“I homeschool an only child.”
This phrase has earned me so many compliments . . . and also so much criticism.
First, telling someone that we homeschool usually sends them in a deep hole of the questions: What do you mean homeschooling? How can you stand to be with your child for that long? What do you do all day? Is that even still a thing? You know he isn’t going to know how to socialize right? Is it because of your religion?
Second, telling someone that we have an only child AND we are homeschooling, usually puts us on this path of questions: Why? Wow poor kid must be bored all day? Why would you homeschool him if he is lonely all day? Homeschooling kids makes them weird, but homeschooling an only child makes that even weirder, you know that right?
I have handled these questions a few ways: I have literally played defense and have been sucked into an argument and debate. I have straight up just walked away from people in mid conversation. I have also taken the high road and have explained to them that having one child is what God has given us (several miscarriages) and homeschooling is what works for our son.
Pros and Cons of Homeschooling an Only Child
Benefits of Homeschooling One Child
At the end of the day, homeschooling an only child is actually better than most people think!
There are many pros to homeschooling:
• GREAT teacher/student ratio. It doesn’t get much better than 1:1.
• Having only one child to accommodate their extra-curricular activities means mom and dad aren’t chauffeuring around all the kids to all their various activities ALL the time.
• My son’s education is personally tailored to him and his needs and wants.
• No rivalry between siblings or distractions.
• We finish our school work a lot faster, so more time for free time, playing, field trips and hobbies.
• The cost to get into different places like museums or plays is less.
• Amazing quality time.
Negatives to Homeschooling One Child
Now there are a few down sides to homeschooling an only child:
• Purchasing an expensive curriculum for one child can be difficult.
• You are your child’s sole teacher.
• Making friends CAN be difficult.
• Dealing with peers can be a challenge.
• Chores cannot be split amongst siblings.
How To Make Homeschooling One Child Easier
My son may barely be 5 years old, but he is just as much in charge of his education as I am. He tells me different unit studies that we can do in addition to our usual reading, writing, and math. For instance, my son wanted to learn about the solar system so we hit up our local library and found EVERY book on the solar system we could find. With the help of a few free or cost effective websites (Pinterest, Teacherspayteachers and Education.com), we were able to put together a 15 lesson unit on the solar system. We talked about each planet, stars, moon, sun and astronauts. We ended our unit with making a solar system mobile.
It is true that if I am not diligent, I can become my son’s sole teacher and it can get a bit much. Luckily for us, we are a part of an AMAZING Montessori Homeschool Co-Op that we attend twice a week. My son has two great teachers that teach him and give him the attention he deserves. Also, once a week or so, I have my mom watch my son while I do various things. I leave my mom with some school work for them two to work on.
Making friends can be difficult, but being a part of a great co-op my son has made some amazing friends, that will be his life-long friends.
Let’s face it, dealing with other people in general in difficult, but my son has the advantage of being about to deal with people of ALL ages.
Since chores can’t be split, we have implemented a rotating chore chart that allows my son to do some chores on a weekly basis.
Keeping your child’s socialization calendar up to date can prove to be difficult, however, just as long as you are conscience of the last time you left your house and when your child was involved in an activity with other people, then it really shouldn’t be a problem. Just be aware that age and personality plays a HUGE part in socialization. For me, my son is a social butterfly and has never met a stranger (he gets that from me), so we have a very busy social calendar. If you have the introvert, then they might not enjoy a ton of social events.
Whether you are homeschooling 10 kids or a lone ranger, you will have your own set of challenges. Just keep in mind that with a little bit of perseverance and some elbow grease, homeschooling can be an amazing and positive adventure for all.
Keep on rocking, homeschool families!
Nancy Parcels is a wife to a chef, Christian mom, homeschool educator, naturalist and lover of literature. She is obsessed with homeschool podcasts, herbs and books. Follow Nancy on Instagram at Nancy Athanasia Parcels (@grk_itl_homeschoolingmama) • Instagram photos and videos and Facebook.
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