I have six children, so what do I know about homeschooling an "only"? Maybe less than you do, which is why I am soliciting your opinions!
Because my first child was almost nine before the next five arrived, I might have a little more insight than the typical mom-of-many. My neighbor once told her only child that she was loved more than my children, because her parents didn't have to divide their affection among so many. I was able to gently correct her, with humor and grace, because I understood why she might have that impression. I remember fearing, while expecting child number two, that I could never love another child as much as I did my firstborn. Several children later, I smile at the absurdity of that fear, but I'm better able to relate to my neighbor's situation in some respects.
Our homeschool co-op is made up of many families with five or more children. I was surprised to notice that almost as many members have a single child and that some families with several kids are homeschooling just one of them. I remember the thought processes that go into the decision to homeschool. My own family size was one factor that influenced our decision to educate at home. At least I knew they would never be lonely!
When people find out we homeschool, they often feel they need to share all the reasons why they don't teach their own kids at home. The first one mentioned by parents of onlies is that their child will be lonely. Parents of onlies are sometimes even more concerned than other parents about "socialization". One friend shared that her son represented her only opportunity to succeed at parenting and she wasn't about to risk doing something as unconventional as home schooling.
These days, my own family is shrinking. Two of mine have graduated from our homeschool high school, and another will graduate this year. It recently occurred to me that I will eventually be teaching only one at home. He still won't qualify as an "only child", but it has piqued my interest in the dynamics of teaching one alone. From my casual observation, the "onlies" seem to fare as well as the members of a big brood, but I'd like to hear from those who have been there.
Do you have an only child, or are you homeschooling only one of your kids? Do you know someone who does? Does this influence your teaching methods or choice of curriculum? Is having only one at home a positive or a negative . . . or do the benefits and disadvantages balance each other? Please share your experiences.
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