Although I was not an only child, I was painfully shy and introverted. I went to regular public school.
I never felt like I belonged there. My shyness grew worse until about high school age. I was bullied. I was miserable. I was socially inept. I did not learn how to be social from going to public school. I learned to keep to my little corner and try to avoid people.
So... while this doesn't specifically address your concerns about homeschooling, I do want to make the point that going to public school does NOT guarantee an 'improvement' in shyness by any means, or a place to 'belong'.
In fact, putting a very shy child into a situation which is highly social is very stressful -- psychologically AND physically. On top of all this social stress, then the child is expected to actually LEARN something?
I don't have a lot of time right now to respond but I'm homeschooling my 5.5 year old only child dd. Up until she turned 5 years old my dd was the picture of "shyness": clingy, afraid, fearful, timid, crybaby,.you name it,she was it. Now, homeschooling her-she has blossomed into the flower that she is. She is not shy anymore. She is selective with whom she likes to associate with, just like her parents, and just like all introverts. By homeschooling her, I gave her the freedom to grow into her own, the freedom to be who she is and to have confidence in herself. I truly believe that public school would have made her worse. Now everyone comments on her sociability, her impressive vocabulary and expressive speech, her intelligence, her compassion and empathy, and her ability to light up a room. Forcing and coercing her into a large group and requiring her to socialize ahead of her own timetable would have been disastrous. You will have to become confident in your decisions and choices as her mother and she will pick up on that and in turn do the same for herself. Be proud of your sensitive and observant child. The Highly Sensitive Child book is a great starting point.
She is a gift! You are a gift! Please don't try to push this emotional stuff around (like with guilt of lack of you not giving her, etc, :) you are sooo blessed!)
I know a young family with a shy mother and daughter and they gleam with light. She would actually be my best friend, sort of is, but I don't push and pry her to be anything. She dances in her soul.heart all the time. She is blessed with two daughters, so that is a tad different. Just think off all the wonderful homeschooling art, crafts, cooking the two of you can do without having to hairy the world...until it is time. It will become time one day. But the art that can come forth without strain of anyone else...without the world "drum, drum, bling, bang!" when ever it wants? If you think about it, it is a dream like awakening and very on pair with Waldorf thinking. I think you are going to be an amazing mother and have an amazing life with her. Please enjoy it tons and don't worry! I would let her make friends with her toys, her trees, her imagination, you, maybe a pet... give her lots of new stimulation (but a small amount) and daily, a good routine. I have a feeling the arts and music will be early for you.. and I think Waldorf is a perfect fit. I would take her out to spots, vistas, fruit picking, nature and try to find the lonely spots. I honestly think if this feels best for you it will for her and it will grow into whatever beautiful ways it will!
I wish I could be as particular about the world my children see! Sometimes the new knowledge is gross. I pray all the time that things go well on our path, daily. I light a candle for it. Waldorf for the more mainstream mom, social groups, etc... is sometimes like a luck draw and I find I need to be so relaxed. Sometimes when I think of my friends family I am so happy for them because she is brought into light day after day by her mom and her own imagination. The 4 yr girl is so beautiful to speak to it is almost mind blowing, btw!
Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.
Introvert or extrovert seems to come with challenges for homeschoolers, but loving parents generally seem to find a way to cherish the child they are given, celebrate their strengths and give them room to grow. If that's the direction you choose, I'm sure you'll do great!
I was shy. I went to school. School didn't help me overcome my shyness. I had one, yes one, friend throughout gradeschool. In high school I had just one friend, though it was a different friend.
What helped me overcome my shyness? Becoming a homeschooling mom. I realized it was up to me to make sure my son (and now daughter) had a circle of friends. And, if my child was to be accepted, whether by homeschoolers or in a school, how I interacted with the moms would make the difference. (If Joey's mom doesn't like me, she's not likely to invite my kid to Joey's birthday party. Doesn't matter if she homeschools or sends her kid to school.) So, I learned to make friends fast. And my kids copied my friendliness with others and now they have lots of friends.
There's nothing wrong with being shy or being a loner. I like that my kids are fine entertaining themselves at home and can have fun with their friends.
And I like the circle of friends I've built. Though, really, I'm still a hermit.
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
I'll add to the chorus that school doesn't necessarily help one overcome shyness. I was very shy and that made school hard. I never wanted to speak up in class and just being called on felt humiliating. (I know it wasn't actually humiliating, but it felt that way.) I did have friends at school, but every single one of them was in my girl scout troop so I don't really feel like school made those friendships happen.
I am in a similar position as you, in that my 5 y.o. dd, an only child, is a shy introvert. Whether or not we homeschool is still uncertain, but I wanted to say that in the past year or so she has really come out of her shell a lot. She used to be the kid who sat quietly, clinging to me at classes and that has pretty much stopped. It helps that some of the things we do seem to have a regular group of kids that she has come to know over time. And the groups are usually small, which is pretty much essential for her. She just doesn't seem to do well in large groups. All this to say, that your DD is still young and she may be a little less shy as she gets older. But if she doesn't, I imagine homeschooling will be great for because she will be able to have many moments in a day where she is not expected/required to be way outside of her comfort zone.
As a shy/introverted child in school my experience was that I was lost in the shuffle. I think that is a really valid reason to homeschool an introverted child.
BTW, I remained shy/introverted even though I had siblings and went to school.
My dd is also introverted and an only child. I don't know if it made things worse because being introverted is something she would be dealing with in any learning environment.
Based on my own school experiences I feel that it is easier to find situations that will increase her social confidence, be around people of all ages and expose her at her own pace. She has gotten more comfortable with kids her age as they have gotten older but has always preferred being around older kids and adults. I think because they are less wild and unpredictable than younger kids.
In terms of actually learning I think it is extremely helpful that dd is in a one-on-one learning situation and going at her pace most of the time.
Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)
My oldest son was is the introverted side, and when Kindergarten time came around, I really couldn't see any way that he would enjoy being with 20 other kids for such long days!! That was just one reason we decided to homeschool. I have to say that as the years go by, he has come out of his shell a lot. He still prefers smallish get-togethers, and recently chose to have his 9th birthday party with only just 2 friends invited (from the same family!). I think that homeschooling is a wonderful option for all kids! They can get what they need and leave the rest!