Homeschooling an only child is certainly different from homeschooling a group of siblings. There are some challenges you’ll need to overcome and plenty of myths you’ll encounter along the way too. Don’t get discouraged, there are lots of perks too!
Successfully homeschooling an only child is doable and it’s amazing! I love sharing our homeschooling journey with all of you and today I’m excited to give you my very best tips for homeschooling an only child.
Keep reading to discover how we make homeschool a family affair, build a supportive community, and embrace the differences along the way. You definitely don’t want to miss this!
Make Homeschooling A Family Affair
My first helpful hint for successfully homeschooling an only child is to make it a family affair. Homeschooling is a way of life and embracing our journey is the first step towards ensuring that we are encouraging Emily to be a lifelong learner.
Our homeschool days aren’t just me and Emily at the kitchen table. Instead, we take advantage of long car rides to listen to our favorite podcasts, play trivia games, and listen to books on tape. We take field trips together as a family to local parks, museums, and farms. Adopting a family movie night and a family game night have added all kinds of extra learning fun for all of us too!
Subscription boxes, family road trips, and even time spent swimming in the pool are filled with opportunities for us to build a deeper connection, get curious, and make homeschooling something the whole family is part of on a daily basis.
Sometimes that means waiting for my husband, Kevin to get home from work or moving a field trip to the weekend when he can be there. Making homeschooling a family affair doesn’t have to just mean incorporating dad though. You can have lots of fun using technology to incorporate cousins, grandparents, and friends via Zoom too.
Find A Community Who “Gets It”
Finding your community is very important when you’re homeschooling an only child. When the doubts about “socialization” and your own homeschooling worries start to creep in, having a community of homeschoolers who “get it” can really help.
There are lots of places you can look for a community. Social media groups can be a great place to begin. Attending homeschool days at local museums and parks can help you meet other families on the same journey too.
You can join The Waldock Way Community is a group on Facebook you can use to find other like-minded homeschool families all over the world and right in your neighborhood too. It’s a great space to ask questions, talk about what’s going on in your homeschool, and get fun ideas you can use along the way.
Take Care Of You, Too
One important lesson I’ve learned since becoming a homeschool mom is that it’s really important to take care of yourself too. I love the pitcher/cup analogy, so let’s use that. Imagine you are a pitcher filled with wonderful amazing things and your child is a cup needing to be filled.
All day long you pour from your pitcher to fill your child’s cup, but what happens when the pitcher is empty? What happens when you have nothing left to pour out? That’s why it’s important to take care of you, too.
Self care refills the pitcher for another day. If you’re not taking care of yourself, it will be very hard to successfully homeschool your child and very easy to get “burned out.”
Recently, I’ve adopted a new way to take care of myself and give us all a bit of space too. I like to call this best tip “learning lunch.” During this time of the day, Emily eats lunch while watching an educational show or listening to a podcast of her choice.
While she has her time, I can have my own lunch in peace and spend some time in my room refilling my pitcher. It’s the perfect time to call a friend, do some laundry while listening to a podcast, or watch a YouTube video I’ve been wanting to see. Whatever I choose to do, it’s time for me to breathe and reset.
Outsourcing Isn’t Failure
Have you ever thought “Gee, I wish someone else could teach this!” when tackling a challenging math lesson, starting a foreign language, or cringing over an art activity? If so, don’t worry. Outsourcing a lesson, activity, or subject isn’t a failure. In fact, it’s one of my favorite ways to help make homeschooling an only child a success.
If you’re not into baking and craft projects just make you cringe, try signing your homeschooler up for a class at the local community center, library, or with an online learning platform like Outschool. These classes can make homeschooling more fun and engaging!
Plus, it’s a great way to give yourself a break while adding another aspect to your child’s learning environment that’s really valuable. We love taking classes and participating in activities via Outschool and Zoom to learn about unique topics like veterinary science, one of Emily’s passions.
Different Is Not Less
So what’s the most important tip for successfully homeschooling an only child? Remember, different is not less. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparison is the thief of joy. I know it’s difficult, but try not to spend your time comparing your homeschooling journey to mine or any other homeschool family you know. Just because your homeschool is different, doesn’t mean it’s less successful.
Our kids are all amazing and unique with equally bright and fun moms. Tap into your child’s own amazing uniqueness and match your journey to it. Then, embrace the ride!
On that note, I’d love to hear about what makes your unique homeschool life a success. Share your favorite tips for homeschooling an only child successfully in the comments. I can’t wait to read all about it!