Before I was an introvert homeschool mom, I was an introvert stay at home mom. And before I was an introvert stay at home mom, I was just an introvert. As an introvert, I never imagined I would be homeschooling, much less loving it.
In fact, I imagined I would probably be better suited living my life completely alone.
And actually, I was pretty excited about that prospect.
Cue reality when girl meets boy and boy asks for a kiss and the next thing you know you’re married, proud co-owners of the world’s best dog, and expecting a baby girl.
I’m not going to lie, one of my biggest reservations concerning marriage was that I might never get to sleep alone again. The military solved that dilemma. Plus, it turns out my hubby’s body heat is quite an asset to my perpetually cold body every winter.
As much as I love being home, it’s a lot different when I’m alone vs. solely responsible for the lives of my three glorious, boundary pushing kiddos.
When homeschool became the beat of my heart, I seriously questioned my ability to adapt. I was rather good at spending my alone time alone, and I hesitated to spend all of my time being on someone else’s agenda.
So this is what it’s like to punch a time clock, eh?
Turns out, I needn’t have worried. Homeschool more than fits my introverted tendencies. I won’t say there aren’t times that I want to tear my hair out, curl up in a corner of my closet and cry… but those days are much fewer than I originally anticipated.
Instead, I’m finding that not only do I tolerate homeschooling well… I actually kind of love it. Like, love it.
I say yes. I say, homeschooling, really, can be good for anyone who’s willing to be creative in the way it’s designed. Homeschool is so personal, so intimately unique to an individual and the family dynamic.
Of course it can feel like a heavy burden if you’re trying to fit into someone else’s mold. But when you find your own groove, the groove that gives your family’s current some flow, it’s the best life.
No, I don’t get 8 hours to myself every day like I would if the kids were in school. But let’s face it, with two under four, it was going to be a long while before that happened for me anyways.
The fact is, when I weighed what I’d be missing with my kids in school, and more importantly what they would be missing, 8 hours alone no longer seemed as appealing. And sacrificing alone time to live life with my children is really no sacrifice at all.
There will be challenges, definitely. Not because you’re introvert or extrovert but simply because homeschooling is a counter cultural idea. So many homeschooling moms, these days, are first generation homeschoolers. That means they’re trailblazers, making their own way in their own family.
It’s pretty exciting and kind of Lewis and Clark-esque, but also scary and a touch lonely- you have no examples to model your days after!
Still, it’s super important to remember that surviving homeschooling is really not the point. Thriving as a family is the point. And anytime I see a mom who describes herself as surviving, my heart breaks. A little because I’ve been there. And a little because it’s such a waste of life.
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Obviously, this is the number one challenge. Introverts need space to decompress, process, and just be. They need to delve deep into their inner world, and they need to just think. Thinking is harder than you’d expect it to be when you have three kids in your household.
Kids being home all day means there is one more meal, every day of the week, that you must be prepared to serve. I don’t mind serving them food. What really gets me, is having to stop what I’m doing, change my thought track, and then think of what to feed them that won’t land me in the bad mom club.
Like, I know homemade goat milk greek yogurt is better than yoplait but… am I going to wait a year until I have a doe in milk to whip up a batch or am I going to give my extremely picky eater the yogurt that she will actually eat?
This is kind of like quiet time only it’s more pleasant because it cannot be abruptly interrupted by an ill timed shriek due to one brother (who shall remain nameless) putting his feet on one sister (who will also be anonymous in this analogy) whilst watching Scout.
Alone time is deep, analytical contemplation time. It’s journaling, and list making, and list re-making for the perfectionists among us, and journaling about why the first list wasn’t quite right, time. Homeschool is the anti-alone time.
If you have kids in varying age brackets, in different seasons of life, then you might consider this an important point. Nothing encourages my toddlers and my eldest (she’s ten) to form friendships, forging impenetrable relationships, like having to live life together day in and day out.
Living out on a homestead helps, too.
The school system doesn’t dictate when my kids can play together. I do. The school calendar doesn’t decide which mornings my ten year old can read to my three year old. I do.
Now, don’t hear me say that you’re a terrible person if you don’t homeschool your children so that they can grow up to be best friends. I’m just saying… homeschool helps.
What say you about having no quiet/alone time? Play your cards right, and stagger your kid’s ages, and you’ve got 1-2 hours made in the shade each day.
Okay, truth be told, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like. I literally “traded” having my oldest take the kids outside instead of “doing school” today. No matter how unschool cool I am, I can’t make playing in the mud with your baby sibs turn into math skills you can utilize later in life.
But it was a pretty awesome afternoon of organizing without interruption, so a win is a win in my book.
Let me tell you about our homeschool during the winter months, specifically from Thanksgiving week through the New Year: we bake and eat a lot of sweet things.
Seriously. I stop doing structured school the Friday before Turkey day and I don’t pick the pencils and books back up until we’ve rung in the New Year. If you asked me to record what my daughter’s learning during that time, I could. But I don’t have to. So instead, we just enjoy making memories.
The memory making isn’t just during the holidays. We laugh about things the littles say all day long. We bird watch together. We nature walk around our fields. We snuggle on the couch and giggle over funny pictures on my phone. Sure, we could do a lot of this on weekends. But we get so much more time to just be together with homeschool.
And despite my introverted stay at home mom status, I actually really enjoy being together with them.
This is sort of like making memories but it also caters to my lazy daisy side. Ever look up, find that the morning flew by, it’s lunchtime, and nobody has made a move to get dressed yet?
I bet you don’t on a Monday!
I do. Now, this might not be something you aspire to, but declaring a day “pajama day” sounds a lot better than an “I forgot to get the kids dressed day.” Plus, staying in your pajamas basically guarantees that you won’t be expected to leave your house so… as an introvert homeschool mom… that’s pretty sweet.
You read about our holiday schedule, but our daily schedule is uber relaxed, too. For lack of want or lack of ability, I like to keep homeschool pretty simple. Chill. Unhurried.
The kind of pace that totally fits my introvert homeschool mom self.
If I’ve got some more thinking to do, over hot coffee with a pen in hand, school starts at 10 am. If I’m all thinked out, we start at 9. If it’s bathroom cleaning day, we push school back to the afternoon and my daughter gets to choose between entertaining her siblings or cleaning her bathroom (I’ll give you two guesses which one she picks 90% of the time)!
No bus stops. No sick day notes. Just me and my kiddos, living our best life in our pajamas. Even when we scrap “real” school and head outside!
Where were you when the world stopped turning in spring of 2020? I was at home, probably in my pajamas, homeschooling my daughter. And when everyone got an impromptu two weeks off? I was still doing the same thing. And when the world decided to go bananas and cancel life forevermore?
Still doing school. At home. You can finish the rest.
I’m not being callous. I felt really bad for parents and kids everywhere. Homeschool is way too life altering to be forced into it. Especially when you’re totally unprepared! But it sure felt good to be the anomaly, living life as usual despite all the crazy going on around us.
Going off grid never looked so good as it did during the height of covid (and ever after). And it’s never been so possible as it is when you’re already homeschooling.
I used to fear being forgettable. Now I’m all for the simple, obscure, introvert homeschool mom life. If I never have to make small talk at a bus stop again, it will be too soon. Pretending to be normal is way harder than it appears. I’d rather be my strange, introverted self without being self-conscious about it.
This, perhaps, doesn’t apply to your life but one of the things I just love about homeschooling is having my children home all day. Chores don’t stop just because buses pull away. Not that we have a great many homestead chores currently, and certainly did not when we began this journey, but there will come a day when my daughter’s presence is indispensable.
Like when our milking goat herd gets up and running. Or, when we get our milking line breeding quad of bottle babies in a couple of days along with the ten guinea keets we ordered, and a multitude of add-ons in the coming weeks/months.
Not only would we not want to miss out on her help, she wouldn’t want to miss out on helping. Homesteading life is the best life.
You may have gathered that I’m not much for small talk. Being a true blue introvert stay at home mom, I’m also not big on crowds. Being able to go to the park, horse lessons, store etc. during slow times of the day is a major score for me!
Not that I go out all that often. But, ya know, if I did.
I might love being alone, I might love when it’s quiet, I might love when I can just sit and think without interruption, but that’s not exactly the way I’m meant to live my life.
Many times, being an introvert means struggling to not be selfish or self-involved. At the very least, it presents a struggle to just think of others more often than you think to yourself.
When you’re an introvert homeschool mom, and run a household with three children who depend on you, you don’t have to try to put others first. You don’t have to try to get out of your head. They do that for you. All you do is show up each day, drink your coffee, be present, watch them play
or fight, and smile because this is your life and you get to live every minute of it with the imperfect little crazies you created!