Does number of kids affect decision to HS? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 10-14-2012, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is more of a theoretical question than one I need advice on.  I was just musing about my home life when I was a kid vs the home life my kids are growing up in.  I was a very quiet, calm, only child.  We had a big house, big yard, no pets.  My mom is a serious introvert (as am I, honestly) and my father was always away on business.  So really, when I was at home (which was a lot... the only time I went out was to school.  My mom didn't drive.)  I was either playing outside alone or in my room alone.  We'd have dinner together (sometimes I'd eat alone if my mom wasn't hungry) and then I'd be alone again.  I'd get a few minutes of bedtime routine, literally like 5, and then I was on my own again.  I was NOT miserable... I had a great fantasy life, loved to read, explored the woods, etc. - but the dynamic was very different than I have now.

 

Here we live in a moderately sized house, and we have two LOUD kids, a SAHD, a SAHM, and working on another baby.  There is NO privacy.  We each have a room of our own but the majority of the day everyone is together for all meals, chores.  It's loud.  I try to do a little "private play time" every day but they always seem to want to be together and sneak into one another's rooms, at which point the loud play starts up again...  We don't have a huge yard and woods behind us; in fact, in our small suburban lot, we have no privacy outside at all.  It drives me a little crazy sometimes but we make do - and still choose to hs.  But sometimes I do wish that I had the set-up my mom had - all that quiet and privacy.  If she had homeschooled me I know I would have had a very different experience than my kids are having.  They don't know what it's like to be alone, quiet, lost in your own thoughts.  They play together (they're the same age) and build ideas off each other... whereas I just basically had books etc to learn from.  (Which was fine... I basically unschooled myself whenever I was out of school anyway.)  OTOH I know when I was a kid I wished sometimes for a sibling, because I did get lonely every once in a while.

 

So, yeah, I've rambled, tons.  But I guess the question to pose here is... how do you think the number of kids you're homeschooling affects your methods of, or experience of, homeschooling itself?  Would it be better to have only one child so you could focus more on his or her needs?  Would you prefer to have like ten kids, the older teaching the younger, all interacting in a group and building off one another's learning?  Would you prefer to have a couple of closely spaced kids, or further spaced?  Would homeschooling 3 or 4 kids take too much out of you to be worth it for your personal sanity, whereas 1 or 2 would be just fine?  I know this is all theoretical, but I'm genuinely curious.  I guess I'm also worried about adding yet another child to the mix and wondering how that will pan out in the long run.

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#2 of 14 Old 10-14-2012, 05:34 PM
 
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I have three kids. My oldest is disabled. I've decided to unschool (with lots of guidance/structure that they are unaware of). My small house is also VERY loud and I'm a *very* noise sensitive introvert. Some days I wear ear plugs. I am cleaning up their "creativity" every hour of the day. I am feeding them homemade, nutritious food three times a day, plus snacks. So, I would rate my personal experience as "low in enjoyment". It's not what I had romanticized or fantasized homeschooling to be. But the alternative is even worse, so I keep trucking along :-)

 

(Your mother's set up has me very envious though, to be honest.)

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#3 of 14 Old 10-14-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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I have four. Our house is fairly small; now that my eldest has moved away and we've finished part of the basement, everyone has their own room, but when they were younger they were two-to-a-bedroom -- and in small bedrooms, with a small living room, etc.. We do have a lot of great outdoors, but we live in the mountains in Canada, with no sidewalks or neighbours or streetlights, and for a good 5 months of the year, the weather out there isn't exactly warm and welcoming. 

 

IMO it's both easier and harder to homeschool with more kids: but mostly easier. Of course parenting four is more complicated than parenting one or two. But from an educational and social standpoint, siblings are an amazing resource.

 

You can learn about your siblings. You can learn from them. You can amuse yourself with a sibling while a parent is busy with another. You get a role-model, or you get to be one. You learn to share, to be a conspirator, to be a supporter. As an older sibling you have to be more independent: as a younger one you are driven to be so by having such competent sibling models in your family.

 

And as a parent ... well, it's easy to be overly earnest, to get overly invested, to micro-manage a child's education, and that's simply impossible to do with a lotta kids underfoot. 

 

Miranda


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#4 of 14 Old 10-14-2012, 07:33 PM
 
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I don't know as if it really makes a difference.  I have 5 kids and we are doing first grade and kindergarten this year.  My oldest helps play with the little ones when we do kindergarten and my kindergartener learns from my oldest.  Our house is very noise and chaotic.  We live on a farm with a lot of room to free range tough- in town we would go nuts.  If I were homeschooling one child I think I would go nuts.  I imagine my oldest would want ALL my attention.  

 

Starlien26- I have started utilizing my crockpot- it raises my enjoyment level immensely!  Next on my list is to start once a month grocery shopping/meal planning- I am excited about having more time :)  


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#5 of 14 Old 10-14-2012, 08:50 PM
 
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We have 3 right now and we homeschool and we are expecting #4.  Compared to trying to get 3-4 kids ready for public school in the morning and then get them home in the evening to do homework, extracurricular activities, etc... Homeschooling is easier on our schedule.  It doesn't mean that we are quiet at all.  My gosh, I think we have the most "out there" household sometimes.  DH and I were just sitting at the table laughing at the outlandishness of our children today.

My DH is a singer/songwriter.  He is mostly at home with us during the day, but at the same time, he has been gone for weeks and months at a time, so there is a huge range of normal for us.  Plus, he is very OCD and wants quiet, but it never happens.  Our children are 11, 9 and 6.  They are super-active and incredibly creative.  There is noise from the time they get up until the time they go to bed.  Luckily, we are on 1/2 acre and we don't have many neighbors.  There are times that I just tell them go get outside ASAP.

The older 2 were in public school at times, and like I said, it was crazy trying to get them to school and back from school.  We only do ballet with them right now, but it's 4 days/week and it's 20+ miles away from our home.  With public school, we wouldn't be able to do that.  We don't unschool, but try to have a very fluid form of structure.

I also run the business side of my husband's music career from home, while homeschooling.  It works for me because I think I am very ADD, although it went undiagnosed.  Spastic works.

It just depends on each family, honestly.  There are days that everything runs smoothly and there are days that it doesn't.  We just go with the flow.
 


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#6 of 14 Old 10-14-2012, 09:59 PM
 
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no, public school is still public school no matter how many kids i have, the reasons for me wanting to HS is still there in the first place. 
 


Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#7 of 14 Old 10-15-2012, 12:00 AM
 
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We have five children, four who are homeschooled and a baby.


Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#8 of 14 Old 10-15-2012, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree that the more kids you have the more chaos there will be, and I agree that the challenges of "schooling" will still be there, whether you're homeschooling or having them schooled elsewhere.  I would be more worried about having to keep up with the demands of schools, attendance, the inevitable bugs they bring home, keeping up with tests, etc.  On the other hand, there would be a few hours of quiet time when all/most/some kids would be at school on any given day that would be like a break... But I guess that whole chaos thing comes with the territory when you're a SAHM of young kids.  (Unless you're like my mom.  ;)  )

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#9 of 14 Old 10-15-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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If I only had one child I would most likely find a nice private school and find a way to pay for it. I don't think it would be healthy for an only child to grow up in a house all the time with me, frankly. Having multiple personalities around balances me. I don't get as codependent because I have to always stay pulled back a bit from the situation in order to maintain perspective. I don't trust myself. So we had two. :) I wanted three but my husband announced during my second pregnancy that he was not going to support me through another pregnancy I had to go with that. He had a vasectomy when our youngest was five weeks old. He said he was willing to tempt fate for that long after I gave birth.

 

Those were the only options on the table for me so I don't even want to imagine what it would be like to have more. If I liked the picture I couldn't have it anyway. :)


My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#10 of 14 Old 10-15-2012, 08:55 AM
 
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It'a all about temperament and personality... I have one child who is homeschooled. It's hard to get together with others because everyone else seems to have more than one kid and they get much of their need for interaction filled without leaving the house. So my ds plays on the computer much of the time to fulfill his need for interaction.

 

I homeschool ds because the nicest private school that I could find was a horrible experience for him. After that, no school was a viable option for him. So we're just homeschooling because it is best for ds. Being an only child versus one of many was never part of the equation. I know a number of families that homeschool some of their kids while their others attend school.


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#11 of 14 Old 10-15-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiqa View Post

So, yeah, I've rambled, tons.  But I guess the question to pose here is... how do you think the number of kids you're homeschooling affects your methods of, or experience of, homeschooling itself?  Would it be better to have only one child so you could focus more on his or her needs?  Would you prefer to have like ten kids, the older teaching the younger, all interacting in a group and building off one another's learning?  Would you prefer to have a couple of closely spaced kids, or further spaced?  Would homeschooling 3 or 4 kids take too much out of you to be worth it for your personal sanity, whereas 1 or 2 would be just fine?  I know this is all theoretical, but I'm genuinely curious.  I guess I'm also worried about adding yet another child to the mix and wondering how that will pan out in the long run.

 

We decided to limit ourselves to one child when dd was 1 year old- long before we decided to homeschool. The number of children we had didn't play a part in the decision to homeschool or not homeschool. If we had had more children I would still find homeschooling very positive for them and our family.

 

I do think there are advantages for me to having and homeschooling just one child. Dd is a challenging child. I don't think she is necessarily easier than 3 more laid back kids. There are advantages for me to having a 12 year old to having a 3 year old but that doesn't mean 3 year olds aren't easier in some ways.

Our house and lifestyle is pretty quiet I admit. We do have 2 dogs and 3 cats though which seems to be more pets than most people we know have.

 

I did child care for awhile when dd was a baby to age 2 with up to 4 more children 5 years and under some days. There were advantages to young kids being close in age like everyone doing the same activities but the kids being farther apart in age meant the older might entertain themselves or help out a bit if I needed to focus on a younger child.

 

I think it would be sad if someone would seriously only have more kids with the idea that they could not handle them without sending them away to school- like if homeschooling were the default of society they would never have more than 1 or 2 kids.

If you sincerely want more kids and want to homeschool them all you can make it work. There really isn't a magic combination that makes homeschooling automatically easy or hard because there are so many variables. If you feel stretched thin though with the kids you have then maybe it would be better to wait until your current children are older to consider adding more kids.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#12 of 14 Old 10-15-2012, 08:55 PM
 
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I have 4 children (5, 3, 20 months and newborn) in a small house (870 sq ft) so things are loud and tend to lean to the messy side. Id home school though whether I had 1 child or 10 children.. The number of children doesn't negate WHY I choose to home school in the first place. The only thing having multiple young children changes is the amount you need to be flexible. I find that each child makes me more flexible and less of a perfectionist. Honestly, things can't be perfect when you barely have time to eat in the morning..


~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#13 of 14 Old 10-15-2012, 09:16 PM
 
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It certainly changes the experience of it, but I think I'd homeschool anyway. If I had an only, I might be more likely to homeschool longer. As it is, I sometimes fantasize about putting the eye rolling older child in school so the younger can have a calmer more attentive homeschooling approach to the early years!


Book loving, editor mom to 2

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#14 of 14 Old 10-17-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharlla View Post

no, public school is still public school no matter how many kids i have, the reasons for me wanting to HS is still there in the first place. 
 

 

ITA. The number of children I had wasn't a factor in choosing homeschooling; I made that choice after discovering Holt, et al in high school. I have an only child whom I educate at home and honestly cannot imagine her deriving too many benefits from being surrounded with other children all day in such a setting. The contrast between a calm quiet house, spending time with friends you enjoy, and having time to be alone and recharge versus the chaos of school would not serve her well. Being stuck in a classroom where she is unable to explore her interests, putter around with books or a computer, or read/work in a position other than desk work and maybe a small carpeted area if she were fortunate would also not prove beneficial to her, either.  

 

I do believe the number of children you have does impact how you homeschool and your general lifestyle. I didn't choose to have an only child in the proper sense of the world; a second trimester miscarriage made the choice for me and I chose to accept my fate. Now that I've lived with this reality for several years and chosen to take what little control over my faltering body that I could, I am extremely content with how life has worked out and the day to day realities of parenting and home educating one child. The amount of time and resources I have to dedicate to her allows me to provide her with a fun, highly hands-on and experience based education. Many opportunities are available to her that wouldn't exist if we had more children as our family budget would be tighter for both time and money: travel, field trips, multiple extracurricular activities, and other such fun extras. The time to follow all of her interests, to travel & explore, to assist her in researching questions and documenting her project work, and the time to just be together are all things that have become huge positives for me and certainly not what I thought my life would be like back before I knew I'd be the mother of one. 


~Daisy~

Unschooling Mother to S, my 6yo "Moon Farmer"energy.gif

 

 

 

 

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