Thursday, February 27, 2020

Homeschooling an Extrovert

I keep seeing comments in my home-school groups about extroverts.

"Help, my son is an extrovert, how do I home-school him?" 

"My son needs more social interaction he's an extrovert and I feel he doesn't get enough socialization at home"

"I can't home-school my son because he's an extrovert" 

Most of those who make comments have kids the same age as mine, in the four to six year old age range.

Crowed sourcing for answers on the internet with a bunch of strangers deserves it's own post, but I've always been dissatisfied with the answers given. Homeschooling an extrovert is the same as homeschooling an introvert, in my opinion. You look at the child and how he learns and help him learn what you want him to know in the best possible way. My son is an extrovert. He loves people. We do more play-dates because he (and I) are extroverts. However my daughter is NOT an extrovert. She is an introvert that gets dragged along because my son and I are extroverts. She regularly asks to go home and is happiest curled up on my lap or playing by herself. She runs away from people when they talk to her and does not play with strangers until she has seen them quite a few times.

I can't home-school both an introvert and an extrovert at the same time--it would be like trying to walk both north and south. One of them is going to have to "deal" with the fact they might be out of their comfort zone for awhile. When I have my "extrovert" chip turned on (which happens naturally for me) I try and be aware of what my daughter (the introvert) needs. For my daughter I hold her right now. When she is older she might retreat to a book during our outings or venture off by herself. She will learn to create the boundaries she needs. For my son when we are home for long periods of times I become his best friend. We hang out a lot and talk together constantly while my daughter enjoys her home space. He learns how to create the boundaries (or lack thereof) that he needs.

What I am trying to say is that it is always going to be push and shove. We won't always be "social" enough for my son just like I can't always be "introverted" enough for my daughter. Honestly, I can't create enough socialization for my son because there is not enough socialization for him--like me, he can be friends with everyone but as soon as he is alone he wants another friend. I am the same way. I love to hang out with a group of people but it doesn't last forever.

That brings me to my next point. I've noticed a disturbing trend in homeschooling to make every experience positive. I've seen moms stress to perfect every interaction for their child. They worry when their kid gets bullied at the park or doesn't seem to have enough friends. This is natural, this mother's worry--to a point. But when we let it consume us, or when we try to control it--that is where the problem lies.

Homeschooling has positive and negatives. While we can tailor our school to the way our kid learns, I don't think we should try and manipulate our child's every experience. Children need to experience life just as much as math and history. And life teaches hard lessons as well as fun ones. Children need the negative just as much as the positive to be successful in life.

I want my child to know that the interactions he experiences are not about him or even about having fun, or making a friend. His interactions, his school--is about worshiping and glorifying God. He shouldn't be comfortable or socialized "enough." He needs to be challenged emotionally and physically and in math and science.

I want to give him ways to deal with negative experiences. Life is just going to harder as he grows and he needs a solid foundation to deal with it.

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