I always knew growing up that I would have 2.5 children.
I used to joke about it and knew that it would be no big deal and, yeah, I would just have them. You know, give birth.
Well some 20 odd years later I have been blessed with one very special daughter not from my own body.
But enough about all the touchy feely stuff. What you really want to know is what it's like to homeschool an only child. What are the challenges and benefits? And what would I change?
my daughter's learning style
My daughter is a visual learner. She many times needs to see what she is learning. Have it spelled out for her in vivid color.
She is also an audial learner. She can really pick up what she hears. That means her father and I must speak in hushed tones when we need to keep something from her and that whatever she hears tends to stay with her for quite some time.
We've found the perfect blend of this in the Bob Jones Homeschool Curriculum. Their visually appealing sets and gifted teachers have made learning kinda pain free for us and helps to cover her learning styles.
Our Homeschool Days
You probably want to know a little bit about our homeschool days. Well my only child likes to wake up late and have a bit of play time before she gets to the business of homeschool. I've been kind of lenient about that in the past but just this morning we had a heated discussion of keeping a firmer schedule and losing play privileges when you wake up late.
The thing about a homeschooled only child is sometimes they imagine that everyone in the world is out playing but them. Some days when her friends go off to public school the Sweet Peanut imagines that they're going off to a huge amusement playground and that her day is drudgery of brushing teeth and making her bed. At least that's what the rant was today.
Most days are good though. Homeschooling fosters a great bond. We have breakfast together, do devotions and get right to it.
We start the day with the big guns; Math, English and a bit of Handwriting.
Our chosen curriculum is pretty efficient and bless their hearts this year they printed everything for me so I'm saved that extra task too!
Break time is outdoor play, run an errand or go visit someone. We learn something new each day and have a lot of stuff to share when daddy comes home. After break we do History, Spelling, and Reading (our favorite subject).
Depending on the day we have a few extra curricular courses that may come next. Piano and Spanish at this time.
Then we're done! Homework is done after each class so there is no homework to do in the evenings. It never crossed my mind to do it any other way than this and so it's the way we do it.
Play with friends comes next and in the evenings any music practice is done after dinner.
Field trips are done on Wednesdays and Fridays. Not every week though.
Most would think that a challenge for homeschooling an only is loneliness or not having other kids around. Actually in our case that is an unforseen blessing. The Lord told us to homeschool before the Sweet Peanut came along and I can see the wisdom. Every child is different and my daughter is SO easily distracted that a room full of children would have captured her attention much more than her lessons. We've already experienced that in group situations and we're working on it. She's getting better ( think Sunday school, other programs).
Another challenge is things in class that may require more than one child. Sometimes we can rope friends into helping us out but to have to look for this each time it comes up is a little annoying.
Socializing. Actually socializing isn't the problem you think it is. My daughter is extremely social by nature. No child too young, no adult too old to be a good friend. The problem is getting her to realize you can't socialize all day and some people do like to spend time alone. She has a big heart and wants to share with everyone. The hard part has been her finding out that not all people are great wonderful and sweet. That people can be mean. Kids can bully. And learning how to entertain one's self is an art and a good skill.
Thank the Lord for his blessings of good family, special neighbors and meeting those needs at just the right time.
Homeschooling itself offers so many benefits that it's hard to top the list. But I'll try.
- Less planning. I only have to focus on the lessons for one child. And here's a secret. Sssshhhh! Bob Jones sends me this nice booklet called Video Lesson Guide. In it contains all I need to know for each class each day. Any extra supplies for crafts or what have you. What texts we'll be using. What worksheets are to be done. How long the lesson should take and all in a nice orderly plan. But I truly admire those who lesson plan for more than one child. My aunt homeschooled her 6 children! Can you imagine!?
- I can tailor the education just for her. Even though we use a box curriculum I still tweak it to meet her needs and those of our household. We go back and forth from using the DVDs to one on one lessons. Sometimes we take a lesson further sometimes we edit a lesson and add from supplemental material. With one child it's a bit easier to do this.
- Bonding. Wow do we ever bond! My daughter is adopted and there was some worry in the beginning (not from me) about her being able to bond to us due to her preemie status and adoption in general. I did a lot of things when she was a baby to help foster the bonding process. We did baby-wearing (you know in one of those neat cloth carriers). We didn't co-sleep but somehow when she outgrew the crib she would find her way into our bed in the middle of the night. One night I rolled over, not knowing she was there, and knocked her out of the bed. Oh woe is me! I was more upset than she was but we still laugh about it 7 years later. Worries squelched! Homeschooling has allowed us to become very close and learn a lot about each other. Many times a lesson will spark a heart to heart discussion that lasts far past the work text. How did God know we would be so right for each other? He just knew. He is the author of adoption.
Now I probably could have listed such a plus and minus list for homeschooling more than one. Children are a blessing from the Lord. Whether you have one or more.