a close relationship as there is no competition for my attention (besides the computer of course:). People do look at us like we're defective or something in the homeschooling community sometimes because we don't have 4+ kids (and we're secular so they think we're going to hell anyway).

  4. Ha! I can imagine. We're the weird ONES. I'm glad you mention the attention aspect, I was too shy to write about it, but it's true. I can give all my attention to my one child, even though some people probably think that a sibling is more important than having all the parents' attention, or more money. I think, in this day and age especially, having only one is a very smart choice. Thanks for reading!