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Anyone homeschooling an only child here?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

My DD is only 2.5 so we haven't started homeschooling yet, but we are planning on it when she reaches school age.  I am curious what it has been like for the parent who is homeschooling?  Do you work as well, or are you a stay at home parent?  I feel like I will have so much more time then a parent homeschooling multiple children.  Also, did your children stay home for the preschool years, and did you stay home or work before they are school age?  


As far as socialization is concerned, do you feel like it is hard to find friends for your child, and for yourself to spend time with in the day.  I have a great network of moms I know now, but none of them are planning on homeschooling.  I also don't expect to be living here when we start schooling, since DH is a grad student, and we will go wherever he gets a job.  


I have read through a lot of the threads in the homeschooling and stay at home mom forums, but I never seem to come across ones for parents of only children.  Is it because most parents of only children are working and their children are in school?  I wouldn't assume that was the case, but sometimes it seems that way.  Anyways, if you are a homeschooling parent of an only child, or plan on homeschooling an only child, I would love to hear what it is like, and any advice you might have.  Thanks.

post #2 of 19

I homeschool an only who is now 12.5.  It has been a great journey.  I do work half-time and have always worked part-time throughout our homeschool experience.  Our daughter did attend pre-school while I worked full-time for a couple of years.  We have a couple of other only kid homeschoolers in our group.  :-)  I think I have it easier than the families with multiple kids most of the time!

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm glad to hear from someone with an older child.  Do you feel like working part-time/full-time when she was younger was preferable, or would you have preferred to stay home?  Do you hire a nanny for the hours you work, or work alternate hours with your spouse (if you have one)?

post #4 of 19

I am homeschooling an only 5 yr old. I love it, no problem finding friends for either of us. We joined a couple of co-ops. I do work part-time in the late afternoons evenings. I'd prefer to not work it gets in the way of the fun!

post #5 of 19

My dd is only 4 but we plan to homeschool and have never put her in childcare/preschool.

My dh works regular days and I work evenings and weekends. Like the pp, I would love not to work at all but that's just not an option for us financially. I'm hoping in the future to be able to cut back my working hours, especially since a lot of homeschooling activities in my area tend to be later in the afternoon so it's very hard for us to join in on many things which does make it kind of lonely for dd ... 

post #6 of 19

I am homeschooling an only child, my dd is 7.5, and I am a sahm.  She didn't go to preschool or anything like that.


The friends thing was a little difficult on my end, never on hers.  Around here kids get home from school by 2:30 and dd doesn't wake up until 10:30 half the time, so that leaves only 4 short hours before my house and yard are swarming with kids.  lol    I, too, had a really good network of friends but as their kids started going to school things shifted a little.  But not entirely.  Most of dd's friends do go to school and that hasn't presented any sort of issue.  In fact, most of her friends think it's so cool that she gets to stay home and that she is lucky.


There is always the option of joining hsing groups or co-ops, but I haven't seen the need. ( And I hate stuff like that!  But, I would do it if my dd seemed lonely.)


I am sure I do have a lot more time homeschooling an only, but it doesn't feel like it!  I am not sure how that works.  lol   she keeps me running, that's for sure


post #7 of 19

I'm homeschooling my only child, age 4.5.  I'm a sahm, and have been since she was born.  She did not do preschool.  She did go to a homeschool enrichment center during preschool age once a week.  I would say I have had a hard time finding kids for her to play with, but I blame that on the place where I live. Now that she's older, she is meeting kids and playing way more often than before so I don't think it's going to be a problem from now on, especially if we move to a more homeschool friendly area.  We think homeschooling and an only child is absolutely perfect.  We like to travel and and it's so very easy to jump up and go while homeschooling, esp with one child.  I tend to follow a more unschooly aproach right now (she's only 4) but we'll see what happens as she gets older.  I know another homeschooler that has an only child as well.  I have also read some only child hs blogs out there somewhere, don't know where right now.  I have enough time to myself during the day.  She does a "quiet time" every day for about 45-1hr and it's not like I have to entertain her every second.  She entertains herself, but I do spend plenty of time with her as well.  I have a babysitter that I hire on days where I have doc apts or things like that.  Overall, its GREAT and I wouldn't ask for anything more!

post #8 of 19
Originally Posted by mtbmomma View Post

I'm glad to hear from someone with an older child.  Do you feel like working part-time/full-time when she was younger was preferable, or would you have preferred to stay home?  Do you hire a nanny for the hours you work, or work alternate hours with your spouse (if you have one)?

Well there are certainly times when I feel overwhelmed and would be happy to just homeschool.  However, there are plenty of other times I really enjoy my work and find it very invigorating.  A year ago I accepted a slightly different position that would require me to learn a lot of new stuff and increased my hours to half time.  Seeing how excited my daughter was for me to take the job was priceless!  


My spouse was going to begin homeschooling our daughter while I worked full time.  He had been laid off and we both got geared up for that plan.  Then he found a great job. LOL  We've done several things to make my working and homeschooling work out.  Our daughter attended a full day drop off homeschool co-op one day a week, she spent some time with grandparents, and she sometimes came to work with me.  Now that she is older she either comes to work with me or stays home alone or goes with friends to homeschool group activities without me.  Early on I had a job with extremely flexible hours, so somedays I'd run in really early and put in an hour or two before my husband left for work, or I'd go in after dinner occasionally or on the weekend.  Now I need to keep more regular hours, but it's easier with our daughter being older.  I do research in the biochemistry department of the local university, so she hangs out with grad students a lot.  


I would have probably hired a nanny or more likely a grad student I liked who needed some extra cash if I hadn't been able to juggle otherwise.  It's been a constant juggling act and never perfect, but what is?  My daughter loves homeschooling.  She loves the time she has with friends, but also her time to herself.  She is very academically advanced and very artistic and creative.  She loves having time to create her art and plan her projects.  She's very glad she doesn't have siblings.  Around the age of 5 she pulled me aside to whisper in an amazed voice, "Mom, did you know that siblings fight, like all the time?  And, they get into each other's stuff?!"  LOL  She decided friends were much better than siblings at that point. :-)  




post #9 of 19

my dd is 8, we are involved with a co-op play group and have been with the same group for 4 years... it has become a nice community for us. she also has school friends who she sees in the afternoons and weekends... she would like to have more friends who can play during "school hours" so we are searching that out... we live in a rural area and there aren't a lot of homeschoolers in our area that are her age, but it is a goal of mine this summer to develop more relationships with homeschoolers. so that is the social aspect but only one side of it - i know some homeschoolers with a number of children and the struggle in different ways, both social and lesson wise... pros and cons :-)

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

It is such a relief to read all these responses.  I was starting to doubt whether it is something that will work for us.  Mom2ponygirl, I love what you said about your daughters excitement over you getting a job.  One thing I always wanted before becoming a mother was for my child to see my have desires and passions outside of being a parent.  I also have a biology degree, but intended on going to grad school in Wildlife Management.  I assumed once having a child, that I could not make grad school and a career happen, and also homeschool, which I always wanted.  Now I am starting to think that this could be possible, if we want it to work.

post #11 of 19
Originally Posted by mtbmomma View Post
 I also have a biology degree, but intended on going to grad school in Wildlife Management.  I assumed once having a child, that I could not make grad school and a career happen, and also homeschool, which I always wanted.  Now I am starting to think that this could be possible, if we want it to work.


I like to look at one of my aunts for inspiration.  She worked as a med tech while raising 3 kids.  She went back to school and got her law degree in her mid/late forties.  After working in family law and clerking for a judge, she became a judge at 60.  You can't always do everything at once, but just keep plugging away at your goals when and where you can.  You'll get there eventually!



post #12 of 19
I'm finishing up homeschooling my only child... and I've always been a single mom so I've always worked or been in school or both. It's worked well for us - she has an active social network and has for most of her life (we did move a lot and every time we moved it would take some time to get into the swing of things) and her life seems to be going the way she wants it to. When she was younger most of her friends were kids from homeschool groups or neighborhood kids, and as she got older she also made more friends through shared interests.

She did go to preschool/childcare, while I was an undergrad. I think it was great, honestly - generally it was about 12-15 hours a week, mostly at a great on-campus center with a constructivist philosophy, low teacher: student ratios, and lots of kids to play with. She has a lot of happy memories of going there. I personally see good preschools as more akin to enrichment classes than schools and for us preschool worked well most of the time.
post #13 of 19

I have a 5 year old DD and we are homeschooling/unschooling right now - doing something a bit more formal in the fall. I WAH full time, and while that can be a challenge, she and I are a pretty good team. :)  I think for us, it is going to work great.  We have friends that we see at least once a week, and she is in classes for physical stuff (dance and gymnastics type) twice a week, so she gets some socialization that way as well.  We have a sort of small group of homeschool friends and we do classes and playdates with them.


For us the biggest challenge is where we live.  Right now, in our condo complex there are no children here.  Well, our next door neighbor has two boys, but they are often with their other parent and not here, plus much older than my daughter.  We are looking to move to a different neighborhood with more families.



post #14 of 19

My dd is 11 and has always been homeschooled. I was always a SAHM.

We don't have a large circle of friends but we are both introverts so it suits us. Our friends are not all homeschoolers.


I suppose your amount of free time is really up to you. I'd say we spend about 3 hours a day actively homeschooling for my 11 year old. It would certainly be possible to fit that in around other activities.




post #15 of 19

I did homeschool an only child -- for some years. It was great and I wouldn't trade it. She was very happy about it too.


When I was at it, I felt like it took a bit more time to have one than two, because she would want to interact, and I was the only one around. 


I can not imagine trying to homeschool an only and work full-time, disposition   and.  Indeed, I only homeschooled when my marriage situation allowed me to do that. Today, with a more professional and flexible job, as well as more experience in education, maybe, depending upon the children's age and disposition,  and the availability of domestic help, maybe it would be possible. It simply would not have been for me earilier, though.


Why aren't you seeing more mention of homeschooling onlies?  I think you will find that is because homeschooling families usually have more than one child.  Of course, there are many kinds of homeschoolers and lots of variation, but in terms of central tendencies, those who are very strong on home education are also strong on pro-natalism and think stay at home mom. I don't know, however, why that must necessarily be relevant to your decisions.


Today I see a lot of young people coming into my Freshman college classes who have poor social skills (nearly all of whom are recent grads of public high schools) and so today I feel social skills training is more important than ever before. Home educated children can get lots of great opportunities not only with the adults their parents expose them to, but also from the many many playgroups, special interest activity groups, church groups, and/or schools for homeschoolers  that are available today. 


I salute you for thinking ahead. I share some of my experiences home educating my grandsons sometimes on my little 'cast: www.greatshalom.org

post #16 of 19

My dd is 5.5 and we have been homeschooling from the beginning and plan to do so until college.  So far it has worked really well for us.  We are Waldorf-inspired, so staying at home in the early years is greatly encouraged.  I don't work at all, but dh and I share a car, so we usually do not have transportation during the weekdays.  Thankfully, my parents live nearby and can take us out occasionally, but even more than that, we live in a very family-friendly apartment complex that has many children who free roam outside.  We have lots of green spaces, a playground, a pool, a forest, etc.  Usually, I do chores during the morning (this Fall we'll start kindy lessons after chores) and then play outside all afternoon.  Sometimes we run into other kids, and sometimes not.  We love nature walks together and walk around looking at the world around us, singing songs and making up poems.  I don't think kids need oodles of friends.  My goal is one or two GOOD friends for dd--meaning, close in age, similar play styles, etc.  We occasionally invite the other kids and parents over for playdates and dinners.  I honestly have no idea how people homeschool more than one child and stay sane, but that reflects my own introverted bias, I guess.  I love quiet.  When dd is older, I want to integrate traveling in with our homeschooling, and I fully plan on homeschooling with her to expand my own education, which I still feel is not where I'd like to be in spite of a college degree and graduate school.  I wouldn't be able to do that with multiple children. Only children are rather rare so combine that with homeschooling, another rarity, and well ... I agree they are hard to find.

post #17 of 19

We have an only, so far, and he's finishing up his 1st grade work this spring.  I've been at home the whole time (actually quit my job while DH and I were merely engaged, then I got pregnant immediately and just stayed home (would have fallen asleep during a job interview anyway!)). 


I'm a total hermit (all the years of public schooling made that worse, not better) but DH and DS are serious extroverts.  We joined the YMCA so that DS could meet other kids.  He did their Homeschool PE program last year, but it went co-op and I am NOT a co-op person so he didn't do it this year.  And, frankly, most of the kids and parents in the program were highly insular...if you didn't go to church with them, they did NOT make any sort of effort to get to know you (kids or parents).  We've had much better luck finding friends (for him and me) with the schooled kids that take swimming and gymnastics and aikido...he has a whole passle of friends from the local Catholic school, which is amusing to me since DS and DH are Buddhist (I am agnostic).  But they are the ones that have been really open to friendship with kids from the outside, so there we are!


The learning doesn't take a huge part of our day, but I've always been based on The Continuum Concept, where I don't need to be constantly DOING stuff with DS.  Despite being a very hand's on baby and toddler, he has become a very independent kid, and he is always finding stuff to do, usually things he learns from.  It's pretty cool. 

post #18 of 19

This thread is over a year old, with some posts dating further, but I'm sure it's still one that some homeschoolers are looking for.

I homeschooled my son (now 22yrs old & attending college) from the beginning---so, for "officially" 13 years.


(ALL moms are homeschooling moms--at least until they choose to delegate their child's education to someone else. We taught 'em to brush their teeth, tie their shoes, communicate, and begin their true "socialization," didn't we?)


I can attest that homeschooling works! He's not socially backward or inverted, but is fairly well-adjusted. ;) 


There is also resources out there for HOO'ers--check out my website:  http://donnac.com I have pages (all free and with NO pop-up ads) where I've gone looking on the internet for all things pertaining to HOO'ing. I also wrote the book, Homeschooling Only One. If there's anything I can answer or help you with, feel free to email me.  :)

post #19 of 19
I am... And I would love to give you some of my 'infinite wisdom' - !! I had a practical book of humor and insight typed in reply, but it was just deleted when I switched screens 'sob'. And this is slooowww to type in...

I am the PPEF for my daughter. (Primary Parent Educational Facilitator)

In short, I am happily homeschooling (although that term bugs me, as we travel frequenty and use enrichment outside the home in most subjects). From a purely academic view, your process can be as 'organic' or 'comprehensive' as you choose. An only child does not benefit as a child with siblings will, with built in playmates and/or study partners. You are going to be 'it' for everything. Except on the days another child arrives, then you are invisible. As it should be. My daughter is nine. She has an open dialogue with her father and I about her education, and about other educational options. She was in Junior Kindergarten at three years old. We had always intended to teach her ourselves, but she had romanticised the school bus and where it would take her, so she went to school.

I am not going to talk about school. Public education is what government over-involvement and under-funding have made it.

I am going to talk about the incredible world our children live in. Not perfect. Just incredibe. She deserves to benefit as much as she can from an active, academic and practical education. She deserves to understand the world she will actually live in, and how it works. She has learned that 'one size' does not 'fit all'.

I love learning. It is a lifelong process. I want my daughter to know she can do or be anything if she works hard, continues to grow and learn. Whenever my conversations are about homescooling, I always have too much to say. The majority of people seem to have forgotten their history. People have always shared what they knew... Wether it was how to build a home, how to grow a garden... Or how to read a book. Sharing is how we have evolved, block by block. But mass institutionalized learning was never about learning (especially in primary grades) as much as it was about numbers management. It still is.

Now we have access to the world at our fingertips (internet in iPad, anyone?) and ways to get around the world in a day... It is an incredible world to teach your child about. An only child may get more chances as it is cheaper to do some things (but not all things) with one child instead of several... That's my opinion and experience. She navigates with roadmaps, can name all provinces and states, has 'schooled' in 37 states, 4 provinces, 3 countries, countless hotels, on beaches, on boats, in bed, at breakfast, in English, in French, on horseback, with dolphins, underwater, on skis, in a garden, in a lab, with a skunk, holds a chameleon (and can spell 'chameleon'), reading recipes and cooking on her own, playing, laughing, visiting, dancing, volunteering, auditioning, acting, painting, in art galleries, in museums, at many aquariums, in shopping malls, at summer camp, in clubs. And yes, even in schools. But we are educating her and steering the process.

I cannot answer 'what grade is she in?', because that is a school thing... But she has averages 80% on level six maths, higher in science. She is an avid reader, reading history, science and appropriate content novels. She is left anded, so her writing requires constant practice. Her spelling is level five-ish.... As you can see, no simple answer to the grade thing, as her learning is custom tailored to her.

We are in i for the long haul, despite the process being NOT AT ALL like I imagined. It is more demanding, more challenging than any job I have had (I have managed companies!) but far more rewarding. We have a close bond, and a unique system to balance mothering and mentoring with teaching academically... But it works. For us. I have yet to meet two families who homeschool exactly the same way, or for the same reasons. That is the beauty of it. I would not choose to teach my daughter in the way that most have chosen, but that us why it is called 'choice'.

If you stick with it, be confident with your choices, as long as they have the intended results. Or better results. More often you will have to change how you do things - hence the 'one size does not fit all' approach. Our process has found me growing and learning these many years as much as my daughter - an unintended side effect, as I entered into this thinking I was so smart, and had so much to teach her ! That is still true, but my plan in the beginning did not take into account the smart, whitty, interesting individual who is my daughter. Now that I know her better, I know we will both be learning for years to come!

Enjoy your journey!
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