Just because homeschooling an only child is not common doesn’t mean that it is not possible. In fact there are advantages to homeschooling an only child.
In the homeschooling community, most families have 2-3 children. It is far from uncommon to see families with 5 or more children. However, what you rarely see are families with only one child. If you are one of them, you might feel like your family is the odd one out. It might even make you feel like perhaps homeschooling is not the best option for you. After all, if it were, wouldn’t there be more families like yours that do it? However, just because homeschooling an only child is not common doesn’t mean that it is not possible.
Advantages of Homeschooling an Only Child
Better Time Management
When you only have one child, you don’t have to worry about having to juggle your time or different curricula. There are no worries about whether you are spending enough time with each child. You also don’t have to worry about fitting in extracurricular activities for multiple children. In fact, you will probably have more time for more activities since you don’t have to work one child’s activities around the activities of another. In short, there are fewer time constraint.
More One-On- One Time
Another time advantage when you have one child is that your child will get unlimited one-on-one time with you. You are better able to provide them with a truly customized homeschool experience because you do not have to divide your time or attention between multiple children.
More Financial Freedom
When you only have one child, you will likely be able to do more with your money. This means that you will have more freedom when it comes to choosing your curriculum and the activities that they will engage in. You will also likely save more money when you only have to spend money on one child. You don’t have to buy as many materials and don’t have to spend as much on extracurricular activities.
When you have one child, you are probably able to be more flexible. If something comes up that you didn’t expect, it is easier to change your plans when you only have one child to worry about, rather than two or more.
No Sibling Rivalry
When you have multiple children, there is sure to be some level of competition or comparison.
When you have an only child, that is not the case. They don’t have to worry about whether they are keeping up with, surpassing, or trailing behind a sibling. They can learn at their own pace.
Challenges of Homeschooling an Only Child
Although socialization is something that ever homeschool family must consider, it can be an even bigger issue for an only child. In families with multiple children, your kids have built-in playmates in their sibling (even though there might be an age gap). The same does not hold true for only children.
Less Time Freedom
I know that this might sound as though it is contradictory, but it is still true. As we discussed, when you have multiple children, your children are playmates. That means that you might be able to get some work done while they entertain each other. However, when you only have one child, it is likely that YOU are their playmate. That can make it more difficult to get things done around the house.
Tips for Homeschooling an Only Child
Connect with Local Homeschoolers
When it comes to socializing your homeschooler, there are a wide variety of opportunities. However, the best place to start is probably to connect with other homeschoolers in your area. They will likely be able to tell you all about things like co-ops, play groups, and extracurricular activities that your child will love. You should also connect with other parents in the area – regardless of whether they homeschool. By connecting with other parents, you can introduce your child to other kids his or her age.
Don’t Overdo It
Because you might be worried about your only child being socialized, you might be tempted to fill in their schedule with all types of extracurricular activities and playdates. However, it is important to remember that having some alone time is just as important as being socialized. Think about it – you love spending time with your family and friends, yet you also need some time to yourself to unwind. Kids need the same thing.
Sara is a homeschooling mom of three who has been blogging since 2008 at Embracing Destiny. She loves to encourage other homeschool moms with ideas for creative, delight-directed learning. She is also the owner of The Homeschool Post. You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.