337 | Homeschooling for Every Enneagram Type (Jessica Smartt)
How YOU thrive at homeschooling depends on YOUR personality. In this episode Jessica highlights a few common personalities, explaining what each type would be good at while homeschooling, and what weaknesses they may need to be aware of. While imperfect, the Enneagram can often be a helpful method of describing common strengths and weaknesses. Jessica highlights those as it pertains to homeschooling! This will be a helpful and informative episode in helping you homeschool well.
Jessica is a wife, homeschool mom of three, author, and blogger. She lives in sunny North Carolina on a big family farm with chickens, goats, cousins, and lots of mud.
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Jessica Smartt [00:00:05] Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Jessica Smartt, and I'm one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Each week we bring you an encouraging conversation from this blessed journey of educating our children at home. While the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions, we do not pretend to have all the answers. It is our hope that this podcast will point you to Jesus Christ and that you seek His counsel as you're raising your kids. We are so glad you joined us for today's conversation. Before we start our episode, I would like to thank the sponsor of the Homeschool Solutions Show, Medi-Share. Medi-Share is an affordable and biblical health care alternative. Find out more about their ongoing support of homeschooling families just like ours at MyChristianCare.org. And now on to today's show.
[00:00:52] Hi, everybody. Jessica Smartt here. I'm very excited to be talking to you today about homeschooling— what it's like for each of the Enneagram types. And why am I talking about this? I'm not an Enneagram official expert. I'm not like super, super obsessed with the Enneagram, but I am really passionate about helping moms homeschool and do it really well. And I have realized that a huge part of that is knowing your particular personality and knowing the things that you're going to be good at and playing that up and knowing the things that you struggle with and putting in infrastructure to help you with that. And so when I was thinking about this next episode that I wanted to do, I thought that the Enneagram could be a helpful tool for that. And so that's why we're jumping into that.
[00:01:47] But I want to tell you first something very exciting. Okay? I have not announced this yet on the podcast, but I have just launched my very first course—video course—and it is called Homeschool Bootcamp. And it is designed for moms who feel a little bit anxious about the year of homeschooling maybe coming up, who are mid-year and needing a little bit of a reset or some direction, who just have a lot of questions about homeschooling and not sure where to go. If you are feeling overwhelmed homeschooling and you want some support, I am here to help you thrive at homeschooling, and this course is all set up for you. Fifteen videos on demand. Once you purchase, they are available for the rest of your life at any point, and it comes with a bunch of other resources. My actual daily schedule that I print out for my kids— excuse me, it's actually a weekly schedule. It's been super helpful. A list of all of our favorite books that they've ever read on their own or that I've read to them. A checklist to get ready for your homeschool year. Instructions on how to make a homeschooling notebook with everything that you need legally to homeschool. So it's just loaded chock full of resources. And the good news is that right now it's running 50% off. So how can you find out about Homeschool Bootcamp, my brand new course? There's a link in the show notes so you can look there and you can also just find me on Instagram. I'm at @Jessica.Smartt, snd it's in the link in my profile. So we'd love to hear from you if you end up signing up for the bootcamp. And I'm just super excited about this resource. I think it's going to be awesome.
[00:03:30] So back into the Enneagram conversation, I want to give a couple disclaimers before we get started. I mentioned that I'm not an Enneagram certified counselor or expert. This is just— I've been interested in it. I do think it can be helpful. The Enneagram is not the Bible. I know there's a lot of heated discussion about what the Enneagram is and isn't and how to use it, and I certainly think there is some validity to some of those points. So I'm not here to tell you this is the absolute Bible on life, and you're one of these types, and it's just the whole definite authority. But I definitely think that it touches on some good insights about strength and weaknesses. And so if you just want to even listen to this, forget about the numbers and just kind of think like, "What are my strengths and weaknesses?" I just think it's a helpful structure and paradigm of how to see different types of personality. But I recognize that this can be a little bit of a touchy subject, and I'm not here to tell you that I'm 100% ready to defend the Enneagram. I do think it's just a helpful tool. So just want to say that. This is not necessarily an endorsement or the one-stop shop of learning about the Enneagram. But if you do have further questions, I would definitely read The Road Back to You. That was a book that I thought was the most interesting and helpful.
[00:04:49] So we're going to just go get started one at a time here. And of course, the ones always get to go first, and that makes them happy because they're perfectionists. So type one is perfectionist. And for each type I'm going to talk about if you're a type one or if you have perfectionist tendencies, here are the things that you might be good at with homeschooling. Here are the things that you might struggle at or be weak in. And then I'm going to lastly offer some tips for each type. So I'm just going to go through, and again, there's definitely a lot of blanket generalizations happening here, so I don't mean that to be true. Of course, there's only nine types, so there's a lot of variety with all of the millions and billions of people in the world. But just take this with a grain of salt, and I'd love to hear from you. You know, come holler at me over on Instagram if you have some other thoughts.
[00:05:41] But let's go ahead and jump in with the type ones. Okay. So type ones— again, perfectionist is kind of the name that they go by, and they definitely do well. They're good at doing things well. So that's obviously a perk for homeschooling because there's a lot to do. So homeschoolers that are type one or perfectionist driven are going to be really on top of things and take their job seriously. And obviously that's a good thing. They're going to be great at setting lists, setting goals. I think they'll also be really attentive to how their kids are doing and how they're struggling, and they'll know what their kids are doing well and what they're not. And so that is great. And if you're a type one, it's definitely good that— I think type ones can be really great homeschool moms and some of them have been teachers before.
[00:06:30] So the things that they may struggle at is— obviously the big one is grace. And it really is so important to give yourself grace in homeschooling because— well, on two sides: for the mom and for the kids. For the mom, you're never going to be able to do everything. And you would be physically and emotionally depleted and exhausted if you expected that of yourself. So I think it's really important to take a lot of deep breaths. That's going to be something that they are going to struggle with. And then also just showing grace with their kids. I think type ones can be hard on their kids when they're struggling in different areas. And so that could be a weakness. They may also have a hard time flexing or adapting, whether that means changing a curriculum, changing goals for a child. And then they also may struggle with just enjoying homeschooling, which I think is important because we do want to enjoy this time with our kids, and we want our kids to know that we love them and that we enjoy being with them.
[00:07:29] So some tips that I might have for a type one is, like I said before, to take a lot of deep breaths both literally and figuratively, and just to realize that a lot of the goals that you have may be too much, and you may just need to check in with your husband and other people that you respect to kind of get some context for is this just me being an overachiever or is this something that really does need to happen or change in our homeschool? And then you just probably are going to chronically need to let some things go. And so I think recognizing about yourself that you need to let some things go at times. Don't identify your own successes with your kids and don't— you know they're not going to be perfect, so it's definitely super helpful to cut the tie of whatever my kid does equals me. You know, that's just a good tip for all of us.
[00:08:26] And then also just schedule— this is a practical tip, but I would schedule a day to enjoy your kids, and whatever that looks like, to have fun basically. It can be hard for ones to loosen up, so I would schedule those times in your year to have fun. And of course, if you need ideas, Memory Making Mom, my book, is chock full of them. So lastly, I think it's important that you tell your kids and your husband probably what they mean to you and what they're good at frequently, because I think as ones, it's easy to focus on the negative because there's always something broken, something off, something wrong. And so it's important to build your kids up and let them know that you really do love them and that you're seeing changes or seeing improvement. Okay. So that's type one.
[00:09:13] Type two is the helper. And type twos make really good moms and really good homeschool moms. They're great at providing everything that everyone needs. So great that they kind of burn out. But that's into the next point. They're great at making the home a really warm and wonderful environment, which I think is so crucial, a la Sally Clarkson, Life Giving Home. And those books are super helpful, I think, for everyone. But if you're not a two, that can definitely get you in that vibe. They're great at knowing where their kids are emotionally and how everyone is doing. But I think the flip side is they can get weighted down or absorb that. And so it's important for them to not get so depleted by kids who are struggling because you're with your kids all the time and someone's always going to be struggling. So the ability to a little bit distance yourself, and I am no expert on that. It may require some counseling, but at least knowing I need to maybe get out of myself, get out of my own head and not let the struggles of everyone around me just totally zap me and bring me to the floor.
[00:10:27] So type twos maybe struggle with also setting boundaries for themselves and just giving too much and getting too run down. And so my tips are for type two: schedule rest and self care. And then for number two, I wrote in my notes, "that's all" because that's so important, and you don't need another thing to do. You really just need to schedule rest and self care. So that's your big thing. And you know, it's hard for type twos to recognize that. I think they can get really burnt out and worn out, but I don't know what that looks like because I know everybody has different things that fill their bucket, but it's so good for type twos.
[00:11:07] I'm just always so proud when I see them doing things that are life giving and focusing on themselves. So that's so necessary as a homeschool mom because it's a marathon and not a sprint. And you just absolutely have to carve in time. If it was just one spurt of a week or even just one summer of homeschooling, but it's not. You have to be able to be in a healthy place physically, emotionally. So like checking all of those boxes—if you're a two—like how is your physical health? How are you eating? Are you nourishing your body? Are you taking vitamins? Are you getting good sleep? Are you doing yoga or walking or doing something that's allowing your body to release stress? Are you spending time with people that are life giving or just people that you feel like need you? So those are tips for type two. But in general, they too are really awesome at homeschooling. And for each personality type, I think it's just so interesting that God wired each of these types to be really good in some ways at giving your kids what you need, and so it's a matter of playing that up and then also putting a way in to kind of help you in the things that you're weak at.
[00:12:23] So type threes are achiever and they're good at just being successful at homeschooling because they're just very successful people. So they are going to do it and they're going to do it well. They're good for setting individual goals and they're also good at setting goals for their kids. And that's super important and so wonderful. So they can be weak at following all the details of things. Maybe they let some things slide. And I think also maybe struggle more with focusing on the image than actually what's happening in the heart. And again, I'm not an expert on spiritual self-care of achieving types, but I think it is just really always good to keep the big picture the big picture. And as homeschooling moms, we're always really, truly wanting to develop—at least I am—children who love God and are submitting their lives to him and in their heart, they're doing well. And so just keeping your mind on that and kind of reorienting yourself on those goals I think is super important.
[00:13:27] So tips for type three would be: be present and stop multitasking. Threes are probably homeschooling with a side hustle. I feel like I might be a three. I always thought I was a six, but I definitely have a strong three and I've got a lot going on. And so this felt really relevant to me as I was writing this. Let your kids be your kids and don't make them be little producers and little reflections of you. Just let them be themselves and then creating margin in your life and stop multitasking, just resting, building in places of rest. Did I say turn your phones off on Sunday? That's such a good tip. I think it's hard for threes. It's hard for people in general. That's just a great rest tip in general for surviving homeschooling slash life. So overall type threes are going to take it a little bit easier. They're going to maybe give their kids some room to just be their own squirrely selves and develop as they need to and be really present with their kids and with their families.
[00:14:29] Okay. So type four is—in the book that I read—called The Romantic, and they can be very good at being empathetic, understanding their kids, connecting with their kids. And that is so important because like I was talking about, what is our ultimate goal? It's really helping to mold and disciple these little hearts. Well, type threes are great counselor types and they're going to have a good pulse on how their kids are doing. And that's so crucial. So they may be weak at following through when they don't feel like it. Because they just feel a lot of feelings. And so realizing that they need to just follow through on off days. They can also get in a rut. They can feel overwhelmed by life easily.
[00:15:16] And so some tips for them are to get accountability. Have your husband or some trusted friends to ask you hard questions about follow through in areas that really matter to you. So it doesn't need to be what I say matters. Like you get real with God and with your husband and think like, "What is God calling me to do? He made me to be the mom of these kids. He's led me to homeschool. But what areas do I struggle with? Where do I need accountability? Do I need somebody to ask me hard questions about are we completing our work? Do I need somebody to be my place to go when I feel really in my own head and to kind of walk me through feeling like completely lost and overwhelmed?" But just putting in structure. This is a common theme throughout all of these numbers, right? Is that we need people to hold us accountable to things that we know we're going to struggle in. So I would also say just a tip for Enneagram fours is to create ways to get out of your own head. That's friends that are maybe not living in that real thought heavy world and to be a member of a co-op, to have some hobbies or some disciplines that—in your life—are grounding you. And so those would be my tips for type four as it pertains to homeschooling and motherhood.
[00:16:37] So type five—moving on—is the investigator. And the investigator is super good at researching. They know all the options. They're great at researching and finding all the facts about everything. They're going to be your curriculum and philosophy experts. They're going to understand all of the things. They can be weak at maybe just having fun with their kids. They can definitely get super physically or emotionally depleted, and it's especially hard for them, I think, if they're homeschooling extroverted kids because type fives tend to be the least— they need the least social interaction of all of the types is what I've read. So some tips for that is to create— again, you're building in a system to help you knowing your limits. Okay. So maybe if you have extroverted children, you create outings for them that you don't have to go to. You need to build in times of rest in your day or in your week. Nothing wrong with hiring a babysitter just so you can go have some time alone.
[00:17:44] There's no lying about who you are. God made you who you are, and you know what your strengths and your weaknesses are. And so I think just being honest with them and saying, "God, here I am. Here's me. You know how I'm feeling. You know that maybe it feels hard for me at times to give and give in this area. But you also gave me these kids and you made me good at like understanding things and putting in systems. And I want to do this well, so please show me what to do and give me the strength and show me what I need to change about my actual life so that I can sustain this for the long haul."
[00:18:21] And I don't know what that looks like, but I think it's one of those things where it's like you do you. Don't compare yourself to other homeschooling moms. Who cares how much they can give and what they can do. And all the places that they take their kids. You make it work for you so that you're in a healthy place. And that can just be— there's, I think, a lot of creativity and places for just a lot of different possibilities of what that can look like for people.
[00:18:47] Okay. So Type six is the loyalist and they can struggle with fear and anxiety. They're good at sticking things out, planning, organizing. Super good at like planning all of the things. They're not so great in that they second guess everything. And this super resonates with me. Always second guessing everything, anxiety, getting in my own head. I actually have a whole podcast—I'm going to link in the show notes—on dealing with anxiety as a homeschool mom in particular. And they can struggle, as a result, with just being president because they do get in their own heads.
[00:19:24] So my tips for Type six, having lived in this world— like I said, I think I'm a type six. I don't know, type three, type six. I think I am a six because that sounds the least fun. And I've heard that whichever one you really don't want to be is probably the one that you are. But anyway— so creating a whole community around you for support. And this is so big. I could not be doing this without people to know that I can go to and really say, "I'm struggling with things," and people that speak into me, people that help me get out of my own head when I'm overwhelmed with things. Being in community is really important to me, and type sixes do tend to love and be great members of community. Co-op would be a great fit for a type six.
[00:20:09] And then my second tip would be to temper the second guessing tendency that once you make a decision, you just decide ahead of time that you are not evaluating it until fill in the blank time. And maybe for example, let's say it's a curriculum decision and you've gone back and forth, back and forth. You know, okay, the month of February, I'm going to reevaluate all my curriculum, but I'm going to postpone all of my second guessing and all of my thoughts and all of my what if and conversations to February and then having people hold you accountable to that.
[00:20:43] Okay. So type seven is the enthusiast and they are just very fun. They're great at, well, having fun with their kids and being optimistic and just generally enjoyable. Wish I was a type seven. They can be weak at being honest when things are hard about troubleshooting problems because they don't like to dwell in problems and things that are wrong. And they also probably struggle with being consistent because they can be a little bit spontaneous. So if you're a type seven in your homeschooling, you need accountability, and maybe it's your husband and you together set some goals and you provide yourself a really fun reward. I am here to tell you there is nothing wrong with setting actual fun rewards for yourself. Okay? So you know what's hard for you, and for a type seven, it's going to be super different than a type five, for example. But set a goal, and there's nothing wrong with saying, "You're going to take me out to dinner if I actually follow through for the whole quarter and do whatever such and such days of the history curriculum that I'm usually tempted to not complete. You're going to take me out to dinner." Or buy yourself a little drink. I mean, I don't know, like I meant like a Starbucks drink. Or a new necklace that you've been eyeing or a pedicure halfway through the year. Whatever it is— like putting in those kinds of systems for any number, I think is completely fine. Like we are motivated in many different ways.
[00:22:08] So type seven is going to need accountability and motivation to stick with things. Set reasonable goals. But then you need to— if you're going to homeschool your kids, you got to take it serious. And so whatever your goals are, set them reasonably and then make sure that you're having people kind of check in on you. And if you have kids who need a lot of structure and you really aren't great at setting that up, just try to keep an eye on how they're doing. And you may realize that, "Okay, one of my kids has just had enough social time, and so I'm going to need to go out—just me—and not be dragging my kids around." But just, I think, keeping a perpetual eye on how your kids are doing if they're really not like you. Well, that's a good word of advice for everybody, right?
[00:22:55] So if type sevens are going to succeed at homeschooling, they need to schedule plenty of fun in their life for themselves. Okay? Because it can be hard to be stuck in a house with your kids all the time. And kids who— moms who send their kids to school can go to the gym and meet up for lunch dates and all of that. So just like I was saying with the type five, knowing that you need that ahead of time— there's nothing wrong with that. And so you just schedule into your life the mom weekend getaway and Saturday lunch with a friend and evenings out and all that. Joining a co-op is a great idea for a type seven.
[00:23:35] Okay. So type eight is the challenger and they tend to be strong personalities. They're good at leading their families because they are great leaders. They're good at being the authority figure, which is so super important. So in my Homeschool Bootcamp course—which I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, and you can go to the link to find that, the show notes—one of the things I talk about, one of the videos is characteristics of really successful homeschooling moms, and I'm not going to tell you all of them, but I am going to tell you that one of them is being the authority figure. It's absolutely necessary that you are the boss. And so for type eight, that's going to come really easy to them and that's great. So they are going to be naturally really comfortable in the role of kind of monitoring everything, getting all of the crew in order and making sure everything is going right.
[00:24:26] So of course, the flip side of that is that they can tend to be a little bit of a steamroller and maybe not so sensitive to how kids are doing or their emotions. And so, kind of like I was saying with ones, I think it's important to constantly be building up your kids and letting them know that you really do see them and you love them and you appreciate them, even if they're very different from you. Just taking a minute to let them know that you do care and you do love them. And also, I think apologizing is really powerful and very hard for a type eight. But, you know, the most important thing we want to get out of homeschooling is that we want our kids to have good relationships with us and with the Lord. And so knowing that life is relational, I think if you're a type eight and you can be kind of hard headed, you have to constantly be checking that with, "How are my kids doing? And do I need to invest love language talk?" Right? Like, "What are their love languages and how do I fill into them knowing that I can be a little bit of a strong horse." And then I guess my second tip is just to have fun with your kids and do something that you enjoy that they all enjoy. Of course, that's good for every type, but I think can be really powerful for the type 8 to actually dig in and all find a hobby or a field trip or an activity that you all enjoy together.
[00:25:55] So lastly, we have type nine, the peacemaker, and they're good at being easygoing and pleasant. They're just easy to be around. I'm married to a nine and it's just very nice. No drama. And they're forgiving and kind and the home is just a really easy to be in place with a type nine. And so that's such a gift to kids. It can be hard for them to get distracted and maybe also a little bit of procrastinating happening. Maybe it's hard to kind of get started. So my tips for type nine is to use your husband—who I'm just going to guess is probably not a nine—to help you stay accountable to things that matter to you kind of like I've been saying for the other types. And again, you get to choose that. You get to set the list. But together, I would say you and your husband set the things that are really important for whatever the school year is that you're starting. And it can change year to year, semester to semester. But then to kind of have some interaction on how those things are going and inviting your husband or a trusted friend or group of friends to check in with you and ask hard questions about if you've been following through.
[00:27:04] And then other tips for type nine is to be outside a lot. That's really life giving for type nines and also super amazing for kids. So win-win. And then my last tip for type nine would be to use existing systems to help you start your school year. There's no need to reinvent the wheel. So it's hard sometimes for nines to get a program, to initiate things or start things or create things. And I think no harm in finding somebody that you respect and that you like what they have outlined. There's so much out there, right? Like whether it's curriculum or a plan or goal setting or a morning time system. But just to be outsourcing, finding good resources so you don't have to do all that because you don't have to plan everything. You know, Sonlight may be a great fit for a nine because they tell you exactly what you need to do. Or I don't know, maybe that would be stressful actually, now that I think that through.
[00:28:02] So I hope you've enjoyed this. I'd love to hear if it resonates with you or if there is something that didn't. But again, the heart behind this is just knowing yourself so that you can homeschool in a place of strength. And I just want to remind you again about my amazing brand new course Homeschool Bootcamp that you can access at my IG profile. I'm @Jessica.Smartt. The link is there. You can get all signed up. It's running 50% right now. I can't promise you it's going to be at that price for a long time, but just tons of resources to help you. I am here to troubleshoot and just tons of information on there. All of these kinds of tips like great where to find a good planner, where to find good curriculum, how to troubleshoot your day, balance homeschooling and homemaking. So many tips, so let me know if you sign up and I hope that you guys have a great day. Don't forget to check the show notes for the things that I've mentioned. It was fun to be with you and blessings on you and your family.
[00:29:07] Thanks so much for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast and while you're on there, leave us a review and tell us what you love about the show. As you know, this will help other homeschooling parents, just like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us over on Instagram @homeschoolingdotmom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us yet at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling events of the year, offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topics, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the U.S. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I hope to see you there.