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Supporting Your Home School Learner

There are 6 main types of learners you should be aware of and be able to understand which one your child is.

Homeschool require both the child and parent working well together. You will be spending a lot of time together and so you will need to work out how you wear the parent / teacher hat and your child wears the son or daughter / pupil hat without the falling out with each other every single time the hats need to be changed over.


Our personalities are a major part of the way we work with others.

How we feel and where our head is at effects not only us but the people around us. It is hard to teach calmly if you are angry and it is hard to learn if you are depressed. 


All of the different homeschool learners will all fit into one of the five most common personality types, as identified by psychologist Taibi Kahler in 1975.


Which one do you have and are you using the right techniques for them to learn at their best?

The “Be Perfect” Learner

You will know if you have this type of learner, they are neat and tidy in everything they do. Things have to be a certain way, kept in a certain way and done in a certain way. They may not be very happy, or cooperative if otherwise. They are highly critical of what they do and often feel they feel "short of the mark" and so will over deliver on projects.


Where they excel at homeschooling:

  • The "Be Perfect Learner has very high standards. They want to hand finish and work to a high standard: the end product to "be perfect". 

  • They are very "small" detail oriented, for example they may notice that the spacing in a typed document is not even. that a button on a shirt is differs from the others. That a fiction book has been put on the non-fiction shelf. 

  • The are able to ignore music or other noise in the background once they get started on their work.

  • They are the personality type that will be on time with deadlines even if that means staying up very late to get it done (by which we mean perfect)


The challenges they face with homeschooling are:

  • Sometimes they become bogged down with the detail that they can get past small issues that are not important. They will focus on the 5% that is not right rather than the 95% that is.

  • They are likely to take any criticism very personally, even if it is a minor thing most of us would shrug our shoulders at.

  • Don't expect your child to take risks: they like what they know and the know what they like.

  • They can't laugh at mistakes and move on easily.

  • They prefer to do everything themselves rather than collaborate. 

How you can help them learn in the homeschool environment:

  • When setting projects for these learners aim for ones that require attention to details but make the assignment clear and limited.

  • Talk through the expectation and time bond them - what you have got done will be acceptable in the time you have. Do not let them work every minute of the time trying to get it perfect. 

  • Keep the list of tasks short and clearly outlined. 

  • Reassure them - they are harder on themselves that anyone else would be. So provide them with positive feedback and discreetly model what you don't want without actually saying this is "bad" or 'wrong". This will raise their self esteem. 

The “Busy Bee” Learner

You will know you have this type of learner because they are 'busy' doing something all the time. They like to get tasks done quickly. In fact getting the task done and not how the task is done is the focus for them. You will find these learners are very sociable and often being included by others in study buddy groups as they get along with everyone. 


Where the excel at homeschooling:

  • They work hard, finish quickly and move on to the next thing quickly.

  • They respond to new ideas, new projects and tasks well and will get on with doing it.

  • They are very positive members of any study buddy group.

  • They are spontaneous and can find the joy in most things.


The challenges they face with homeschooling are:

  • Getting the task done often is at the expense of attention to the details.

  • They need to be doing new things all the time and may find having to redo something 'boring' and so they will resist.

  • They work better with low level music on in the back ground which might disturb others working.

  • The work best by talking with others, this is not to be miss understood as distracting others though.

  • They may find it hard to stick to dead lines that are too far away, and will find it difficult to focus on longer tasks.

  • They find listening to long instruction difficult to do so make sure you give short and clear instruction for the immediate task.

  • They are so busy with being busy they often don't notice what other are contributing to a task and may not acknowledge their study buddies efforts sufficiently. 


How you can help them learn in the home school environment:

  • Give short term tasks that they can focus on and complete.

  • TeSt them a project that you have broken down in to multiple stages and give them one step at a time.

  • The "busy busy" is also a state of mind, their tongue engages before their brain and they often say things out loud that can be easily misunderstood and taken the wrong way. They don't mean to be rude. Encourage them to slow down - think before you speak!

  • Remember to model for them when the right amount of time and effort you want form them but don't be realistic! Prias them when they get it right.

  • Allow an extra 10-15 minutes for them to arrive at their learning area or tell them that they need to start that much earlier. they need time to fidget and bustle about before settling down. 

Decorating easter Eggs

The "Try Hard" Learner

You will know you have this type of learner because they are always saying 'yes' to everything but not actually being able to cope with everything. They are always in the middle of something, trying hard to finish something before the deadline but also working about the other 2 things they need to do to!


Where they excel at homeschooling:

  • They will work hard to finish things and often won't take a break when they really could do so. 

  • For these learners it is quality over quantity in the work they produce. Set out clearly the tasks and a deadline and let them get on with it.

  • They have a strong work ethic and will endeavour not to let you down.

  • They are willing to offer a helping hand, bu they can be choose about what will hand they offer (especial as teenagers) - walking the dog on a wet Wednesday afternoon might not be offered up very quickly.


The challenges they may face with homeschooling are:

  • They will take on took much - more than they can cope with and will struggle to complete it all rather than ask for help.

  • Sometimes they are putting too much effort in to the trying to do rather than actually doing.

  • They find it hard to relax.

  • They often feel that if they only try harder they will get better result rather than understanding that sometimes something is if it is good enough - it is alright!

  • They are sensitive to feed back so be careful how you say it as well as what you say.

  • They’re constantly comparing themselves to others around them and in their study buddy groups.

  • They often won't give up even if the deadline has past. 


How you can help them learn in the home school environment:

  • Help them by starting the learning day with a clear list of things that need to be done and to what level - the bed can have the quilt pulled straight, it doesn't need hospital corners. 

  • Reward with small rewards for the effort and with larger rewards when the task is actually finished. 

  • Do not allow things to always be a competition, life is not always about winning, sometimes you get more out of collaboration and you see more if you take a step back and look.

The 'Can't Do It By Myself' Learner

Your time will be eaten up with this learner if you are not careful. They find it hard to stay on task and will often come to you for help. They like to be with somebody, anybody as long as they have a companion, ideal they other person can take over and do the task for them. They should be able to work on familiar and easy tasks independently but are unwilling to do so without somebody watching. 


Where they excel at homeschooling:

  • They really like working in a study buddy group.

  • They are very good at getting others to do things for them.


Challenges they may face with homeschooling are:

  • They will give up easily and often seek your sympathy by crying and telling you the task is too hard for them.

  • They find it hard to take constructive feedback, it is always somebody else fault.

  • Their emotions given their level of cooperative levels.

  • If they can't do it really really easily then they won't be doing. They most defiantly won't be doing it independently.


How you can help them learn in the home school environment:

  • Be aware they re trying to manipulate you - mange this by being firm but fair!

  • Set clear boundaries of behaviour and set out very clearly this is what needs to be done - this will happen if you do it, this will happen if you don't.

  • Give very clear and realistic instructions. Break the task down in to small do-able stages and praise them when they have done each one. 

  • if you need to sit next to them in the beginning, don't look at them while they are work in the task. Do something along side them that you need to get done. over time move further and further away until you are able to leave the room to fetch the ironing etc.

  • Monitor them, ask them how they are getting along and reassure them they can finish it all by themselves. Make the "independence" they feel part of the reward. 

The “Please Others” Learner

This learner just wants every one to be happy and puts a lot of effort in to keeping people happy. however, this might mean they will go along with whatever the other person or study buddy groups wants. They don't have an opinion on anything, what every is suggested is ok with them and any options offered - they really don't mind.  


Where they excel at homeschooling:

  • They are the in offence study buddy member who is happy with what the group wants and this sometimes helps - too many strong opinions causes clashes and upset.

  • They will often help out other study buddies who are struggling.

  • They are kind and friendly and so gets on with everyone.

  • They need to follow the rules, so they meet deadlines and hands in homework on time.


The challenges they may face with homeschooling are:

  • They won't stand up for themselves, nor offer up an opinion or suggestion that might cause conflict, so their voice gets lost in the study buddy group work.

  • They often follow the lead of the group and can be lead astray by stronger personalities.

  • They have a difficulty in saying 'no' and this may lead to a safeguarding issue. their need to please other people and not necessarily themselves can cause their judgement to become warped and not logical.

  • One of their biggest fears is being blamed for something that has gone wrong or is not right so feed back can be tricky to give without crushing their feelings.

  • They like to be positively noticed and praised so find it hard if they get things wrong.


How you can help them learn in the home school environment:

  • Be clear with instructions  and how much time is needed to do the task and don't for get to praise.

  • Model "good enough" things can be good enough and still get results.

  • Be firm, and wait a little longer when you ask their opinion - they need to know what they think is just as valuable as everybody else. it is ok to say I don't like  . . .

  • This is not the person to share your burdens with as they will feel an impossible burden to try and fit things which are beyond their control.  

The “Strong and Silent” Learner

You might think your getting things right with homeschooling with a strong and silent learner and that is because they won't tell you if your getting it wrong! On the surface they appear to coping well and they are stable and content. They enjoy working on their own and not in a study buddy group. They look easy and repetitive tasks and study weeks.


Where they excel at homeschooling:

  • They will take risks with their learning and try new challenges.

  • Within a study buddy group they will stay true to them selves.

  • Within the group they can be relied upon.

  • They are trust worthy if they say they have done their homework but have forgotten to bring it with them - they have done it!


Challenges they may face with homeschooling are:

  • They won't show their emotions very often, so you won't necessarily know if they are being bullied.

  • It is hard to detect if they are finding the work load too difficult or if they are struggling with a topic or subject.

  • Communication is not their strong point. They may not wish to show their feelings or they may be hiding something deeper. If they are struggling with communication skills they may find it hard to write down ideas, or write in a certain way.


How you can help them learn in the home school environment:

  • Take time to model sharing and being open about feelings by modelling how and when to do this socially.

  • Keep conversations on a one to one bases so they can practice sharing their feelings with you.

  • Give clear and straightforward instructions and accept that they may only use simple sentences and short narratives when writing. they may prefer only to use non fiction texts as story telling is a confusing skill to them.

  • Monitor how they are getting along with the task you have set and give praise for both effort and results. 

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