May 272008

Possible Disadvantages Of Home Schooling Your Only Child

A school is not just a place for gaining knowledge and a graduation certificate- it is also a microcosm of the world outside with representations from people of different classes, attitudes and outlook.

A school going child learns to make friends, tackle animosity, manage his homework duties and handle expectations of his peers and tutors. These skills prepare him for the world outside and ensure an all round development of the child’s personality.

Can homeschooling provide all these- considering your only child may need more opportunities for socializing and mixing with peers than other children? Is this option suitable for both you and your child?

Company For Your Only Child

A regular school set up will ensure company and give your only child various opportunities to mingle with children across age groups. Not just that, he would find opportunities to participate in group activities like cultural programs, sport events and games.

However you can work around this problem as Nan did. “I was convinced that homeschooling was the best option for my only child Susie. But to make up for the company she was missing, we moved into a larger neighborhood where she could find lots of friends. Also, we enrolled her in a Sunday school, where she sings in the choir. I think the balance is working out just right” she says.

Single Income

Deciding to home school may mean one parent dedicating his entire time for the child. One partner may have to forego his/her full time employment in order to be available for the child. Parents of only children who wish to give both their emotional and material best for their child will have a choice to make here. However, many parents report being satisfied with watching their children learn in freedom and don’t mind the loss of income.

The Time Factor

The parent who opts to stay at home with the child may find his/her hands full. Planning activities, arranging work schedules, may consume your energy. The home schooling program, while affording freedom from rigid timetables and standard timings, however demands a discipline of its own. One does have to juggle a variety of things and use time optimally while home schooling their child. “I have to plan days ahead for a simple hair cut. If Laura were at school at that time, would I be planning so much?” says Jesse.

Constant Monitoring

While homeschooling affords time, space and excellent opportunities to bond with your only child, it also demands a 24 by 7 monitoring of your child. Do you have the energy to be constantly available for your child? “Homeschooling is a lot of fun. My son Pete and I are enjoying it immensely. But I did experience a severe drain of energy after the initial three months. Now I hire a babysitter once a week to have my time out and one day in a week, my husband pitches in to keep Pete engaged. It is a lot better now” says Barbara.

Limited Games

While younger children can be content playing with children from the neighborhood, teenagers may want to join a sports team and may be serious about an organized sport. Well informed and motivated only children may want to shine in a sport to support ambitions of getting into a college through a sports scholarship. Some families, it is reported, have created their own sports team to overcome this problem! Alternately, you can look for coaching facilities in your area where your child can be groomed in a sport of his liking.

Being Out Of The Box

For many, homeschooling is still an out of the box idea and not a well thought out option. Your own extended family or friends circle may think you odd for homeschooling your only child. It may give rise to feelings that you are clinging on to your child and wanting to keep him tied to you constantly.

Your social peers may “box” you in as being overly possessive and overly protective parents. “George and I have developed a thick skin over the years. We cannot be browbeaten out of our decision” laughs Anna who has been homeschooling her child for the past six years. Negative comments and criticism, there will be plenty. But as parents of an only child, it is upto you to weigh the pros and cons before deciding what is best for your precious child.

While homeschooling does have its disadvantages, it has its benefits too. Read on to find the benefits of home schooling your only child

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