What Homeschooling An Only Child Looks Like

Homeschooling an only child is definitely different! There are lots of different ways you can arrive at homeschooling only one child too. Perhaps your other children have already left the nest or maybe you just have one child.

Whatever the reason you’ve arrived at homeschooling an only child, just know that while it might look different, that’s not a bad thing. There are lots of myths about homeschooling an only child. Thankfully, they’re just that: myths. 

So what does homeschooling an only child really look like? We’ve been on the journey for a while now and I’ve certainly learned some things along the way!

Homeschooling An Only Child Can Mean Many Things

Homeschooling an only child doesn’t always mean you only have one child. There are lots of different ways you can find yourself homeschooling just one child.

Perhaps your other kids have already finished school and gone off to college or work or maybe you’re homeschooling a child with special needs best served at home rather than in the school system. Whatever the reason you’ve arrived at this decision, homeschooling only one child looks the same in a whole lot of ways. 

As you embark on the journey, you’ll probably hear lots of myths and “helpful” advice. Just remember, they’re myths for a reason and you’ll soon find the worst ones aren’t true at all. So what’s all the fuss about? Keep reading to discover the myths about homeschooling an only child and learn the real truth too.

Myths About Homeschooling An Only Child

It’s Easier to Only Homeschool One Child

The first myth about homeschooling an only child is that it’s easier. Wouldn’t that be grand? The truth is that the dynamic is totally different. While some things are easier, others can be a lot more challenging to figure out with just one child. 

When you’re homeschooling an only child, you’re their everything. You double as a teacher, playmate, sounding board, mom… you’re it. Having to wear all those hats in one day and be “on” for your child all day can certainly be a challenge. 

Your Child Will Never Socialize with Other Kids

The second myth I hear most often is all about socialization. As homeschool moms, we expect to hear the socialization argument a lot and even the word can be enough to make us bristle. However, it’s sometimes a real concern when you’re homeschooling an only child.

Fortunately, we have discovered lots of fun ways to increase socialization opportunities for our daughter Emily. Online classes that give her opportunities to interact with others her age are a big help. My favorite approach is to teach Emily to get along with and talk with people of all ages, not just her peers. 

It’s Lonely

Is it lonely? That’s the final myth. Homeschooling an only child doesn’t have to be lonely at all! You can find communities of other like-minded families to share the journey. I recommend looking for playgroups, co-ops, homeschool day events, and taking lots of field trips

What Homeschooling An Only Child Really Looks Like

So what’s the final verdict on homeschooling an only child? If you ask me, it’s really not that different after all. We have certain challenges and strengths just like any other homeschooling family. Here’s what a typical day in our homeschooling life looks like.

Start with Strewing

At the start of the day, we take it slow. I’m not a morning person and we are all night owls in the Waldock house so mornings are generally slow and relaxed. I use strewing to help us start the morning the right way.

The night before, I set up strewing items for Emily to discover and interact with at her own pace in the morning. These activities usually last about 30 minutes which is enough time for me to wake up on my own and get dressed.

Since strewing requires that I don’t give directions or help, it’s a great way for me to avoid needing to have conversations before my morning cup of coffee too.

Morning Basket

Then, we move on to our morning basket together. Morning basket time is a time we get to bond together filled with reading, snuggles on the couch, trivia, and mad libs.

Table Time

After our morning basket, we do table time. Table time is more structured work usually done at the table. This is where we do writing assignments, grammar, math, and whatever curriculum we are currently working with. This is a time when homeschooling an only child is a big benefit because Emily gets all my attention for these more challenging tasks.

Learning Lunch

After all of that, it’s time for a learning lunch. We have all come to really appreciate learning lunches since the start of the pandemic because they give us each time to do things independently. During our learning lunchtime, Emily watches a learning video, documentary, or film while eating her lunch. 

While she’s occupied with learning and eating, I have my own lunch in peace and take some time for myself. It’s a great time for me to make phone calls, do chores, or just take a quiet break.

Hands-on Activities

In the afternoons, we do hands-on activities together. These might include anything from a nature walk to a science experiment, trying a new recipe, or taking an online class. Later in the evening we have dinner together and watch a movie or play a game. 

You can see an in-depth look at what a homeschool day looks like for our family in this day in the life video.

What does homeschooling an only child look like in your homeschool? If you’re just starting out, what are you most looking forward to? I’d love to read about your homeschooling journey in the comments, so don’t forget to share.

Jessica Waldock

About the author

Jessica Waldock is a writer, photographer, and homeschool mom of one living in sunny Florida. She founded The Waldock Way as a way to give back to the homeschool community that she loves so much. Jessica shares tips, tricks, inspiration, and unique resources that help ignite a love of learning in children that will last a lifetime.

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