One of the scariest things, for me, when I thought about homeschooling, was the fact I would be with my kiddo all.the.time. This scared me for a few reasons. Our relationship had deteriorated to screaming matches over math homework, and she’s an extrovert; not just an extrovert… a spirited extrovert. If you aren’t familiar with the term “spirited”, I like the definition… more. These kids are more persistent, more intense, more emotional, generally have difficulties with transitions and just more more more, add that on top of extrovert, and you have the recipe to create dread in a prospective introvert homeschooling mom. Ultimately though, we do what’s best for our kids, and for mine, it was coming home.
This year has been an adjustment, to say the least. Our relationship has actually taken a complete 180 degree turn, and she’s one of my favorite people to spend time with now, but she’s still a spirited extrovert. If I’m not mindful, I’ll find myself completely depleted, with no energy, or patience to get through the day. I have to be aware, and mindful of where my energy levels are on any given day, and throughout any given day. If I don’t think of myself, and make sure I recharge, we’ll both suffer.
It seems like a monumental task, not only to parent these spirited extroverts, but now to also help them learn as well?! Though it does at times seem impossible, it really is doable, if you have a plan. Here’s mine.
Start the introvert/extrovert conversations early.
Talk to your kiddo about being an introvert vs being an extrovert. It’s all about where you get your energy, how you recharge. She gets charged up by being around other people. Me? I get charged up by being alone! While you may be on opposite ends of the recharging spectrum if you talk about it, and have an understanding you can communicate yourself through most of the major problems. You can tell your kiddo, “Hey, I’ve got to go take a break for 15 minutes… I’m running out of energy and need to recharge.” and they’ll get it, because you’ve been talking about it.
Have a recharge plan.
Have a plan not only for yourself, but for your kiddos. It’s easy to get focused on how you’re going to recharge your batteries, but you also need to have a plan for your kiddo to recharge too. This is especially true if you have an only child, like I do. There are times when she gets so out of control, and I can’t figure out what the heck the problem is. I stop and think and we haven’t left the house for a few days. My perfect world, her recipe for disaster. We have discussed extensively about getting your own needs met, and not waiting for someone else to rescue you. Part of our recharge plan is for her to let me know if she needs to get out and do stuff. We have scheduled activities with friends every week, but sometimes those Thursday outings fall through the crack, and she’ll need another way to connect with others.
We’ve also made it possible for her to skype with her old public school friends. She keeps that connection and it’s another chance for her to interact and recharge her batteries.
Me? I am usually awake before everyone else, not always by as much as I’d like to be. I take that time to have coffee, and quiet time for myself. Starting the day with a little peace does a world of wonders for me. It’s a great time to get some meditation in, or even just refresh Facebook without someone looking over my shoulder. 🙂
By the end of the day, I’m usually done. We have gotten a lot more lenient about bedtime since we started homeschooling. I no longer have to wrestle her out of bed at some crazy hour of the morning, so staying up a little later isn’t really a big deal. What is a big deal is me having some quiet time at the end of the day. 🙂 For a while she was staying up until my bed time, and that just wasn’t working for me. She literally talks from the moment she wakes up to the moment she falls asleep. She would make a fantastic sportscaster. She gives me a play by play of everything going on in her outer and inner world the entire time she’s awake. While I’ve learned to love this about her (kind of) I still need to get away from it sometimes. So now, she needs to go to her room at 9. I don’t care if she goes to sleep, or reads a book as late as she wants, but I need an hour.
Now, if you have a younger spirited child you may be laughing hysterically right now. I get it. This whole, go to bed early thing did NOT work when she was younger… in fact, bedtime was the very worst part of the day. It gets better mama. If you’re dealing with a young one who refuses sleep, make sure you take some additional time for yourself somewhere in the day!
Build in Down Time:
I talked about this in my book, Introvert Mom Spirited Child, build in down time. When I wrote the book, my kiddo was taking horse riding lessons. That gave me an hour where she was in someone else’s care. Now we’ve moved on to gymnastics, and we’re dipping our toes in competitive cheer. Again, this gives me time to myself while she’s in her class. So find something that interests your kiddo. Karate? Art? Gymnastics? STEM? There are possibilities everywhere, many of which are low cost or free. Consider these things not only a gift to your child, but a gift to you!
Connect with a Homeschool Group
Now this may be harder or easier depending on where you live. Finding a homeschool group that’s open and friendly to secular homeschoolers can be difficult. I got insanely lucky to find mine, though it’s not a secular group, the people have been warm and welcoming, and I’ve already created some fantastic friends. Getting some adult interaction is really nice. An adult conversation can help fuel you, as an introvert, especially if you make some good friends and can talk about more than the weather. Added bonus? While you’re chatting with an adult, chances are your kiddo is playing with another kiddo! Win/Win!
If you can’t find a local homeschool group to connect with, and I really suggest you try, find an online group. While connecting to someone in real life is nice, the added benefit of an online group is you don’t have to leave the house. <3 All kidding aside, online groups are amazing because they are there all.the.time. It doesn’t matter what time you need to talk, chances are someone is going to be there to connect. I have a few favorite homeschool groups, the first is MINE! Secular, relaxed-eclectic homeschoolers with OLDER kids, the next is my working homeschool moms group, and while as a relaxed-eclectic homeschooler I sometimes find the SEA groups a little overwhelming I still enjoy them.There’s always a good conversation going on because they’re such big groups.
Being an introvert mom homeschooling an extrovert can be tough, but it can be done, even without losing your sanity. 😀 Are you an introvert homeschooling mom? Do you have your own recharging tricks up your sleeve? I’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments below!
We aren’t all introverts, but we all need to take time and care of ourselves. Make sure to check out what my bloggy friends have to share on the topic of self care in our Homeschool Monthly Blog Hop!
** All posts may not be secular **
How to Make Time for You When You “Don’t Have Time” by Jen at Practical, By Default
Self-Care For Homeschool Moms – 17 Ways to Thrive! By Michelle at Homeschool Your Boys
Making Time for Self-Care as a Homeschooler by Crystal at Sharing Life’s Moments
Supermom, It’s Okay to Say No: Self-Care for the Chronically Over-Scheduled by Ginny at Not So Formulaic
Awesome Adulting: Be the Inspiration You Want For Your Children by Dachelle at Hide The Chocolate
How to Pilfer Me Time When There’s None to Spare by KT at LitMama Homeschool
How To Make Time for Self-Care as a Homeschooler by Amy at Rock Your Homeschool