Socialization and the Homeschooled Only Child

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Is homeschooling an only child an issue?

When I saw Carlie’s post on Facebook that she was looking for contributors from a homeschooling an only child perspective, I thought, “Hey! That’s me!”  I eagerly sent her an e-mail because I love this blog, but I didn’t expect to be chosen.  When I did receive an offer to join the Managing Your Blessings team, I began thinking about what I could write that is unique to homeschooling an only child.  Honestly, I hadn’t given the topic much thought.

I have thought about other only child issues such as, “How am I going to get anything done today? She is so bored without someone to play with!” or “She’s already 5, if we don’t have another baby soon she’ll be so much older that they won’t have a close relationship.”  I never considered that having only one child would be a homeschool issue.  If anything, I considered it a plus! C gets to have all of my school time attention, there are no distractions and I only have one child to plan for.



I was so surprised when I sat down and typed, “homeschooling an only child” into Google.  So many people were questioning whether they should even homeschool if they have only one child.  Apparently, homeschooling an only child takes the “homeschool kids’ socialization” issue to a whole new level.

While reading through various forums and posts I found, I actually started to question if my daughter’s reservations in public situations were my fault because I chose to homeschool.  She really isn’t comfortable staying with anyone other than select family members, even for a short amount of time.  She has no interest refuses to go to Sunday school.  I had to stay with her for the first few co-op classes because she was scared to stay without me.  For a moment, I felt like maybe I was wrong and that she needed the social interaction school provides.  (I now realize the folly in that thought.)

c on swing

I had to stop and remind myself that C is an amazing little girl.  She is so funny and bright!  Thanks to our choice to homeschool she is able to work at a much higher level than most Kindergarten kids.  She reads at a second grade level, she knows more about animals than I do and she is full of love.

She isn’t on a path to become a socially awkward stereotype either.  She enjoys playing with kids her age once she has gotten comfortable.  She laughs uncontrollably when she finds something funny and she loves to tell jokes!  Her favorite:

knock knock

Do you best you can by your family

In this day and age, I’m not so sure it’s a big deal that she isn’t comfortable staying with just anyone, even if it is people we know.  While I do think she would enjoy Sunday school, I am so blessed when she picks up on things from a sermon at church.  A few weeks ago our pastor was preaching from the story of Joseph.  It was a wonderful message about how God is consistent.  When we got home C wanted to watch Joseph the movie Joseph King of Dreams.  She had been listening during church and wanted to be reminded of how God moved in Joseph’s life.

Is socialization a bigger issue for those of us that homeschool one child?  It probably is.  I plan on sharing ideas on how to find classes or groups to join to help with that.  However, I don’t think this potential con comes close to outweighing all of the wonderful pros of homeschooling!

If you are homeschooling, or thinking of homeschooling an only child, I hope you are encouraged today.  You are doing the best you can by your family and I have so much respect for that!  If you are struggling with doubt or frustration with your homeschool, I highly suggest the book Joy in the Journey by Lori Hatcher. (Affiliate link)  Lori includes a devotion for each week of the school year.  It has been so encouraging for me!

I would love to help you in this journey!  Please leave a comment letting me know the problems you face or concerns you have about homeschooling an only child.  I will try to address them in future posts.  I am honored to be a part of the Managing Your Blessings team and I look forward to interacting with you here as well as at my blog, Joy Focused Learning.


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  1. I’m homeschooling an only child as well. It really is a blessing but I know I have to be more intentional about social time with friends and such. I also have one that takes awhile to warm up to new situations. That has nothing to do with homeschooling (I’m the same way and I was a public school kid!).

    It’s encouraging to read posts from other only child homeschool families.

  2. I’m homeschooling an only. When she was younger I worried about friends and socialization. She’s older now (almost 9) and I don’t worry so much.
    It is a blessing being able to be with my daughter as she learns and grows. I can focus totally on her during homeschool (she loves that) and help her with struggles and cheer her on through triumphs. She’s actually very outgoing and will play with anyone from babies to 90 year olds. For a while I really worried about a friend and then the Lord blessed with a neighbor’s granddaughter.
    It is a journey and we’re learning as we go along. God knows where we are at and can meet the need if we remember to ask him. Thanks for the link the devotional.

    1. That is so great that God blessed you with a close by friend for her! It is very encouraging to hear that is is outgoing. 🙂 We also really appreciate that I can put all my focus on her during school time!

  3. Angela, it felt like I was reading back over my own journals. I homeschool an only, nearly five year old boy. I look forward to reading more. If you are on G+ there is a homeschooling only children group, you are probably already there 🙂 Thank you. Tara.

  4. I have not found any (none) research that indicates, much less proves that the structure of the typical school is an effective way to teach a child social skills. I guess Jesus must have been really socially awkward, since the typical structure of the general classroom is actually very young. I think it so strange that people make up these words to define their fear of difference, but Jesus called us to be brave and to be set apart (different). I’m not pinning homeschool against public school, but simply saying people need to stop using their fear to create phenomena (lack of socialization) that is not validated by science. I think the article is good, but I simply think we need to stop giving this man created fear about socialization merit. Most people bring up the word just because they think that’s what you’re suppose to say when you hear the word homeschool. Give it a rest people.

    1. I agree that socialization shouldn’t necessarily be a “homeschool” issue. Sadly though many people today still view the choice to homeschool as a risky move from a socialization stand point. There have been many times this first year of homeschooling that people have asked me what we plan to hand the ‘issue of socialization.” Even sadder, Bill Nye recently stated on his facebook that he doesn’t believe a homeschooler would be able to grow up and have a career doing groundbreaking work (he gave the example of designing a new airplane) because they wouldn’t have the social skills to work in a group.

      While I believe that homeschooling actually gives us more time to truly socialize with others from all age groups and walks of life, sometimes as a human we second guess ourselves. Sometimes even when we know what is best, it can be hard to ignore all the doubting voices around us. That is where this article came from for me. It was where my mind was at when I began to dig into this “homeschooling an only” point of view.

      I hope that articles on socialization and homeschoolers won’t have any reason to be written because they won’t be relevant. I would love to see that fear and doubt erased but for me on that particular day it was real and from the heart. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. it’s tough…never thought i’d be the mother of an only (came from a large family and so did hubs), but we struggle with lonliness too. we are involved in a whole lot of things just to she can be out and about. glad to see i’m not alone.

    1. Thank you for your comment. We didn’t plan to have one child either. So far that is just how it has worked out! I hope you enjoy the posts from Whitney and myself from the “homeschooling an only” perspective!

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