Choosing Your Homeschooling Style

Yesterday, I talked about the Best Way to Homeschool, and I had to clue you into the fact that there really is no best way to homeschool. Sadly, we have to muddle through and figure out what works for our families and our lifestyles.

However, the fun, exciting fact is this: When you tailor your homeschool style to your life, you will soon find that homeschooling is easier than you imagined.

Think of it this way: If you walk around in shoes all day long that are either a bit to tight or a smidgen too large, you may be able to get things done. But, you won’t get them done as efficiently as if you are wearing shoes that fit perfectly. Additionally, your shoes have to be appropriate for your activities. You wouldn’t wear ballet slippers to go for a jog, nor would you wear your Nikes to go ballroom dancing.

When your homeschool works well with your personality style and those of your kids, homeschooling comes a whole lot easier. You will be operating in the “Sweet Spot.” While you still will have to put in the hard work to make it happen, it will be easier to get motivated to get started when the core of your homeschool dove-tails with your own personal style.

One more thing…There’s a difference between homeschool methods and homeschool styles. Methods are closely related to curriculum choices. Some people use textbooks and others use literature based learning. Those are methods. Styles  can work with several different methods. Styles refer to how structured and scheduled you are, whether you prefer workbooks or hands-on learning, or whether you like artistic demonstrations of learning or tests.

Here are some common characteristics of people in general. Don’t forget that nobody falls strictly into each category. For instance, you may be creative, but never late to anything.  Additionally, with self discipline, you can improve your natural bent toward some of the negative parts of that personality style.

If you are a Type A personality, you may have some of the following characteristics in your life.  You may be driven, scheduled, and organized. You probably want things done exactly the right way and have little patience for nonsense. You may struggle with black and white thinking and flexibility.  You are probably a high-achiever with a competitive nature.

If you are a Type B, you may be a little less organized and have a greater tolerance for chaos in your home. You are able to keep the end in mind and you don’t get all stressed out over details. You may regularly lose your car keys or show up late for stuff.  You may struggle with procrastination and self-discipline.

Whatever kind of personality you have, you’ll need to choose a style that works well with your natural strengths.

If you are Type A, you probably want a homeschool plan that is well organized. You want a checklist so that you can make sure that you accomplished what you needed to for the day. You also need lists of materials to be gathered so that you can have things on hand that you need. You aren’t crazy about improvising, so it’s important to be prepared each day with all of the supplies, books, papers, and such that your kids will need for school.

Using a well-designed literature based program can be good for the Type A because it is laid out for you, but making sure that you have all of the books on your shelf before school starts will keep your stress-level low.  Textbooks are fairly good for Type A’s. However, if your child has already accomplished a skill and the textbook wants to repeat the instruction, this repetition can drive Type A’s bonkers. You hate skipping things, but you feel that the repetition is a waste of time. Learning flexibility is important for Type A’s.

Type B’s prefer less structured school days. They want to enjoy the learning process rather than rush through it to check off a box at the end of the day. Type B’s can feel constricted by a curriculum that is too scripted and too structured. However, Type B’s do need some sort of guideline to keep them from wandering too far afield. The kids of Type B homeschooling moms may learn lots about some subjects but never touch other equally important topics if Type B moms don’t have a long-term plan in place.

Notebooking and other crafty methods are excellent homeschooling styles for Type B moms. However, Type B’s need to keep in mind that their kids might not be as enthusiastic about project-based learning as the mom is.  Textbooks can work for Type B’s, but sometimes, they may feel that there is no time for the fun stuff if they tackle all of the textbook lessons.  Type B’s don’t mind improvising in a pinch, and they are great at finding creative, un-traditional ways for their kids to pick up a lacking skill.

Consider your personality type and that of your kids. When you are looking at curriculum, page through the teacher’s manual. See if you can get an estimate of how long each lesson will take. Read through the suggested projects and supplemental ideas and resources.  Read both positive and negative reviews online to get an idea of how the curriculum will work with your personality style. And once you finally buy something, don’t be afraid to tweak it to suit your style.

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