IHEN.org Logo
IHEN.orgE-mailAboutJoin IHENVolunteerDonateSearchHelp

The Hoosier Homeschooler


homeschooling an only child

Hoosier Homeschooler #3.000 | February, 2009


I am going back and fourth trying to make the right decision for my family for next school year. My son is an only child and we are thinking of homeschooling him next year. But I have concerns with him being the only child. He goes to church, 4-H, has friends that live down the road (and they homeschool.) I guess I just want to make sure that going from public school to homeschooling isn't going to be too much on him—going from being around children 24/7 in public school, then going to no interaction with other children on a daily basis. Do you have any advice for parents who homeschool only children?


I remember your position well.

We began homeschooling our only child in 4th grade—after an excellent experience in a public school no less. We wanted to take advantage of the educational value of the tutor-environment of homeschooling and eventually avoid our less than adequate middle school.

I was absolutely scared to death that we would end up as the silent mom and daughter sitting at the kitchen table in stark solitude. So I jumped in like we were killing snakes right out of the gate. I considered "Socialization" as one of our core subjects and we made some financial commitments to make it happen.

We got a family membership to the YMCA. (Fishers branch has lots of homeschool classes, by the way.) She joined a travel soccer team. (The cheap kind is approx. $200/season.) She joined the Indianapolis Children's choir. I found just about every homeschool group in the Indianapolis area and kept my ear to the tracks for "things to do". We joined groups for field trips, park days, service projects and just about every activity I could find. I did this with a burning desire to form a social network for her that I know all people need.... But truly over these last 3 years, the social network that got a major boost and has been the lifeblood of our homeschool is our "family social network."

By this, I mean that we have grown closer as a family. I believe our time together is more plentiful and more meaningful because we are a homeschooling family. In public school the shear quantity of time devoted to school prep, school, school functions and homework—sucked the blood out of family time. School was the tail wagging the dog....

To make an valid comparison, you do need to take an honest look at just how much positive social interaction your child receives from the school setting. And while you are at it, ask yourself a couple of my favorite questions:

1) Does this (activity) represent real life?

2) Is this going to be a situation your child will regularly experience as an adult and therefore will need some training in it?

For instance, let's look at an average public school classroom:

As an adult, will your child regularly be in a large group of adults their same age, be told what to do by a leader, be expected to keep up with the pace of the other adults—required to speed up or slow down to keep pace? Hmmmm.

I had many work experiences and not one was similar to this. After looking at 'schooling' in this new light, I concluded that that type of learning environment wasn't "real world" at all.

Take the social aspect: Will your child, as an adult, socialize with all the same age adults? If so, do you think that is healthy? I don't. I value the wisdom of my older friends and the vigor of my younger friends.

I had the luxury of growing up with older adults in my life, but no younger children. That experience, I recognize, is a deficit in my childhood experience—being able to relate to younger children and babies.

My point here is obvious, "real life" and homeschooling includes all ages. "Schooling" by age and geographic location segregates and discourages social diversity.

So how about this: The timetable of a typical school day is so tight that information must be literally pushed into the brains of the students. Children stay all day, every day at your school—even if they have a stellar performance record. People don't realize that attendance is compulsory in today's public schools, not education.

So are these examples "real life" adult experiences? Is there a boss out there anywhere that is going to tell your grown adult child exactly how to solve the problems on the job? Is the force-feeding of information optimally teaching that child how to think through problems and DISCOVER solutions?

I am a public school kid but my public school didn't seem to revolve around standards the way they seem to now. So I know I CANNOT compare my public school experience to anything my child would receive today.

The word "Inquiry" is a buzz word in the educational world right now. Why? Because they realize it is critical for children to mentally discover, explore and research the world around them. And yet THAT TAKES TIME schools have available to them. They are too busy rushing through their standards and teaching to the test. They have to do that because funding depends on it. I understand their system. I understand why they have to do what they do. I sympathize with their IMPOSSIBLE task. But because I understand the system, should participation in that system me mandatory for my child? These are questions all parents need to ask themselves, then act accordingly.


The first two years this burning desire to find friends for our daughter just about consumed me. We met homeschoolers from all over. And most importantly, we met homeschoolers who not only live nearby but also share many of our interests.

It's a treasure hunt and it's worth it.

Now we are on our third year homeschooling. I've instigated field trips and play outings and clubs and whatever I think I cannot provide by myself in a one-child environment. You will have to work at it. You will have to find things to get you both out of the house—though maybe not every single day. And you know what? It's fun! It will breathe the life back into you. And those scared feelings you have in the beginning, will simply recede with every action you take.

You are so fortunate to have a homeschooling family in the neighborhood. I can almost guarantee there are more nearby. You'll find them.

It's amazing that even after three years we just found (last week) a homeschooler in her choir who she sees twice a week. She lives almost within walking distance and we didn't even know she homeschooled! Confounded homeschoolers! They're beneath every rock! But ya gotta get out there and look!

So where are we now? In a comfortable place. We have found really nice families and really nice kids with whom we CHOOSE to socialize. Even now as we cut back drastically on those expensive activities in light of the economic impact on our household, we know that we've found them and it doesn't take cash to nurture the relationships.

You need to expose yourself a bit. Join every homeschool YahooGroup that interests you. IndianaHomeschoolers is a statewide group that networks with many local groups. Homeschooling information is always a few clicks away.

Once you are comfortable with a group, you will want to introduce yourself, your general location and the age of your child on those YahooGroups. Take a deep breath and jump in! Look at it as an adventure. Some you will try only once, some will hook you entirely. I can tell you are on your way. Just like I was.

I think that if I were given a chance to do everything all over, my only wish would be that I would've started homeschooling sooner!

Keep talking to us. There are decades worth of amazing experience in this group.

Well it's time for me to go. We're starting late this morning because we were out late last night socializing with a ton of homeschool friends at a talent show!


 editor's page

 current post

 current volume

 daily ed quotes


I was absolutely scared to death that we would end up as the silent mom and daughter sitting at the kitchen table in stark solitude. So I jumped in like we were killing snakes right out of the gate. I considered Socialization as one of our core subjects and we made some financial commitments to make it happen.



HH Gallery Photo
Copyright Bennett and Company

Write to the Editor

Submit an Image for our Gallery




IHEN ClassAds


Helping Hoosiers Homeschool
since the turn of the century
Read our Mission Statement


Indiana Historical Society




Send us your favorite quotes. ©2002-2009, IHEN.org
All Rights Reserved

The Hoosier Homeschooler Newsletter posts via YahooGroups and this web site are produced and managed by the Indiana Home Educators' Network.

Copyright ©2002–2009, IHEN.org  All Rights Reserved. > IHEN E-mail Directory >  Read IHEN's Mission Statement

Web production and consulting services provided by:
Bennett and Company