Sometimes I make tiger moms look like newborn, mewling kittens.
Sorry, kids, but I’m not sorry! I do have high expectations of you, but I have the very same expectations of and for myself. It has been proven that children with parents who have high expectations tend to strive to reach them, so I can’t apologize.
As INTJ moms, we show love by providing our children with schedules and structure. We listen well, and advise our children rationally and provide them with strategic insights. INTJ moms teach our children how to be independent, productive, capable and confident by modeling it. We have a vision for our families and a plan for accomplishing our vision. Excuses are not tolerated; we expect results.
We demand pragmatism and efficiency, so that we can accomplish our goals. Sometimes we get hung up on perfection, so we need to be sure to constantly reassess our expectations and give ourselves permission to be imperfect, and to take alone-time daily to regroup and plan. But it is our devotion and love for our families that drives us.
Because we value logic and and intelligent self-direction, we will work to create capable adults who will use their own minds, solve their own problems, and teach their own children in the same way when the time comes. We don’t try to shield our children from negative consequences and we encourage them to do hard things, because we understand that that is where growth occurs.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you in your homeschool journey:
Don’t be afraid to use schedules
But you will probably be the sole executor, so be prepared. It is easiest to schedule all of the hardest things to accomplish upfront in your day. Because my kids SO enjoy their meals, I have used meals to encourage completion of the tasks they find most difficult.
I turn on lights and yell (lovingly) “Rise and Shine” in my kids’ bedrooms at 6:30 each morning. They know that breakfast is at 7 am and they must arrive at the table dressed and groomed, with their bedrooms cleaned according to the list and their morning chores completed according to the list.
We eat and clean breakfast up by 8:00. Those who don’t arrive before breakfast is eaten and cleaned up (or have not completed the pre-requisites) miss out. That way, there is a natural consequence and I am not forced to yell and nag. (It is sad, though! I hate following through!)
We begin our homeschool at the freshly cleaned table at 8:00 am with a devotional and then complete our math, everyone working independently, but at the table so I am available to help. (Here is how we work math.) Those who have completed their schoolwork participate in lunch at noon. Practicing (everyone plays two or more instruments) and farm chores must be completed before dinner.
The schedule is adjusted for older kids who need more time for schoolwork, and for extracurricular activities. It is also relaxed or forgone entirely on weekends, because everyone needs a break.
INTJ moms thrive on lists
I use lists for myself, my husband, and my children. The more boxes there are, for checking things off, the better. The lists must be very explicit and will be most effective if they end with ‘return and report’. Be very clear in describing your expectations, because your expectations will be different than any other personality type.
Your family CAN meet your expectations when they are clearly outlined, but they won’t otherwise. I have created free printable checklists for all of the myriad chores that must be done around our house and farm. I have daily lists, weekly lists and seasonal lists.
Daily quiet time is essential
Because I need daily quiet time, free from interruptions, I schedule and enforce it. My kids have grown to love it, too. Immediately following lunch clean up, we each disappear to our bedrooms for a couple of hours. It doesn’t happen every day, because of music lessons and activities, but it does happen often enough for my sanity.
My secret weapon: D.E.A.R camp
DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. There will be days (or even weeks) you will need to focus on your own work and take a small leave of homeschooling, and that is okay. I start my ‘leave’ with a trip to the library. We like to take along our largest laundry basket to fill with books.
I let my kids each choose 3 non-fiction books, a Spanish reader since we are learning Spanish, and 3 brain candy books. I have veto power over book selections. And if I need an extended leave of absence, I allow unlimited brain candy books. However, lots of our brain candy books are things like Carry On, Mr. Bowditch or the Ralph Moody or Anne of Green Gables series, so they aren’t really bad for my kids like candy would be, they just fall into the brain candy category because they are shelved in the fiction section.
As soon as everyone has their books we pop a giant bowl of popcorn and I let my kids each fill a paper sack with snacks for themselves. I usually make a platter of sandwiches and one of raw vegetables and our favorite dip. If I hurry and put dinner in the crockpot, I’ve bought myself an entire free day to work on what I want!
***Note: My youngest is currently five and can read well to herself. When my kids were younger, I had to arrange this around naptimes and could only ever get a few free hours at a time.
Family councils assist INTJ moms
Hold family councils weekly or more or less, depending on your needs. We use them to schedule in extra things, like setting goals, discussing problems or big upcoming purchases, and planning the garden or maintenance and remodelling projects. Sometimes the council consists of the entire family, and sometimes it is just the parents discussing a particular child’s needs.
It is essential to plan for long-term, but keep working on short-term. Discuss mistakes and setbacks together and learn from them. Recognize successes and celebrate victories.
Consistency is measured in years
We INTJ homeschool moms, because we expect so much of ourselves, tend to feel demoralized over a bad day or week. Consistency, however, where homeschool is concerned, is measured in years. Out of the 20 years I’ve been a mom, I’ve spent more than six pregnant and double that nursing. Pregnancy is HARD and sometimes I can’t even manage to get off the couch. Not kidding.
Our homeschool fell by the wayside for months after each baby’s birth, until I was finally getting sleep again. I worried about it, sure, but how does worrying help? However, because we were consistent the rest of the time (and by the grace of God!) and my children are voracious readers, they suffered no ill effects. My two oldest are both on scholarship at a prestigious University and my 3rd is on the same track. Make every effort to be consistent, and then cut yourself some slack.
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Always remember how blessed you are to be able to be at home with your beautiful children! There are millions of women around the world who would gladly trade you places! Gratitude for your unique personality type, your wonderful family and your opportunity to homeschool will boost your happiness and your overall sense of well-being.
I realize that our home may sound like boot camp to other personality types. I’m not demeaning any other effective way of running a large household, I’m just sharing what works for us. You do what works best for YOUR family. Please feel free to share your own ideas and methods in the comments below!