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Homeschooling an only child

Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:57 pm
by new_style27101
I have a 7 yr. old daughter and I look seen that most of the people that post here have at least two children or more. My question is that if you're homeschooling an only child is socialization aspect any different? Do you do more activities with other children or do you teach them by themselves and then do schedule activities such as dance, karate, and music? I would like everyone to respond especially parents with only one child . thank you in advance.

Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:37 pm
by ncmom
Depends on what you call "socialization". Personally I don't consider my children sitting in a classroom with 30 other kids their age socialization. To me that is survival of the fittest.

What I consider socialization is interacting with other people of ALL ages and learning how to interact with them in an intelligent, courteous, and respectful manner.

If you are concerned about your child not being with other children then I would suggest taking her to the park or find a homeschool support group and join. You could also use your local "Y" or parks and rec dept to meet other children. What about scouts or 4-H or church.

My kids have had no problem finding other children to play with even though they are at home. They play with neighborhood kids and kids at the park. Kids they meet at church and town functions (that we always try to attend).

I really think it depends on the parents attitude toward the situation and how much they get their children out to do things. My kids can interact with any age group starting with the very young and going all the way to the very old. They know how to talk to them and interact with each age group. Obviously they prefer kids closer to their age but the point is they can do it. Most of my sons friends are older than him and he relates just fine. My daughters friends are all either a year younger or a year older and she gets along with them just fine. My kids however don't get along with each other. My children are 13, 9, and 6 mos and rarely play together and when in the house are rarely seen in the same room. They do however fight well! So having more than one doesn't always mean they will have friends in the house.

Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:17 am
by Minniewannabe
We are homeschooling our 8 year old DD. We do have another child, but he is 20 years older than our daughter, married, and lives in another city. It gets worse. We live on an island with no school and very few children, if any. (We haven't met them but have been told there are 8 kids living here somewhere.)

But having an only child, in my opinion, makes it easier to socialize. We do much driving over to the mainland, but manage to have lots of friends because of Upward Soccer, Upward Basketball, and dance & acting classes. With an only child there's more time to socialize and it's easier to supervise the socializing as well. Unfortunately, we haven't met any friends through our church, but normally that's a great place to socialize. Some of the things you try will work and somethings won't. It's just takes multiple tries sometimes to find the right group of kids for your child.

And finally, the advice in the post above referring to socializing with different age groups is invaluable. Our only-child-left-at-home homeschooler can easily talk to adults as well as pretend play with a 4 year old.

To sum it up, I'll bet you'll be posting a year from now how socially exhausted you and your child are from all the activities, play dates, and other groups you are in. :wink:

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:56 pm
by Jazzy
Donna C has a book called Homeschooling Only One that may be helpful to you.

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:52 am
by pecangrove
I have a 5 1/2 year old, and that has always been a concern for me, too.
We are part of a HS group that meets 2-4 times a month, plus we go to church on Wednesday nights, and he has baseball or soccer in the spring/fall. There are friends in the area that we try to get with at least once every week or so, plus some cousins he sees fairly regularly.
I think it's been fairly easy to give him free time to play with other kids, and like most other HS kids, he'll just as soon talk to an adult as play with a baby, and all those in between. I think as long as you get in as much free play time with others as you can, be it at a park, McDonald's or Chick-fil-A playground, church functions, HS group get-togethers, wherever, that will more than enough.
When you think about it, PS kids really only get about 20-30/day of actual free time, and that's at recess/lunch. The rest of the time they are "socializing" they are actually being told to sit down and be quiet. They are not really socializing at all -- just sharing space with other kids their age.

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:37 pm
by ArkansasHomeschooler
Until November, we had an only child. She starts seventh grade this fall (our fifth homeschool year). The baby is seven and a half months old, so it's like having two only children in an odd sort of way.

We have had no problem with socializing. We attend church three times a week where she has cousins and other children in her age group. Of course there are people of all ages for her to interact with. Until this year, she played softball, but we haven't really missed the ball field. There are also summer programs at the library and community learning center.


Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:50 pm
by seekingmyLord
I have an only child, a 7yo social butterfly. I had concerns about this myself, because we have no family around and currently we have only one vehicle, which I get only one day a week for errands and piano lessons--although I do get the van the entire week when my husband flies out for the week to work, which has been quite often lately.

First, I would like to say, I don't have an answer for anyone else, I only have what has been provided in our situation.

I spun my wheels on this issue for the last couple of years. I have tried just casually meeting with one other homeschooling parent and her daughter for over a year and it was good, but eventually the Lord closed that door. I had joined an inclusive homeschooling group just starting over a year ago and it was really a co-op with heavy expectations on their members. It has always been really difficult for me with my husband's work schedule to make even short term commitments, but I did not learn my lesson. Even after I prayed about it and felt I was led to put my efforts more with the church we had been led to attend and not join another hs group, I still tried another much larger Christian hs group and--believe it or not, we never got to do one with them the entire year!

So, now the Lord has my complete attention on this matter and I feel He tells me that He will provide what He desires for my daughter to have when he desires for her to have it, so I just don't worry about it anymore. My daughter is very friendly and has very good social skills. I have no doubt that the Lord knows what He is doing and I just need to seek Him.

Posted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:50 pm
by pecangrove
Absolutely -- the Lord will never lead you wrong. Only when we go off on our own do we fall.

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:46 am
by debating
I am doing the same thing. I think it will be fine.

Socialization when HSing an Only

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:16 am
by Nellie Katz
Hi. I am new here and Googled in order to find out more information about socialization when you have a homeschooled Only.

My child (boy, age 6) is very sociable and intelligent and can speak clearly and confidently to people of all ages. I agree with what has been said about this aspect (that being out in the world and involved, vs. being cooped up with 30 same-aged kids all day, is actually better for socialization)

HOWEVER, that being said, I have a problem. And yes, I know this is my fault, but he thinks he is the center of the universe. Of course this awareness allows me to change my behavior along these lines NOW, but what about the damage that's already been done? I took him to the parade today and he interacted confidently with all the other little kids, but to him they were like props in HIS world. He wanted to play with their toys (it went well, they shared, but not enough for HIS satisfaction and he began to protest loudly), he wanted to entertain little toddlers (which was great until the toddlers had to leave with their parents, and he protested loudly, as he was no longer the center of attention), and then he began to provoke other children, and when they fought back, the next thing I know, fists are flying. Frankly, I was thinking that some of the bigger kids might give son a little instant-karma lesson about what happens when you pick fights, but alas, I had to stop him forcibly because he was mixing it up with a boy smaller than him, and I didn't want the littler guy to get hurt.

So the problem here is that he's a fantastically well spoken and poised socialized person as long as he is getting his way. This is NOT GOOD. Oddly, punishments just increase his anger and don't seem to educate him very much about the basic problem, which is how to behave appropriately with a crowd of other children and be cognizant of THEIR feelings.

He does well in structured situations, like his Sunday school classroom, or his nature classes at the Audubon place. But in free-form situation where there is no authority in place, it's not good. (except for his homeschool co-op, which is wierd because that is unstructured but he's much more decent with the other kids....maybe because it's a mix of ages? Less like "law of the jungle"?) Anyway, at the parade I looked around today and noticed that all the other parents were happily talking to each other and not paying attention to their kids. But if I tried that, by the time I turned around he was either running off into the crowd or, like I said, pounding on some other kid.

It has occurred to me that maybe he really DOES want to learn how to play with them, and maybe provokes them because it's the only way he knows how to "break in" to their play and be involved. So unlike in the past, where I might feel "oh, we can't do this or that activity because he won't behave..." I think I am going to go the opposite way and get him TONS of practice in various activities, and insist that if he does not act like a decent person, then that is HIS problem that I expect him to fix. Perhaps, all along, I have had too-low expectations of him rising to the occasion, and instead have just sacrificed my own sanity and freedom in order to "manage him." He needs to learn how to manage HIMSELF. Obviously, as a parent, that is what I want....but I guess I need to act like it and be less controlling.

Maybe I am answering my own question. It's just awful that I've made this mistake and now we are paying for it.

It really made me want to put him in school, you know? As though the problems I'm witnessing were created by the fact that I'm HS-ing an Only. But then of course I realized I wouldn't want to do that to his EDUCATION, so instead I think maybe Cub Scouts is a good place to start. At least that way we could retain our educational freedom and get some practice working with others.

Thanks for listening, everyone!! I just got home from the parade and joined this group, so all this is very fresh in my mind...which is why I am ranting! :-)

Re: Socialization when HSing an Only

Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 7:05 am
by seekingmyLord
Nellie Katz, we do not know each other and I don't presume to know the entire situation, so I am at a disadvantage, which usually means that I am in the perfect position for putting my foot in my mouth. This is a sensitive subject so please understand that I am only responding with a heart to help and I am only considering what you have described. I am not placing a judgement on you or your child.

I have an only child, a girl, who could easily think she is the center of the universe, but my husband and I have provided her with certain boundaries. For instance, she is not to enter our bedroom, even if the door is open and she can see us, without knocking and asking. We set that rule from the time she was in a toddler bed. We felt that she would someday need to make her own marriage relationship a priority and this was one gentle reminder that she is not the center of our lives in all ways, but that we have a place that is ours and ours alone that she will honor.

Being that she is a girl, she probably has a gentler approach to making friends than many boys would, but she is often confronted by a neighbor girl. I believe in letting children work things out, but NOT when there is violence involved. My daughter can play as rough as most any boy, but she knows the difference between rough play and meanness. What you describe about your son suggests that he does not understand that difference clearly and he tends to have a bullying nature. Again, I am not judging you or him; I am just stating my perceptions so that it may help you change how he approaches other children who are younger and smaller than he is.

I know this sounds odd, but we have always had well-trained dogs, even the herding breeds, which tend to chase cars, squirrels, etc., have been perimeter trained without using electronic devices. It was done with love and consistency, but first we needed to be established as the Alpha. Now we had one very Alpha male once and he was a large German Shepherd. The funny thing about him was he would obey me just fine, until my husband was within view, and then he would ignore me and only obey my husband, because to him I was the leader over him only when my husband was not there. You need to be the Alpha at least when the father is not there.

Also, we train the dogs at home until they are doing well with it, before we take them into social situations. I believe that these concepts work well with children too, particularly children who have habits that need to be changed.

My daughter at three years old would get a bit wild at storybook time at the library. She is naturally enthusiastic and I did not want to change that, but she needed to tone it down a bit. So, I would prepare her by talking to her in the car before we went in to the library. I would tell her how I expected her to act and if she did not control herself that we would leave right there and then, regardless of what was going on and even if it was not over. The first time I did this was within the first five minutes before it even started. The second time was weeks later and happened towards the end just before the crafts part. After that I would ask her before we went in how she was to act. That is all it took for her to get it. Eventually, I did not need to prep her, she just knew what was expected of her.

If my daughter had the tendency you described, I would do the same with her. I would have prepared her about how the parade would be with people all around, that she was to stay with me, and that she was to treat other children nicely. I would give her, but not tell her, two warnings and then I would leave. Period! I do not talk, just walk. It will discussed it later at home, but not there.

It does not matter how much I wanted to see the parade, if we were there with other people, or whatever. If I could not leave just like that, I would not go at all. If he cries, screams, kicks, or whatever, just keep going the best you can and go straight home. No stopping for food or shopping. When he is home, if he is under control, you can talk to him. If not, he goes to his room or in the corner. No TV, no games, no food. Wait him out until he is ready to listen and you can talk calmly.

I have even removed most everything out of the room once, when she continued with a tantrum in there and she got one thing back each day she was good. Only had to do that twice too.

You might have already tried these things, I would not know, but it just sounds to me like your son first needs to have a clear understanding your expectations and boundaries so he will respect you. Then, he can recognize boundaries with other people and respect them, even when they are younger and smaller.

I hope I have not offended you. That was not my intention.


Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 4:26 pm
by Nellie Katz
Hi there, and thanks for that. You didn't offend me. In fact, I sort of had a revelation along the same lines just after this event. I realized that I had NOT been setting expectations high enough, nor had I been firm enough. We have been WAY too accommodating, and in exchange were getting nothing of the sort! It was a crummy arrangement.

So I've taken the attitude that here are the rules we've set as parents. You follow them, and we'll have a great time. If you don't, then you have a problem, as in (a) we don't get to stay at XYZ event or (b) you have a consequence of some other kind. I thought that I'd been doing this all along, but on some level I don't think it was enough. Because quietly, in order to AVOID having confrontations, I realized I've been giving up my right to privacy when I need it, my right to quiet time, my right to visit a certain place or run a certain errand, my right to a living room that hasn't been made over into a playroom. (Yes, yesterday I took every toy and every creation OUT of the living room once and for all, and like parents and relatives before me, I said "No more playing in the living room; here are the four OTHER places you may play." (And to my surprise he seems to be enjoying his room!!! After a long time-out today in which he was instructed to pick up all his toys, the timer went off and I said he could come out. But he opted to stay in there and is still having fun playing. In his ROOM!!! I never thought I'd see the day.)

I know why I have such boundary my upbringing my father was authoritarian and mean. "Obey or be hit" was the way things were run. My mother was fearful of him too. In a desire to avoid a creating fearful, angry home, we went too far the other way. We haven't seen KIND BUT FIRM parenting modeled that well. But thankfully there are so many GOOD parents all around us in our various groups, that we can see what kind, firm parents look like. Parents who own their authority with grace and who don't have to strip away their children's self-esteem in order to assert it.

Being a parent has taught me so much, it's amazing.

Re: Thanks

Posted: Wed May 27, 2009 6:59 pm
by seekingmyLord
I so get what you mean! My father was abusive and my mother feared him and to us she was neglectful--not good roles models at all. My husband had good parents, but not at all expressive with their love.

My own salvation has been waiting until I forgave my parents and working with children of all ages through church for a few years thus observing different parent styles. I had my daughter rather late in life, when many women my age are becoming grandparents, so I was very certain how I planned to parent a child.

Basically, I raise my daughter the way I wish I had been raised. I wish my mother had standards, I wish my father had been appropriate in his disciplining, I wish they would have had a healthy loving relationship relationship, and I wish that my artistic talents had been encouraged. Thankfully, my daughter is much like I was so I know exactly how to raise her, even though she looks more like her father. Funny how that works!

I think you have it figured out. As I was reading your first message, I was reminded of this one mother telling me that she had no privacy in her home. She had three girls and their father was deployed overseas so she was doing everything herself. I asked her if she ever just closes the door to her bedroom and she said that the either walk right on in, or if she locked it, they all cried at the door--same with the bathroom, too. I remember that I felt sorry for her, because the children were so in control of her.

The hardest part is being consistent. What you are doing is not going to harm him. He needs boundaries and he is going to try to push on them to move them out every so often, but remember that you need these boundaries in place also. One thing that I believe is a tendency of parents with an only child is that we slip into being the play buddy, rather the parent. I want my daughter to be my best friend, when she is a mature adult. In the meantime, I am her mother. I need to be a responsible parent who plays with my child, but I am not her buddy. That way she may have a better role model and be a better mother to her own future grandchildren! Anyway, that is how I think of it all.

And furthermore....

Posted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:04 am
by Nellie Katz
What's frustrating about it all, when a person's been incorrectly parented, they can go on and make these parenting mistakes without even knowing it! Here I had been thinking that it was common sense to just respect others' privacy, or to treat them decently, or I expected that if I told my kid to do that, he'd just do it because of course, that made perfect sense! We do it for him; of course he'd do it for us! (or so we thought) I felt that training him like a circus animal was degrading; after all he's a person, not a pet.

And yet, I find that he DIDN'T just do the right thing upon my requesting it. This resulted in battles & so on. Actually, looking back, it would have been easier on my child and doing him a FAVOR to "train him like a pet" on these things, because then he'd know just what to do, and would feel proud, be well-received by others, etc. This never occurred to me, because we had been "trained" as children with fear of harsh punishment, and I didn't want to use THAT method, obviously. What I didn't realize was that the opposite of "harsh punishment" isn't "no training" !! LOL!!!!

In the mean time, however, I was (am?) being (no doubt) regarded with many rolls of the eye as "spoiling my child", "permissive parent," etc. When all the time I was thinking I was treating him well and thinking I was doing the right thing!!!


Right now, I see another training issue popping up. He interrupts me mercilessly. If this post is incoherent, it's because I can't entertain a complete thought. So, any ideas how best to teach the "don't interrupt" principle without threats? I can kindly tell him I expect him not to interrupt all day long, but he doesn't listen, so I guess there's another battle to take on.....stay tuned! :-)


Posted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:59 pm
by Nellie Katz
With regards to my last post, today I was proactive, and as a part of this morning's lessons, I included a lesson on manners. We did role play about how not to interrupt people, and also how to listen (i.e. sit still and actually look at the person), and how to behave in a group presentation setting (i.e. a lecture or performance or class); i.e. raise hands etc

Later that day we attended a robotics demonstration by some fellow homeschoolers. He did very well!! I could tell he wanted SO much to get up and walk around, but every time I reminded him to stay seated, he did without protest. And at the end when it was question time, he dutifully raised his hand for his questions. I was so proud.

Truly, with better parenting from me he is going to do just great.