Contrary to popular belief, not all homeschoolers are introverts. In fact, I’d say the percentage of extroverted homeschoolers is probably very close to that of the general population. Though I do think there is (a little) something to the stereotype of the recluse who homeschools because it is easier than learning to get along with the rest of the world, that’s not necessarily because they are introverted but just because they’re nuts. It happens. Has nothing to do with homeschooling.
99% of us are just normal people trying to raise our kids in a more intuitive, less institutionalized environment. Some of us are very extroverted, some very introverted, and most lie between the extremes.
If you’ve never taken a Myers-Briggs type personality test, now’s a great time to do that. Who doesn’t love a good personality quiz? The test I’ve linked seems accurate. I took a professional one once long ago and got the same result. I’m an INTJ, which I’m told means I smell funny and nobody really likes me very much. Hmph.
Anyways, that I stands for Introverted, and I’m pretty strongly oriented in that direction (though the degree of I seems to fluctuate depending on my hormonal condition), so I have the pleasure of living up to that particular homeschooler stereotype. Don’t misunderstand introverts: we like people and need them! But introverts don’t have the same need to be seen and heard that extroverts do in order to feel that we’re really alive. In fact, we need to be alone for a good portion of the time in order to keep our heads screwed on straight.
Stereotypes notwithstanding, for a homeschooling mom–especially one with a large family– introversion can be a significant hurdle to clear. You’d think introversion would be a reason why I homeschool, but you’d be wrong! Not having to interact with large numbers of students, parents, and teachers is certainly a plus (especially given some other aspects of my personality), but the only real temptation I’ve ever had for sending my children to school is my frequent inability to muster the energy to talk to people all day long every day.
I tend to get a bit grumpy after a couple of days of intense interaction, even with my own kids. Honestly, I don’t know how these people can stand me. I’m not the ideal homeschooler, unfortunately, and I’ve had to hit my knees in prayers of repentance for my attitude and behavior more times than I like to admit because of it. I’m still learning how to balance my needs with those of my family, and I expect homeschooling will be a twenty-year trial by fire in this respect.
I have, thankfully, learned a few things that might help fellow introverts, and I’ll have at least one more post on the topic soon. Before I get into my own thoughts and observations about successful homeschooling (or just mothering) for introverts, though, I’d like to know more about you, whether you’re a homeschooler or just a curious reader. Let me know your thoughts in the comments:
Are you more extroverted or introverted? How does it affect the way you raise your children? Can we still be friends, now that you know I don’t really like you that much? (Kidding!)