Homeschooling An Only Child

Today was ‘Homeschool Recess’ – the one and only activity that we, as beginning homeschoolers, actually participate in. Due to a endless series of bad timing, illness, the holidays, and bad directions – today was only the second homeschool recess we have attended, but 4-year-old Princess Emily had a ball.

For nearly four hours she ran and played with other homeschooled children. She didn’t even really complain when I said it was time to leave…probably because she was worn out. Within five minutes of leaving she was quietly snoozing in her car seat.

Before she fell asleep she asked, “Mama, what do they do?”

“Who are you talking about, honey?”

“All those mommies there today, what do they do?”

I explained that some of them worked part-time or odd shifts, but that their main job was homeschooling. “Everyone you played with today is homeschooled by their mommies and daddies.”

This revelation seemed to blow her away. And for the first time in a long time she didn’t ask me when she would be old enough to go to school. Instead she said, “I like being homeschooled, but sometimes it’s boring all alone in our house.”

It is winter and life has been exceedingly hectic recently, but excuses aside, she’s right. I feel at times as if I am denying her something, even though she will not be old enough for public school for nearly two more years.

She needs more attention from me. More activities. More chances to learn. And  above all, she needs even more opportunities to play and make friends. She is so amazingly social – she jumped right in and started playing with children she barely knew, and had a great time of it. But I’m realizing I need to do more – one -on-one and activity-wise.

As some of the moms discussed reading I silently resolved to get out the “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.” I resolved to get back on track with book reading and try to read at least 3-5 books every day to her.

Less tv…more learning adventures. Emily has shown a great interest in ‘helping’ and I need to encourage that. With my recent bread-baking kick, I’ve let her help out some, but I think it is time to do more. And despite the miserably cold weather, I think we could definitely take short walks around the block, or up to the pond to see the geese, anything to get her (and me) out of the house, moving around and breathing fresh air.

Homeschooling an only child can be a lonesome affair. How I wish we had tried for another when she was one or two! But that chance passed. If we have another, which I hope we do, the age gap will be a full five years or more.

We will make the best of it, though. And I believe, truly believe, that we can make it work and make it into a positive experience. I just need to make a few more homeschool friends and work on including more activities into our daily lives.

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