Homeschooling Introverts

I Can’t Homeschool Because I’m an Introvert

I Can't Homeschool Because... I'm An Introvert 2

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I’ve written before that the greatest challenge I face as a homeschooler is my own introversion. So when people say “I can’t homeschool because I’m an introvert,” I understand. When people say they would go nuts if they had to be around their children all day, I know that they probably aren’t exaggerating. They really feel that way. It has nothing to do with not loving your children enough.

It’s about your own personal sanity.

I totally get it.

But introverts can successfully homeschool with some strategizing.

The Need for Time Alone

Introverts face their own set of challenges when homeschooling. The advantage is knowing ahead of time what the main issue is: You need time alone to recharge.

Note that time alone is a need, not a want. Time alone for an introvert is not a luxury. It’s really not an option. It is something you have to have in order to be healthy. In order to stay sane. If you have any lingering doubts about the legitimate, hardwired needs of introverts, please get Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Over the years I’ve brainstormed schemed ways to get a break. (Granted I only have one child so my take on this might vary compared to the mom of many children.) In addition, your needed break level might vary from mine. For example, some introverted moms talk about the afternoon quiet time in their home. I’m glad that works for them. I have never found that to work. I need time ALONE, not quiet time. Every time I’m interrupted, it disrupts my recharging. (Yes, I am super high on the introversion end of the spectrum.) So when I’m strategizing for time alone to recharge, I’m looking for true time alone.

Here are a number of ways to carve out introvert time during your week.

Enroll Your Child in a Drop-off Homeschool Co-op

There are different kinds of homeschool coops. If you are fortunate to have one where you can enroll your child for a couple of classes and drop her off, do it. You will have a couple hours every week when you know you will get a break. Use that time to be alone in a way that meets your needs. If you need to read a book and get coffee, do it. If you like to be alone with your thoughts while cleaning the house undisturbed, do it. If you want to enjoy a hobby and music, do it. Don’t use the time on activities that drain you. Look at it as a time of personal and professional development each week. If you are healthy, you will be a better mom and homeschooler.

Trade Off Childcare

If you have a friend nearby who will trade off child care with you once a week, this can be a great solution. You take her children for a few hours one day and she takes your another day. You’ll have a noisy house to deal with one day a week, but you’ll also get time to yourself to look forward to.

Hire a Babysitter

My husband and I both work from home and we hire a babysitter to come over for two and a half hours once a week or so. We use the time to work, but it could also be used as a break for mom. Use the time to get out of the house or train your children that when the babysitter is at the house, you are not available.

Get Up Early or Stay Up Late

Whichever you choose, use it for introverted time. Don’t waste it on Facebook or mindlessly watching a sitcom that does nothing to recharge you. Do something with the time to take care of your introverted self.

Stay Home

Staying home is very important to an introvert. When we introverts go out and about, every interaction we have with people takes a little bit from us. Even if we have a good conversation with someone and our outside activities go well, we’re still drained by the time we get home. The solution is to simply stay home some days. While staying home isn’t necessarily getting time alone, it does mean that you aren’t further depleting your emotional and mental reserves.

Give Dad the Library Job

If you want an easy way to involve dad with homeschooling, then make him the family librarian. His job every week is to take the children to the library for an hour or so. If he can take them to the library AND get a treat afterwards, all the better!

Use Electronic Babysitters

Yes, use electronics to get time alone. Not all electronics are bad and there are many useful products to use. You can use DVDs, a Kindle Fire loaded with good apps, or educational videos via Netflix, Amazon Prime, or YouTube.

While some people might be aghast at suggesting using electronic babysitters, I look at it this way. I’m already spending a lot of time with my child as both her work-at-home mother and homeschool teacher. We’re together all the time. She’s getting a focused education that works well for her learning style. Using electronics for an hour or two a day is not going to undermine any of that. And if letting her watch Sleeping Beauty again or play Minecraft or use Reading Rainbow on the Kindle means that I can function better as her mother, then as far as I’m concerned it is win-win.

Don’t Sacrifice Your Well-being

Homeschooling can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both the parent and the child, but it can only work well if everyone gets what they need. For the introverted parent, it is imperative that you plan ways to take care of yourself so you can be there for your child.

Literally thousand and thousands of highly introverted parents homeschool every day. It can be done. And it can be done successfully with an acknowledgement of the needs of the introverted parent and a plan to make it work!

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Enjoy more posts in this series! Check out what other homeschool moms have to say about reasons they “can’t” homeschool!

I-Cant-Homeschool-Because2I Can't Homeschool Because... I'm An Introvert

12 Comments

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  • I totally needed to hear this…that I NEED alone time, it’s not a luxury. I am definitely an introvert. I went to a few parties as a child and I always ended up “zoning out” about midway through and I never knew why. Now I realize I was extremely socially overstimulated. I rarely make or hang out with friends mostly because a little interaction goes a LONG way.

  • Leah – I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you. I can relate to the zoning out. I think most introverts reach a point where we just start to “shut down” so to speak in extended social situations because we just can’t take any more. 🙂

  • Sallie,

    I SO hear this! My kids participate in two drop off classes per week, and I consider them MUST HAVES! My husband works long hours so it’s even more important that I have some time by myself. I always try to do something productive (grocery shop, run an errand, work) and then something for myself (read, take a bath, walk the dog) during that time. Thankfully my kids are close in age and although they never played together for their first 5 years together, they do now and it’s extraordinarily helpful to my introverted self. They are also introverts, as is my husband, so we sometimes joke we should move somewhere and build each of us our own house. =)

    -Meredith

  • This is such an encouraging article, Sallie! I too am a strong introvert–and I’m also a homeschool mom of 8! Because I can’t get alone time through the day (like you, my alone time can NOT be interrupted), I recharge in two ways: I stay up late and I stay home several Saturdays each month while my husband takes the kids on mini trips. Yes, I miss some fun experiences with my family, but it is absolutely vital for my sanity.

  • Meredith, Amy and Judy – Thank you so much for stopping by and your comments. It’s always encouraging to hear others have the same needs. I so want homeschooling moms to know that it’s not a bad thing to need time to yourself. It’s how God wired us! And if God made us that way, then we can trust that He will provide solutions if we ask him. 🙂

  • This exactly. Introverted mom of highly sensitive only child here, who said I couldn’t homeschool just this week and was over burdened. That burden is lifting and these posts are part of that. May the Lord bless you as you are blessing me with your words!

  • Ashley – Homeschooling an intense only child when you are an introvert is HARD. It really is. Moms of many have their own challenges. But we have ours and they are REAL. I think it is easy to write off our own challenges because we “only” have one. Sometimes one can be just as challenging as a handful, just in different ways! 🙂

  • What a great post! This is our first year of homeschooling, and sometimes I do get overwhelmed when there is a topic that she needs continual help with. I didn’t even recognize that it was because I am an introvert. I have found that adding several free reading times to her day helps because during that time I can be by myself and get some work done, or read, or whatever.

  • Hi,

    What I am trying to figure out is whether I can homeschool my child, being an introvert, and be assured he will make friends?  He is 4 and in preschool now. Can I realistically expect that I am going to get him out to social activities enough to meet people when I can’t stand that stuff?  He is at an age where, for him to meet people = me meeting people.  I don’t have friends with kids his age.  We would have to start from scratch.  Also, rather than have friends drop by while I go do stuff in a different room, friends coming over equals the parent coming as well, and we have to talk for 2 hours straight while the kids play till his friend goes home.  I am used to being home with him all day anyway, so I am not worried about that part.  But I seriously wonder if I can survive the social stuff that will be necessary.  He is a social butterfly compared to me, by the way, so friends would be extremely important for him.

  • Hi Meghan,

    It’s great you recognize that about yourself. I think for introverted parents the social aspect can be really challenging. One thought with your scenario is to seek out some other introverted parents and do play swaps. Instead of all the parents sitting around and being forced to interact during the playtime, designate a drop-off playdate. That way two or three parents get a break and one parent is “on” with the kids. Then the next week a different parent is on and the others get a break. I totally agree with you. Playdates where I would have to socialize for a couple of hours would leave me exhausted no matter how much I like the people.

    I’m not going to lie. Being an introverted parent and making sure your social butterfly gets enough interaction is going to be something you will have to work at. I do think there are many ways you can get him out and about without you having to be a part of all of it (such as the ones I listed in the article). It’s all about trade-offs. In some ways, I would be a happier introvert if my daughter went to school and my husband had a job. But only in some ways. There are far more ways that I am happy with homeschooling and working from home. The key is knowing yourself, knowing what will slowly drive you insane from the introvert standpoint, and then strategize every way possible to get the alone time you need.

    Sallie

  • I have been thinking more and more about home schooling but being a in introvert is my biggest hang-up. I love my children but I don’t want to be around them every day, all day. To me, it is exhausting. I appreciated this article so much. Thank you!

Welcome!

Sallie-Schaaf-Borrink-060313-B-250x250I'm Sallie, teacher by training and now homeschooling mom of Caroline. My passion is to provide products, encouragement, and information that helps others discover and do what works with their children. I also write about living a cozy life as a highly introverted person. Welcome! ♥

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