I love scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing some of those quick evaluations on what your name means, who you look like in history, or what your profile says about you. These are said to be some of the most engaging and interactive posts on social media. We love knowing more about ourselves. A quick Google search easily reveals 15 different tests that will sum up my personality, my character, my favorite color. As an organizational and planner gal, I can’t help but wonder what a planner personality test would look like!
Our Planner Personalities
I don’t have a test (yet!), but after traveling the country for ten years speaking on the topic, I’ve discovered that most homeschoolers fit into one of five planner personality categories. Obviously, none of us will fit a category perfectly, but take a look at these five and see which one fits you best!
With great enthusiasm, the idealist believes she has the super power of adding four hours to each day. Her detailed and organized plans include everything from literature, workbooks, and outdoor learning to complex experiments. She plans for more school than is possible to achieve and has an organizer full of lists. She typically pushes her children to do more than one lesson a day in hopes of getting ahead.
This gal believes fully that you can have your cake and eat it too. A woman can do anything as long as she’s planned it. She has the best intentions and is not afraid of hard work. It gives her a sense of accomplishment and value when she is able to complete all she has planned for in a day, but sadly there are rarely days she can accomplish all she desires.
The problem arises as the idealist is easily frustrated that others do not get on her planner train and obey the rules. Interruptions are rarely accounted for and therefore become nuisances. At the end of the day, this gal’s kiddos can struggle with not feeling good enough at school, chores, or life. The pressure and stress levels at home tend to be on a constant high alert.
Remember, it’s teamwork. Homeschooling is working with a group of diverse children who typically won’t share your planning enthusiasm. The most important part of education is a relationship that enables you to share critical life skills. Take the planning down a notch, turn those interruptions into opportunities for a break, and give praise to your students for all they accomplish. Find your value not in what you’ve accomplished, but in the relationship you have with your students.
This is the gal who walks past my booth of planners at a convention and tries not to make eye contact. She’s realizes that homeschooling typically goes better when there’s a plan in place, but neither the skill nor the desire comes naturally. There are years when she buys a planner, and it never makes it from the car into the house. She may start on a plan, but when it doesn’t work out, she quickly gives up.
This gal feels the sting of embarrassment when the homeschool gals get together and the talk of planning comes up. She’s not necessarily a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants type of gal, but she figures she can formulate a curriculum plan in her head, order her books, and take each day as it comes.
The problem arises in May, when she’s rounding the corner of the end of the school year and only 40 percent of the book work is done. She often wonders how in the world a month went by and only four lessons in math were accomplished. She needs to have a planner to keep her on track, she simply doesn’t get how to make it work.
Remember that planning is a skill and it takes practice. Don’t give up when it’s 8 pm and only two items on your list got accomplished. Start your planning with the absolute necessities, listing them in priority. If only two items are crossed off at the end of the day, at least they are the two most important.
Find an in-person or online planner buddy – someone who has figured out how to balance homeschooling and life in a planner – and learn from them. Sometimes the frustration comes from not having the opportunity to learn how to succeed.
This is the gal who finds it hard to say no. She’s typically involved in multiple facets of church, her homeschool co-op, her extended family, and the community. She’s the go-to for getting things done, yet sadly her children, homeschooling, and home are the most neglected.
This gal gets phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages throughout the day, asking her to help with yet something else. She feels she lets people down if she says no and is often the most kind-hearted of us all. She gives and gives and gives, yet she struggles with feeling like a failure.
It’s not that planning is an issue. She plans well, but it’s often the outside commitments that keeps her from checking off her homeschooling duties. She justifies the feelings of inadequacies at homeschooling with the praise she gets from being the go-to and get-it-done gal for everyone outside her home.
The problem arises when homeschooling is always halfway done and the house is barely kept. While she’s busy making a four-course meal for those visiting missionaries, her family makes do with hot dogs that are questionable on the expiration date.
Learn to say no and turn off your phone. Hear this from a mother whose kids are almost all grown up: the time we have with them is short. There are thirty to forty years after your children are gone to give to others. Right now, your family should be number one. That means becoming familiar and okay with the disappointed comments and groans you hear from others when you say no. But I guarantee, a month or two in, people begin to learn and your family will be the happier for it.
The Free Spirit
This is the gal who is the life of the party. She’s always got great ideas for homeschooling projects, is typically dreaming up some new adventure, and takes life with a grain of salt. She thinks the word “planner” is synonymous with handcuffs. She wakes to discover what new things she and the kids can do.
Whether it’s planning for school, curriculum, or meals, this gal goes with what’s handy. A spur of the moment trip to the library to begin reading about insects, while yesterday she skipped science and the day before they were studying stars. She sees a show on Netflix about the royals in Europe and decides to teach about castles when they just finished a three-week study on the Vietnam War.
Homeschooling is rarely methodical, but it’s always a blast. She’s all about building relationships with her kids and following their interests. At the end of the day, she’s not weighed down by what didn’t get accomplished because there wasn’t a goal in the first place.
The problems arise when one of her kids is a Type-A personality and is frustrated that mom doesn’t have a plan, or when at the end of 5th grade the student doesn’t have an understanding of a complete study but rather just a hodge-podge of information.
You don’t have to be handcuffed to a plan, but to keep the family going in a positive direction, start with sticky notes (even colorful ones) and write out the top five things that need to be done each day. Post these on the refrigerator. This will give those in your home who aren’t as carefree a feeling of structure while giving you a daily goal to attain. Regarding curriculum, it’s worth the investment to buy curriculum that is planned for you so you can spend your time enjoying the teaching.
This gal tends to be a bit older and wiser. She’s done it all: being a pleaser, getting frustrated, overachieving, and possibly even living the free spirit thing. She’s the gal who is full of determination and focus. She sees the benefit of planning and knows that it’s what’s best for her family. She disciplines herself to become skillful and routine in her planning methods.
She has found that regardless of her personality, her duty as a homeschool mom far outweighs her preferences, so she makes a plan and sticks with it. She feels the sense of
accomplishment when she has prioritized well and the results are accomplishing what matters most in her life.
She isn’t the perfect planner, but she has learned how to overcome the frustration of failure. She has observed her children well and understands just how to plan for each one, challenging them when needed and knowing when they need more time.
People know this gal is family-focused and how highly she values her job as wife, mom, and homeschool teacher. They only judiciously ask for her help because she has conveyed her priorities.
Within the duties of all that she plans, she understands the importance of taking a break and becoming a free spirit for the day now and then. She wisely takes the opportunities for breaks and turns them into an educational refreshment for the whole family.
This gal does have problems that arise, but with what she has learned, she knows how to tackle them. She rarely needs help finding a solution, today, she’s in the business of helping other women!
It’s fun to discover more about ourselves. Sometimes it’s painfully funny, and other times it’s a nice pat on the back. For fun, after you evaluate yourself, read these descriptions aloud to your kids and let them decide which one you might be!