Can a major introvert homeschool an extrovert without total burnout? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 02-14-2012, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My oldest is turning 5 this summer, and is supposed to start kindergarten in the fall.  Since researching our educational choices early on, I've always assumed I would homeschool, although DH is still unconvinced.  But now I'm beginning to doubt myself.  I have no doubt that I can educate my kids academically, but while I've always dismissed socialization concerns, I'm beginning to wonder if that's a valid concern for my family.  A recent discussion on another list about introversion has got me thinking.  They were talking about how draining attachment parenting can be for introverts, and I've realized that the reason it isn't draining for me is because I have so much time at home interacting with just my family.  We live in an area with a wonderful homeschool community, so there's no end to social opportunities for my extroverted DD, but will *I* be able to handle all that interaction?  And will DD suffer because I can't handle getting her involved enough?  And how will it affect my very laid back but introverted soon-to-be-toddler?  How much social interaction with other kids do your kindergarteners get?  How often are you out of the house?  I've realized that most of the homeschooling families I know have very extroverted mamas and I'm wondering what a reasonable amount of interaction for my DD would be so I can figure out if I can accommodate that.  I really want to be able to do this, particularly since DD has made it abundantly clear that she does NOT want to go to kindergarten this fall.  She doesn't even want me to mention it. 

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#2 of 12 Old 02-14-2012, 05:38 PM
 
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is she in preschool now? how much "outside the home" socialization is she getting now?

 

I'd say since she has no interest in going to K at school, that's a good sign that she will be happy at home with you doing what you are already doing now, just continuing along. The times I've heard that really extroverted children complain about having to HS is when they went to preschool and then they start doing homeschool, so they miss all the friends at school. 

 

Since you are an introvert and you say there are plenty of HS socialization options for you, maybe try and find a smaller group of moms you like and their kids and make a point to hang out with them regularly instead of doing big group things that will wear you out.  

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#3 of 12 Old 02-14-2012, 09:29 PM
 
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A very wise homeschooling mom pointed out that it doesn't matter whether a kid goes to school or is homeschooled, the child's social world is totally dependent on how the mother acts with the other mothers. If your kid goes to school, you will still have to get along with the other moms. If you want your kid to go to birthday parties and sleepovers and such, the other moms will have to interact well with you. Otherwise they'll just say it's too much work (or whatever) and not invite your daughter. That makes a lot of sense to me. Frankly looking at my childhood it explains a lot of stuff.

 

I've always been happy with a very small circle of friends and have usually spent most of my time alone. I'm happy being a hermit. But once I had a baby I realized it was no longer an option to sit in the back of the group not talking to anyone. If my kid were to have friends, I would have to make friends with the other moms. And I did. To complicate the matter, the friends we made moved away. The next friends moved away. It was continuous. I think in two years I made friends with 14 moms. That's more friends than I made in my life. But it's what my kid needed so I did it.

 

Fortunately we're in a rather stable group right now (or I hope we are.) I have learned friend making skills that I never had before. I have friends with people I wouldn't have befriended before. They're really good people, but I would not have talked to them if my kid didn't need me to. And when my kids get older I'll probably stop making more friends and just spend my day as a hermit. (Or maybe not, who knows I could actually change.)

 

So, rather than worrying about homeschooling versus school, consider what you need to do to help your daughter find a social group. You'll have to do that no matter where she's educated.

 

 


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#4 of 12 Old 02-14-2012, 11:01 PM
 
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I'm an introvert, my DD is too, but my DS is an extrovert. 

 

DD is the K-age kid this year, DS is a year younger.

 

What we do - DD has dance class and a 1/2 day a week homeschool class group thing, a 2 hour religious school one afternoon and a 1 hour Sunday school class.  DD also recently joined soccer with DS.  We have been doing a once a week playdate with one other family nearby (I'd say it ends up being 3 weeks a month instead of 4, but close to once a week).

 

Extrovert DS tags along to dance and Sunday school, has soccer, and does a 1 1/2 hour preschool type thing one day a week.  He's with on the playdate too.

 

They both seem to do alright with what we have going on.  DS could use a little more, perhaps, but I think he mostly could just use more time outdoors which I haven't been doing as much being pregnant and lazy and dreading the rain/drizzle.

 

When I type it out, it sounds like a lot.  2 of DD's things are on one day, so we only have stuff on Monday and Thursday, then soccer is DH's job and that's Saturday and Sunday school is drop off.  So for me it isn't that taxing as an introvert.

 

HTH

 

 

 

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#5 of 12 Old 02-16-2012, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for talking me down, mamas.  orngbiggrin.gif  She's not in preschool and is actually pretty happy at home at this point.  While she's an extrovert and NEEDS to be around people, she's also pretty shy and doesn't like being around a bunch of people she doesn't know.  Her needs were met very well until recently, because I met a wonderful small group of mamas and we all lived very close and had frequent playdates.  Then we moved about a year ago and her friends all started preschool, so we only see them a couple of times a month.  We lucked out and moved to a wonderful neighborhood that was always full of kids playing in the streets and our culdesac, so she always had playmates here too.  But as the neighborhood kids are all in preschool and up now plus involved in a million extracurricular things, they're just not around much anymore either.  I've been hesitant to get involved with the homeschool community because we aren't yet committed to homeschooling and because she's been too young for most activities, but I guess I just need to suck it up and try some things out.  So we'll start going to some meetups at parks and maybe also try out the local library's weekend kid chess meetups since that's her latest passion.  I guess it's pretty silly for me to be stressing about that aspect, because when we do play with groups of kids her age, she usually ends up spending most of her time hanging out with the mamas or the babies anyway.  She just has a hard time clicking with kids her own age right now.  Also, it just so happens that we just started reading Little House in the Big Woods, and that really helped me get some perspective too.  Reading about that level of isolation makes me realize that I'm probably not emotionally scarring her after all.  wink1.gif

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#6 of 12 Old 02-19-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
A very wise homeschooling mom pointed out that it doesn't matter whether a kid goes to school or is homeschooled, the child's social world is totally dependent on how the mother acts with the other mothers. If your kid goes to school, you will still have to get along with the other moms. If you want your kid to go to birthday parties and sleepovers and such, the other moms will have to interact well with you. Otherwise they'll just say it's too much work (or whatever) and not invite your daughter. That makes a lot of sense to me. Frankly looking at my childhood it explains a lot of stuff.make frie

 

I totally agree.  The only way a young child has friends is if the parents set up playdates or gatherings with other parents.  School or large-group gatherings only go so far, to really form a friendship, children need unstructured time together where they can just play.

 

Honestly, I find it much easier as a homeschooling mom because *I* have a lot more chances to make friends and meet other mothers than I would if my children were in school. And, I'm much more motivated to arrange playdates with other mothers that *I* get along with, as opposed to someone who just happens to send their kids to the same school.


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#7 of 12 Old 02-19-2012, 06:13 PM
 
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Fortunately for us, my hubby is much more outgoing with other parents than I am.  I'm not just shy, I'm also way too opinionated and judgmental - I admit it.  Probably shouldn't be, but at least in this point in my life I'm very passionate about certain parenting issues and have no patience for trying to 'be friends' with someone who is going to chatter on inanely about the kinds of things most parents chatter on inanely about while I stand there smiling behind gritted teeth and trying not to roll my eyes right out of my head.  Even when there aren't "parenting issues" getting in the way, I just hate small talk.  I think I'm probably touching on the Asperger's spectrum, since learning about it sooooo much of my childhood suddenly makes sense.  Anyway, I have friends, great friends, wonderful friends, and I'm bubbly and ebullient and chatty with them.  But small talk with strangers who just happen to be parents of kids my kid knows?  Ugh, I'd rather gouge out my eyes.  

 

To be perfectly fair, I have actually met some WONDERFUL people, who do 'sync up' with my judgmental opinions, when I've patiently borne through that initial discomfort.  But the opposite has happened often enough that I'm just, well, scared of it.  My reaction is too negative -- I don't mean I'll argue with them, or anything like that.  I smile and nod, and later end up STEAMING for days afterward.  That's just too stressful.

 

My husband, though, even though he's just as much of an introvert, he can chatter away inanely like a pro, and even though we share the same parental values, they aren't 'triggers' for him like they are for me.  So when I take my daughter to dance class, I'm likely to sit in a corner with a book and ignore everyone pointedly.  When he takes her, he'll chat away with all the other parents there happily for the whole hour.  And hey -- sometimes he'll report back about a great conversation he had with a certain parent that shows they're "in sync" and not likely to trigger me, so in future I know it's "safe" to chat with them. 

 

I'm terrible, I know, but right now that's where I am.  But we're managing, all in all.  My daughter invited a dozen girls and boys to her 5th birthday which she has met through dance, Sparks, and church.  They all seem to love her.  And she's been invited to some of their birthday parties too.  It's hard to have 'playdates', free time for them to just form friendships, since everyone is so busy -- us with activities, them with school.  For now, she seems content with the time spent in the group activities, and getting together for sleepovers and playdates on holidays.

 

As they get older, it gets easier.  My son is 13.  Not a raging extrovert, true, but he does like to go hang out with his friends.  But he can arrange it himself and if they live nearby, go over by himself too.  They can chat on the phone or text, so it's easier to keep the 'friendship line' going.  


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#8 of 12 Old 03-09-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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I'm a complete hermit, and my 4yo daughter is extroverted (well, at least compared to me... not sure how her personality will eventually shake out).  She is not in preschool, and I plan to homeschool.  I do not worry at all about her getting enough social interaction.  I have lots of thoughts on this, and no time to pull them together right now.. but here is an excellent book that might be useful for you about how much and what kinds of social interaction kids need.  It has been a great foundation for my parenting beliefs and choices:

Hold On To Your Kids

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#9 of 12 Old 03-14-2012, 12:39 PM
 
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I am an introvert, though do enjoy spending one on one time withe my very good friend who also homeschools.  I have a 6yo kindy kid and a 5yo going into K next year.  They are each other's best pals, though my older ds is MUCH more social.  We are fortunate to have two boys across the street who my boys get along with well.  It is hard for my ds1 to wait ALL day for his friends to get home from school, and they can't play every day, but they do seem to satisfy his need for close friends.  We also go to church on Sundays, so there is one more occasion to be with people.  But that is it as far as standard things go.  We are starting to look into sports as the boys are getting older and have tried out a few different things through the Y or a homeschool group.  Honestly, whether it's swimming lessons, gymnastics, soccer, etc.  The kids are out there being social while I can sit quietly on the sidelines.  I can talk to others if I feel like it or I can not.  If you don't want to talk to people, bring a book.  I think as the kids get older, we will become more involved in our homeschool group, but I hope it is in a way where the kids are making friends and not there won't be so much of a social commitment on my part.  I think once the kids are school age, even playdates can be made without the expectation that the parents have to hang out with each other.  If I were you, I would continue with the plan to homeschool and only worry/re-evaluate if a problem turns up


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#10 of 12 Old 03-17-2012, 01:20 PM
 
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Hello! Yes, that's me. Homeschooling, attachment parenting introvert mama of an extrovert.

 

My ds9 participates 3 times a week in group activities. Last year it was just twice a week, and it was enough.

We also get together with friends some weekends, but not all.

I think going to the park, to the store, to the library etc. where your children can interact with other people in ANY way counts. It doesn't have to be a super organized homeschool group activity all the time. I tend to think that it's actually quite unnatural to have so much structured activity. Natural, casual, short interactions are just as valid, IMO.


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#11 of 12 Old 03-20-2012, 07:38 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by rebeleducation View Post

I think going to the park, to the store, to the library etc. where your children can interact with other people in ANY way counts. It doesn't have to be a super organized homeschool group activity all the time. I tend to think that it's actually quite unnatural to have so much structured activity. Natural, casual, short interactions are just as valid, IMO.


yeahthat.gif

Ditto that exactly.  And I'll add getting together with family and your close friends (even if they don't have kids) too.  That provides interaction with people of all ages... much more natural and balanced that way than the complete peer-group inundation/isolation in schools/playdates/sports/etc.

 

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#12 of 12 Old 03-23-2012, 08:55 PM
 
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while i don't think kids need a ton of friends, i do think kids need consistent interaction with the same group of kids to make friendships. my dd has a couple classes/week and there are currently 2 families we spend time with. i think she would probably like one more family in terms of variety. she falls somewhere between extrovert and introvert. she isn't shy, is very comfortable talking to new people, but she also tires of doing "stuff" too much during the week. she is in kindy and so far our small amount of social time is ok for now.

 

i disagree that simply interacting with anyone at all counts as social time. i think there is a difference between socializing and socialization. learning how to interact with strangers, how to behave in certain situations is socialization and i personally think that is best taught by parents or at the very least in a one-on-one setting. Having friends and spending time with them is socializing and i think that for most kids that is an important part of life. 

 

and i don't think that it needs to be a large group of kids (i actually think that is a poor way to meet friends) or the same age group, but i do think kids need friends who they enjoy playing with

 

but to answer your question, no i don't think you need to burn yourself out, i think you need to find a happy medium where both of your needs are met.

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