Supporting Your Home School Learner

What The 6 Personality Types of Learners and How to Help Them Learn in a Home School Environment 

Good collaboration essentially boils down to personalities who work well together and are able to support learning at home and spend so much time with their family 'without killing each other'.


Our personalities play a major role in the way that we interact with others. Although we do not actually plan on harming our family members, everyone’s traits and behaviors can most certainly effect the productivity in the learning place. All the different learners I come across in my visits will all fit into one of the five most common personality types, as identified by psychologist Taibi Kahler in 1975.


I have broken them down into titles that you’ll easily be able to recognize among yourself and your homeschooler. Most importantly, based on each person’s character traits, there are specific ways to interact with them in the learning environment. 

The “Be Perfect” Learner

From the way, they present the work they produce, this learner can be recognized from the start. Usually, their posture and attire are nothing short of tidy and well thought out, and their desk and learning area is immaculate. But, most of all it’s the way they work and act in certain situations that give this learner away.


Areas where they triumph:

  • The perfectionist has exceptionally high standards for the work they produce. Therefore, you can trust that they won’t make even one small mistake a 1,000-word essay, as they often triple-check everything.

  • They are detail-oriented in every aspect of their lives, including assignments.

  • They are great at ignoring distracting background noises. They always strive to stay on-task in meeting their homework targets.


Challenges they may face in learning at home:

  • Small obstacles in projects tend to hinder their productivity and focus much more than others.

  • If this person makes a small mistake, they are most likely to feel intense stress and frustration with themselves – a mood that is usually hard to crack.

  • They always play it safe. Don’t expect them to be a risk-taker. This even applies to trying out a new place for lunch.

  • They can be uptight. So, although they will get the job done well, you can’t rely on them to laugh at your joke or smile when they accidentally stumble.

  • According to their own intuition, no one can do things better than them. Because of this, they usually end up doing most tasks themselves. This can impact their productivity level, as well as others around them. For instance, they’ll focus on the last 2% of a homework when 98% of it looks pristine.

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

  • Give them the right job for their personality. This is one that requires attention to detail, yet limits their responsibilities.

  • For each learning assignment, it’s best to set priorities and deadlines with this person. Hold them to a date and time or they will work until every last detail is impeccable.

  • Likewise, they tend to get overwhelmed by a large number of tasks. Have them check over list short list quickly and priorities. They will do everything right but will be burdened and burn through a lot of time with large volume tasks.

  • Compliment them often. They are harder on themselves than anyone else. The best and most beneficial thing to do is provide them with positive feedback on their work. This will raise their self-esteem and make them a more positive person to be around at home.

The “Busy Bee” Learner

You’ll usually come across this busy bee when they’re caught between tasks, running from one place to another. They value speed, efficiency, and their ability to constantly multitask. They are the life of the party, talking to everyone and in charge of many things. However, don’t expect to have focused one-on-one conversations with them, as you’ll rarely see them sitting still.


Areas where they triumph:

  • This learner finishes tasks efficiently, working hard and working quickly. You won’t catch them taking a long lunch break or wasting an ounce of time.

  • They are always highly responsive, and will definitely keep you updated when they have finished. You won’t need to remind them twice about, well, anything. This makes them the perfect one to turn to for last-minute assignments, like reviewing your work presentation that’s due tomorrow morning.

  • They are lively and give off energetic vibes to others around them.

  • This learner is enthusiastic and excited about life. They’re the one that will do something spontaneous with you.


Challenges they may face in learning at home:

  • They focus on quantity over quality, which means that you can’t expect a thorough job from them with individual work assignments.

  • This person is frenetic at times. More specifically, it’s quite difficult for them to sit still and relax. They constantly need to be doing something and have little patience for lost time.

  • Silence can make them uncomfortable. So, if they need to work without distractions, put some low energy music on in the background.

  • This person will often fail to hand in homework in time because they try to fit in too many activities at once.

  • Because of their high energy and inability to be in one place at a time, they are typically not known as the greatest of all listeners, so write the instructions clearly.

  • They are not always appreciative of the work that others do for them.


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

  • You can rely on them to get a task done faster than anyone else. So, give them the simple assignment due tomorrow morning that won’t require too much attention to detail.

  • Try to encourage them to slow down. When giving them a project, do so in multiple phases – allotting a significant amount of time so that they will focus on the quality and not beating a deadline.

  • Try not to get intimidated or offended by their comments. Don’t take their words too personally, they really don’t mean it - their month has engaged before their brain but do help them see that this could get them in trouble outside of the family.

  • Reward them when they put a lot of time and effort into their work. This will encourage them to continue this behavior in the future.

  • 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).

Decorating easter Eggs

The "Try Hard" Learner

This is the “say yes” learner that tends to take on a lot of homework, often more than they can handle. They are always in the middle of attempting to accomplish something, hence, always trying. Despite this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are completing all of these tasks from start to finish.


Areas where they triumph:

  • This learner is so persistent that a Friday afternoon off might not entice them to take a short break. They won’t give up until their work is complete.

  • They are patient and understanding that some things take time. For them, quality over quantity is important, and homework assignments are best completed when not rushed. A task like a regularly book report is great for them, as it gives them a deadline and plenty of time to beat it.

  • They are committed to their work and family, going to all measures to make sure to not let anyone down.

  • They will always offer a helping hand (although that doesn’t always mean taking the dog out on a wet Wednesday November afternoon).


Challenges they may face in learning at home:

  • This learner sets high, unattainable goals for themselves, like writing a 1,300 essay before lunch. They take on more projects and work than physically possible to complete.

  • They put more effort into the “try” stage versus the actual completion stage. They are always working on something but it’s very hard for them to actually complete a task.

  • They have trouble relaxing and often give off a tense vibe. This is because they are never satisfied with their work and nothing that they do is ever good enough.

  • They are very sensitive people, which makes it hard to offer feedback or suggestions without hurting their feelings.

  • They’re constantly comparing themselves to others around them.

  • They won’t give up, even when a project is no longer relevant.


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

  • Hold them to their commitments by reminding them frequently about projects that they are working on. And most importantly: set finite due dates.

  • Reward them when they actually complete a task, but not when they have just worked really hard on it.

  • It’s best to ignore their competitiveness. Don’t engage when they play the game of comparison, for example, if you both are passionate about different sports teams, steer clear of this conversation topic.

The 'Can't Do It By Myself' Learner

With this learner, they will find it hard to stay on task and will often come to you for help. They enjoy constant companionship and feed back and would prefer you to do it for them. They should work on repetitive, tedious tasks – which they can complete by themselves. Then set off on the next task.


Areas where they triumph:

  • They are the social one in the family – the one that likes to get a group together.

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


Challenges they may face in learning at home:

  • They don’t mind been seen as vulnerable, so they will give in quickly and will often change their mind about if they can do the task or even finish the task. 

  • They won't keep their emotions to themselves. Every challenge will be 'impossible' and they will let you know this.

  •  When they are upset or hurt by something said they will let you know. It always appears that everything is wrong with them and everything effects their mood. With this, it’s challenging to give constructive feedback for them.

  • Likewise, it’s hard to tell if they are experiencing difficulties or don’t understand something or they just don't want to do it.


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

  • Manage them with your kindness but stay firm with them encouraging them to complete the task in the time frame set out.

  • Sometimes consequences must happen but be clear and fair at the start of any task  "When you do this - this happens. If you don't do this - this doesn't happen.

  • Keep the instructions as clear as possible. Also, making sure to speak quietly with them and not draw in too much attention. They feel uncomfortable and easily put down in a crowd.

  • Break the task down in to small and do-able chunks. Give them clear and straightforward instructions, knowing that there is little chance for them to run into issues.

  • Check in with them about their assignments regularly, reassure them that they can finishes it by them selves.

The “Please Others” Learner

This employee is often making sure that everyone around them is satisfied. You’ll hear them saying: “Does this work for you… and you… and you?!” All. The. Time. You’ll frequently see them surrounded by people. And as an extrovert, these social situations bring them energy and genuine happiness.


Areas where they triumph:

  • Being in the company of others is when they are their best selves. Therefore, find a ‘study buddy’ where you’ll see them blossom.

  • They are highly considerate of others. If their study buddy is struggling with a project, they’ll be the first person to help out.

  • Likewise, this learner is highly skilled at dealing with and managing others.

  • They are very kind and pleasant to be around.

  • This person has high moral values and always follow the rules, which goes hand-in-hand with their need to please others.


Challenges they may face in learning at home:

  • They are far from assertive, which means that they won’t stand up for themselves when they know that they are right, for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings.

  • They don’t think for themselves individually. They rely on others to take charge of situations.

  • This learner has trouble saying “no,” even when they should, having a qualified teacher to support you with safeguarding may be needed.

  • When it comes to receiving critiques or negative feedback, this isn’t one of their strong points. Being blamed for doing something wrong is their biggest fear.

  • They desire attention and absolutely don’t like to feel ignored or disregarded.

  • With their need to please people and put emotions first, their ability to think logically becomes blurry.


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

  • Try to be concise and straightforward with them when you have important tasks to accomplish quickly. They are going to want to do everything right, so don’t give them too much to stress about and overthink.

  • Be especially polite to them. And when they help you with something, make sure to give your sincerest gratitude.

  • When possible, don’t take your stress out on this person. They aren’t the one to vent to about family problems.

  • Be patient with them, as they will get easily flustered when rushed.

  • Compliment this person often, but only when it’s sincere.

The “Strong and Silent” Learner

With this learner, you can never tell how they actually feel or even what’s on their mind. They always appear stable, going about life as if they are content and everything is well for them at all times. They enjoy their autonomy and, therefore, prefer working on their own verses in large groups. They also work best on repetitive, tedious tasks – which can put them in a position to be taken for granted.


Areas where they triumph:

  • They are the brave one in the family – the one to take risks without fear.

  • They stay true to their values and ideas, no matter if others try to change their perspectives.

  • They are someone you can always depend on and go to for help.

  • Furthermore, they are trustworthy, if they said the dog eat the homework – it did!


Challenges they may face in learning at home:

  • They don’t want to be seen as vulnerable, so they won’t give in and change their mind. This is true even when everyone else agrees with each other and they are preventing a process from advancing forward. They also not going to speak up if they are being bullied so watch out for this particularly via social media.

  • They keep their emotions to themselves. It’s hard to tell if they are upset or hurt by something said. It always appears that nothing is wrong with them and nobody affects their mood. With this, it’s challenging to provide feedback for them.

  • Likewise, it’s hard to tell if they are experiencing difficulties or don’t understand something.

  • Because they can’t express themselves, communication is not their strong point.


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

  • Surprise them with your kindness and consideration.

  • Share your feelings with them to give them the chance to open up to you about theirs.

  • Keep the conversations one-on-one when possible. Also, making sure to speak quietly with them and not draw in too much attention. They feel uncomfortable and easily embarrassed in crowds.

  • Give them clear and straightforward instructions for work assignments, knowing that there is little chance for them to run into issues.

  • Check in with them about their assignments regularly, as they won’t be the one to tell you when something is wrong.