What if we used the Enneagram as a tool to better understanding our strengths and struggles as homeschool mamas? Perhaps we might gather a little bit of courage and grace for our own unique journeys. That’s the idea behind our current series.
These wonderful ladies are not Enneagram experts but they do know a thing or two about home life and schooling children. And we are so grateful for their stories.
Let’s continue our series with types 7, 8, and 9!
TYPE 7: The Entertaining Optimist
(explore more here)
type 7 wing 8
As an enneagram 7, I do not enjoy getting trapped or being bored, and my main goal is that we are all having fun while learning! I used to get frustrated that I just couldn’t seem to finish a full-year curriculum when the kids were little, and I looked at my “shelf of good intentions” of uncompleted books and felt like a failure. I would plan with fervor the next year, always eager to start something new, but after a few weeks of routines I became bored and discontent. Eventually, I learned to embrace the homeschool mom that I am and played to my strengths.
One way I found to succeed was with Unit Studies. I adored having all my kids learning together at their own levels. The variety and constant change kept me entertained! I also love read aloud time, when everyone is snuggled on the couch. I would let the younger kids play with Legos or small toys while I read a huge variety of books. When we reached high school, I let my children pick their own curriculum that matched their learning style. It was so different from mine! But they thrived. They all have great memories of the early days when my main goal was to teach them to love to learn.
Now that I’m mainly just teaching my 6th grader, I try to incorporate a lot of fun into our days together. For example, rather than just reading the book on mammals, we watch YouTube videos together of funny animals. Sticking to a curriculum just isn’t my style, and I am free to take what is given to me and make it my own.
TYPE 8: The Protective Challenger
(explore more here)
type 8 wing 7
As an Enneagram 8, I am assertive, confident and have clear goals for each day. These traits help me to wade through the endless homeschool approaches and curriculum options in order to pave an educational path for our family. They also give me courage to push through the exhaustion and challenges of birthing and teaching six young children by finding ways to create systems that help us navigate our pain points.
The downside to being a type 8 is that I can be insensitive, inflexible, driven and at times angry. Anger is triggered when my expectations aren’t being met or I don’t feel I have a sense of order and control. While I admire the more whimsical ways many families approach homeschooling, their examples remind me to continue on my inner healing journey. I aspire to cultivate a healthy culture in our home where structure and routine are balanced by freedom and adventure.
Some of the ways I combat my personality struggles are to intentionally slow down, choose to sign up for less, create realistic expectations and carve out time for breaks and soul care–like my early morning devotional and exercise routine, family quiet times after lunch, as well as late afternoon family walks. Intense physical activity, ideally out in nature, releases tension!
It took a few years to recognize what drains or revives me. Now that my youngest is almost two, it is much easier to be consistent in taking care of my body, mind and soul. I am so grateful to be growing in self-awareness and grace. The strength God instilled in me through a dominant personality type can be used for good when I submit to the Holy Spirit’s refining work.
Sharing words of hope on Instagram and in my blog is a new way I am using my leadership, organizational and creative skills to be a light. Over the last year, I have also gathered a group of homeschool moms in-person to encourage each other and to focus on our own self-development and soul care! Leading projects that extend outside my home gives me a healthy outlet to channel some of my burning passions and giftings, even as I put most of my focus on my family in this important season.
Charlene enjoys life in Canada with her husband and six children, ten and under, who only know home as their school! Travel with her on Instagram @charlenevandenbrink and visit charlenevandenbrink.com for “soulful light for the beauty and struggles on roads less traveled.“
TYPE 9: The Peaceful Mediator
(explore more here)
type 9 wing 1
The Enneagram 9 is known as the Peacemaker type. As we see with all the types, this exhibits in both wonderful, life-giving ways and also sometimes . . . not so much!
In seasons when I am not at my healthiest, such as transition after a new baby or a stressful season at work, my type 9 tendency is to avoid conflict to keep the peace. Schedules loosen, expectations are lowered, and accountability / follow-through falls through the cracks. The kids certainly pick up on this and absolutely take advantage as long as I let them! My responsibility is to stay active in the process as a homeschooling mom. I have to work up the energy to engage when a child needs a bit of a push or a challenge.
On the flip side, at my healthiest, I create an atmosphere that is both peaceful and harmonious while also purposeful. As a homeschooling mom, my ultimate objective is to invite my kids into ownership of their own learning. The laid-back propensity of a type 9 makes it easier for me to provide the time and the trust needed to facilitate this natural process.
The other area where I really see the Enneagram play out in our homeschool and family culture is the 9’s ability to notice the validity of differing perspectives. When engaged and healthy, a type 9 is a natural bridge-builder. For us this means my kids are exposed to a wide variety of thought, stories and cultures. Our family enjoys relationships with a richly diverse group of friends and this has been such a joyful and natural learning ground for us.
As a whole, the Enneagram is a very helpful tool in my journey as a homeschooling mom. It shows me the work I need to do, and also encourages me to see and to build on my natural strengths. While it is not advised to figure out your kids Enneagram type, just having a basic understanding of the 9 types definitely helps me adjust my approach to each child and being able to do that is one of the very best benefits of homeschooling!
Alicia Fick and her husband live in Reno, Nevada with their four boys ages 14, 12, 3 and 1. They have been homeschooling for two years while Alicia also works full time in aviation insurance. You can find her writing at www.bountifuldays.com and also connect on the Bountiful Days Facebook page.
You can read about types 4, 5, and 6 right here!
We hope you are encouraged! And most importantly, please remember: no matter your personality type, you can be a wonderful homeschool mom! Your children can certainly thrive at home; God has given you “everything you need” (2 Peter 1:3).
Note: I borrowed each type name & highlighted “explore more” links from Your Enneagram Coach, one of my favorite voices to learn from in Enneagram world. You can also find the coach, Beth McCord, on Instagram.