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Choosing Curriculum for Your Only Child

At the beginning of our first year of homeschooling, I made a trip to our local homeschool bookstore to choose curriculum for my only child…a kindergartener at the time.

Yep.  I did.  But that’s a whole ‘nother story falling under the category of  “Things I Would Say to My Rookie Homechool Mom Self.”  I did actually come to my senses and put everything except reading and math away until the next year.

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

But in selecting this curriculum for my only child, even if we did not pull it out until the next year, there were several key points I kept in mind the whole time.  Things that I hoped would make our new homeschooling venture a success!

How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum For An Only Child

1.  Choose curriculum that does not rely heavily on group activities.

I shied away from anything that would require several children to make the activities that were presented fun!  I am very cognizant of the fact that, while she loves being with me, I do not want to highlight the fact that we do a lot of activities as just “two” as opposed to a family full of kiddos.  This is one of the main reasons why I also rely on several outside classes for her.  It is the perfect blend between the group experience and the homeschooling atmosphere that we love.

2.  Strike a balance between independent work and time with you.

There are many subjects that we do together for the entire duration of the lesson.  I also think it is important to establish independent learning skills.  My daughter has approximately an hour to an hour and a half of computer work that she does completely on her own…math, typing, piano, and reading comprehension.  I am constantly checking her work, so “independently” does not mean neglected.  It just means that she knows when they are on her schedule and that she can do them without any assistance from me…other than the occasional math problem she may need help with.

3.  Rejoice over the fact that you are able to focus on one learning style.

Knowing that I can concentrate on how my daughter learns when choosing curriculum and setting goals for our homeschool is definitely something I consider a bonus.  I don’t have to force a particular program to work for her or spend additional money on an alternative.  She is my only learner, and it has allowed me great flexibility when purchasing curriculum.

4.  Use programs with video demonstrations that will bring in the element your child would get with a group.

This is particularly useful when speaking of science curriculum.  We really enjoy watching demonstrations done by scientists online. They are a great substitute to a group experiment when Mom doesn’t have others around or doesn’t want to (or can’t afford to) spend the time gathering all of the necessary materials.

5.  Beware of the tendency to over-purchase.

And last but not least….it is very easy to go a little crazy when you only have one to buy for–justifying those purchases with the fact that you are spending much less than if you had more children to teach.  I cannot even tell you how much curriculum I didn’t *really* need.  I have been been blessed to be “in the know” about many new products and new vendors through my blog and reviews, and that definitely causes me to go a little overboard sometimes.

What things do you take into consideration when choosing homeschool curriculum for an only child?  We would love to know! Please share your tips in the comments.

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

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  • These are all very good points. As the mother of an only, I sometimes find myself trying to justify the more expensive purchases. (For me, these are All About Spelling, Life of Fred Elementary, the huge amount of literature I purchase annually, etc.) I guess I think of those parents who say that the costs are justified, since they can be used by so many children.

    LOL.. it doesn’t really make sense, but it crosses my mind.

  • I agree with the over-purchasing! Fortunately, my lesson in that wasn’t too harsh a lesson, as much of the stuff I bought that we never needed was only a dollar or two each (we have an amazing used homeschool supplies store near me!), and other stuff I could sell back to the same store for credit for items we actually did need. Now, I do my research first and make a list of what I need…if I don’t, I still go wild. It’s hard…so much looks absolutely wonderful! 🙂

  • This is great information! I have decided to home school my daughter that will be in 1st grade for the first time so all the information and tips i can get its wonderful! I am loving this site thank you so much!!

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