Oldest Vs Youngest in Homeschooled Families
There are some things in the homeschool world that seem to be the opposite in the rest of the world.
I think I may have mentioned before, but the naive oldest homeschool child cluelessness phenomenon. I feel like it’s usually the oldest public schooled kid telling the younger sibling about stuff. Not with us. Pretty sure my younger siblings learned lots of stuff at a much younger age, possibly even before me (okay, maybe that is a stretch, the youngest is 12 years younger). Granted a few of them went to public highschool, but even the ones who didn’t. I think my parents started out stricter and then loosened up over the years, but I feel like its more than that.
And then there is what we oldest children of many have called youngest child privilege. I know people at large mention the favored oldest child status (ha!). I think also that when there aren’t many kids in the family maybe the youngest don’t get as spoiled, but when there are, wow! And it’s not just our family we’ve noticed it in, we’ve seen it in other larger families as well. Any other homeschoolers notice this?
I’m sure middle children everywhere bemoan their “forgotten” status and the oldest and youngest roll their eyes. Especially if as is the case, the strictness either decreased or increased, so the bookends perspectives would be, “oh, how sad you didn’t get in trouble as much and got away with more.”
As a homeschooled oldest child myself, I’m quick to tell people that, yes, youngest child privilege is real. In my family it wasn’t nearly as bad as with other families, but, for example, I was thirteen before I was allowed to get a phone, but my sisters were ten when they were allowed to get their own. Although, there are only three kids in my family, so I don’t think either of them were spoiled. We’re all very close in age, so maybe that’s it. I don’t remember getting into trouble any more than they did. My youngest sister is far more responsible than me or my other sister, so she did less things that would get her into trouble (not like either of us were rebellious or misbehaving, usually just curious and impatient), which meant she didn’t get in trouble a lot in the first place.
Yeah, my first phone was a flip phone at 19 so my mom could pick me up from work . . . my sisters got smart phones as middle/younger teens. I think the “badness” or the responsibility thing can be a mix of personality and how the child is treated. I definitely was bad/troubled, but it was heightened by how I was treated. My youngest sister is SO much more mature than many of us were at 18, she’s the one who has multiple health certifications and is testing people for covid down-town, but she’s also been more even keel emotionally. I could barely talk to strangers and couldn’t drive at that age.
My parents definitely dropped the strictness factor with my younger siblings. Luckily for me I’ve got to be both the youngest, middle child, and since my older brothers left. I get the eldest spot by default. But I think my younger siblings have it way easier than I did.
Yeah, I noticed in some families like my sister-in-laws (she’s one of 10 but there is a split of 5 years between the oldest 5 and the youngest 5) that there can be the oldest of the youngest and then youngest of the oldest that display the typical traits of the oldest child for real and the youngest child for real.
I’m glad other people notice that they’re younger siblings seem to figure things out long before you do. I’m the eldest in my family and there’s dumb things I still find out that my younger siblings have already figured out.
The discipline thing has been interesting at our house. In some ways my siblings have it easier than I did but then my mom is stricter in other areas. I was always taught to be role model for my siblings and that strangers watched us because we were a big family to see what we were like but my siblings didn’t quite get the same thing. Overall though I definitely think they’ve had it easier. I love the hellions, but they can be the brats I used to be and get away with it.
I’m guessing its the (seemingly) opposite of public school because homeschoolers are shielded from some things and figure it out on their own, why the oldest of public school kids are told it by other kids who then tell it to their siblings before the siblings could figure it out.
I suppose I was supposed to be the role model, but that, to be put it so mildly its tongue in cheek, didn’t quite work out.
Yeahhh I can relate to some of this!!
In my family, the struggle for me was feeling like I had to be a perfect role model. That was partly because homeschooling was still unusual when we started, and my parents were still figuring things out and we were kind of self-conscious about it (understandably, because there was some stigma about it from certain rude folks).
I would say my parents were also more lenient with my youngest sibling. I think they themselves changed as people, so their parenting changed, too. But also, we siblings were really close-knit and tended to do everything together.
The grass is always greener… I am sure there are cons to being the youngest, even if I don’t see them. 😆
Yeah, my parents changed a lot.
Sometimes the grass is greener, I don’t think any of my siblings envied my role as oldest though.