I recently heard homeschool veteran and speaker, Carol Barnier, say that attending a homeschool convention is the only place she has to hang her head and say, “I ‘only’ have 3 children” when questioned about the size of her family. Almost like it’s shameful or embarrassing.
I can relate.
I “only” have one child.
While Carol spoke these words in jest and for the comedic affect, there is some truth to the idea that many people expect that homeschool families ought to be large families — your quiver should be full.
Laying aside the criticism that sometimes comes with not have a “quiverful” of children, it’s admittedly challenging to homeschool an only child at times. There are many projects and activities that are just more fun or simply work better when you have more children.
But on the flip side of that coin, there are some benefits as well.
There are many things we would not be able to do and see if there were many children in our family. From traveling and field trips to museums, curriculum to extracurricular activities, homeschooling an only is just cheaper.
Not that I never waste opportunity, but for the most part, I know that I am spending much quality time with my son. There are opportunities for discussion that might never occur if he was away all day at school, or if he had to compete for my time and attention with siblings. The responsibility of discipleship is one I take very seriously. I have more time to devote to laying a good foundation for our son.
Our family loves to travel, and because my husband’s job affords us the opportunity quite frequently, we are able to travel a lot. Sometimes trips are planned ahead of time, but oftentimes, they are spontaneous. Only having one child means that we can drop things and go as the opportunities arise. Plus, the cost of traveling with one child makes it much more affordable to do so. If we had a bunch of kids, we’d be staying home a lot more for both of these reasons.
What? I know. You thought socialization was the negative aspect to homeschooling an only. You’ve pictured my poor son, home alone all day with his mom, never interacting with anyone. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Homeschooling affords me to opportunity to purposefully expose him to many opportunities for socialization in the real world — homeschool co-ops, at the library, grocery store, post office, Dr.’s office, while we volunteer, helping neighbors, and everywhere else we go together. He is able to watch me interact with all kinds of people of all ages and does so himself. Spending all day “socializing” with a classroom of other 14-year-olds hardly prepares a child for communicating effectively in the real world. (P.S. service, ministry, sports, music and playtime in the neighborhood, all those things we have time for because of homeschooling = time with other people, adults and kids)
In case you’re wondering . . . my quiver is full with my only child. Our days are full and busy, and my husband and I bear the responsibility for raising this one child to have the mind of Christ, for His purpose. Why He saw fit to have us bring up one child only is a mystery to me, but I trust Him.
Marcy Crabtree spent nearly 15 years as an Ob nurse, sometimes juggling homeschooling with the job she calls her first ministry. Grateful that her main ministry today is at home, she has been married to Tom for 18 years, and is 14-year-old Ben’s proud momma. Her homeschool style is delight-directed with lots of unit studies, lapbooks and notebooks. She is greatly influenced by Charlotte Mason’s love of living books. If she ever writes a book herself, it’s likely to be titled “Homeschooling by the Field Trip Method,” though homeschooling by the “rabbit trail” method might be more befitting. She blogs at Ben and Me, and would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.