AUG
11
2014

Homeschooling 101: Homeschooling an Only Child

I’m back today with another Homeschooling 101 post.  Today we’re talking about homeschooling an only child.

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Sometimes when we think of homeschooling, we envision a larger family. But that’s just a stereotype; there are many families who  homeschool an only child. One thing I’ve learned over the years, is that homeschooling families are as diverse as the world we live in! Don’t be intimidated by the size of your family, large or small, you can homeschool if you are committed!

Not only do you have the added benefit of truly being able to tailor your curriculum to your child, but your child will also benefit from one-on-one teaching.

And since you only have one student, you’ll most likely find you can finish school a little faster than most which gives you a lot of opportunities to add in fun activities like field trips, and other hands on projects! It also gives you time to participate in other homeschooling groups which I’ll talk about below.

I know socialization can also rear its ugly head in this situation, as well. But keep in mind the secret to socialization is teaching your child to get along with people of all ages. And depending on where you live, your child probably already has a group of friends and activities that they are participating in.

Here are a few ideas to help enhance your year when homeschooling an only child.

Include the whole family

Sometimes doing a science project is just more fun with other people. Include both parents in a fun science experiment. Take nature walks as a family and have everyone keep a journal of what they find on the walks. Go on field trips together, do art projects, and read books together. You might also consider encouraging your student to give a presentation to both parents in the evening or invite grandparents or friends over to listen. Have your student stand in front of the room, state their name and age, then give their presentation. Allow them to answer questions and take comments after their presentation is complete.

Join a co-op

Joining a co-op is beneficial for both the only child as well as the parent. Co-ops can often provide lessons that a parent might not be able to do on their own. And they create an environment where parents and students can get to know other homeschoolers and form relationships. Visit www.HSLDA.org or do an online search for homeschool co-ops in your area.

Provide opportunities for independent studies

While homeschooling creates a beautiful bond between a parent and a child, taking a break from the intensity of the one-on-one teaching time is also a valuable tool. Choose some curriculum that allows your student to work more independently wherever it makes the most sense. Doing so will give you and your child a small break from each other during the day.

Offer to host a small group activity

There are a number of small group ideas that can augment your homeschool. Offering to host for a group of similarly aged children is a great way to create lasting friendships and a fun learning environment as well. It is great for activities that are better suited to groups as opposed to individual study.

You will probably be able to enlist the help of the other parents who will be attending as well. Have them alternate bringing a snack to the group meeting, providing materials, or even teaching a lesson. Most families are happy to get involved if someone else takes the lead!

Here are a few small group ideas to help you get started.

  • LEGO Club
  • Keepers of the Home
  • Contenders of the Faith
  • Science Club
  • Book Club
  • Classic Literature Club
  • Art Group
  • PE Group
  • Geography Group
  • Provide extracurricular activities
  • Change your location, ie. do school at the library, park, or somewhere more exciting than at home.
  • Take field trips

 

As you can see, homeschooling an only child doesn’t need to be boring or lonely. Instead you have the unique blessing of being able to focus on your child’s needs more directly.

You can choose your pace and tailor your curriculum to the unique needs of your student. And there are a variety of options for you to provide a quality education for your child, as well as get them involved in outside activities, that will encourage positive friendships to last a lifetime!

For more detailed information on homeschooling an only child check out my Homeschooling 101: A guide to getting started!

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Comments

  1. Circumstances worked out–God arranged!–that I would be homeschooling my middle child ALONE for 3 1/2 years. It was wonderful! We went on field trips every week, nature walks, ‘schooled’ at libraries, coffee shops, restaurants over meals together–we often joined my husband on his business trips! (it’s easier to add one child than many to a hotel room!)

    We had many, quiet read aloud moments on the couch, lazy days in pjs, science experiments in the kitchen and art projects galore! I was able to even make math an adventure with games, incentives and more! These years really helped me to relax and learn to have fun with homeschooling; so, when my two littles came along, I was in a much better place!

    Some times she would feel lonely. I would often worry and then would remember to pray. God always provided! Just the right co-op class, sport team or neighborhood friend would just “happen” to come into her life and meet that need for companionship. She is now one of the most balanced, well-rounded and relatable young ladies I know–yes, biased I am sure!

    We both look back fondly–and sometimes longingly, when the two oldest are needing help with essays and the two littlest being, well, little!–on these years.

    I say enjoy!!

    (Sorry to be so long-winded!)

  2. Since you mentioned Lego Club, there is a FREE Faith Builders Lego Projects over at my hubby’s website. He created this 10 week Bible Lesson for our kids church and our boys loved it and we also do alot of this for homeschooling too. It can be tailor fit to anyone’s needs, and it is FREE!!! http://nephilimtheremnants.com/2014/05/22/faith-bible-legos-faith-builders/

    Thanks!!!

  3. Thank you for reminding me of the benefits of homeschooling an only child. Aside from the pains of infertility and miscarriage, navigating the homeschool world with so many large families (including getting “interesting” responses to our small family from convention vendors) can sometimes lead to sadness and a feeling of being out of place. But yes, we do have a wonderful opportunity to develop a close relationship with our son, cover more material of specific interest to him and even travel to educational vacation spots. And thankfully, despite having introverts as parents, my son makes a best friend everywhere he goes, so socialization is no issue.

    • Just wanted to give you a hug xo I too have an ‘only child’ due to infertility and multiple miscarriages. People look at me and think many negative things and don’t understand that my only child is not that way by choice. My large family is spread between heaven and earth that’s all. People stereotype and think I must be cold to only want one and not very maternal or affectionate. It does make you feel sad and out of place and many times excluded.
      I too have a wonderful opportunity to have such a close bond with my son and we do things that larger families could not. We too do more specific work in addition to regular curriculum and we also do Education Adventures! We just got home from a 14 day road trip visiting Gold Rush areas as part of our curriculum. We have an educational trip each year that we simply could not afford if there were more children in our family. We live in Australia (large country) so plenty of places to visit! Sorry for rambling, just wanted to say how similar we find homeschooling one child :)

  4. Thank you for this post! We are starting K with our son this year. I do feel out of place sometimes. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Homeschooling one child is quite fun. Our five year old lady bug is starting Kindergarten next month. Everyday is like our girl time together. We have lessons in our classroom, but many times we have class out on the deck. We use the Magic Bus monthly science kits and have fun with science. We have our library runs, field trips, learning day in PJs. We utilize the Home Are Studio (Ms. V) for Art lessons…..so much more. I don’t know how I would do this with more than one child…..but I watch how awesome many of you do it and do it so well.

  6. I am a Mom to an only child and we started home school last year. I can’t express how glad we are that we made the leap. We love learning together and we can follow where his interests lead. We have so much time for adventures, field trips, hands on experiments and even some long distance travel to explore. I appreciate you posting this because we do seem to be among the minority. We don’t fit in the typical home school stereotype but I have also learned that very few of us do. One of our closest friends homeschools her five children and I stay in awe. I can’t imagine handling more than one but I have seen first hand it done with grace, inspiration and patience beyond belief. Thanks again!

  7. We are getting ready for our 10th year of homeschooling our son…10th grade…what a journey this has been so far! :) I had always wanted to have a large family, but God had other plans for us. It is always nice to know others who homeschool just one precious arrow….

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