Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool
“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.
Prefer to listen instead?
But 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–here are 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
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 when they became a bit older, we stayed 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.
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.
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.
If you enjoyed this post, check out Jamie’s new book, Introverted Mom: Your Guide to More Calm, Less Guilt, and Quiet Joy.
As an introverted mom, you support your kids but who is supporting you? Check out my Introverted Moms community here!
Originally published on February 18, 2013
If I only homeschooled introverts things would be fine. My struggles really relate to meeting the needs of my extrovert, especially when they clash with my needs and the needs of all the other introverts here. The trouble with compromise is it seems to leave nobody happy.
I’ll be writing about that side of things as well coming up soon – I have two extroverted children so I know a bit about what you mean!
Jamie~Simple Homeschool’s latest post: Homeschooling as an introvert: the blessings & challenges
I will look forward to reading this next one. My oldest is of course an extrovert!!????
I too have an extroverted child and often our needs clash and I end up being drained beyond drained.
I totally agree, Sandra! I joined a co-op when my daughter was in K through about 3rd or 4th grade. This met her social needs, but I really didn’t like it. I pushed through for her sake. We’ve now (6th grade) reached a point where we have a good balance of social needs met from other activities – and these are activities that I am not required to be a part of every single time. This has help a ton!
It’s so funny because so many of the mom’s in the co-op thrive on seeing each other every week – but I would just dread the prep work and having to socialize during parent break time. It felt like a party to me every week. I hate mingling. I would much rather get to know people one on one. 🙂
Looking forward to you addressing this issue as well, Jamie. 🙂
Yes! I am an introvert with an extroverted, outgoing daughter. It has been good for me, for the most part, because I have had to put myself out there in groups I normally wouldn’t. I have made friends and had lovely experiences even though I really stink at the small talk, but most days I still prefer the quiet of my chair, a cup of tea and a good book. 🙂
I’m there as well. I’m homeschooling/unschooling my 3.5 year old with a 1 year old along for the ride. My older one is an extrovert (hard to tell what the little one is yet), but I’m also an INFJ. I’m happy being home a little more but I make sure we get out of the house a few times a week, the flip side is that when we get out of the house a lot I feel like we don’t “get anything done.” Maybe I need to change my definition of accomplishment.
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Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy
What a great series!
As an introvert, it’s the noise level that gets me. Love your idea for “whisper time.” Although I might have to simultaneously declare it to be “tiptoe time” for it to really be effective!
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Ah, yes, the need to tank up on alone time, so true of me also! After a solid day of not leaving the house, I feel so refreshed. I have started to wake up before the kids (even though I dearly love my sleep), just to get that quiet time you mention. And, oh my, after a big group outing with our homeschool group, this mama needs to go home, lie down and have a glass of wine. Some people don’t understand how I can homeschool my kids, but wouldn’t want to be a schoolteacher when they are grown. I also get a lot of flack from people thinking that I get overwhelmed by noise and chaos because I don’t have boys, so I’m just not used to that stuff. Girls can be just as loud as boys- especially when they screech in delight or are fighting over a doll! Anyway, I try to get them outdoor time every day for this release of rambunctious, loud energy. I encourage quiet activities like cross-stitch, sewing and puzzles. However, I know that it’s in all of our best interest to get out for the kids to play with other kids and be apart for a bit, and for me to talk to other adults! It’s just that I like that time in smaller doses than most- 2 hours is my max.
Great point about an introverts need to be with others, too – absolutely true! Thanks for mentioning that.
Jamie~Simple Homeschool’s latest post: Homeschooling as an introvert: the blessings & challenges
I can really relate to the feelings you described after a big outing with a group. My introverted children feel the same way. We pretty much count on no more school getting done for the day if we have something like that on the calendar. You will find me on the sofa and ordering take-out for dinner!
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I just want to say I really needed this encouragement. I’ve been frustrated with my need to refuel alone, while God has given me these gifts. Thanks for that practical ideas as well.
I also have one extroverted child who cannot get enough people time!!!
Thank you so much for this!
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I currently have my children in school (the older ones), because I got so overwhelmed. I am very introverted, and many other traits that,I think, made for a very bad homeschooling mother. I am using my off time to figure out the situation, but I am afraid I will never be able to, “do homeschooling right”. I will be following this closely to see if I can form a plan to bring my babes back home, and not go crazy myself. Thank you 🙂
Thanks for your comment, Julie. If you haven’t already read my ebook I think you might find some helpful tips in there. You can find it here (& it’s free):
My personality type is ENFJ, but I too struggle with many of the introvert tendencies you mentioned. The noise can drive me nuts, and having everyone calling for me/asking me to do things at the same time makes me feel overwhelmed. I often declare “quiet zone” in the room I am in. The kids know this means they have to either be quiet in the room I am in, or go somewhere else to play. Most often, they choose to go somewhere else, so this gives me a little time to recharge as well. I am working on being able to notice when I need quiet zone earlier than my usual wait-until-I-am-totally-overdone-and-then-yell approach.
I have had a hard time recognizing that I need time to myself and not feeling guilty about it, but without it I can become such a grouch! Our daily quiet time is a must; I don’t know how any homeschoolers can live without it! I guess even though my personality type says I am an extrovert, I really lean towards being an introvert in some ways.
At the same time, my husband is an introvert, and I find it hard not to talk his ear off in the evenings. It is such an interesting process learning to balance all of these things.
Yes, yes, yes! I test out as an ENFJ, and I have a lot of words to use most days, but I must, must, must get some quiet time ALONE (even Hubby counts, unfortunately. I guess for him I don’t count!). In fact, right now, I’m getting up early to get that daily quiet time, otherwise it just doesn’t happen. Its hard to not talk Hubby’s ear off come evening, and right now being home is what is best for little boy… but I get lonely! I love my little boy, but he’s not that great at conversation (yet). Hubby and I are committed to homeschooling for philosophical reasons, and I plan to MAKE it work. But I know it starts now in figuring out just being home full time. I’m looking forward to this series of posts!
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I am also an INFJ, that must be why I have always loved your posts. I have also found that the afternoon rest time is essential to my sanity. Thanks for all of the tips. My boys are still pre-schoolers and I am just beginning this journey.
Jamie, friend, I think you wrote this just for me 🙂
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Thanks for this great article! I once took the Myers-Briggs assessment and was told I was an INFJ too! I am excited to read the upcoming articles in this series. My children are 7, 4 1/2 and 19 months, so quiet time at our house is a rare thing! I get up extra early for that elusive “alone time.” I appreciate all of the perspectives on this blog. It encourages me every day! I would be interested to read some perspectives from some homeschoolers that use the Classical method too. Thanks so much!
Hi Heather. Jessica Fisher and Heidi Scovel are classical educators and you can search for the posts they’ve written. Thanks!
I’ve blogged about a day in our Classical-based homeschool here (currently with a first grader and a preschooler):
My current curriculum will post to the blog later this week.
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Thank you! I will check those out!
Ahhh… Sometimes I fear that my introverted nature hampers my very extroverted children (just like their father), but it is what it is. We are still at the stage of needing daily outings (mine are 8, 6, 5, and 2), but I love just staying put. The outings result in a very depleted Mommy! Thank you for the encouragement!
I have two extroverted children, Jennifer, so I hope to write about that side of things as well later on.
I’m an INFJ as well. I remember the first time I took the Myers Brigg and it felt like someone was describing me to a T. Maybe that is why I relate so much to what you write. Thanks for a great post! I love the quote about introversion not being something you have to fix. I wish I would have heard that when I was growing up. My son is also an introvert and I am thankful that we are able to homeschool and he sees it as a gift.
I’m also an INFJ and in the preschool and toddler years. The play dates and constantly going out is a bit draining but they’re such enjoyable years. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.
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I am an INFJ, too! It is good to know of others, because there are precious few of us, and we have unique challenges. Thank you for this post. As a homeschooler of three boys of multiple ages, I had to laugh at your “noise, noise, noise” quote! Yes, that would be a definite challenge. Sometimes, I retreat to the bathroom for a few minutes just to center myself and gain perspective. 🙂 I have found the carving out time for myself to be essential. Knowing yourself is key. I started a book club with some friends that has grown into such a beautiful thing. Just once a month I can look forward to time out with my friends. It’s on the calendar for the first Thursday, so it requires no special planning and coordinating. Also, I try to spend a couple times per week on a walk or run by myself. Occasionally, I will meet a friend one-on-one for coffee or a walk. These things fuel me. If I can consistently do these few things, I find it helps keep a healthy balance in my life. If I don’t, I start to notice feelings of resentment towards homeschooling and my family seep up.
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Recently, I have found a community of HSPs (Highly Sensitive Person). I find I am both introverted and a HSP (http://www.hsperson.com/pages/hsp.htm) which I used to self-describe as sensory overload or having the difficulty to filter. I’ve only just started homeschooling but working in that quiet time and for us having my husband take the reins two afternoons is helping me find balance. I’m also removing extras in the areas that add to my overload..like “do we really need that many dishes available?” less dishes, perhaps more washing after each meal but the counters get less cluttered. Anyway, thank you for this article I was beginning to question how I would handle homeschooling as an introvert and HSP.
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I am an introvert and I find many of your strengths are things that give me joy in homeschooling. I also find I am a cranky cranky momma without some alone time which I usually get in the morning hours. It is worth the sacrifice of going to bed early to have time alone and stay sane.
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Thank you thank you thank you for this! My husband and I have been talking about this in regards to homeschooling our future children because I’m a professional introvert! He is worried that I’m not going to give our kids social interaction with people other than me because of it so its good to hear that it works just fine for other introverts.
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I liked that you mentioned one of the Briggs Meyers Personality types ( INFJ). Understanding our children’s personality types helps in knowing how to teach them, and the learning styles are discussed in Please Understand Me II by David Kirsey. However Total Physical Response communicates to all the learning styles, making it even simpler.
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I’m an introvert, married to an extrovert. We have 4 kids, an 18 yo girl extrovert entertainer, a 15 yo girl introvert server/animal person, a 7 yo boy extrovert scientist, and a 3 yo introvert who demands attention. …. Since we live out in the country and go to a small church, so meeting everyone’s needs was a challenge. Blogging, FB, and writing books has gone a long way toward meeting my daughter’s needs. My need for peace and quiet is met by my husband taking the kids on outings (I don’t drive, so that isn’t an option anyway) and leaving me at home.
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Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how joyful this was to read – and then promptly forward to my husband! Sometimes I wonder if I can do this homeschooling things (boys ages 9, 7, 5). The noise is impossible – I recently bought hearing protectors to put on when it gets too loud (on trips, this has worked well). I love that you are going to explore this. As possible extroverts, though, when I try to impose quiet time, my boys have so many questions – Why do WE have to be quiet? Why are you MAKING us stay upstairs? Why do we have to go to bed so early? (These incessant questions have led to me disbanding our quiet time, which I am sad about – but maybe we could put it back in.) Again, thank you so much. I love reading your blog. 🙂
I really enjoyed this post, particularly the 3 blessings. I am also an introvert (and also an INFJ!). Even now I feel the need for time alone on a regular basis and sometimes worry about homeschooling our children, who are only 4 and 1. I also sometimes wonder whether I will do a good enough job of getting the kids out to interact with others and meet friends. And, as much as I try to push this out of my head, I worry what other people think about me (as an introvert) homeschooling my children. This last concern is one that I know to be, ultimately, irrelevant to our family’s and our homeschool success. It is wonderful to read about your homeschool experience!
Thanks for sharing your tips, Jamie. As an introvert myself, I appreciate quiet time. 🙂
I feel like there’s still a stigma out there that in order to be a good homeschool parent you have to be some sort of full fledged extrovert over the top type who can lead an army of children with crafts and games 8 hours a day without breaking a sweat! I wonder if that’s another reason some parents who want to homeschool might be discouraged? Like they have to be something, or someone, bigger than who they are now.
But that’s just not true. Kids can learn so much working around different types of personalities just like we do as adults. We might have a preference for a type of co-worker or friend’s personality as we grow older, but I think it makes us more compassionate towards others. We don’t all work and play the same way and that’s not a bad thing!
Wow – love personality discussions! 🙂 I am fascinated to learn about others and their preferences and how it works itself out in their lifestyles etc. Seriously LOVE IT! I am an ENTP and we all have our blessings and struggles. I love that you mentioned both and give suggestions to help in the struggles area. A lot of your posts are the perfect mix of visionary & practical. This is no exception – I am looking forward to the series.
On a side note, because my husband is all the opposite letters (ISFJ) – I often feel he’d do a better “job” homeschooling our kids. But God gives me everything I need for life, so I’m believing it, even when he seems to have it more together, be naturally organized, routine and likes staying home more often! 🙂
I am based on the test am an ESFP(Extrovert,sensing, feeling percving) while my 17 year old daughter that I homeschool is an INFJ(Introvert, instictive,feeling, judging). Our differing personalites have created challenges over the years but that is the same thing she would find in school and will find in work.
People think I am CRAZY for instituting rest time even though I have a 4.5 year old and a 6.5 year old. It is vital to my sanity and the kids are no worse off for it!
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Absolutely, Shannon. A life-saver, truly.
I really appreciate this post and all the input from the other introverts out there. I can sometimes feel like an odd duck in an extroverted world. I, too, have to find times to get some alone time to feed my soul and give my ears and brain a rest from all the input I received from my three kids all day. I love teaching them 🙂 but managing all these different personalities is quite a job! Looking forward to this series.
I used to say, “I could never homeschool because I need silent afternoons when I can write!” Then last year I had the epiphany that we could “fit” homeschool into the mornings and give all of us the afternoons to pursue our own interests. My kids are 8, 5, 2, and 2 days old, so often their interests are watching a movie or going to a friend’s house (while the 2yo naps), but I feel like as long as we keep up with what we need to learn every morning, the long “recess” after lunch is ok—and has definitely kept me sane.
Also, I have noticed how much the style of schooling we do has to fit both me and the kids. We finally settled on a flexible structure that would satisfy my need for flexibility with my oldest’s need for order. Each day of the week has four assigned subjects to work on, so the kids know what they have to accomplish by lunch (or else they have to catch up on their own after lunch), but everyone gets to choose what to work on first and how to pursue it.
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2 DAYS OLD?!!! Congratulations!!
I’m an INFJ too. Sometimes I worry I won’t be able to homeschool very well because of it; especially when it comes to the dreaded socialization issue. I hope I can do as well as you!
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I LOVE this post. I’m the extremely introverted wife and mom to an extremely extroverted husband and daughter. We actually don’t homeschool, for a variety of reasons, but your suggestions are still really helpful (especially for times like summer break). I figured out early on that I needed that afternoon “rest” time, so that’s one thing we always revert back to in the summer. But I had never thought of “whisper time.” That’s genius!
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I love this post. I think I’m introverted enough that I’d make a good hermit, though when I’m in social situation, people mistake me for an extrovert, as I have learned to compensate.of course this means i get even more worn out at social occasions. I have a 4 and 2 year old, and am starting classical conversations next year with my 4 year old. But I will continue to use preschool a couple mornings a week as well for both of them, as I truly need some built in alone time, and My husbands hours are often so bad that preschool is the only help I have certain days. I am so introverted that I dread playmates. So I have worried about my ability to be sure my kids get enough social time when we get further along in homeschooling. I’ve realized I’ll probably overcompensate just to readied myself that I’m not taking the path of least resistance. Looking forward to following this series.
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Thank you so much for this post! I am also an INFJ and have been struggling with the decision to homeschool my now 2-1/2 year old. I know in my heart of hearts that homeschooling is what I want for him, but my own need for solitude and quiet has been holding me back from fully committing to the decision. It’s so encouraging to find others who have made it work. Again, thank you!
Thank you! I feel like the mean mom because noise gets to me so easily! Also, although I am not shy and may seem extroverted as others have written here, too, it is WORK for me to have too many social activities. I need a lot of alone time, and I hate weekends where we have social activities on both days, or when we visit family and our house guests for the whole weekend and I can’t retreat! I try to explain to my extended family that it’s not them, it’s me, no matter where I am I need to be alone and quiet part of the time or I’m on edge.
oops – “are house guests” not “our”.
I relate! Deep, dark secret time: I have a touch quota. Four kids can fill it fast, and some days my quota is lower than others! I feel like a horrible person at times not being emotionally able to handle more snuggles, hugs and kisses. But there are times I just can’t. It’s hard because touch is a major way my kids receive love. I do my best, but there are times I just need some alone time to recharge!
This is great! I was thinking I had a personality disorder or something starting around 2 pm. It’s just those little people I’m around all. Day. Long. Then the husband comes home… 🙂
Love, love, love this perspective—it really hits home for me! Thanks for this, Jamie.
You’re welcome, Lindsay! Hope you and yours are well!!
I’m an introvert, too. I am feeling it today- with a fussy baby strapped to me. She just won’t lay down. Its days like this I start thinking about other options and that I’m not cut out for this- but a few hours alone would cure that.
I’m not sure what my kids are yet, but my husband is very much extrovert. I guess opposites attract 🙂
Great post. Like so many, I’m an INFJ/P (really on the fence with that last one). I’m currently homeschooling my 6th-grader (who I think tested as an ISTJ). We fit well together, for the most part, because he pretty much wants to read and watch documentaries or TED talks. I have him in two co-ops, neither of which require that I do anything (I have to stay on campus for one, but I can read a book). One of the reasons I’m not homeschooling my other two is that I have a really hard time making and sticking to routines. I was good when they were babies and they had to eat, had to nap, etc. But I got just so tired out (I have some health issues, too). My younger two are pretty extroverted (and the youngest has some SPD issues and possibly ADHD) and I just don’t think I can provide the structure they need (and my husband doesn’t think I get enough accomplished during the day to add homeschooling to my plate). This makes me really sad, because I always planned to homeschool (I was homeschooled myself and loved it!). But life just hasn’t turned out that way. All that said, I think it’s wonderful to assure introverts that they can homeschool and be good at it. When my kids are home on break, we often do an hour of “room time” in the afternoon and we play the “quiet game” in the car. My kids also know I have “morning ears” and that means no loud noises in the morning – some days my morning ears last all day! LOL!
I’m an ISFP. I never took my personality type into account when I was (and am) staying home with kids. I just thought I was going crazy 🙂 until your post a few weeks ago mentioned it. Makes so much sense! I love the tips, I’m really trying to implement some of them. The noise here completely distracts me from doing anything. My extroverted husband doesn’t get it, he can run through and clean the whole house in an hour, without even noticing the screaming kids in the background!
This may sound crazy but…. OMGosh there are others like me out there?!?!?!? Balm for my soul and ideas for my survival!! Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been feeling more overwhelmed lately as my oldest is getting older and wants to chat all day and I’m feeling a little crazy!!!!
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Whisper time sounds genius. My little extrovert is only 2.5 and homeschooling sounds so fun except for us being together all the time as you mentioned. You’ve encouraged me not to write off my introverted self and habit of being overwhelmed by the noise quite yet. I have to remember he won’t still be in his terrible twos come kindergarten time (and that we won’t still be living in China then)!
ha! I like how you objectify introverts, as if they’re some different species or lesser group of persons.
If you’re a medical professional, then shouldn’t you by definition hold a more compassionate view towards those holding particular personality types, let alone conditions or diseases? This is why counselling only exists in modern times to push a sinister ideological agenda.
This makes me want to cry out of relief. I thought there was something wrong with me, but there isn’t– I’m just an introvert! Thank you for the words of wisdom.
I know this isn’t a brand new post, but I’m so thankful I discovered it today! I always feel like my day is not so great if I don’t get quiet time to myself during nap time in the afternoon, and I’ve always felt guilty about that. This is a great read for someone like me. Thanks!
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I am also an INFJ strongly considering homeschooling my oldest daughter (who is also an introvert). Thank you so much for this. It is one thing to read about lesson plans and learn about how to homeschool and it is another to learn about how others emotionally and mentally handle the struggles that I anticipate. Again, thank you!
So thankful you reposted this! I will be a new homeschooling mom in June and I’m an introvert who needs that alone time. Even fifteen minutes to myself can make all the difference!
I am a new stay at home schooling mama as of January to ages 5 and 2, the older who is definitely an extrovert with I being very much an introvert. I am almost done reading Quiet and have found that reading things like it- and this!- help me to normalize and strategize. I really appreciate the idea that knowing about our own needs can allow us to approach any task and have the chance of being successful.
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I love this:
“Your children are people. People who live in your house. People who, if you choose to homeschool, will be around you all. day. long.
Right now my two oldest do several subjects together, and reading this was like a lightbulb moment because I too get drained very quickly when I’m being pulled in a million different directions. Next year our 4th grader will be doing some things that our 3rd grader won’t be, and I think I’ll be more intentional about scheduling different work for them at different times rather than trying to “simplify” by teaching them together. I have a feeling that might work better for all of us!
Yes! I’m an INFJ too homeschooling a mix of introverts and extroverts and sometimes just the sheer noise makes me want to crawl into a hole (or hide in a closet). But I do appreciate especially your first point that we are the ones in charge of our homes – we do not have to set things up the way our extrovert friends do – and that is a key component to sanity. For me, a major help is daily quiet time, as well as having well defined rhythm that the kids can depend on (including bedtimes that I can rely on). I realized a few years ago that co-ops for me were a waste of precious energy, but park days could work as a social outlet. I wrote a post on this here that’s near my heart: http://runciblelife.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-to-be-happy-introvert-mom.html
Let’s put it this way…I’m an introvert with 10 children at home. This post has helped me immensely because I often feel guilty when I start to get overwhelmed by the noise or five kids constantly fighting over my lap. I’m glad I’m not the only one!
Shelly’s latest post: Small Steps Are a Big Deal
I recently took a personality test and discovered I am an ENFP. I was surprised (but not too much, I really knew it all along) to learn that this is the only class of extroverts who also have a tremendous need for down time, a lot like classic introverts. I looove people time, up to a point. But I really crave my quiet time too. A dear friend offered to keep my kids once a week during the last trimester of my last pregnancy. I thought it was going to be great to have some time to myself. But, because ENFP’s have a hard time saying “no” to anyone, I found myself out running errands with another friend most Friday afternoons. And it did not do me any good in the least! I came home still exhausted and burned out. Last week was a breakthrough for me. I dropped off the kids, came home with the baby and had a few hours to myself, nice and quiet. Then, a young lady came over to help me clean (can’t beat $10 an hour!) We spent a few (silent) hours cleaning, cooking and eating dinner before the kids came home. It was perfect! Just the recharge I”ve been looking for. Thank you for starting this series. I am looking forward to learning more about how to maximize our opportunities based on our personalities
Thank you for this!! As an introvert, I feeled shamed. My husband is very out going. Talks to anyone and everyone. I do not. I like to be at home in my world. My circle is very small. This article made me feel good to be an introvert.
Jamie C. Martin
I’m so glad, Kerri! You might find my book a big help as well.
Love this article! It actually helped me and some of the comments did as well! Thanks so much!
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!
Lynda - all about mama
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:
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!
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”. 😉
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
I find myself going into the kitchen closer to dinner time and turing on the radio to drown out the sound of the kids playing games and watching TV in the living room. I’ll stay in there to wash dishes and start on dinner and use that time for myself. I also send my son and husband out sometimes on the weekend to go visit with his parents. Then I’ll use that quiet time to either catch up on cleaning or just to read/watch TV and not have to worry about anything else. 🙂
Thank you for this post! I’m an INFJ too! I have a four year old and a two year old (we are thinking of having more) and considering homeschool. So I really appreciate this post. And I appreciate seeing it can be done by another INFJ. My biggest hesitance towards homeschool is just worrying I’ll burn out, so I’m glad to see you are making it work.
Lydia’s latest post: Balance
As an introvert I get this and have had to find ways to cope with five noisy children…they get louder as they get older. Taking walks alone, or with one or two helps as well as evening downtime and working out. I do find my patience lacking at the end of the day and I love the peace when they are all in bed and asleep 🙂
This post rings so true. I also am an INFJ and, with three kids 7, 3 and 2–at least two of whom are extroverts–there are days our homeschool is CRAZY, and mommy gets very cranky. I’m slowly learning things to cope, though. Thanks for a very helpful post.
It makes sense now why your blog is such a “ministry” to me….I’m an INFJ too! I often think I wish there was a place to hear from other INFJ moms to see what has brought peace to their homeschool. Most of us seem to be overwhelmed and frustrated. Every once in awhile I read a comment from an INFJ somewhere that gives the impression they’ve entered into a sort of peace that they’ve fought hard for(you sound like this type of person Jamie)- that they’ve found the system/routine/boundaries that they can usually thrive in. I haven’t found that yet- partly because I still wrestle with saying no to things I shouldn’t be agreeing to sign up for. Anyway, thanks for the post- very helpful and thought provoking!!
Carol Terney Federoff
I look forward to the book! Being an introvert homeschooling an extroverted boy certainly has challenges!
Yes, Carol! I think you’ll find it to be a real encouragement.
I really needed to see this. I’m homeschooling grade, middle & high school while wrangling a 1 yr old that’s into everything & running a home based business. We just had social/extracurricular commitments that happened to fall every single day for more than a week, including throwing a birthday party & unexpected out of town visitors. I was beyond worn out and my introverted self had been desperate for a slow, quiet day. Thank you for the reminders about taking time and the idea of quiet time for everyone becoming a designated thing. This mom needs it!
Cheryl’s latest post: St. Patrick’s Day Craftastic Link Party
People are more aware these days that introverts exists. When I was growing up people thought of instroverts as “stuck up” at best and antisocial at worst. I only have one child, which helps, but he is a loud, extroverted, rambunctious boy with ADHD. The noise and constant motion are sometimes too much for me. He spends lots of time outdoors and has learned to play quietly (for a short period of time) with Legos. We go to two coops, but they are both small, about six families. One is a drop-off and I teach there. But when we’re done, I’m very done. My degree is in education but I never taught because I wan’t able to deal with all the people time. Instead I went back to school and became a librarian. That was perfect—mostly quiet, extremely organized and filled with other introverts! My son also gets to spend two afternoons a week with my mother, another extrovert, who is surrounded by introverts. They both immensely enjoy their time together. And my husband is also an introvert so he understands and will spend “man time” with our son. Anyway, thank you for the article and I look forward to reading your book!
You’re so welcome, Sarah!
I’m an INFJ too and at 47 I am homeschooling my two adopted children aged 6 and 7, and they are a whole different ball game (read LOUD!) from my biological children, eldest aged 20 and younger daughter of 15 in heaven already.
You are simply a life-saver – thank you!
Petra, from South Africa
Thank you so much for writing this post, and the homeschool mom personality quiz. I am introverted, but also have some extroverted-ness too. I am thinking about homeschooling, A few of the things I have worried about is being consistent, getting enough quiet time, and having enough social time for my introverted, with a side of extroverted girls. I love the idea to carve out time for me a couple of times a day and really use that time to refresh. I didn’t realize how much I need that time. And no wonder I would get stressed, when my kids came home from school. And group craft time…my poor kids….they love crafts, but craziness makes my head swim too. SO I put it off. I love the suggestion for one-on-one time. I have enjoyed those times with my kids. I guess I am more introverted than I thought. Thank you for all the tips and suggestions!
Thank you for this post..it really helped me understand myself. I feel validated -and not condemned anymore- for needing time alone and not being good at ‘table time’ style teaching. You have encouraged me so much!
Jamie C. Martin
I’m so glad, Klara! I hope you’ll check out my book, Introverted Mom, as well! It’s free right now for Amazon Prime users in the US!
Thank you so much for this post and the personality traits quiz! It is just what I needed today. We are almost a year into the pandemic, it is our first year homeschooling and I am ready to go crazy. The noise all day, the little demands and everything else that comes with having three strong-willed boys under the age of 6 can be quite exhausting for me. But this post has given me the inside to the changes necessary in our home to make everyone happier all around. Thank you so much!! God knew I needed to find this. A true gift! Thank you!
Jamie C. Martin
I’m so glad to hear this. Hang in there! xo
I’ve always been a homebody and have suffered with anemia that makes me tired most days.. I hate going out or having more than 2-3 days of planned activities. Just going for a hike with the kids can leave me drained for the rest of the day. I hate it because I feel that my kids are missing out. We moved to a new city 2 years ago and haven’t made hardly any friends. I don’t know if continuing to homeschool is best for my situation but I love the time I get with my children!
I’m not too much of an introvert, but I do have physical challenges. Also, I am not the mom but the grandma. My daughter has her own business but cannot afford childcare so I have been watching the little one since she was an infant. Now she is four years old and I feel we can start learning letters, numbers and reading. This is a very outgoing, kinesthetic child. Thank goodness there is only one. I have never taught this age before. I taught algebra decades ago to middle schoolers. Everyone thought I was crazy but honestly, I never had so much fun! I can see teaching a preschooler is an entirely different ball of wax! I need help!