On the introverted mom homeschooling extroverted children

on the introverted mom homeschooling extroverted children ~SimpleHomeschool
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m a firm introvert, but that I’ve learned how to thrive around my little people in the midst of a busy homeschooling lifestyle.

What about my children? Are they doomed to a monotonous, dull life due to the fact that they have an introverted mom? I say that jokingly–because as we’ve already discussed introverts enjoy socializing, they just don’t get fueled by being around people:

“Introverts … may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.”
~ Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

personalities at home

You may see your way forward clearly if you’re an introvert homeschooling introverted children. But what if you have lively extroverts under your roof?

Let’s talk about that today. I have three children, and of them two are extroverts. We share an address, but not a personality. And though I’m certainly not an expert, over time I’ve learned a few things to help meet the individual needs within our four walls.

Here’s what I’ve discovered as an introverted mom homeschooling extroverted children:

Compromise is key.

The introverted mom may resent the homeschooling lifestyle if her entire existence revolves around chauffeuring children to playdates, classes, and activities. Quadruple this burden if she’s expected to take charge of, run, or teach many of the above.

We want to meet our kids’ needs, of course, but not at the expense of our own. There must be compromise.

Let them talk. You can listen.

My extroverted children talk all day long. To me, to their brother and sister, to themselves, to any neighbor who passes by. To the garbage truck worker, the recycling man, mailman, and UPS man.

They need to know how to stay quiet when quiet is required of course. But they also need to talk. To be heard. To verbally process and discuss their ideas. So let them!

Set expectations low and adjust as needed.

If you convey the idea that you will take your children anywhere, anytime–you’ll be expected to do so. Consider what this will mean for you before agreeing to it.

My extroverted children manage well with a couple of outings each week; I manage well with that, too. What works for you and yours? Think about it before making promises and creating expectations.

Friends are important, but even better if they happen to be family.

Extroverts gather energy through time spent with others, so they need time with others. My extroverts love new experiences and meeting new people. That’s important, without a doubt.

But I consider it an extra bonus that my kids’ best friends, the ones they hang out with most often, are their siblings. Together day and night, this dose of extroversion fuels them without draining me. That’s what I call a win-win.

extrovert2my 2nd gorgeous extrovert, 9-year-old Trishna

Look for win-wins.

Plenty of activities for homeschoolers fit under the category of win-wins for introverted parents with extroverted kids. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

  • Extroverted kids playing daily with siblings? A win-win.
  • A playdate at the home of a mom you’re good friends with? A win-win.
  • A weekly drop-off educational program where the kids play, learn, and socialize–while you hang out down the street at a coffee shop? Absolutely a win-win.

We must meet our own needs, and teach them to do the same.

If our kids think that we are responsible for meeting their personality needs, we’re teaching the wrong lesson. If we fly into action each time someone utters “Mom, I’m bored,” our children learn to turn to something (or someone) outside of themselves to get what they need.

Building that habit may backfire later on.

Instead let’s model that we fuel ourselves by the choices we make, and so can they. My two extroverts often develop elaborate role plays during their daily rest times. It hasn’t hurt them one bit to have this time alone each day. Instead they’ve found a way to channel it to deepen their imaginations. Without even knowing it, they’re using it to meet their own needs.

My daughter creates and performs “shows” nearly every day; my extroverted son Jonathan started a business and is constantly in contact with our neighbors. It’s amazing to watch them find themselves and find ways to enjoy being who God created them to be.

This homeschooling lifestyle is a dance of give and take, back and forth, trying and failing. At times it seems no one’s needs are met very well–at other times we achieve a delicate, yet still imperfect balance.

I firmly believe that at the core of it all is this phrase: “happy mom, happy home.” As parents we set the tone, and as we gather joy and beauty within the life we’ve chosen–our children, no matter what their personality type, will follow.

Are you an introvert homeschooling extroverts? How have you made it work for you?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Ott says:

    Right on! I am an introvert, but at least 3 of my 4 kids are extroverts (like their Father). “Quiet Time” for them is more like “Alone Time”! Though they are extroverts, I do find that they still need some time with just their own thoughts. Plus, my daughter (5) often has the most hilarious stories about all her “friends” she plays with during that time :)!

    • That’s right, Jennifer! There’s not so much a quiet time in our house–ever! We call it rest time, but it could be more accurately titled “play as loudly as possible in your own room until Mommy comes and asks you to be quiet!” ;)

  2. Introvert mum to an extrovert daughter nodding here! I agree that a daily quiet time, where my daughter has the opportunity to be by herself and explore that, is so good for her. She always comes up with some creative idea that she might miss if there wasn’t a clear time to stop talking, racing, being with others. And the class for them/ coffee for me idea – total win-win!
    Cathy @ NurtureStore.co.uk’s latest post: Eggheads, playdough sheep and baking birds nests :: Play Planner

  3. That was the encouragement I needed this morning. So often, I feel guilty when my extroverts walk around bored. And I had to laugh out loud when you mentioned that these little extroverts will talk to anyone……I catch my 2 daughters talking to anyone walking by our house when they are outside! Not safe at all! But at least I understand more now why they do it!

  4. Oh, I also want to add that a few weeks ago I started my own blog. I’m blogging about my progress towards opening my own Etsy shop where I will sell hand knit items (talk about an introverted craft!). I don’t mention that to get everyone to go check out my blog (but you CAN do that, of course..www.pateandbirdie.com!), but I mention it because having this outlet has been such a great thing for this introverted, homeschooling mom! It has given me a creative outlet to express myself that I didn’t have before. So, if you are an introverted, homeschooling mom who feels drained, maybe blogging or something like it might be a great thing for you, too!
    Denise’s latest post: Progress

  5. I am really enjoying the introverted/extroverted series that you have been doing. It is helping me as an introverted mom realize my needs and ways of operating best as happy mom. I have been spending time thinking I was “feeling my age” and always exhausted at the end of the day. I am realizing more that I haven’t taken the time I need for myself to pump a bit of introverted energy into my tank.

  6. Elizabeth Kane says:

    I too, am enjoying this series on how different personality types learning and get along in your home! After all, the more we know about how we like to spend our time and how others we love like to spend theirs, the more great memories we can make together in our lives.

    Your kids sound great, Jamie. It sounds like theres’s always something good going on at your place. :)

  7. I’m glad you posted this. I guess I’m an introvert and never knew it. I just thought I was going crazy! Thanks so much for the post!

  8. My little boy is only 22 months, but I’m beginning to think he’s an extrovert. That said, my experience is that this feature of me adjusts according to my circumstances. When I lived at home (early 20s) there was always someone else around, but then I moved overseas and lived alone. Then I had a roommate, then I was alone again. Back to the states and I had a roommate. Then I had more roommates, then I got married and was working (teacher). Then I had my son and I’m home full time. It takes me a month or two to adjust each time, but I find a balance within the circumstances I have — sometimes more people contact, sometimes less. I think though that I sit right on the line between introvert and extrovert — at least that’s how I always test out!
    Rachael’s latest post: Menu for March 10 to 16

  9. Beth Fisher says:

    Thank you so much for your blog and book! I had stumbled across both and they meet me right where I am. I am so grateful!
    My husband and I are introverts, as are two of our four children. One is clearly extroverted and the other is too young to tell yet.
    Our extrovert, Jael, is always talking and talking. She is wounded when people get upset — such a gentle soul! Her best friend is her introverted older brother. She brings him out and he plays endlessly with her.
    I still have concerns about her settling down to do school work. I have found it hard to get her to stay focused on phonics, but hopefully when she is five, she will do better.

  10. I am an introvert homeschooling two very extroverts and one very introvert precious little girls. Life in never boring in our home. I have come to the conclusion that I can’t make my family happy, whatever I choice I make, their will be conflict. Because we have different personalities, we have to constantly have to compromise. Our introvert little goose need to learn to deal with her emotion and being overwhelm around others, same with our extroverts they need to learn to respect other people spaces.

    I think that having my extroverts in pair in a blessing, I would be at loss if they didn’t have each other!!! and being an introvert myself I do have a glimpse of understanding my introvert daughter.

    My family is a beautiful mess, and we are learning from each other each and everyday!

    Love
    Renee
    Renee’s latest post: When life give you mud

  11. Such a great and timely post for me. I really enjoy that my children have an active week filled with co-op classes, activities, outings, etc. But, there are those days I really wish I could just hang out at home, read a good book, knit, have some alone time and not have to run around the city. I try to organize our schedule with alternating days on and off during the week as much as possible to build in those quiet days. I truly think even my extroverted daughter thrives from these times, too. She often does not recognize when she needs this time until it’s too late and she’s overextended. My more introverted son asks for these days.
    Christine’s latest post: A Brief Intermission…….

  12. Shelly Smith says:

    As an introverted Mom raising three little boys, I did not realize how blessed I was with the first two being also introverted, like me! Not until the third (extroverted one) came along did I truly appreciate it!
    My youngest son will talk to anyone, anywhere (and he’s only 4) and I often find people in the community calling out “hi, Nate” as we pass by (speaking to my son, of course!) Sadly for him, he is finding it challenging to be in a home with all of us other “introverts” who do not always appreciate his non-stop talking! We DO try to patiently listen (I try to set the example for this, to help the two older brothers) but I find myself growing weary by days’ end, and usually encourage the youngest son to tag along with Dad as he takes the older two boys to swim practice. This gives Mom some much needed “quiet time”!

  13. I am an introvert homeschooling one extrovert teen, at least. To further compound the problem, we live in the country, without any neighbors. We’ve had to adjust since moving here, to the fact that we have to make efforts to get our kids in town to social events. We have to sacrifice time, money (gas), and energy to take them places. But you’re right, we can’t run into town every day … for more reasons than just my energy … so they have to compromise, too.

    My oldest two are best friends and both can now drive, but they’re learning the cost of gas, too. The oldest one is an introvert, while the second oldest is an extrovert, so they are also learning how to compromise on how often they go into town. It’s a continual discussion in our home, but we’re learning to listen to each other and value the differences in our personalities.
    April E.’s latest post: Giveaway: Veggie Tales’ The Little House That Stood DVD

  14. Thank you so much for writing this. I am an introvert with one very extrovert child. She never…ever…ever…stops talking. Before I had her, I could go all day without speaking until hubby came home and be perfectly happy. I am…exhausted…with all that talking. She has no siblings to chat it out with either, but will talk to herself endlessly. Though that took her some time to learn that she didn’t need me every second to talk to. But I still find it quite exhausting. We won’t be homeschooling until next year. This year she is in kindergarten at our church and even with all the time there, at AWANA and church she is always wanting more time with friends. I am a bit worried about next year, finding that balance for her extrovert self.

  15. Thank you for the suggestions. I did more outside activities when we had less children, but probably should have continued, even though it was hard for me, the introvert.
    I have three high-extroverts, two mediums and one introvert. An interesting mix!
    Thank you again!
    Elizabeth@Pray, Love, Learn’s latest post: Sunday Smiles and a Scripture

  16. What a great post – really happy to have found your blog.
    I’m an introvert homeschooling extroverted DD(9) and introverted DS(7). DD wants to do every activity there is, which keeps DS and I busy – we enjoy plenty of quiet “car time”!
    We also spend one day a week at a home education centre next door to a lovely cafe. I hang out there with my laptop, DD extroverts away with the other kids, and DS alternates between playing with his friends and having quiet time in the cafe with me. Perfect!
    Lula B’s latest post: Japan – History & Geography

  17. Similarly, I am an EXTROVERT with INTROVERT kids! LOL
    I have learned over the years to respect their introversion and to tone my extroversion down a bit…a bit. LOL
    Karen Loethen’s latest post: Dear Husband

  18. Gosh that Susan Cain quote describes me exactly!! Thank you for this article. Although I’m pretty sure both my boys are introverted, I still have to use these strategies because, well, they’re kids! And they are high energy, love to talk, and they enjoy playing with other kids too. I’m enjoying this series very much. Thanks.
    shelli : mamaofletters’s latest post: Inspire Kids: Sleepy Man Banjo Boys

  19. Oh Jamie, I have to laugh. I swear life hands us kids who insist on stretching us in ways we don’t want to stretch. I’m a friendly hermit myself and have wondered why on earth my children are so much livelier, busy, and dedicated to dragging me into whole new realms through their interests. I totally agree as you said, “let’s model that we fuel ourselves by the choices we make, and so can they. ” That allows them to grow into the fullness of who they are. Sometimes that’s not easy! Here’s a piece I wrote about raising kids who aren’t like me:
    http://www.mothering.com/community/a/raising-kids-who-arent-like-me
    Laura Grace Weldon’s latest post: Changing The World One Choice At A Time

  20. Your topic caught my eye right away, and you have some good suggestions. I also thought it was interesting that you, too, have a quiet time for your homeschooled kids. My problem is that my highly extroverted son doesn’t have a sibling at home (so no built-in buddy) and, while I can’t stop my son from talking and try to support his desire to share his ongoing stream of thought with me, it’s highly draining. I enjoy him and think he’s smart, funny, and affectionate, and I like our school time (having a central purpose helps), but I find I can’t have a single uninterrupted thought, and it interferes with my productivity and makes me tense. We do have a few outings each week so he can be in a crowd, plus occasional family visits, but we’re still trying to find a mostly win-win balance–tough stuff. I’m really having a hard time carving out enough space to recharge without leaving his social needs unmet.

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