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I am interested in hearing opinions, comments, thoughts, stories/experience, advice etc on unschooling with only one child. I have heard that its "better" to have more than one, so I wonder if an only child will be disadvantaged. At this stage my husband and I have not decided to have any more children however the feeling is coming up so was hoping to find some guiding light here  ;)

Thanks everybody!

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Having more than one can make some things easier and some things harder. But the biggest factor in overall betterness is personality. Which might make nearly everything easier. Or everything harder. If you have one who loves staying home and another who wants to be out and about you've got instant conflict of needs. If you have two high needs kids they can both feel like you're not with them enough.

The decision of whether to have another child should be about wanting another child regardless of the potential difficulties and not to fill some role in unschooling.

My kids are 8 years apart so in some ways I have to "onlies". When Ray was young, before Mo was born, he needed so much attention and support it was much easier with just the one. And now that he's grown, it's often easier on Mo to have the run of the house - she can set up her big, ongoing projects without needing to work around another kid's needs. 

Ray's very social, and Mo's very much an introvert, so I know it can "work" with either of those needs - although it did take a good bit of driving for a few years to get Ray out and about as much as he wanted, still, the harder parts of that were dealing with a second child who would rather be home.

~~Having more than one can make some things easier and some things harder. But the biggest factor in overall betterness is personality.~~

I totally agree with Joyce.

I have an only child which makes some things easier ans some things more difficult. There are no needs in conflicts besides his and mines. No sibblings and no dad means just my son and me deciding what to do or where to go.

On the other hand, he is a very social child, so we go out a lot to spend time with friends.

I would suggest not to compare your family with others (any kind).

Hi, I have one child and here's what I love about that -

I get to give her lots of attention.

I get to deeply, deeply understand her in a way that might be more of a challenge if I were mothering more than one.

I am faced with some of my irrational tastes more starkly (and thus pushed to grow through them) like my dislike of board games... oh boy, have I had to confront that one! But if I won't learn to play with her, and enjoy it, who will?

I get to follow her passions without concerning myself about whether I am spreading my time too thin or unevenly between siblings.

She grows her interests without sibling comparisons (for good or bad) from either me or herself or others.

She loves socialising precisely because she has a small immediate family (the rarity of diversity in her immediate family makes any  other people that much more interesting).

She's also less prone to group think or cliques in social settings because she hasn't had those experiences normalised in her home environment (not an issue with all large families, but can be one)

As we're on a low income she gets to have a less materially stretched life than if we had the outgoings that come with a larger family.

She knows that if she were in danger my focus would be 100% on her (and that builds a sense of security that may have been different if I couldn't make her the same promises as I do now)

She gets to be exposed to everything I am capable of exposing a child to - there is no possibility of me doing something "the next time around" because there is only her and this is my one chance to offer each particular gift to a child of  mine.

I am never comparing her to siblings - my gratitude for who she is and where she is is untainted by thoughts of how something went with an older child or how they might go with a younger one.

There is possibly less chance of being jaded with some things than I would be if I were supporting a particular passion for the third or fourth (or more) time - no thoughts of "Oh  no, not another [complete as appropriate] obsession!"

I get to research only as many topics as she can be interested in at one time (I don't have to deal with several new passions developing across a family at the same time)

She has to use her imagination in ways that children with siblings don't (she has a great ability to see adults as children, to imagine teddies as sentient, to connect on a feeling level with the non-human elements of nature and so on) 

She gets to be free of sibling rivalry, sibling jealousy and parental preference for a sibling (I know they aren't inevitable but they happen often enough to see their absence as a blessing)

She gets to build models, undertake projects and read books (and more) without other children disturbing her concentration when she's in a place of flow

When there are only two tickets left for a desirable event we can buy them and not have to disappoint a sibling!

She doesn't have to share a cat (we have three) "One is mommy's, one is daddy's and one is mine"

She gets to break the spine on every new children's book we get.

She gets to open every resource pack, letter, or package labelled or illustrated as "educational" or "fun" or "for children" - if she wants to.

She always gets to help me bake, garden, decorate, shop, clean, organise, sew etc. if she wants to (as no one else is offering I'm grateful for all the help I can get!)

Every day I look at her and listen to her and love her as if these moments will never come again - because I know for sure that nothing approaching these moments will ever come again in my life (I certainly don't keep it up all day but I rarely go a day without stopping and tasting the awe for a while) - I reckon that kind of appreciation must transmit something special to my daughter.

I'm sure there are more positives but it's late here in the UK and I'm tired... hope this list got you seeing the best in having a solo child (not an "only" child - she's not an "only" anything).











Wow thank you all so much!
Over the last few weeks as I've discovered & learned about unschooling & started making changes, any obstacles I thought may come up with having 2 babes are starting to slip away as I become more connected with my "solo" girl. Since posting this discussion we have decided to grow our family (yaay!) keeping in mind Joyce's comments about personality! Although we've always wanted more children I was fearful before but along with unschooling & other influences in my life of late this fear is dissolving - life is becoming clearer & more beautiful! So thank you all again!

My daughter is my only child. We have a great time of unschooling! If you live in a place with other unschoolers, that will help build a sense of community for you and your child. I do not and I wish I did! I think unshcooling works for us because my daughter likes to have lots of quiet time alone. She's very social too, but really likes her time to study and create uninterrupted. She likes social on demand! Not having a sibling is not a detriment to her or me. My daughter, Cierra is 11. Have fun!

Hello friends, this one I had to reply to.  :)

I will be 40 next February.  I am unschooling my single child, my almost-9 year old son.

We began unschooling after he graduated from Kindercare (for Kindergarten).  Then I had to make the choice for 1st!  The thought of sending my child off to public school terrified me, but being a "teacher at heart," I also didn't want a certain program or "outsider" telling me what to do and how to do it in my own home.  We found the perfect solution in a local unschooling organization - we are watched over by a "Principal" who keeps records, creates photo ID's, etc. but the only thing she requires from parents on a regular basis is a "brief update" once a month.  If you forget, you don't get in trouble, either.  :)  If you feel self-led, tuned in to your child and where they are academically, this is THE way.

I had my first child and due to health reasons, decided it was best to focus on our son and move on in life. I had him at 31, later than most women start a family. And we were a military family to boot - with Daddy gone for months at a time!  He is happy, well-adjusted, social in public at parks and restaurants, and goes to a playgroup one morning a week, and has a great babysitter who comes once a week, also.  

In recent months, I have watched very closely as his mind expands and he seeks out answers for himself on everything from how to jump in his favorite video game to how to spell words that I don't remember having to learn until a couple years later in school when I was a child.  His reading level has grown quickly, and he reads books to my husband and I now that just months ago we were reading to him because he "wasn't there yet."  This has all happened from inside our son, not from forced, repetitive disciplines of any kind.  We have a school "area" with a bookshelves and a work desk in our home, but learning takes place every day - all around us.

I'm rambling on, but to sum up, I will just declare with all my enthusiasm that YES you can homeschool/unschool the single child without severe learning or socializing issues.  This is our second year, and he is learning and growing so quickly - just by being free to observe the world around him and ask any question without ridicule or "hushing" because it isn't the right time.

I'd be glad to answer questions or chat with anyone doing this or considering it... best wishes to you all!

Karen P.


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