We are the thankful parents of our only child, a daughter who is currently
eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen. It was never our intention to have an only child. We always saw ourselves with at least a few children and were open to more than a few if that was how God led.
Instead we experienced many years of childlessness and one known miscarriage before we finally discovered we were expecting a baby on our ninth wedding anniversary. I had a difficult high-risk pregnancy and challenging c-section with complications afterwards.
In the end, we decided that we did not want to put me through another pregnancy and so made the choice to be content with our family of three. It was not a decision we made lightly. Some people might find the decision to have an only child an easy one. Although we knew it was the right choice and would still make the same choice, it was not a simple or easy choice.
As I’ve sought to find good information online regarding raising my only child, I’ve compiled some selections here I hope will encourage other parents of onlies.
If you know of other good resources, please let me know!
Please note: The inclusion of a book or link is not an endorsement of all its content or the content of the site on which it is found.
My Posts About Having an Only Child
The implications of having an only child runs throughout my website content, but these are posts specifically about parenting our only child.
- Deciding to Have an Only Child
- Two Reasons I Love the Little Bear DVDs
- Should I Send My Only Child to Preschool?
- 5 Reasons Why We Love Our Homeschool Co-op
- Homeschool Versus Christian School
Homeschooling the Only Child – A Homeschool Hangout
I’m was a member of the iHomeschool Network for a number of years. This is a hangout we did on the topic of only children when Caroline was seven.
Books About Only Children and Parenting an Only Child
There are several books related to parenting an only child, being an only child, etc. Click on any cover to see more details.
Bloggers with Only Children
There are quite a few blogs written by women who have an only child. These blogs include all different kinds of families in terms of schooling choices, age of child, etc.
- Jimmie at Jimmie’s Collage
- Renee at Great Peace Living
- Patricia at Raising a Self-Reliant Child
- Marcy at Ben and Me
- Karen at Homeschool Girls
- Whitney at Our Homeschool Adventure Blog
- Lori at Frog’s Lilypad
- Rebekah at There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining
Additional Only Child Resources
This is a collection of links to Pinterest boards, articles, and blog posts that all deal with having an only child.
- My Only Children Pinterest Board
- Homeschooling an Only Child: The Pros and Cons from Simple Homeschool.net
- Only Children at HubPages
- What I’d Like for You to Know: The Mom of an Only Child from Rocks in My Dryer
- Being an Only Child from BeingAnOnly.com
- Parents of Only Children Discussion Board from BabyCenter.com
- Raising an Only Child from New Jersey Family
- Don’t Make Me Feel Bad For Having an Only Child from PopSugar
I did not realize there were so many resources out there for parents of an only child. Also, resources on parents of an only child who home school. I am glad to find these… 🙂 Is there any type of “pen pal” page out there that only children could participate in? Would it be beneficial to seek out something like that? When my little girl (almost 12 now) finds someone else that is an only…it is like finding a kindred spirit.
Thanks so much for your comment! It made me realize I really should add a list of other homeschooling bloggers with onlines. I’ve added that up above. You might enjoy the video I also added today. It was a panel discussion/hangout we did online.
I’m not aware of any penpal pages, but maybe someone else will jump in with some info. 🙂
Thanks, we need more support for homeschooling our onlies.
Thank you so much for popping my on the blog list 🙂 Great resources, much appreciated. Tara.
Thank you, for the info! 🙂
Jesse and Tara,
Welcome and thank you! It’s fun to discover other families who are homeschooling their only! 🙂
Thank you! I stumbled across this while on Pinterest. I am the homeschooling mama of our only, a 2 year old daughter. While I have only a few friends who homeschool, all have at least 3 children making me seem like such an oddity for “daring” to dream of homeschooling just one. Even other homeschooling families in my area have been less than receptive, some even going so far as to ask me “How will she be social enough?!” I often come home and ask my husband, “Shouldn’t they be the ones supporting us?” SO glad to have found you all here!
Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by and left a comment. An only can be homeschooled and be social enough for whatever her needs are! As she gets older, you’ll be able to figure out more of her personality and what she needs the most. I would say it was around the time Caroline was between five and six that I really started to figure out what made her tick and how to best homeschool her. (She’s right brained which is a big factor.) Just give your little one lots of love, open-ended toys, conversation, craft items and books to read aloud. She’ll be fine and you’ll keep learning more about her.
Please stop by often! 🙂
Thank you for putting these resources together. I have a 9 year old daughter, our only, and we have homeschooled for the last 3 years. I have a number of homeschooling friends but like most we are the only family with only one child. My daughter often feels as if she is the only one in the world without siblings. By those who do not know any better we are often asked when we will be adding to our family. It is helpful to find others in the homeschooling arena who understand the needs of a family of three.
Welcome! I can understand what you are saying about your daughter feeling like the only one who is an only child. Whenever I see an only child anywhere (TV, books, etc.), I point it out to Caroline. She has started to realize over the past six months or so that there are many only children families out there. Please stop by often! 🙂
So thankful for your work here, Sally!
We homeschool (kindergarten! woo!) our only little one and these resources will be so helpful to us. 🙂
Have a wonderful day!
Thank you for including my blog, and yes, we are homeschoolers, and we love it!
Thank you for compiling this list. I haven’t browsed through much of it but am looking forward to doing so. Even though I know others homeschooling onlies, it is hard to do when so much seems geared towards larger families. I came to *this* post through one about introversion and can very much relate to both posts. I am not actively blogging right now, but if I ever get back to that (perhaps that should be my introvert recharge time?) I would love to be added to your list!
Welcome, Sara and Patricia!
Melody – I would be happy to include your blog. Just let me know if you start up again! In the meantime, I hope you will come by often!
Thank you thank you. Another A three person family here! Not sure what God has in store for us, but right now we’re awesome!!!
I am so glad I found this….I too have a 5yr old daughter….who I waited 10 yrs to have and had complications. I love the fact I have a place to go to for only children….I to am doing my 1st yr in homeschooling….started in July…we have had our ups and downs….and I questioned my ability to do this….Thanks so much for all the info.
Hello Sally! Thank you for putting this together. It’s nice to find so many other parents in the same situation we are. We home school our son and he is an only child. I also had a very hard time and we decided it was best to treasure him and leave it at one. Thank you for including us in your list! Be blessed!
Glad I found this article. We have an only child for the same reasons. She is 7 and also being homeschooled. So many resources to check out!
Welcome! I hope you find lots of helpful information. Homeschooling an only has its challenges, but also so many benefits. 🙂
Thank you for this! I’m so glad I’ve found you. I’m an expat living in Italy, where very, very few even know what homeschooling is. I am also the (older) mom of a very active, busy little 5 year old social butterfly. I can relate to so many issues discussed here, and I’m so glad we’re not alone.
I’m so glad you found me, too, and were encouraged by what you read. I hope you will stop by often. If you have any specific questions, feel free to stop by the Community area and start a discussion. 🙂
I know this post is a little old but I only recently read this and looked at the hangout video. I am an introvert in my forties with a 6 year old. We have lived in the Middle East since she was 13 months old. I have always homeschooled her, but lately it seems I feel even more guilty in terms of her having friends. She does a lot of extracurricular and from those has at least 2 girls she calls friends. She might meet up with them at birthday parties and once in a while at the mall. I can’t seem to bring myself to do play dates. There is no homeschooling community here and no real parks of great outdoors life. It’s mostly about the malls (I am so tired of malls). It’s hard for me to go out there and deal with people sometimes; I enjoy an occasional chat with a friend but that’s it because most women I have met here are extroverted. My daughter doesn’t really complain she is lonely; but I worry about depriving her of friends.
She enjoys all her extracurricular, though they all know her name but she doesn’t always remember all theirs. She enjoys our days together and always asks to have family time, because my husband is mostly away at work. However I have seen her have fun with other children when it happens. I am not trying to make her like me. I grew up with 5 siblings, but have always felt like a loner.
What should I do? I am doing her an injustice by not seeking out play date opportunities for her? Or will she be just fine?
Thank you for your comment and I apologize it has taken me so long to reply. You mentioned that you are introverted, but you didn’t indicate if your daughter is. If your daughter isn’t complaining, I wouldn’t be overly concerned. It sounds like she does fine when she does get with other kids and she has made some friends in some small ways.
I think the combination of homeschooling AND having an only child AND being an introverted mother is HARD. It’s hard because you want to do right by your child and you feel the double pressure of being a homeschooler and having an only child. It’s easy to feel judged and misunderstood on both accounts.
One thing to remember about kids when they are in elementary school is that their friends are primarily a function of location. So they will make friends in school, in an activity, etc. But those friends will change from year to year as classes change, etc. That’s true even for kids who go to school. We’ve had this discussion with our daughter many times. She’s now starting to see the other end of it as she moves into middle school and starts to become friends with people who have more in common with her than just location.
I think as long as your daughter doesn’t complain of being lonely, you are probably fine.
I hope that helps!
Thanks for writing about homeschooling an only (and raising one). I feel there isn’t much from a Christian perspective on this…I asked Focus on the Family if they had a book to recommend and they had exactly nothing.
I just read the Time article, and I feel this is one area that the world’s perspective is hard to swallow. They assume we made the choice to be parents of a singleton so we could pursue a career, better material and educational benefits for the one kid, or our own peace of mind. But for many of us in the Christian community, some of us arrived here unwillingly, after years of infertility and/or miscarriage or stillbirth.
And forget support for home schoolers of only kids–I’ve never seen a home school conference seminar, even one!, on “How to Home School Your Only Child,” though every year it seems there are seminars on how to home school large families/multiple kids. (I guess to be fair, more people are asking about that.) Anyway, it would be nice if there were more materials out there for meeting the needs of only kids’ parents. For example, if, like us, you have an extrovert who would prefer to have a playmate (or sibling) with her at all times, but you have no neighbors, you can’t always just take turns playing with her. Anytime we force her to be alone (say, to be able to have a serious conversation without her), we experience “parent guilt.”
There is one other “only” in my home school group about my daughter’s age, but I guess she and my daughter don’t click. My daughter is very sad about not having a sibling, mourns the baby we lost by stillbirth, and finds it painful when other kids complain about their siblings (because she’d love to have one). We have been able to make friends with a precious family who have triplets by AR; their parents have surprising amount in common with us, as all the kids are the same age, and they have one shot to get it right at each stage.
For the record, my husband and I would have liked to have another for our own sake, not just to benefit my child (like the Time article claims research shows).
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree that there is very little out there for people who are homeschooling an only. I think this is especially true of the Christian homeschool world. I think there is an unspoken and even unrealized judgement against couples/parents with an only, especially in Christian circles. Most people would not voice it and don’t even realize they have those thoughts. But I believe it exists.
I’ve meant to write more about homechooling and parenting an only, but simply haven’t gotten around to it. But you’ve given me more to think about in terms of the fact that there isn’t much out there even at conventions and such and how I might help meet that need.
Thank you for bringing up the viewpoint of the Christian community. I had long thought I would have multiple children/heard many sermons on the value of large families. And I had to come to terms with a lie I was subconsciously believing, especially in dealing with the pain of infertility. “I can never be a godly mother as the mother of an only because good Christian mothers have more than one child.” It was very freeing to see this lie, that I myself (much less other Christians) was believing, and realize how untrue it is. There are large families where the mother literally leaves the dad for another man…the large family/lots of kids didn’t make her a good wife and mother. Or where the parents have no authority over their teens and they are running wild (and away from the Lord), and the family also breaks up in divorce…These are both real examples. When I realized the size of my family doesn’t limit my ability to be all God wants for me to be in this season, it was encouraging. Of course, I have other issues and challenges that make that goal a struggle, but the desire for a second child doesn’t have to factor in there!
In terms of “only” content, I could use help with knowing how to help her be more independent. She’s nine. With younger sibs, I think she’d take charge, but as the perpetual baby, we need help moving her ahead in self-care, self-feeding, and especially, (big for us) self-entertainment.
Hi everyone! This is the best site ever!! I’ve been looking for support online for homeschooling moms of only children and am so grateful for having found this. We have been homeschooling for 3 years now and love it. My daughter just turned 12 and is in grade 6. She has regular activities outside homeschooling but we havent found one person who has an only child. So we are grateful for you!
Sally really is a great blogger. Hope you can find support!!
My daughter will be 12 next month and going into the 7th grade. I’m sure she would love to have a new friend who is also an only child. Let’s connect and get them talking!
Thanks so much for these resources! We are in the middle of our first year of homeschooling what looks like will be our only child. I have been searching and searching for info on homeschooling that is not geared towards large families. I am happy to have stumbled on your site!
Hi LaNita, I’m only seeing this now, so sorry!! Yes perhaps we could get them writing to each other?