Family - Will MFW work with only one child?

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Family - Will MFW work with only one child?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:36 pm

Only child
KimR wrote:I am starting CTG with my ds(11) this year. I have two boys but my older ds(19) is no longer living at home. You could say that younger ds is being raised as an only child. This is our first year homeschooling and were both excited!

My question is, are there others out there with an only child? I've noticed that most families that post on here have two or more, which means the siblings can play together. My concern is ds getting lonely for other kids his age to hang out with. He basically only has mom to entertain him during the day.

During the school year, all of his friends are in school. He is friends with another boy that homeschools, but schedule conflicts don't always allow them to get together. We are joining a homeschool co-op, but that only meets twice a month. He is involved in other activities; Scouts, a choral group, etc. These all meet at night.

What do you single child families do so your child doesn't get bored and lonely for other kids? Thanks

Kim
Kim,
Our family is very similar to yours, and my ds (10) is soon to be the only one left at home. We are about to begin our 3rd year with MFW. I know there are moms of "onlies" using MFW, as well. (Heather?)

Homeschooling one child is easier in some ways, but it is also more difficult in some ways. My ds is an extremely social child -- I think those "caboose" kids tend to be. Here are some of my experiences:

1. I spend all morning "with" my child. He doesn't crave siblings or age-mates as much as he craves just having "somebody" to talk to. I don't try to do housework or other things during those 4 hours (unless it works out, but it's not in my plan).

2. He needs to do "loud" things in frequent bursts throughout the day. A quiet household can seem like an endless monotony to ds. He plays me a song on the piano every hour or so. We have videos from the library around lunchtime or in the afternoon. We sing a hymn and/or a fun song every morning. We have a lot of things we like on CD. We have fun with the MFW games, play math games, etc. We "try" to go out on nature walks & bike rides (Minnesota isn't the easiest for that!).

3. I always allow ds to be off school at the same time as the neighborhood kids. I actually ask him "which school" he wants to match, as there are so many different schedules. Last year, no matter what schoolwork wasn't done, he was "off school" at 3:30 just like the neighborhood kids -- those kids may not have finished everything at their school but still get home at 3:30. (There is an occasional exception - I'll call that "homework" or "detention" LOL!) So there are usually kids at our door at 3:30 & they know he is just as available as anyone else. One friend even gets dropped off at our house by his schoolbus on occasion.

4. When I choose "social" activities for ds, I make sure they fulfill that goal. Some co-ops and other groups have a classroom feel or an individual family focus, but I look for a group feel. I looked for kids interacting with one another.

5. I set up days for ds to spend with family members on occasion. He does a downtown field trip with my sister when she visits every fall. He's gardened with my other sister. He's had a "fun day" with his Godmother. We've went to lunch with dad. He's even spent several days with grandparents in the country or fishing with his Godfather -- a luxury that homeschoolers can enjoy :o)

6. I know a homeschool mom of an only child down our street. She said he was lonely but they now realize that he really learned a lot about himself during those years. She said that in elementary school, they schooled all morning, took a long walk or bike ride at lunch, & he spent most of his afternoons in his backyard studying nature or in his basement building things.

Anyways, when he got to 6th or 7th grade, she did start "teen Fridays" and invited all the homeschoolers in our town to her home on Fridays. It started out as a board game night, with only a few attendees. It progressed to a different activity every Friday with his parents chaperoning. Now they are full-grown high schoolers & do many things together. It's been wonderful to watch.

HTH, Julie
Last edited by Julie in MN on Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

KimR
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:29 am

Unread post by KimR » Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:10 pm

Thanks Julie! You've been a great help! Some nice ideas. I know what you mean about ds needing "loud" time. Mine loves for his presence to be known. It can be rather entertaining (but not always) -LOL-. I also can empathize about the nature walks being difficult. We live in upstate NY.
Fortunately, the co-op we've joined is very family oriented. It's a pretty laid back, fun bunch of people.
We're excited about MFW. We've already done the first day (per ds request). He wanted to see what it's going to be like. He LOVED it. I just pray he keeps his enthusiasm when we actually start school.

God Bless. Kim
Kim ~ Wife of Mike; Mother of Matthew (21) and Tyler (12) Currently using RTR <><

Fly2Peace
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:36 pm

Unread post by Fly2Peace » Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:48 am

Kim,
In our home, there are several years between our two dd's. They CAN play together, but it takes more effort, especially for the older child. So, when we are having a "tough" day wanting playmates, or such, I have written a list, or maybe kind of a mission statement about WHY we are doing this...
It may not help my dd's, but it does help me get through those times.

:)
Fly2Peace (versus flying to pieces)

Linda, TX
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:59 am

one hs child

Unread post by Linda, TX » Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:47 am

I have one s(20) not living at home and my d(8) doing CTG this year. My kids are also basically "only" children. My s was in PS until his Jr year of HS. He had no friends to play with even though there were kids in the neighborhood. Schedules and day care and all. I fretted for many years over his not having friends outside of school.

When he was grown and out of the house the Lord put an idea in my head that maybe it was His plan for no kids to be around. Maybe He was protecting my son. Maybe I wasted a lot of time fretting and fighting it. My son is happy and healthy and social on his own in Mass. I am not saying that this is the case with your children, but that if you seek the Lord, He will provide. My d does not have a problem with no other kids around. We do church, dance and support group things.

When we do school sometimes my husband and I do them, too. Like the test on the countries last year and the coloring and art and music.

As long as you are concerned about it and trying your best the Lord will provide the rest.
Daughter Dallas (1997) and son Steve (1986)

Heather (WI)
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:02 pm

Re: Only child

Unread post by Heather (WI) » Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:30 pm

Julie in MN wrote:I know there are moms of "onlies" using MFW, as well. (Heather?)
YES--me!! ;o)

I think with an "only" child, you tend to seek out those opportunities for good, healthy socialization, because you know they don't have siblings to play with.

I know we make a conscious effort to have regular "play dates" (like once or twice a week usually), with good Christian friends from our homeschool group, church, or neighborhood. In fact, dd (8 1/2yo) has a friend over right now, that she brought home from VBS, and they are playing in the back yard.

As for the school day--if you think about the actual school hours, they never let you talk in class much anyways (I know I always got in trouble for "over-socializing" LOL!!) Then, at lunch or recess (which isn't much time), they usually have some play time--but overall it isn't a lot, AND it isn't always positive either (think of how mean kids can be to each other).

Then, like Julie (and you) said, after school hours can include play dates, trips to the park or YMCA, etc. AND, we also try to stick somewhat to the "School Calendar", so that she has summers off with other kids.

Anyway, (sorry I'm rambling a bit), I think you sound like you already have a good grasp on it, and on providing good opportunities for your ds to be with other kids. AND, it sounds like he is happy, too--which is great!!

Have a fun year!!!!!!!!! (and many more to come!!)
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR,
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!

KimR
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 9:29 am

Unread post by KimR » Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:45 am

Thank you to ALL of you for the advice and encouragement. I know I'm probably worrying about it too much. Heather, you're right about PS and the socializing issue. That's one of the points I bring up to those "concerned" relatives. Linda, thanks for putting things in perspective about the Lord providing. I know I'm not supposed to worry because He always works things out for the good!
Kim ~ Wife of Mike; Mother of Matthew (21) and Tyler (12) Currently using RTR <><

cbollin

Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by cbollin » Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:07 pm

Bandy wrote:I was wondering, since MFW is structured to give families with multiple kiddos the ability to combine (this is what I believe to be true, correct me if wrong!), would it make sense to utilize MFW programs if your family has only one or two children?

I guess I am wanting to know if MFW works equally well when utilizing the programs for an individual, not a group of kiddos. Do the programs seem to be written to mainly serve multiple kiddos at a time instead of just one?

Trying again:
Is MFW written to be utilized as an individualized curriculum or is written, and best used, when combining kiddos? Does it work equally as well either way.
I've seen several people on forums and loops using it with only one child. On one of those I "know" one grandma using MFW for several years to teach her grandson. They are in ECC this year and started with the MFW K program.

I think you'll be fine.

hoping Cyndi in WA is able to chime in.....

-crystal

hsmom
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:58 am

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by hsmom » Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:09 pm

Just chiming in to agree here. I only have 2, only one is really in the program so far, we're loving MFW. No need to have a large family to make it work.

BHelf
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:58 pm

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by BHelf » Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:25 pm

I have 3 children but only one is school age and this is our second year using MFW and it works wonderfully for one or more than one child!! :)
Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months
http://www.asimplewalk.wordpress.com

Bandy
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:14 pm

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by Bandy » Fri Oct 23, 2009 8:15 pm

Thank you all.
So glad you were able to understand my most confusing question!
I am glad to hear that MFW will suit us just fine.

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by Julie in MN » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:02 pm

Hi Bandy,
Looks like your question has already been answered. But I've got to chime in, too :)

I've used ECC through 1850MOD with my youngest, all by his lonesome. It's been wonderful to be on this journey with him.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

momtogc
Posts: 78
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Location: AR

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by momtogc » Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:47 pm

Yes, I think MFW is a good choice regardless of how many children you are teaching. While Adventures is not part of the five year cycle, we are using it with our only daughter and it works very well for us. We plan to continue using MFW each year. I can't imagine any reason why it wouldn't work for us even though I don't have more than one child. Also, I have a friend who is using ECC with her only son and it's working fine for them, too.

I think the reason MFW can be used for multiple children is that with the basics (math, LA, etc) you use books that are on their individual levels. With history and Bible, the younger can learn along with the older, grasp what they can because it doesn't have to be in depth for them at a young age. Plus, on some of the years, MFW offers book on topic for the younger reading levels. I hope I am explaining this correctly and hope this helps in your decision making!

Meleasa
Mom to Gabi, a fun-loving and happy girl!
MFW 1st, Adventures, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp-1850

doubleportion
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Contact:

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by doubleportion » Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:56 pm

We have been using MFW with one child for the past two years and it works great! I am sure it will work equally as well when we fold in our two youngest, who are five and seven years younger than their sister. I think it is designed for both ways. We love every day in MFW!

:)
Edie

Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:10 pm

I guess I am wanting to know if MFW works equally as well when utilizing the programs for an individual, not a group of kiddos. Do the programs seem to be written to mainly serve multiple kiddos at a time instead of just one.
You've already been given some great answers, but I'll type awhile anyway. :)

I've used MFW with my only dd for K, 1st, ADV, and now ECC. We just love this company. I love the fact that each year is a "complete" program. Yes, you add in Math and LA in ADV and above - but the material is so good as written. There's nothing to "plan" or "create." It is very engaging for my busy dd, and fun and easy for me to teach. Especially this year, since we've started ECC, I can appreciate how the material could be adjusted for children of different ages, but I love suiting it to my dd's needs and abilities. And since there's only one of her we generally finish our day in a shorter time-frame, which gives us time for all kinds of rabbit-trails if she's interested, or more time for reading, crafts, cooking or volunteering at church.

I was raised from K-12 in ACE paces, which would have been an easy route for me to take with my dd -- I only have one kid, so let's sit her down with some workbooks and we'll be good. But I wanted something more interactive, and I'm so thankful that God led us to MFW. Using multiple real books and having activities so clearly laid-out, and just being involved in what she's doing is priceless to me. I would definitely say that using MFW with one child as opposed to several is easier, not more difficult. But that's all I know. And I would highly recommend it to anyone that's considering it. It is completely adjustable to your family's needs.

HTH - I'm a little biased. :)
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:15 pm

Cyndi,
I was hoping you'd chime in (as Crystal mentioned)! It's kinda fun seeing all us teachers-of-one chiming in on this thread. Hi everyone!

My dh was just talking about the special challenges of homeschooling only one. He was lamenting that there is absolutely no peer pressure on my ds - and sometimes he could use some ;) Ds has said he wished "someone else" could answer my questions at least once in a while :~ And, I must admit, there are times I wish someone else could dig into some of the messy projects with ds... besides me! (Well, I do recruit others on occasion :) .)

But I digress... I really love being an all-day parent to my son, especially during these middle school years when he is changing by the minute. I'm not missing any of it -- and I'm able to direct and encourage the way I always wanted to with my olders. I love that our days are laid out for us with structure as well as fun. We both have learned and really absorbed so much.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Bandy
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:14 pm

Re: Wondering about the structure of MFW

Unread post by Bandy » Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:24 pm

You have all been so helpful. :)

I really appreciate having you busy ladies stop in and take the time to answer my questions so well.
I had made the decision (a short time ago) to go ahead and use MFW for my two girls without the intention of even trying to combine. I just kept wondering if MFW was tailored more for the families that combine, rather than those that have only one kiddo in a program at a time. I have learned now that MFW can be used either way.

We recently started MFW 1 with my daughter after I took some time to decide if we would finish out her current program or not. I tried to make the final stretch with our original program but, decided that MFW 1 would be better time spent for a variety of reasons. I had to submit our schooling plan to our new cover school and I ended up handing in MFW 1 as our core program. So, its official, we are going to commit to MFW! I am thrilled about it and really looking forward to moving on to the Adventures program...it is boxed up for the time being so that I don't get tempted to start it too soon!
Oh, and thank you to those who helped me to decide between starting with Grade 1 or Adventures. Grade 1 is going to be the perfect fit. I just needed a little nudge and some experienced insight to see that.

Thanks again for sharing your time and helping me, and thank you for having me here.
Looking forward to our experience with MFW and here on the board with all of you.

PS...I am already loving the read-aloud suggestions in MFW 1. I took my dd to the library and we came home with about 30-40 different books. The science is going to be wonderful. I can see that not only will it be educational but, we will be making some really neat memories together discovering, reading, talking, and sharing.

Guess I am in a chatty mood again. :)

jasntas
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Teaching an only child?

Unread post by jasntas » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:43 pm

Yodergoat wrote:This is my first post here... I'm so glad to have found this board for ideas and support for my first "official" year of homeschooling!

We're going to begin using MFW Kindergarten with our 5 year old daughter this year, probably fairly soon. It seems perfectly suited to her personality, especially with so many units themed around animals. I'm so thankful that we have been led this direction to find MFW!

Our daughter, Gail, is an only child. Of our six pregnancies, she is the only one who survived to be born. But, thanks to God, one baby did make it... our sweet little daughter. We are a very close and happy little family, although Gail does occasionally get melancholy about not having siblings like her friends at church and homeschool co-op. She doesn't know anyone her age who does not have at least one sibling, and most of her friends have one or more younger siblings. She occasionally gets wistful about a baby brother or sister. But she also knows that it may not happen, and says she is content with our small family.

I have noticed that in the homeschool community, only children are very rare. I have to admit that sometimes I feel a little inadequate compared to mothers who have large families, wondering if I could do it with as much grace as they do! I remember, as a child, seeing Bill Cosby do a stand-up routine about how parents with only one child don't even really qualify as parents, and I have to admit that sometimes that is how I feel when I find myself trying to add to conversation with moms of multiple young children. At the weekly homeschool co-op, Gail and I come in with my little insulated lunch bag for our meal when others tote in a whole cooler! It seems like a whole different world that I'm not a part of, the hard to imagine world of the big happy families like in the magazine Above Rubies! Everyone is so kind, but somehow I still feel
inadequate. I know I shouldn't, but I sometimes wonder what the other moms might think (the ones who don't know our history). You know, "Why did they wait so long to have a child? Don't they want more? Do they not allow God to bless them?" Many people in the past have wrongfully assumed that we must not want to be encumbered with many children, but it's not so. I think I still carry around the hurt of those false assumptions. I was talking to a Dad of several children at our church, commenting about his "full quiver" and that we just had one arrow. He replied kindly, "But yours is a very special arrow!"

I know that homeschooling a single child will be "simpler" in many ways because I will not have the (blessed) challenge of teaching mulitple grades, distracting toddlers or nursing babies, but I wonder if there are other aspects that will present different challenges. Occasionally I see it from the other perspective, knowing that sometimes two or more children can help, teach and entertain each other, while Gail just has me (while her Daddy's at work at least)! I suppose only-ness must have its own set of challenges. I belong to a forum called "Homeschooling Only One," but it is not incredibly active.

Now (at long last) to my actual question... Are there any parents of only children that can offer me encouragement and advice about this? Will Gail lead a lonely existence as a homeschooled only child, or will we just grow closer as we work together in our little family? What can I expect as I teach an only child? Many thanks for letting me unload all my baggage, and for any responses!
My heart just breaks for you. I have two so I don't have the same challenges but I can relate to a degree in some areas. We were childless for 11 years of our marriage. Church on Mother's Day was absolute torture for me. The mothers were always recognized yet there I sat, bawling. This would surprise me every year for some reason. You would think I would have remembered the year before and prepared myself.

I do have two but I also feel a little odd at hs outings with other families. You are right, most hs'ers I know in real life have at least 4. We were standing in line at the store yesterday and this family in front of us had a girl and three boys. My dd commented on how big she thought their family was. She said she was going to have a bigger family. She has talked about having 5 kids many times. Apparently she wishes she had more siblings as well. Maybe even a sister or two.

I also feel odd sometimes that I'm a bit older. Most people think we have older kids in addition to our two. It was really odd going to our local high school graduation last week. Most of my classmates and friends had their 'babies' graduating. My oldest isn't even in Jr. High yet. :~

I think you may find hs'ing to be less challenging in some ways but more in different ways. That's ok.

I struggle with what others might think of my kids. My ds is dyslexic and I highly suspect my dd is also. I worry that people at church or other activities will think they are dumb or that I'm not doing my job as a hs'ing mom by not teaching them to read. They are learning but it's at a lot slower rate and with different methods than the traditional. It took us seemingly forever to have kids and now all I seem to do is worry about them in other ways. I think we all have something.

I don't know if any of this was helpful. I just wanted you to know that someone else, although not in the exact same situation, can relate. I'll be praying for your encouragement. You and I know how hard it was to get that special gift God has given you. Hang in there. You'll do a great job!
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
Mom to Justin (15) and Carissa (12)
ADV & K 2009-2010 . . . RTR (again) & WHL 2016-2017
http://tammiestime.blogspot.com/
The days of a mother are long but the years are short.

Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:03 pm

Yodergoat wrote:Are there any parents of only children that can offer me encouragement and advice about this? Will Gail lead a lonely existence as a homeschooled only child, or will we just grow closer as we work together in our little family? What can I expect as I teach an only child?
First off --- (((HUG))) You have to promise me that you will stop beating yourself up. YOU are the mother that God chose to give to your dd. She is the dd He wanted you to have. His plan is perfect. We may not always understand it, but His plan is His plan.

I've done the little lunch bag thing at co-op and sat next to the cooler. You know what? They're half-crazy! :-) That's OK, I'm half-crazy, too. 8[]

In one of the two groups we belong to, there is another mom (older than me, if you can believe that!) with an only daughter my daughter's age. In the other group, there at least 3 of us with only daughters. That's 4 people in my little city that are homeschooling only daughters. And we are all *awesome* at it! Just ask us!

My dd has a zillion stuffed animals, some of which are her siblings. It works. She still asks for a little brother or sister sometimes, more so lately. She just turned 9yo. I had to give it all to God years ago to avoid going nuts. When we decided to start having children, I became pregnant right away and had a healthy, awesome girl. Since then, I have not gotten pregnant again that I know of, without a medical explanation. But God is God, I'm not.

Being a team of 3 has its advantages:
*My dd and I are very, very close. She talks to me about everything and tells me things that other girls would clam up about.
*It's cheaper to go places with only one kid, so we enjoy a lot more outings than some of her friends. Plus, paying for extra-curricular classes is cheaper with only one. I know that's not much consolation when your arms are aching for a baby, but it's just a fact.
*Running a schedule with one child is easier. We are very flexible and get to have lots of fun with Daddy that way. Same is true for my friends with onlies.
*I can teach to HER and adjust everything to fit the level she is at -- tutoring one-on-one can be so beneficial. And school time is shorter.

My dd does crave time with friends at times. She's also very good at keeping herself occupied when needed. She goes to church, AWANA, home school park day, field trips, and gymnastics. She's got waaaayyyy more friends than I do! She also is quite friendly and strikes up a conversation with just about everyone - as long as she feels "safe." My dh and I always joke, "She's been reading "How to win friends and influence people" again! LOL!!!! Those things come naturally to her -- plus she watches her parents closely. I've found that onlies imitate their parents more so than other kids. They are our little buddies. You do have to remember to take time for YOU. You need some adult time. Especially once you start homeschooling full-time. Take breaks and enjoy being a grown-up, or you will discover that your best friend is 30 years younger than you are, and that's not necessarily healthy. (Confession is good for the soul here.)

I feel like chatting, but I don't want to overstep. If you have some questions, please ask. I am soooo not an expert, but I am walking a similar path. I know, know, know that you can do it. Your daughter will love you for it! Mine does. She thinks homeschooling is the greatest thing ever and has never once asked to go to an outside school.

Another big (((HUG))) and I'm saying a prayer for you right now. I'm proud of you for asking for encouragement when you need it. That's huge! I'm so glad you're here!
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL

705emily
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by 705emily » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:02 pm

First of all THANKS so much for being so open! I think you will find that many of us feel the same way you do--but maybe not in quite the same situation.

Just wanted to share that I grew up in a family of 13 kids! I was raised in a community similar to Amish--but left when I was 17. My family was very close, and I missed them desperately--and while I went on to study music and complete my college education--deep down all I ever wanted was a family of my own. God took me on a long journey of many, many years before I finally met my dh! I longed for a family of my own and when holidays came--I wept each time because I was single. Through all this--the Lord brought me very close to Himself, and allowed me to minister to others in ways I could not have if I was married. I was 37 when I met and married my husband! (He had never been married before either!) --38 when I had my first child and 3 weeks shy of 40 when I had my second.

If I had had my way--I would have had a bunch of kids--but I am so thankful for my two precious ones. I understand what you mean about homeschooling families having lots of kids!! But I believe God's blessings are so varied! One set of circumstances is not better--just different and just as special. Many of the folks our age are grandparents while our kids are 8 and 10. My closest homeschooling friend was raised an only child but who has adopted 11--yes ELEVEN children!! (The cooler and lunchbag analogy is evident here :) Sometimes I feel inadequate next to her, as her quiver seems so much fuller than mine--and my life is so different than hers, but then I see she has many burdens than I have. I guess we just have to believe that God knows what's best for us. The hard part is resting in that!!

Your little one is going to be SO surrounded with love and attention, and that's GREAT! It will all be OK!

Blessings!
Irmi Gaut
MFW K, MFW 1, Adventures, ECC this year!

'And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in Glory!'

momtogc
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:25 pm
Location: AR

Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by momtogc » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:57 pm

I also have an only daughter, who is almost ten, who was born after much struggle and after being told that I was unlikely to have children. I love that God's plan was different than any idea my doctor could come up with. ; ))

I'll try to share thoughts and what has worked well for us. The challenges of raising an only are so very different from raising a big family, but still very real challenges. One of the biggest is the lonely factor. My dd talks about wishing for siblings more now than at any time, and it's been pretty constant over the years! Argh. The best thing you can do is to make sure she has playdate opportunities. Not to say daily, or even weekly, but whenever it feels appropriate, and probably a little more often as she gets older.

I have found that parents of large families are usually willing for you to take one, or more, of their children somewhere. It gives the Mom a break, and gives her children an outing. So at times we pick up a friend or friends and go to our house to play all afternoon, or go bowling, or to the park. One time I called a friend who has three school aged children. She was keeping two of their grandchildren for the summer so she was glad to let us take the three on an outing, giving her some time with the grands.

One thing that we started doing when our dd was about seven, was to have Girl Parties at our house. Dd could invite the same number of girls as her age to come over for pizza, popcorn, movie, playtime, the sky is the limit. We've had Valentine parties, Christmas parties, parties just because. It's so much fun for them all, helps with that socialization thing, and just makes dd feel special. Last Christmas we had 15 girls at the party (we had to have this one at church because the house isn't big enough). It was so much fun, gives dd some really good memories, and helps build friendships.

Also, be sure to let her be involved in a couple of homeschool group activities, or children's programs at church, sports, or something that gives her that outlet for making friends. You might find that your dd has an imaginary sister. Mine does. "Kaitlyn" doesn't come around as often now but when dd was five, that sister was with us a lot.

If I were you, I would try to play with her yourself some, but without giving every minute of your day to her. That's my challenge - my dd wants all of my time, all of the time, and it just can't be that way. Teach your child early (like now) to play independently. At her age you could say to her, "Gail, Mommy is going to do xyz for a little while. Find something to play with in your room for xx number of minutes." Maybe 20 minutes at first, add a little more time as she gets older. My dd will now go into her room or toy room on her own and play alone for a while, sometimes an hour or longer. (I guess one perk of having an only is that with a three bedroom house, the spare room can easily turn into a toy room.) : )

Also, my husband has a standing "Daddy Daughter Date Night" with our dd. They go out to eat, go to the arcade, or shopping, whatever they feel like doing. It gives me some alone time (desperately needed) and gives the two of them some special time together, too. It may seem odd to "need" alone time when there is only one child in the house but when that child follows you every step you take, all day, every day.....

Sometimes I have to set boundaries. ; )

The benefits of having an only are as someone else mentioned - more expendable income so you can go and do things that larger families might not be able to budget for. The one-on-one teaching is so awesome, too. And yes, you will build a strong bond with her. My dd and I have a very close relationship. It's so precious and special. Because they are around adults so much, I think onlies tend to be very mature, articulate, self motivated, and outgoing, all positive traits. (Not that children from larger families aren't all these things, too. I'm just saying...)

It's very easy to long for what we don't have. I find myself wishing life had been "more fair". Why wasn't I chosen to have more than just one child? But there is a reason, God's reason, even though I don't understand it right now. I sometimes think it's because He has something special planned for my dd and that she needs to be an only as a part of that plan. I have to remind myself to be content with what the Lord has blessed me with. And we have to teach this truth to our onlies as well. It's hard for them to learn it but it will help build great Godly character.

Thank you for sharing your story. I hope knowing someone else is in the same boat helps. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the lunch bag. And pray for lots of grandchildren. (((Hugs)))
Mom to Gabi, a fun-loving and happy girl!
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gratitude
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Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by gratitude » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:51 am

I am responding as an 'only' child, rather than the mom of an 'only' child. It looks like you are getting some great responses from those who can relate to your shoes. Before I go any further I am sorry for the miscarriages you have had. I only had one, and it was hard on me. I am sure your journey for your special arrow wasn't an easy one.

Perspectives from an 'only' child:
Yes, I wished for siblings growing up until I was age 10 or so, then I realized that there were some great advantages to being an 'only' child.
My parents and I were very close. It was a blessing to have the close relationship I had with them.
I didn't have to compete for attention.

The bigger families in your co-op will be a blessing for her. We had neighbors for years that went from 4 children to 9. It helped me a lot to see all of the babies, and help fold diapers. It gave me the experience of the noise of a big family. In contrast my best friend loved coming to our quiet home.

I loved school, but my favorite moments of growing up were being with my mom in the summers. I wasn't lonely as an 'only'. I loved having that close relationship time with her, and I didn't have to compete for it. Yes, she heard my begs for more siblings; but I really did like the time I was able to spend with her.

Another benefit was the fact I was very close to my grandmother. My favorite visits were when it was my mom, grandma, and me (during the summers when dad was working). She was my greatest inspiration for my faith. If I had been playing with my siblings we would not have been as close.

Adult conversations were a part of normal life.

On the mom note:

There was a mom with an 'only' in a home school co-op I was part of for a few weeks. I never looked at her as strange, or wondered why she didn't have more, or thought of her in any negative way. If you want the truth I thought 'wow' that would be so much easier! I love having 4 children, but it is a lot of juggling. Your dd may have 5 children; I always said that I would have 4 or 5. But think of all the grandchildren if she does. It means that you are doing a wonderful job of making her feel that children are valuable and important. My mom did the same for me, and it made me want to have my own family some day.

Blessings,

TriciaMR
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Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:19 pm

Yeah, I was gonna say, I never look down on anyone who has less children... We "only" have 3, and that's all we're going to have. Most families we know that homeschool have probably a minimum of 5. But, our pastor and his wife went through infertility and have adopted "only" 2. It is unlikely that an adoption agencies will let them adopt more as they are now over 50 (and their oldest is just going into 8th grade, and the youngest 4th grade, so they've still got a few years in front of them of raising the two they have). I have another friend who had twins as a result of infertility treatments, and that's probably all they will have.

I really don't think that many Christians out there "judge" us for the number of children we have, even if they are "quiver-full" types. The "world" probably looks down more on those who have big families than small families. And that may be something you can use as a ministry focus, or as a way to be able to share the gospel. Because if you were a family of 12, that person might not even talk to you, but because you have 1, they will.

My first baby (a girl) died shortly after birth, in the month of January. That first mother's day was very hard. (For a long time, our pastor's wife didn't come to church on Mothers Day because of how the infertility affected her.) Even now, I find Christmas and Mothers Day (maybe even Easter) a bit sad because I only have part of my family with me here. God granted me another girl, and for that I am so thankful. I try to remember each day to be thankful for what I do have, because you never know...

If you ever get any questions on "are you going to have more?" or whatever, just say, "We've left that in God's hands." People who haven't been through infertility can be very insensitive, and people can be nosy about stuff that really should be none of their business. You should hear the stories my pastor's wife tells. It is really awful.

So {hugs} for what you've been through. Enjoy your girl.

-Trish
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jer2911mom
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Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by jer2911mom » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:32 pm

Hi,

We've struggled with infertility as well, and are now blessed with two precious girls. We're left wondering what God's plan is for our future. We have come to realize we just have to trust that it is good. Jer 29:11

I don't have any advice for homeschooling onlies but wanted to mention a ministry that has really helped me through our infertility struggles. It is called Stepping Stones. They have a newsletter that is mailed to your home for most issues and sent electronically for a couple if issues to save costs. It is under the Bethany Christian Services umbrella, which also does adoptions. I have found great comfort in these free newsletters, because they always remind me I am not alone and also remind me my situation is usually not nearly as bad as others'. It has really been a source of hope and comfort to me. I just wanted to provide the link in case this is helpful to someone else: http://www.bethany.org/step

Blessings to all of you,
Kathy

jasntas
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Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by jasntas » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:58 pm

This has been such a sweet thread. Many heartfelt comments and stories have been shared.

I didn't even think about it until I was reading some of the last posts but I was virtually raised as an only. My older brother is 8 years older than I. So he was 16 and driving when I was 8 and still playing with dolls. My younger brother is only 4 years younger but wasn't adopted into the family until I was 16. His mom was my mom's sister. My parents took him in and adopted him when his mom, my aunt, passed away.

I can't remember ever really wanting any other siblings and I NEVER wanted a sister to have to compete with. I know, very selfish. I loved getting all the attention. On the other hand, one of my best friends only had a brother that was only a little over a year younger than she and she ALWAYS wanted a sister and always told me I was her sister. She and her brother fought A LOT!! That's one thing an only never has to contend with. ;)

My friend and I are still really good friends, btw. Maybe it just depends on your perspective, I guess. :)

(I too, had endometriosis. One of my many issues.)
Tammie - Wife to James for 27 years
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Re: Teaching an only child?

Unread post by MuzzaBunny » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:39 pm

I just love this thread. What a huge blessing! I need to read through every last word when I have more time.

I'm chiming in now to say that I'm homeschooling an only too. I have all the concerns that you have. DD will be 5 next month and is the light of my life. We never planned on an only. We waited 5 years to start our family because we married young and needed time to save money so I could be a sahm. Then life got very messy. My mother became very ill and I became caregiver. The shock of that helped us decide to start our family and I lost our first baby to miscarriage. DD was born 11 months after my first loss. We've tried but failed and now we no longer try. Our life is ... complicated... and it would not be for the best to add another baby. Trust me, I know Above Rubies really well - those articles are like knives in the heart. I have to trust that the good Lord knows my heart, knows my situation and loves me and will welcome me Home if I have just this 1 or if I have 30. I also trust that He knows my sweet girl and knows the plans He has for her. He won't let her down if I continually trust in Him to walk this path. We involve her in church and library and have plans to add more later on. She has her "cat" brothers and utterly devoted grandparents. She is happy and so are we. I choose to focus on the God-built-in benefits of an only: no crazy mommy, undivided attention, a little bit more money to go around, and especially how very close we are. As we strolled along the other day, I asked her if she wished for a brother or sister or if she liked it as it is. Her answer, "I like things just like they are, Mommy. You're just like my sister."
It felt like God just blew me a kiss. ;)

ETA: My arms always ache for a baby. I love to hold newborns that belong to my friends and I always privately cry afterward, but God is so good. He knows all our hurts and He is truly the great comforter. Saying a prayer for you.
Bunny

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