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Only children and education

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am so happy to see a group dedicated to onlies.  My husband and I have a 3.5 year old daughter.  We both have four siblings who all have multiple kids, so we don't have any frame of reference fort raising an only child.  

 

Anyways, back to my thread.  As my daughter is getting closer to school age, I have been thinking more and more about her future schooling.  Both of my older sisters homeschool their children, and I always assumed I would as well, but I am not sure how well it will work out with having an only child (DH had a Vasectomy three years ago, so we are certain we aren't having more children).  I think that she could get a wonderful education being homeschooled, and I would like to provide her with something more than the education I received.  (I went to public school all the way through, and really loved school, but was not really challenged).  But, I have a lot of concerns about homeschooling an only child. I have been a stay at home mom all along, but I'm feeling ready to go back to school for my masters and to pursue a career in the next couple years.  Is is realistic to consider homeschooling and doing this as well.  I can also see how it could be a lot more work to provide social opportunities for an only child.  Right now my daughter always wants me to play with her, and I don't think I want to have to be her playmate during the daytime hours if we decide to homeschool.  There is also private school, which is an option, but I start to think about how awesome of a homeschool curriculum I could provide with that kind of money.  

 

I'm not sure what my question is exactly, I guess I'm just looking for what other parents of only children thoughts are on education, and especially some experiences from parents of older onlies.  

post #2 of 11

My DD *loves* attending school. She has been to a private 3k (2hrs M, W, F), private 4k (4hrs M-F), and public 5k (7hrs M-F). She has also been in before and after care with the same programs (nap time after lunch for 3k and 4k).

 

Our local YMCA and community parks and recreation departments have pre-school programs and gym/art/music classes for home school kids. Maybe trying out a session of outside the home classes would give you some insight on what would suit you and your daughter the best. I'd try both parent-child and child only classes, because the dynamic is completely different.

 

Does your local school district offer half day 4k? Or a local pre-school offer half day programs? If your child is not used to full-day programs without naps, it can be quite an adjustment.

 

I have always worked full-time and I can tell you it is difficult to schedule social activities that aren't scheduled for stay-at-home parents. A one hour program Tuesdays @ 10 AM is just not something I can take my DD too. The majority of the classes in my area are working hours M-F. There are some weekend programs/classes, but we need the weekends for household chores, shopping, and having fun, of course.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply, it is good to hear from someone with a different perspective.  I have been a stay at home mom all along, but I am starting to feel ready to go back to school and start a career.  I love being home for my daughter, but I'm not sure I am fit to be a SAHM longterm.  It does seem that most of the classes around here also take place during school/work hours, although our library does put on an evening storytime and activities one day a week.  My husband just finished up his grad school classes, so we aren't really sure where we will be living in the future.  He has a job for the summer, but then we will be moving wherever else he can find work.  It is certainly hard for me not knowing where we will be.  I'm glad to hear the public and private schools both are viable options depending on our location.  

post #4 of 11

DS is only 14 months old, so I can't give you btdt advice, but if you search the education forums you can find loads of advice and opinions on homeschooling an only.  I gained alot of confidence from reading through those for homeschooling DS.  I do think you have to work a lil harder to find playmates, but on the flipside, you are available for all of those activities julieven mentioned where you can meet other kids (along with trips to the park, library, etc.). Playdates are easier to schedule.  

 

Do you have any local homeschooling groups in your area?  Maybe reach out to them to find out what they're like.  That could provide you with lots of support, activities and playmates for your LO.  It's possible that you may even be able to find a co-op or program that allows you to occasionally involve DD in an activity supervised by others. 

 

We are planning to unschool DS (a free-range, child-led type of homeschooling a la John Holt - no enforced curriculum or schedules).  That type of homeschooling (or eclectic - a mix of classic and more relaxed styles) may give you the flexibility you need to pursue some career goals on the side, but it does seem like you may be taking on alot doing that and grad school (I'm sure there are mamas on here who've done it, though!).  I know there are some unschooling/homeschooling books out there with advice on how to work and homeschool...I'm pretty sure The Everything Homeschooling Book and The Unschooling Handbook both touch on this.

 

I completely understand what you mean about private school.  We are in a place where I would have to go back to work to afford it.  When we looked deeper into homeschooling options, I realized there was just NO point in me WOHM just to pay for a school that tried to replicate a home environment, ykwim?  I can give DS one-on-one attention, he can learn what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, where he wants.  We can really capitalize on his love of learning and follow his interests.  And, to be honest, I'm also nerding out on the possibilities - it's so exciting to have the world as your classroom! joy.gif I was in gifted classes throughout public school and frequently bored and not challenged.

 

BUT you have to do what speaks to you, mama!  If your heart is being pulled toward grad school and work, I think you should follow it.  You don't want to resent homeschooling your DD because of what you'd rather be doing.  To that end, I would look more into types of homeschooling and whether that could jive with pursuing your career goals.   I'm not sure what ratio of kid-time to career-time would be ideal for you, but it's something to explore.

 

Also, don't forget your DD is still so young - and it's perfectly ok to try out homeschooling for a year and see how you like it.  Public and private schools will still be there (well, maybe not the stricter Montessoris...)!  Good luck!

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Pickle18, thank you for your thoughtful reply, it really spoke to me.  I have considered contacting homeschool groups in our area, but since are likely moving soon, I haven't bothered.  We do have lots of momma friends with toddlers here, so for now we have plenty of playdates.  I think what is missing for me is the challenge of a career, the feeling of being a valued member of society and that what I do matters.  I feel so awful writing that, as I know being a SAHM is all those things and more.  We have been moving around a lot the last 7 years, and don't have a house (we rent a 2 bedroom apartment), so maybe what I really need is just a home and yard to take care of.  

 

I agree about spending money on private school when you could have that at home for free.  What I never considered before this year though, was that some parents want their children to have that, but they don't really want to be the ones providing it, and that that is okay.  Does that make sense?  Like for me, I worked four years in early childhood education before having DD, and while I was really good at it, I didn't really enjoy it at all.  I want to go into Wildlife Biology, or something similar, I spent a summer interning as a Biological Technician and loved it.  That is what I would be doing if I wasn't a mom I think.  So now I am starting to think that with one child, I can afford to pay for a wonderful alternative education for DD and also have the job I love.  I know I could provide that or a better education at home, but would it be worth it if I felt like I was missing out on what I really wanted to do with my life?  Or, is it possible to have both?  I don't know, but it seems like with one child, we have a bit more flexibility in that regard.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbmomma View Post

I think what is missing for me is the challenge of a career, the feeling of being a valued member of society and that what I do matters.  I feel so awful writing that, as I know being a SAHM is all those things and more.  We have been moving around a lot the last 7 years, and don't have a house (we rent a 2 bedroom apartment), so maybe what I really need is just a home and yard to take care of.  

 

You will get no flack from me for that statement - for one thing, our society just flat out doesn't put the same importance on it, so it's hard to feel justified and validated - it's hard to view it like the career choice it really is.  But I also understand wanting to use other talents, contribute more directly in adult society (aside from the behind-the-scenes but important process of raising young adults, of course), and garner an important sense of self through those things.  A home and a yard may give you more opportunity to find things you love to do that are rewarding (I've found myself learning more about cooking and gardening and knitting and all kinds of domestic stuff I used to cringe at! winky.gif) but it may just not be where you're at right now, either, and that's totally ok!

 

At some point, I'd like to move back towards career ambitions myself, but mine are more in line of art, writing, graphic design - things that I can easily do from home and blend with unschooling.  It also gives me the financial freedom to do freelance work that isn't so stable, or volunteer.  All of this to say, doing what you love is certainly valid, however you pursue it!

 

What I never considered before this year though, was that some parents want their children to have that, but they don't really want to be the ones providing it, and that that is okay.  Does that make sense?  Like for me, I worked four years in early childhood education before having DD, and while I was really good at it, I didn't really enjoy it at all.  I want to go into Wildlife Biology, or something similar, I spent a summer interning as a Biological Technician and loved it.  That is what I would be doing if I wasn't a mom I think.  So now I am starting to think that with one child, I can afford to pay for a wonderful alternative education for DD and also have the job I love.  I know I could provide that or a better education at home, but would it be worth it if I felt like I was missing out on what I really wanted to do with my life?  Or, is it possible to have both?  I don't know, but it seems like with one child, we have a bit more flexibility in that regard.

 

That makes total sense.  I absolutely respect that - knowing that you don't want to do that and finding other options that would suit your DD well is great.  It sounds like you are embarking on a whole new career adventure, which is huge for you!  And sets a great example for your DD of following her dreams.  I think it's important to do the things that you love, that nourish your soul, or else you won't have much to give to DD.  A happy, fulfilled mama is a great mama!  No matter how many cool activities you come up with for her (or how good you were at it), if your heart isn't in it, it's not the best option.  The fact that you are worried about all of this tells me you'll put alot of time and care into finding a school that is a really good fit for DD, and you have the resources to do so.  No guilt! thumb.gif

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the reassurance Pickle18.  It is hard as a parent, to step back and consider your own needs as well.  I am starting to feel more confident about the option of schooling and a career, and agree that choosing that path might be entirely different than the one I had planned, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be just as wonderful.

post #8 of 11

I know exactly what you mean about feeling the pull to do something outside of being a SAHM.  When my son was about 9 mos old I began looking for part-time work in order to keep my sanity.  For me being home full-time with my son wasn't healthy mentally or emotionally.  He was a pretty high-needs little one who nursed All the time including through the night and did not nap well.  I  knew I needed to be away for some hours of the week in order to be the best mom I could be.  I was so lucky to find a part-time, 20 hr week job that I love and is close by.  I also have "free' childcare while I work as my husband works weekends so he has 2 weekdays off and my mom watches him on the 3rd day.  If we didn't have this, I think i would've even found something one or two evenings a week just to have a change of scenery.  I know that grad classes are in the evenings sometimes, maybe just try taking one to get into the swing of things and see how it goes.  If it works well, maybe you can take 2-3 classes a semester in the evenings or if you have childcare  and then find part-time work which would still give you the flexibility to homeschool, if that's what you really want to do.  That is what we plan on doing, though it is still a bit down the road as my son will turn 2 in Sept.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Vegrunr, that was my plan in the past as well.  Now that my daughter is getting older, almost 4, I feel like she would benefit from being away from me more.  She seems drawn toward other adults at this stage, and will often say "no momma, I'm not talking to you, I was talking to ___"  when we are around other friends parents.  I'm not sure if this is a phase, or a hint of her personality.  I know that I am very stubborn and don't like to learn from people I am very close to (ie DH or my parents).  I'm not sure if she will be like that or not at this point.  She also wants us to play with her all the time, and I feel like it would be so great for both of us if she could have more time to go and be with friends beyond the 1-2 playdates with friends we have each week.  I know school won't necessarily do that for her, although I think if we found the right alternative private or charter school it might.

 

 I find it fascinating to see how my prospective on things changes over time, as our family grows and we learn more and more about each of our personalities.  For the first two years I was dead set on homeschooling, but this past year I am starting to see how the right school could be a great option as well.  All of this has taught me that it is really hard to know what things will be like in a couple years, so for now I'm just going to take things one year at a time.  DH just finished grad school and is in the process of looking for a permanent position somewhere so we don't know where we will be living this fall and beyond, but I think I will look into a play based or maybe Montessori preschool for next year to see if it might be a good fit for us.

post #10 of 11

Hi, I always thought that I'd homeschool my daughter as well.  Now that she is four and almost school age I've decided to take my needs, needing her with me since she is the only child I will ever have, out of the equation and just focus on her needs.  I feel like if I make the decision to not give her a sibby, sibling, than I need to work extra hard to make sure that she is a social person and is able to interact well with other kids.  I've always made her friendships a big priority in our families life.  We always have friends over for her to play with.  Hope that helps.

Sara

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Hi, I always thought that I'd homeschool my daughter as well.  Now that she is four and almost school age I've decided to take my needs, needing her with me since she is the only child I will ever have, out of the equation and just focus on her needs.  I feel like if I make the decision to not give her a sibby, sibling, than I need to work extra hard to make sure that she is a social person and is able to interact well with other kids.  I've always made her friendships a big priority in our families life.  We always have friends over for her to play with.  Hope that helps.

Sara

 

I agree, accept my daughter is an introvert and has no interest in playing with other kids at this age.  I am considering school for her so I can have the opportunity to explore things outside of mothering, but at this point I think she would be happiest homeschooled (which is still the plan, but we are waiting until she is school age to make any final decisions).

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