Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Homeschooling Just One

Back when we decided to homeschool, we didn't know that we would end up with just one child.   Fast forward to today and here we are, our daughter is 7 1/2 and she is an only child. 

So what is it like homeschooling just one child?  Is it easy?  Do I encounter the same challenges as other families, small and large?  Grab a cup of tea (I know I am), sit back, relax, and take a trip into the life of Homeschooling an Only Child.

I am going to break this article up into two categories: Benefits and Challenges.  I want to start with our Challenges because I think that it is important to point out that families with only one child have similar struggles as larger families.

The first challenge that I face is motivating our daughter to get school started and then completed.  She does not have siblings that she can work with and she cannot compete with brothers and sisters to get assignments done or even challenge others in games.  Each day is a new challenge and can become a struggle at times. 

Another challenge that we face is boredom.  I try to rotate subjects and make things as fun as they can be, but to be honest, I'm sometimes not really good at that.  We may be in the house for a couple days in a row, and even the breaks in between subjects can get boring. 

The next challenge we face is giving constant attention.  With no other children in the house, I am next in line.  ;o)  She is pretty good about playing on her own and keeping herself occupied from time to time, but when that wears off, she comes to me.

The last challenge is not one we really face at home, but something I have noticed more and more, especially this year.  Since we are a family with just one child, I've noticed that it has been increasingly harder to find other families who want to get together (with only us).  Where I may be looking for one playmate who is close to our daughter's age, they are looking for playmates who are close in age to several of their children.  I'd like to add though, that I can totally understand this, and I don't mind getting together with several families, it's just something I've noticed. 

So what can be good about just having one child?  Although we do get off track from time to time, I can get us back quickly and finish what we need to do each week.  It is not hard to meet the goals that I have made for the year.  We also have a lot of flexibility in our schedule and can attend most field trips and activities that come up each month.

I love that I can give all the one-on-one attention that is needed.  Our curriculum is pretty parent intensive.  I have to sit with her for almost every subject still, so it is a lot of work from me, but I enjoy spending that time with her. 

To conclude, I think all families, large and small, face unique but also similar challenges.  Some days are good and some are hard.  Some days I feel like the odd homeschooling family with just one child, but regardless, I know I enjoy homeschooling and wouldn't do anything differently.  :o)



Thank you for your insights Christine! Your openness and view points are interesting. I homeschool our 4 "cupcakes" and I often wondered if it would be easier to homeschool one child, especially when there is arguing and fighting between siblings. I do agree that all family sizes, large or small, face ups and downs and it is not my place to judge whether one family might have it "easier" than another family. Thank you for sharing this post :)


I love to hear from other mothers that are with ONLY CHILDREN.It is so hard to find the same age or just one,BUT GUESSS WHAT we have in our co-op.I do feel judged a lot BC we have only one child.Our co-op is FULL of large families but luckily we have 4 with only children. I feel a little pressure sometimes to think of having another child.Even though Zachary is 10 and we say we are done.I do like the one great part of teaching just one,can you imagine teaching multiple all running around.
I am so happy to have found your blog.
Do you ever get asked WHY just one?

Our Homeschool Reviews

Jamie, I'm glad you can relate and I love this topic because it can spark some good conversation (there were so many thing I felt like I left out).

I think just like people look at the mom-to-be with her 6th or 7th child, people look at mom's with just one child. I do get asked about why only one. For us, that is just what we decided, but for many, it may be more personal than that.

I do sometimes feel like the odd mom out, but I've also felt like I've adapted and I'm hoping those large families have adapted to us too. ;o)

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads

From one "odd" homeschooling mom to another, I agree that there are unique challenges to homeschooling in both large and small families.

I hate getting asked the why just one question as it is more personal for us, but we're at peace with the Lord giving us one child.

The Adventurer

Interesting post as I have two and often wonder if it would be easier with just one. As always the grass is always greener on the other side until you take a closer look:)


I enjoyed reading your post with all of the things you addressed. I appreciate your honest portrayal of life when homeschooling an only child. Your daughter is precious, I love the pic of her in the sidebar with her arms outstretched! Great shot! Thanks for participating in the BC this week!


Your post was quite insightful into the life with just one. I've often thought about having enough time to get more done in a day that I might be able to accomplish with just one, but dreams are all they are. I know that in reality having one would probably not be much different for me then the 3 (and hopefully more someday) we have. Thanks for participating this week!

Our Homeschool Reviews

Kelly, sometimes I do have time to get things done, especially if she is playing quietly, but most of the time she is running around and we are playing or doing something else together.


Oooh, I also just thought of another one.

When we go to the parks for playdates, at least in our case, my daughter is very aware that since I only have one child to look after, I'm always watching. If anyone is doing anything wrong, she's not typically the one participating.

Mozi Esmé

So well said!

Also the mom of an only - I can relate to just about everything you've said. I'm constantly trying to balance the role of "playmate" with "mom/teacher" - sometimes I so wish she could have another kid to play her little imaginary games with. When I'm the one playing with her, I'm always trying to find the educational angle, and I'm sure it's as stressful for her as it is for me.

On the flip side, it's exciting to be part of each and every milestone and new accomplishment!

I'm learning SO much about child development and educational styles and putting curricula together, and it seems a shame that it'll only be used once?

Anyway - thanks for sharing...


I agree 100% with everything you said!! There are ups and downs, but I believe that my 7 1/2 yr. old son retains more information than his peers who attend traditional school.

Homestead Mom

Yes! That is so similar to what I have experienced with just one. I have a just turned 7 year old in the 1st grade that I homeschool. It is incredibly challenging and I also would have loved a house full of children, but God just hasn't allowed that to happen. It took 8 years to conceive my son. Things will change a little bit soon since we are getting ready to be foster parents. But, we will not be able to homeschool them, so it will be interesting. Perhaps more challenges as to why they get to "go to school" and "I have to stay home?" I am now following your blog. Found you on No Ordinary Blog Hop but see you also do Say Hi Sunday!

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