My biggest homeschool struggle has been consistency. As I begin my 19th year of homeschooling, I want to take steps to grow in this area. I know I’m not alone in the struggle, so I am sharing my tips with you.
In thinking about consistency, I realized that it is highly related to personality. Those of you who have heard me speak about personality know that my typology of choice is that developed by Florence Littauer, author of Personality Plus. There are four basic personalities which can create combinations. But today I’m only going to review the four main personalities, so I can share tailor-made tips for helping you to become more consistent.
Homeschool Consistency for Popular Sanguine Personalities
The first personality type we will discuss today is the Popular Sanguine. I want to begin with this personality because this type has the most difficulty remaining consistent. This is not to say that the other personalities don’t also have challenges remaining consistent in their homeschooling, but this personality’s quest for fun can cause problems. The day-to-day, rather boring realities of homeschooling conflict with the Popular Sanguine’s life-should-be-a-party style. The Popular Sanguine personality bolts out of the gate for back to school and is on fire. They tell themselves that this is the year they’re going to be consistent because they are so excited about their new planner, their new curriculum, and routines. But the fun and excitement of the beginning of the school year quickly fades without proper attention. This personality will begin to drop the routines and behaviors and activities they were so excited about in the beginning. So how can we as popular Sanguines become consistent when our desire is to have fun?
The solution to inconsistency for the popular sanguine personality lies in planning for a variety of fun activities throughout the school year. One school year our co-op did only field trips for our co-op day. This sounded like a marvelous idea at the beginning of our homeschooling year. After all, what could be more fun than a field trip? As the year wore on, though, the field trips actually became tiring. The Popular Sanguine craves variety. This is why the popular sanguine becomes so energized and excited about the new school year. She has chosen new curriculum, new activities, and new routines. Don’t plan the same activities, even if they are fun activities. We have fun Fridays in our homeschool. If I am not careful, I can plan to do the same thing every Friday. That is because I haven’t actually planned out my activities. So rather than having a game day, or going on a field trip, or watching movies every single Friday, I need to schedule a variety of homeschooling activities. Put something on the calendar, every week if possible, that you look forward to. Popular Sanguines get depressed if there isn’t something fun to look forward to soon.
To keep things exciting, you could even create a jar of fun ideas for your homeschool and choose one randomly. I created one for my family and you can steal it when you subscribe. Add your own ideas, too! Click the image below to download your copy.
Alternatively, you could ask your children to take turns planning fun days. Just do something to keep the homeschooling process exciting.
Homeschool Consistency for Powerful Choleric Personalities
The second personality type I want to discuss in terms of being a consistent homeschooler is the Powerful Choleric personality. This is my secondary personality, so I need these tips as well as those for the Popular Sanguine. The Powerful Choleric more than anything wants control. If this is you, you become perturbed and impatient if you don’t feel like you have control over your children and your homeschooling.
One of the best solutions for remaining consistent as a homeschooling mom who needs to have some control is to get regular feedback on what you’re accomplishing. Powerful Cholerics are ambitious people who strive to be successful. If you don’t feel that you are achieving anything with your efforts, you’re going to become inconsistent.I did an interview with Deborah Bell about her Ultimate Homeschool Planner and how to plan your homeschool year that you will appreciate. What I was most excited about from our discussion is the idea that I would meet with each of my children at the beginning of the week to plan their objectives and also at the end of the week to see what we accomplished. More than just what we accomplished academically, however, the Ultimate Homeschool Planner also gives Powerful Cholerics like us the opportunity to record how we saw God at work in our homeschools. This also meets our need for getting a good return on our time investment.
Another way to feel that you are more in control is to take a leadership position. That could be a leadership position in your homeschooling support group, co-op, or learning center. When Powerful Cholerics are in charge, they are more likely to be consistent. Teaching classes in my home-based co-op has been the best thing for my Powerful Choleric side. I have a schedule made up at the beginning of the year that invariably gets followed because it is a group activity. I feel not only more in control of my homeschool, but I also get to see the results.
Homeschool Consistency for Perfect Melancholy Personalities
The next personality type I want to discuss in terms of becoming a more consistent homeschooler is the Perfect Melancholy personality. This is the personality that wants things to be perfect. Melancholies are the most consistent homeschoolers naturally. These are people who like to do things in the same way and typically resist change or inconsistency. However, this personality can become discouraged and depressed when their consistency isn’t perfect. Perfect consistency doesn’t exist, especially when you are dealing with children!
The Perfect Melancholy personality needs to adopt a new definition of consistency. When someone or something throws a wrench into your plans, accept the interruption as from the Lord. Relax, give yourself grace, and believe that if you are achieving your objectives and following your plan about 80% of the time, you are being consistent. Remember, too, that your children may not share your personality. This is the case for homeschoolers, regardless of their personality. We not only have to take our own personality into account, but our children’s as well. If you as a Perfect Melancholy homeschooler are consistent with your homeschooling 80% of the time, you are likely giving your children with other personality types the freedom and the variety they crave.
The other thing you can do as a Perfect Melancholy homeschooler is to communicate your needs to your family. Again, this is a recommendation that I can give to every homeschooler, regardless of personality. But for the Perfect Melancholy it is particularly important to be honest and forthright about your needs and feelings. Saying something like, “I have been feeling out of sorts and even frustrated because we haven’t been able to stay home and get through our homeschooling routine. I’ll feel so much better about things if we can stick to the plan today” can help your family be sensitive to your needs. Maybe your family should just know what you need, but they likely don’t. They need you to tell them.
Homeschool Consistency for Peaceful Phlegmatic Personalities
The final personality type is the Peaceful Phlegmatic. This personality type can also struggle with consistency because this personality wants to keep things simple and conflict free. If the homeschooling plan you have created for your family at the beginning of the homeschooling year is just unrealistic or too demanding for your particular family and lifestyle, you’re likely to want to drop it all. Of course, there are other options besides all or nothing.
The Peaceful Phlegmatic homeschooler can be consistent this homeschool year by keeping the homeschooling routine and curriculum easy. What are some ways to make homeschooling easy? Listen to the podcast episode I did on how to homeschool in less time for ideas. The Peaceful Phlegmatic homeschooler will be delighted to spend less time doing direct teaching in their homeschool, giving them more time for relaxation. Block off plenty of time in your schedule for unscheduled time. Drop out of activities you know will leave you exhausted by the end of the year. Make sure that curriculum that is confusing to you or frustrating for your kids is replaced. We have so many options available to us as homeschoolers now, there’s really no reason to continue with a curriculum that isn’t easy to understand and easy to use. If you need some recommendations for curriculum that is an alternative to what you have been using, please join our homeschooling support group– HomeschoolScopes.tv on Facebook. In that group you can ask any questions you have about curriculum and get an array of very helpful answers.
How to Achieve Homeschool Consistency Regardless of Personality
Now that I covered some basic tips for the various personality types, I have one major recommendation for you, regardless of your personality. That is to make your homeschooling a habit. If you try to fit homeschooling in around your other activities and priorities, your homeschooling won’t happen. Do what you have to do to make sure that you have time most days to complete the homeschooling tasks that you know you need to complete. We build the homeschooling habit by doing the same activities day after day, whether we feel like it or not. I am not suggesting that if you are exhausted from being up with sick children or a newborn all night that you absolutely have to do the same routine or use the same schedule. Of course, I’m not suggesting that. That is the blessing of homeschooling that we have the flexibility we need to accommodate those special circumstances. However, if you just don’t feel like doing homeschooling with your kids and you consistently put it off, you will be disappointed with your homeschool consistency this year. In fact, you may feel like a failure, your kids may complain, or your spouse may suggest it’s time to put the kids in school. This is all because you have not developed the habit of homeschooling even when you don’t feel like it.
I know habit building may sound discouraging, but understand this. The amount of willpower it requires to build the homeschooling habit is only intense at the very beginning. In a matter of weeks you will find yourself automatically going through your routines without even thinking about it. Not doing your homeschooling routine won’t even be something you consider. That is the good news about being a consistent homeschooler. Being a consistent homeschooler does not mean you are a legalist. In fact, thinking about having to do the same thing day after day after day, regardless of what else is happening in your life is likely to make you less consistent, rather than more. Know that you can definitely be Spirit-led in your day-to-day homeschooling, but I believe the Lord would have us be consistent the majority of the time. Develop a morning routine, an afternoon routine, and an evening routine. I tell you how here and in The Organized Homeschool Life.
By following these steps, you can be a consistent homeschooler this year. I am very hopeful as I look forward to this upcoming homeschool year with these tips in mind.