I receive email quite often from blog readers and one question I get a lot goes something like this:
Isn’t hard to homeschool just one child?
This question is usually followed by more specific questions, such as:
Doesn’t your son get lonely?
Don’t you get tired of being his playmate all day long?
What about socialization?
So I thought I would take few minutes to address these questions here. Mostly so that next time I receive an email like this, I can just link them to this blog post!
To be perfectly honest, homeschooling is challenging for multiple reasons. And there are times that I wish we had more kids around for projects that would just be more fun with a group. But overall, I’d say that an only child family is the perfect scenario for homeschooling. If you look back in history, one-on-one tutoring was the preferred method of education. So, while there are minor disadvantages ( I really wish Ben had someone else to play games like Risk and Monopoly with), the advantages far outweigh them.
Here are the main reasons why I believe homeschooling an only child rocks!
It’s hard to beat a 1:1 teacher/student ratio. Even with only 3 or 4 children in a homeschool, you’re likely teaching different grades, abilities, and maybe even curriculum. While there are ways to amke that a little easier, such as using unit studies to teach the same topics to all of the kids, homeschooling an only child still affords both teacher and child much more time for learning.
Homeschooling an only child doesn’t take as much time each day as public school or homeschooling many. Really, until high school, most homeschool work can be completed in a matter of 1-3 hours, depending on which grade you’re teaching. Even high school takes much less time that traditional school. This leaves more time for pursuing passions and interests, service and ministry, sports and music lessons, or for more playtime.
I find only having to teach math to one child probably the biggest plus of homeschooling an only child. This may not be a big deal for you, but really, for me it should have been listed first!
It’s much easier to get just one ready to go when spontaneous invitations for play dates or field trips come up. And once you’re plugged into the homeschool community, you may find it difficult to actually stay home to homeschool!
From field trips to museums, curriculum to extracurricular activities, homeschooling an only is just cheaper. Just be careful when you first start not to go crazy, like I did!
What? I know. You thought socialization was the negative aspect to homeschooling an only. You’ve pictured my poor son, home alone all day with his mom, never interacting with anyone. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Homeschooling affords me to opportunity to purposefully expose him to many opportunities for socialization in the real world — homeschool co-ops, at the library, grocery store, post office, Dr.’s office, while we volunteer, helping neighbors, and everywhere else we go together. He is able to watch me interact with all kinds of people of all ages and does so himself. Spending all day “socializing” with a classroom of other 11-year-olds hardly prepares a child for communicating effectively in the real world. (P.S. service, ministry, sports, music and playtime in the neighborhood, all those things we have time for that I mentioned in #2 = time with other people, adults and kids).
Not that I never waste opportunity, but for the most part, I know that I am spending much quality time with my son. There are opportunities for discussion that might never occur if he was away all day at school, or if he had to compete for my time and attention with siblings. The responsibility of discipleship is one I take very seriously. I have more time to devote to laying a good foundation for Ben. This may be more of a why parenting an only child rocks, but when you homeschool, it all melds.
I’ve blogged about traveling quite a lot on this blog. A combination of a husband who travels a lot for work and a flexible schedule with our homeschool has let to so many amazing adventures all over the U.S. for us. Ben has literally learned so much American history by being in the midst of it in places like Washington DC, Arlington Cemetery, Yorktown and Jamestown, and more. I know that if we had more children it would be much less likely that we could travel with Dad so easily.
Or lack thereof. Ben is easily distractible as it is. Not having lots of siblings around definitely makes this issue less of an issue.
I am seriously amazed when I see the lesson plans of moms of many. I cannot even imagine trying to schedule math, reading, spelling, writing, and a host of other school subjects for several children. I’m able to mostly skip out on homeschool planning and just go with the flow because I only have one student to plan for.
As you can see, there are many advantages to homeschooling an only child. If you are the mom of an only, wondering if you can successfully homeschool, I hope you have found your answer today. And I’m wondering . . .
What’s your favorite thing about homeschooling an only child? Or on the flipside, what are you most concerned about?