Once upon a time, I was a busy homeschooling mom of three. Many times, I felt like I was juggling—keeping all three busy and learning, running from one extra-curricular activity to the next, and so on. I loved it, but it was busy busy busy. My first three went on to public high school and now are in college or through with college.
My youngest child is eight years younger than her sister, so while her homeschool years overlapped homeschooling with her next oldest sister for a couple of years, for the most part, she has been the only one home during the school day, and, for the past two years, the only child living at home. In addition, my husband has not lived at home for the past 5 years, so it really is just the two of us most of the time!
Honestly, I loved having three or four kids at home. The kids played well together, often worked on unit studies or science experiments together, and kept our home lively. But there are advantages to homeschooling an “only” as well.
1. I think that, in many ways, I have a closer relationship with Emily than I did with the older kids. With several children, life divides between “mom” and “kids.” With one child, we end up being more like friends because we’re each the only one there to “hang out” with the other.
2. Because we’re not tied to schedules of other children (or in my case, a husband), we can take more field trips and travel more. For many years, I had at least one child in public school, which kept up tied to their schedule. This fall, I hope to visit some friends in Florida for a few weeks. We’ll just take Emily’s schoolwork and my work along. Obviously, this is an option for any homeschooling family, but it’s easier to just pick up and go with just one child.
3. I do have to make more efforts to get Emily together with other kids, especially other homeschoolers, so she has someone other than me to hang out with, though! In the past, we’ve hosted various weekly or monthly activities in our home—art classes, science clubs, and so on. I did this with the older kids too, but it’s probably more important for me to make the effort now.
4. Having just one child at home gives me a bit more time for work or for leisure. I’ve done occasional speech therapy for years, but didn’t start writing and blogging until I was down to one child.
It’s a different season of life for me now, but still good. Just different!
Please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog Cruise to read more about homeschooling an “only!”