(this is cross-posted on other unschooling lists, so ignore it if
you've seen it before. Thanks)

Hi ladies,

I'm curious about those of you who have only children. Although we've
been hs's for 4 years, we've only been unschooling the last 4 - 5
months. I read a lot (on message boards, in hs/us magazines, etc.)
about familes with 2+ children. Their kids play together, do projects
together, etc. I know that these parents also spend a lot of time
with their kids, but their kids also seem to spend a fair amount of
time doing things *together*. We don't have any kids nearby, nor
unschoolers (we do know some VERY strict school-at-homers, but we
don't socialize with them much). There aren't any hs co-ops or
playgroups in the area, unless the kids are 5 and under. He does have
some public school friends that come over every weekend, plus several
other weekly activities with kids, so he's not completely isolated.

I guess I'm just wonding how other familes like ours work. What
works, and doesn't work, for your families?

~Carri Ann~
mom of a Star Wars/lego obsessed 10 y/o boy

Betsy Hill

** I guess I'm just wonding how other familes like ours work. What
works, and doesn't work, for your families?**

Hi, Carri Ann -

I have an only child, James, who is 11. While having fewer children in
some ways reduces the effort required by the parent, the lack of built
in kids to play with in the home has a small opposite effect. Parents
of only kids may end up playing more Candyland and Monopoly than other

For me, finding kid and adult friends at parkdays (for him and for me)
has been very important. (Unfortunately, in the community we moved to
for my husband's job, the only active homeschoolers I can find are
signed up for the school district's homeschooling program. So we
commute to parkday.)

Our life is quieter than a lot of other unschoolers. (Which can be
pleasant. If I feel lonely, I can get on the computer.) My kid enjoys
being at home. Until recently he was totally into World of Warcraft and
was playing that as much as six hours a day, on "at home" days. (We
drive an hour each way to go to our favorite park day, and when we leave
the house, like today, we're gone for 7-10 hours, including dinner and
extra-curricular hanging out. So we have two kinds of days, and it's
not meaningful to "average" them.)

We watch a lot of TV. Mythbusters, stuff on Animal Planet and anything
funny are big at our house. Last night we watched Terminator 2 and
talked about time paradoxes. (I thought I spotted a plot hole!)
Earlier in the week we watched Sky High twice, because he saw a
commercial and asked me to rent it. (Both from Netflix.) Star Trek TNG
and DS9 are on for about 3 hours on SciFi in the mornings, and sometimes
he watches a chunk of those.)

If you care, he goes to bed around 11pm and wakes up at 8:30 or 9.

My son is going on 12, but not all of his friends are that old.
Possibly because he's never been in school, he's still willing to spend
his time with them playing a lot of tag and hide and seek. It's kind of
cool that a kid who watches violent action movies can still be so innocent.

James likes to read, but for the last 4 years has read comic books (like
Garfield and Foxtrot) almost exclusively. (We have a lot of them!) Last
night he read Harry Potter after I was asleep, but that's rare. I'd say
he spends less than an hour a day reading. Oh, I do read to him, when
he asks, and he picks what we read. We've read most of the HP books
together multiple times. The last book my husband read to him was
Swimming to Antarctica. I had picked this up at the library for my
husband, who's a swim coach, but my kid liked it a lot and asked for
more memoirs. (I'm thinking Farley Mowat.)

I get concerned sometimes about the amount of so called "screen time" my
son is getting, and find it hard to get him out and moving on the day we
don't go to the park. I don't use threats, but I have stooped to
noodging. (I don't recommend this.)

I'm trying to get him to go cabin camping in the Santa Cruz mountains
with our state group next week, but he doesn't want to go without his
dad. I think he doubts my competence. <g> (My husband is a school
teacher so his schedule conflicts with a lot of great dates for
homeschooling events. Darn it.)

Betsy, in Benicia, CA