Homeschooling an Only Child

9 Jul

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.

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2 Responses to “Homeschooling an Only Child”

  1. shelli October 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

    This is beautiful, and I agree with you even though I have two sons (and don’t plan to have more). There is something special about being one-on-one as there is something special about having siblings too. I grew up with two siblings who were 10 years older than me, so sometimes I felt like an only child. By the time I was 11, we moved to another state, my parents divorced, and it was just me and my mom for 12 more years. I always say I got the best of both worlds – I was an only child and I have some siblings that I’m closer to now that we’re adults.

  2. rebeleducation October 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    Thanks Shelli. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages, but I think people often don’t see the benefits of being an only child. Sounds like you got a pretty sweet deal. I was around 11yo when I realized how lucky I was to be an only child.

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