Homeschool

Advantages of Homeschooling an Only Child

We all know that homeschooling has its advantages.  But is homeschooling an only detrimental to your child’s development?  I shared  many challenges of homeschooling an only child as well as socialization ideas for homeschooling onlies.  However, the advantages of homeschooling just one far outweigh the obstacles you have to overcome.

Looking for more information about how to homeschool an only?  Check out our resource page for homeschooling an only child.

Advantages of homeschooling only child

**Note:  There are many advantages of homeschooling – far more than I discuss in this post, but for today, I am focusing on the unique advantages experienced by those specifically with an only child.

Here are 6 advantages of homeschooling a singleton:

1.  Undivided attention

It’s just you and your child, homeschooling each day.  Since it’s just the two of you; you aren’t forced to balance time between homeschooling multiple kids, feeding the baby, and washing the fifth load of laundry that day.  If your child needs help, your are there to step in.  If he wants to study planets, you drop your previous lesson plans and, instead, head to the library to pick up books on the subject and check the hours at the local planetarium.  You are right there watching him learn, and enjoying every “light bulb” moment with a front-and-center seat.

2.  Extra time for extra activities

We go on field trips.  A lot.  In fact, I build “field trip day” into our weekly schedule.  Since we have only one child, we are not having to share time nor resources between multiple children.  This frees us up that If my son wants to visit a state park to study bird migration patterns for a few days, I don’t have to worry about working it around brother’s baseball practice nor sister’s piano lessons.  Our time is not constrained.  Instead, I listen to his interests.  I want to make sure he gets to see, do, and experience everything he wants to learn about, and since we are not having to juggle multiple schedules, we can afford to spend the time to do these activities.

3.  Fewer financial costs

I admit it… I’m a curriculum junkie.  It’s the cost of buying all of the curriculum that eats through our wallets.  Luckily, with only one child, you only have to buy one set of curriculum each year. I can’t image the costs that I would incur buying curriculum for more than one child.  On the other hand, when you only have one child, you can also consider some of the more pricey curriculum options, which is not always an option if you have a larger family.

4. No comparisons among siblings

When I was growing up, I always wanted to be the best.  I wanted to be the best student, performer, and athlete.  But, my older brother always beat me in sports.  And my younger brother was a natural comedian. I, on the other hand, doubted my abilities, because all I did was continuously compare myself (and my shortcomings) with them.  One advantage of homeschooling an only child is that your child doesn’t compare himself to his siblings.  There’s no worrying whether Suzie is going to pass Billy’s reading ability, or two brothers striving to outshine the other.  With an only child, he gets to move at his own pace and working through his own set of challenges – no comparisons, no competition, just learning at his own tempo.

5. Close relationship with the child

My son is a mama’s boy. In fact, he’s a daddy’s boy as well.  He relies heavily on both of us to be there for him.  And, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He needs those close relationship with us, at least during this time in his life.  What I love is his honesty, openness, and willingness to share just about about everything with us. When he has a question, he asks.  When he’s worried, he shares his his deepest concerns. I adore that he has no problems snuggling up next to me to share his deepest concerns. I don’t know if this is the same for families with more children, but in our household, it is a bond that I treasure!

6. Less planning and administrative duties

When I was a teacher, I loathed grading papers.  It took up so much time, yet was necessary to give the student feedback.  Now that we homeschool, I’ve found that lesson planning and grading papers can take up large chunks of time as well.  I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for larger families. With an only child, you only have to create one set of lesson plans, remember where one child stopped last week for history, review forgotten math topics with one child, and grade one set of papers.  Whew, one set of each of these is about all that I can handle; I’m so glad we only have one!

So, what advantages of homeschooling an only child have you experienced?  Which point above resonates the most with you?  I’d love to hear what you think!

Are you homeschooling an only or thinking about homeschooling an only? See these other great resources for homeschooling an only child.

About the author

Leann

Leann is a homeschooling mama of an over-active 6 year old, proud wife of a cop, and pet lover of their two dogs, frogs, turtles – and cricket. Her blog, The Hands-On Homeschooler, chronicles their homeschooling journey, while throwing in tidbits about life, reviews, and recipes. Prior to being a stay-at-home mom, Leann taught math at a public high school for high achieving students. She and her family currently reside in the middle Tennessee area.

17 Comments

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  • I greatly appreciate this post! When considering whether or not to homeschool my son, I was struggling with feelings of guilt because he was an only child. I was very concerned he would experience loneliness. After much prayer, my husband and I decided to go ahead and homeschool, and we don’t regret it one bit. I will say that it does take more intentionality to get him involved in social activities, but besides that, the one- on- one time we’ve been able to spend with him has made it worthwhile. I also want to encourage other mothers that are struggling with the decision of homeschooling an only child. I faced opposition from some family members and friends. Many homeschooling critics bring up socialization, and it seems their argument strengthens when you homeschool an only child. I had to remember my focus was on my son, not in pleasing others (though I often tend to be a people-pleaser!) The coolest part of it all has been the new relationships forged along the way. As we’ve trusted God in this endeavor, he has opened endless opportunities and blessings.

    • Thank you for your comment. I am in the prayer phase of trying to decide to homeschool my children or not. Reading about other moms who also questioned and had to pray a lot before deciding helps me feel normal.

  • Thank you for this post. We have 3 living children. But our youngest is 8 years younger than the other two, so I often worry how it will be to homeschool him, since he won’t have siblings his own age.

  • I have been a teacher for 15 years and my husband and I just this past school year decided it would be best for me to stay home because of the heavy work load I had and the stress of testing, etc on teachers now. Well, just recently, I read an article to my husband (who, as a side note, is my daughter’s step dad) about how homeschoolers are actually sought out now by colleges. I can assume why this is. So within that week my husband said we were going to homeschool our daughter, an only child. I have to admit, seeing my younger brother homeschooled had me fascinated at the idea. Joined with the idea that i was going to be able to teach her homemaking and disciplines that she severely lacks such as organization and neatness, I was beyond excited. But then I started thinking about the socialization aspect as she thrives on relationships and interaction with others. A And it really started freaking me out. To make matters worse, one of her friends from her old school is now being homeschooled as an only child and isn’t doing so hot due to lack of socialization. He apparently is showing signs of depression. And then, the icing on the cake, her real dad just about flipped his lid when I told him we were probably going to homeschool her. Now, he can make things quite miserable for us when he’s not happy with us, so this has just intensified the knots in my stomach.
    Well, Last night our daughter had a friend over that she used to go to school with. And as I was watching her my heart just broke bc I felt like I was going to be a depriving her of this on a daily basis. So I went into the room and told my husband that i didn’t want to homeschool her. He knows that I’ve not had peace about it and has been persistent about homeschooling anyway but last night he just gave in and said ok and that he wasn’t going to argue with me about it bc I was the one that was going to have to teach her. To be honest I was a little disappointed that he gave in so quickly. I mean, if he really felt that this is what The Lord was calling us to do like he said, how could he then just say ok, we won’t? And, i thought i would have a peace about the decision to not, but amazingly enough I still don’t.
    Today and tomorrow we are talking with two families that homeschool to pick their brains. And after doing a search about only child homeschooling I came across your article. Both of them – the pros and cons. For this I am very thankful. Especially for the sentence about you not being worried about his socialization.
    I have prayed for God’s perfect peace concerning this for quite some time, and I can’t say I have it yet completely. But reading your articles has made me much less apprehensive. Thank you for sharing your heart about this, both the good and the bad. I pray God continues to bless your endeavors as a homeschooling family. :0) (And I’m sorry for writing a novel!)

    • Staci, thanks so much for your kind words! I too am a former teacher turned homeschooler. God gave us a peace about homeschooling, and I treasure every moment of it! In fact, I see now how much my son does rely on me. I honestly love that he is open and honest about his feelings, and he is willing to share his heart with me. Sometimes, I think Satan comes in and makes us doubt ourselves, but thank goodness for Grace!

      Oh, and I have now updated the post to include socializing an only child: https://hiphomeschoolmoms.com/2013/06/socializing-the-only-child/

    • I also have worked in public school before being a homeschool parent. What a friend of mine said that really struck home foe me was who do you want controlling the socialization of your child? You when you plan specific social activities or a classroom of 30 students out on their own at recess. That really made me think. Our only child has gymnastics twice a week, church class twice a week, and a friend that we pick up from her old school once a week for 2.5 hours. To me that is plenty of parent led socialization.

  • Love the article. I’m in the process of preparing the Kindergarten curriculum for our only child who is a little boy as well! 🙂

    I’m excited and nervous about homeschooling, much less homeschooling an only. I’m book marking this site and will be visiting often!

    • Great! Please make sure you visit my personal blog as well. I share lots of hands-on ideas that are perfect for those overactive boys!

  • This is really great because I have a 6 year old only child too and often feel like I’m the only one out there who’s not homeschooling a bus load of kids. We’re loving home school and it’s working out great for us, no socialization problems whatsoever- because of lots of the advantages mentioned in your article! It’s nice to read about other people home schooling only children since there’s so much more out there about people with several kids.

  • My daughter is an only. She went to public school for Pre-K through 2nd grade before I figured out, this was not the right learning style for her. We’ve moved a lot so she has never begun and ended a school year at the same school. So I was already anxious about the socialization thing, she also has no cousins her age and none of my friends have kids. She is truly an only child. Part of the reason I never considered homeschooling to begin with. I do love this article. It’s nice to know that there are others who homeschool an only. A lot of other blogs and articles are people who sound like they have a million children, and how it’s so great that the older kids can help the younger kids. I felt like she would be missing out on peer interaction as well as sibling interaction. I’m really excited about this year, our first as homeschoolers. And we found a program through a charter school that meets 2 days a week on campus with children k-8. So I’m easing into it and easing into the loss of socialization. Thanks for the article. I’m going to go read the challenges one now.

  • As other readers have commented… it is soooo good to have found your web site! It seems like most homeschooling families have oodles of kids! It has taken some getting some getting used to, but my son and I are working it out! My 5 year-old attended a Montessori school last year all day and prior to that he was in a three morning a week enrichment program. This year I made the decision to homeschool. It was difficult at first due to home being mostly a play and hang-out zone, but now it is easier…thank God! He does not miss being “in school”. To all the naysayers I meet my response is … My son is well-socialized: he attends church twice a week – once for Awana and the other for children’s’ ministry during Sunday worship service; he attends a martial arts class for homeschoolers two days a week; weather permitting, there is a homeschool group that meets at the park one morning a week; he attends a weekly Christian-based physical education program for three hours in a row; and we belong to two coops-one meets twice a month and the other weekly, but we only go two times a month. Furthermore, he is an extrovert. Being a former traditional school teacher, I can say that there are plenty kids in traditional school who do not have the social graces that my son has!

  • Hi! So glad I did a Google search for homeschooling only children because I came across this great blog! Like others who have posted, I used to teach in traditional schools (elementary levels) and now I home school an active boy who is about to turn six. I am excited to see other families of ‘only’ children who are jumping in and joining the growing numbers of home school families. I knew I would have to be prepared for all the questions and strange looks we’d receive upon telling others we homeschool. Sometimes I avoid going out during ‘school hours’ so we don’t have to explain why my son is not ‘in school’ that day! 😉 But, in general, I have found most people to be very open to hearing what we have to say about homeschooling and once they hear some of our reasons, they will usually respond very positively. The ‘socialization’ issue is quickly debunked once my son speaks to the inquiring individual. He willingly interacts with adults, asks thoughtful questions, and has insightful things to say. I love explaining to the doubters how socialization isn’t learned from one’s peers, but from being around people of various ages and in various stages of life. Traditional school settings are the only places where people are grouped by age. Echoing what other moms have mentioned, our son is part of a variety of activities and is at church often where he interacts with people from age 86 all the way down to 1! I love watching how he adjusts his vocabulary and demeanor to fit the individual he is interacting with. These are moments I treasure and hide in my heart.

    One way that we have over-come the few downsides of being an only child – with friends and cousins who go to traditional schools – is by joining a home school co-op. I did feel a little strange about joining the group at first because I think we may be the only family with an ‘only’. While I am confident in my ability to teach my son, I was apprehensive about being part of a group of families that have lots of kids and are juggling such hectic schedules and routines. Would they only be talking about time management and organization and issues faced by large families? Would they be willing to open up their arms and hearts to us without feeling ‘sorry’ for us? My concerns were rather silly, because yes, these families did open their hearts and arms to us and welcomed us as fellow homeschoolers with something valuable to contribute to the group. All the parents share teaching responsibilities in our enrichment co-op and my son and I look forward to our twice a month co-op days. He doesn’t feel like he is missing out on things that his friends and cousins do in their schools.

    Every family of an ‘only’ has their reasons for having ‘only one’ – ours is that our son’s older sister and younger brother never made it home from the hospital when they were born. We talk to our son about what a treasure and a gift he is to us and how he has siblings he will meet one day in heaven. Other families may have economic reasons for having one child or perhaps a special needs child that takes extra time and attention….whatever the reason, if you are on the fence about homeschooling because you have one child, please know that it can be done and you will have a blast being your child’s best teacher! Connecting to other home school families is key to a good and healthy home school experience. You are not out there alone and if you face opposition from family or friends, just show them this blog site! (And don’t feel like you won’t be good at teaching because you have never taught before – all parents are teachers! If you could teach your child how to hold a cup, put toys away, use the potty, tie shoes, etc. you can teach them reading, writing, and arithmetic!) Thank you Leann, for providing a way for home school families (especially ones with one child) to connect and interact. I’ll be checking back now that I know where to find all of you! God’s blessings to each of you who have taken on the challenge of being at the forefront of your child’s education. May He give you the strength, wisdom, and patience you need each day. (Like Staci, I apologize for writing so much!)

  • Thank you so much for this. I just googled “homeschooling an only child” and never imagined I would stumble upon such a wonderful post (or group of people as seen in the comments). My daughter is asking my to homeschool her next year for 1st grade and I sometimes think I’m not “allowed to” since she’s an only. Even my mom laughs at my strange way of thinking that life has rules that must be followed like “you can’t homeschool an only child”. Thank you all for showing me there are like-minded mamas out there. Wish I lived close to you all. 🙂

  • Leann, I’m so glad to find your blog! I am the weekday caregiver for my 2 year old granddaughter and though I don’t know yet if her parents would like me to homeschool, I’m open to the idea. I homeschooled her father, who was an only child, for the first 3 years of school . . . back in the late 80’s when the state government was taking children away from parents if they weren’t in formal school! Fortunately, Texas is now one of the most friendly states in that area. I put him in school because I wasn’t a person of faith at the time and wasn’t plugged into the homeschool support system, didn’t use a formal curriculum and he was falling behind in some areas, and I was tired of being the “bad guy” for school lessons. I would have done things completely different if I had had the faith and knowledge that I have now–and probably would have homeschooled all the way through and allowed him to attend college when he was ready rather than wait until he was college-age. After he got caught up in his “behind” subjects, he was bored in school. He did fine, though, and went on to graduate from college . . . and for the record, his social skills are far better than mine! Thanks for your blog. If I homeschool my granddaughter, I’ll definitely be back. Your two blogs on advantages and disadvantages are spot on! I’ve been reading “The Brainy Bunch” about the homeschooled family of ten children and it’s inspiring, but there really needs to be a book about homeschooling an only….it’s an entirely different experience.

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