Years ago, I took the Personality Plus test by Florence Littauer. In it, I found a name for my personality. I am a Melancholy Choleric. What is that? Read below:
They are systematic, precise thinkers and follow procedures in both their business and personal life. They are attentive to detail and push to have things done correctly, according to their own predetermined standards. They are sensitive and conscientious. They normally behave in a diplomatic manner except when it comes to deviating from standards they have accepted. They can then be very forceful in insisting the right way be followed. They are not socially active, preferring work and privacy to people. They tend to have difficulty in relationships because they are not flexible and they can be abrasive when communicating with others. They make decisions slowly because of collecting and analyzing information until they are sure of the best course of action. To be highly motivated they need a structured environment with clear rules and procedures, time to organize, collect information, think and the freedom to develop a plan.
I used to take so much pride in my personality type; not understanding why others weren’t more like me and my way of thinking. Because I analyzed everything and came to the “best” possible conclusions, I found it absurd for anyone to disagree. I lost, killed actually, many relationships in my younger years because of this. No grace. No love. Not that I didn’t love. I did. I loved hard. My tone? My demeanor? Too hard. Too tough.
Fast forward to the present. I am a homeschooling mom to two girls. My 8-year-old has only had me as a teacher. Me. The “attentive to detail and push to have things done correctly, according to their own predetermined standards” me as a mom. (sad emoji)
I am not excluding Baby Grace although I am speaking exclusively of Jazmine.
How in the world can I mom, let alone be a homeschooling mom, with traits like these! “Does not like redundancy”, which is true, but come on! How can you teach a child and avoid redundnacy? “Lack of emotion”, which is true, but again, I am a mom! You can’t not have emotions and be a decent mom! I love my girl. I want only the best for her. I want her to be the best she she can be. I see her potential. I want to it drawn out of her. I want her to shine. But I don’t know how to do that. Not well anyway. I am in the process of learning how though.
I am listening to a book called Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. It was recommended to me by a mother of five. I figured if this book helped her and she has smart kids, this should be able to help me. It’s helped me alright but not in the way I thought.
In chapter 20, Sarah speaks of her strengths and weaknesses. We are so different. It is hard for me to find familiarity when I already feel that someone is “better” in the ways I think you need to be in order to get smart kids from a homeschooled environment. Don’t get me wrong. This book is FILLED with gems of wisdom that I have already begun to apply and I have several suggestions to be implemented when our official school year begins in September. However, it is at times hard to hear. I do not doubt her having the purist intentions, but I receive it as just another jab at what I’m not good at.
Something struck me today. As I was jotting down other things to implement (slow down math, group remaining math lessons accordingly, pick and choose pages in workbooks to complete), I realized a good hunk of my problem is that I am a slave to worksheets.
I like worksheets. They are quantifiable work that I can show to a reviewer to prove I do educate my child. They are a defined body of work. There is no guess-work with worksheets. You do what it says. (This may have something to do with liking “clear rules and procedures”)
I like them! But I am also a melancholy choleric which means worksheets are a task to be completed. Finished. Checked as done. Having things left unfinished is unnerving for me.
Before I fell deeper into the ‘I’m not good enough, what is wrong with me, I can’t possibly be the best teacher for my child, I’ve ruined her for life’ destructive thought process that has gotten more plays in my mind then you would think possible, I went to Jesus.
I admitted that I am a slave to worksheets, tasks, schedules, and my own standards. I am easily swayed when a person I admire mentions something they do that is successful in their family. So swayed am I that I get home and talk about how we are going to start doing the same thing. I am ALWAYS comparing what Jazmine is demonstrating that she’s learned to what her peers are showing that they’ve learned to see how our homeschooling measures up. Am I not doing enough? Am I doing too much? Am I doing the right thing? That is a very tiring existence.
As I’ve said, I have gotten better. MUCH MUCH better but I have not arrived at a place where my melancholy choleric does not show up in a way that I don’t think is beneficial for our home education. So, like I said, I went to Jesus. He knows my personality type. He gave it to me. He told me to homeschool. So He can tell me how to use what He gave me to do what He called me to do.
I have no fear. God will show me how to be the best melancholy choleric homeschooling Mom I can be for my Jazmine. He will remove the shackles tethering me to all-things-quantifiable (worksheets). He will show me how to make substitutions and be comfortable with it. He will guide me in my authority as Mother and not a slave to whatever resource material (curriculum) we’ve chosen. He will show me how to live life without school hanging over my head like Joe Btfsplk in Li’l Abner.
I need to be free. I am seeking Jesus for my freedom.
I will keep you posted on our progress.