Monday, September 24, 2012

Head of the Class (of one)

In the world at large  our small family fits in pretty well, it's only at homeschool events where I feel like a slacker for my brood of one.  Complications from my pregnancy and an eventual hysterectomy means that our homeschool class will only have one student.  The good news is that he's a shoe in for valedictorian, the bad news is we haven't yet figured out how to hold debates or even start a chess club, ha ha.  All kidding aside, let me elaborate a little on the positives and negatives of homeschooling an only child.


  • With only one student, my attention never has to be divided.  We can plow through all our subjects in about 2-2  1/2 hours.
  • Field trips can be less expensive only paying for one child and one adult.  I also don't have to worry about keeping track of a large brood where everyone wants to go a different direction.
  • I can cater every subject to his learning style.  Being somewhat kinectic, he can stand on a rocking chair in front of the chalk board working math problems.  To learn Spainsh vocabulary I would tell him an English word and he would race around the basement looking for the Spanish translations written on index cards.  If I had two or three kids doing this, it would be chaos.
  • He can participate in more sports and outside activities--Upwards Basketball, Karate, Royal Rangers, 4-H.  Our funds and driving time don't have to be divided up among several children with conflicting schedules.
  • I have time to create "extras" like the Mystery of History Dates to Memorize posters because I only have to plan and teach one lesson per subject, not three or four at different levels.


  • Finishing school early gives my son more free time and he's neighborhood friends are still in school so he must learn to entertain himself or I have to be willing to play a game with him.
  • The mother of an only probably gets asked the socialization question more than the mother of someone with siblings to play/learn with.
  • The cost of curriculum can seem higher because I don't reap the benefit of saving it to use with another student in the future.
  • Sometimes lesson plans call for brainstorming or acting out a drama--both activities work better with more than one person.  We've been able to dramatize with action figures and sometimes I have to let him bounce ideas off me--I still struggle with what is participating in brainstorming and what is me as a teacher providing him with answers.
The bottom line is our family is what is is and our homeschool is what it is.  Having never known anything different, it seems perfectly normal to us.  There are obstacles to overcome no matter what your situation and rewards to enjoys on the other side.  

Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Blog Cruise and read the insights of others homeschooling only one.

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