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Homeschooling as an introvert: the blessings & challenges

homeschooling as an introvert-the blessings & challengesJamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

“I could never do that” seems to be one of the most common responses when it comes up in conversation that I homeschool my children. What does that actually mean?

I think when people say “I could never do that” they sometimes mean they don’t have the personality that fits a homeschooling lifestyle. So consider today’s post the start of a new series on this blog: personalities in the homeschool.

personalities at home

I’m not sure there is such a thing as an ideal homeschool personality. We all have our tendencies and our quirks–as any personality test will point out. (I’m an INFJ if you’re curious!)

Certainly knowing ourselves better helps us steer our homeschooling style to capitalize on our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. Since I’m most familiar with the introverted parent’s perspective–let’s start today with some thoughts about homeschooling as an introvert.

Introverts are not backwards, insecure, or unsociable. We simply fuel ourselves through thoughts, ideas, and time alone. When tanked up and ready to go, we can enjoy people time as much as anyone else. But when we have nothing but people time, our reserves begin to dwindle, which leads to burnout.

“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns.

Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”

~ Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

An introverted parent can certainly homeschool and enjoy it. Being aware of our personality is the first step toward making our homeschool a success.

Blessings for the introverted homeschooler

introvert2Our set of Tinkertoys is quite popular at the moment

1. You are the CEO of your home.

This means that as a homeschooler you, for the most part, control the schedule of your school days–granting you plenty of flexibility.

2. You may enjoy staying home more.

Some parents considering home education worry they might feel cooped up or bored at home. When my three kids were preschoolers, they needed daily outings to keep the peace among us all–otherwise our days felt seriously looooonnnnnggg.

But now that they are a bit older (ages 9, 8, & 7), we stay home more. I love this. If you’re also an introvert, you may find that you thrive at home.

3. You can make sure you fuel yourself.

Because you are the CEO, teacher, and principal rolled into one, you can ensure your inner needs get met.

Of course you will have a few challenges to overcome (coming up below), but even having one daily self-care goal will help.

I aim to fit in my writing time as well as reading one chapter of fiction each day. If I get those two covered, I’m usually equipped to handle whatever twists and turns come my way.

The challenges (& potential solutions)

1. You may feel drained from being around people all day.

Your children are people. People who live in your house. People who, if you choose to homeschool, will be around you all. day. long.

Every day.

Sounds like an introvert’s worst nightmare, right? But it doesn’t have to be.

Make sure your children have an afternoon rest time, no matter their age. Use educational videos to your advantage to give you the down time you need. Brainstorm to figure out what will help in your unique situation.

2. Group think.

introvert3Trishna recently mastered pancakes during her baking lessons–so proud!

I enjoy investing, teaching, and working with my children one-on-one. Their personalities and talents continue to grow by leaps and bounds, and I love getting to know them more each day.

But teaching “group lessons” around the table or embarking on messy craft projects are not this mama’s strengths. Having everyone start calling for me at the same time makes my head swim.

I make sure I have that one-on-one time daily. The other children play, work, read (or bicker!) elsewhere until it’s their turn. This fuels me and fuels them–a win-win for all of us.

3. The noise level!

“For, tomorrow, he knew… All the Who girls and boys would wake bright and early. They’d rush for their toys! And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise! That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!”

~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas ;)

If you have more than one child at home, your house is going to be VERY LOUD. As an introvert, this might make you want to run away, shout, or throw things (so I’ve heard…).

But you can deal with this! Having certain periods of quiet like I mentioned in #1 above will help. I also had success (not perfection, mind you, but progress) when my kids were younger in teaching them to whisper. When things got too much for the mama, I would declare it “whisper time.”

And this introvert literally put earplugs in on occasion when I thought I might lose it if the house volume didn’t go down a decibel or two.

4. Lack of time for yourself.

As an introvert you absolutely must carve out regular time for yourself. Otherwise you will be an unhappy homeschooler with unhappy students.

Can you hire help or have a weekly night when you drive to a coffee shop? We have varying levels of financial resources to invest in self-care, but with a little creativity and intentional thought we can nurture ourselves well.

Homeschooling works for the introverted parent. Set yourself up to thrive at home and you’ll form a foundation that allows those in your care to thrive, too.

Further reading:

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

Originally published on February 18, 2013

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. Stephanie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! At age 34, I’m finally learning to embrace what it means to be an introvert. I have spent many years trying to understand why I feel the way I do. As a new homeschooling mom (3 boys! ages 5, 3 and 4 months), I feel a bit drained most days. I recently began brainstorming ideas on how to meet my own needs a bit better so that I can be a better mom all around. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences and strategies!

  2. Thank you for a very helpful post. As a fellow introvert I can totally relate. I found Susan Cain’s book very insightful and if you’re an introvert well worth reading. She also has a chapter about extroverted parents with introverted children and how being able to understand the introverted child and their needs is very important, giving examples of some parents who navigated this difference well and one particular family not so well at all.
    If you would like to find out more about this book, I recently wrote a post about it called ‘Knowing your personality.’ You can access it here:
    http://www.allaboutmama.com/2014/03/17/knowing-your-personality/

  3. Karleen Mauldin says:

    Great article! We are introvert parents with 4 introvert kids, ages 24-10. Oddly enough, some of our best friends are extroverts ….we just don’t visit with them often! I looked up the Susan Cain book at our library — all copies checked out. I thought it funny they have audio books available….”OH the noise!” Even with 4 children, we had (and have) a quiet house and quiet in car. One of my homeschool friends lets her children go wild in the car–even the older teens. Within 10 minutes, both my son and I had a headache!

  4. Sandra says:

    Thank-you for describing ME! My children are 10, 9, 8 and 6 1/2 and I have homeschooled from the beginning. I have only now begun to understand and embrace myself, I only wish I had know this years ago! Thank-you for describing me to a tee and for helping me to feel a bit more “normal”. ;)

  5. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much for this! I remember reading it last year, and it was so reassuring! Now that we have officially decided to take the plunge and homeschool next year, this is on my mind again. Can I handle the noise and physical closeness without losing my mind?

    Also, I am INFJ. Another reason to love your posts! :)
    Cindy’s latest post: Curated Homeschool: 5 Artworks your Children will Love

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