Answers to your questions
My child says they do better work when they wait until the last minute. Is doing things at the last minute or under pressure a strength?
No. It is procrastination. I wonder why they are procrastinating. What are they avoiding? They may believe that they do well under pressure. The pressure comes from their own thoughts and they can put pressure on themselves any time of day. Procrastination is simply a habit that does not serve us well.
Is playing video games a strength?
No. It is just an activity. You might notice that your child makes sure that everyone gets included in the video game or that they don’t mind losing if their friend can win. Those are strengths
I do not see how this will work for me. My kid is so disrespectful.
We cannot change our kid’s thoughts. They are the only ones that can do that. But you could examine your thoughts about your kid. First, are you being compassionate in your thoughts about you? Are you being kind and generous in your thoughts about you? Do you like your reasons for your decision to homeschool and how you are homeschooling? Are you respecting you and your choices? How you talk about yourself to others shows them how to treat you. Next, learn what your strengths and your values are. Love those. You will find that what you considered disrespect was actually accurate and that is ok. Those are your strengths. When your kid says, “You never do what you say you’ll do,” you can answer with “You’re right! It is not one of my dominant strengths.” If they say, “You break your own rules,” you can answer with “You’re right and I’m working on that.” Using a strengths-based approach to teaching does not elevate any of us to perfection but it does open the way for connecting with ourselves and our children and valuing our differences. This can only improve the schooling experience.
My child is so sensitive. How do I work with them and is being sensitive a strength?
Sometimes what we call "being sensitive" is really someone letting others know what they like and dislike. However, we can be comfortable making our likes and dislikes known and that does not necessarily mean we are sensitive. It means we are comfortable expressing our dislikes and likes. You may be sensitive to the expression of discomfort. If you have the strength of developer or restorer, you might be trying to fix what your child has discomfort about. Back off that. We all have dislikes. Your child may like to express it. Some children do not. We all tolerate a certain amount of dislikes. It’s ok. Their expression of it is part of their strength. You wanting to fix it could be part of your strength. Be compassionate first. Encourage your child to express what they do like as much as they let you know what they do not like. You can choose to handle your sensitivity with a different strength that you are dominant in. If your child is strong in empathy and an includer put extra effort into keeping pessimists and complainers away.
I am a type A personality: I love to get the list checked off. My under-10 son is in no hurry to finish anything. I have completely lost the joy of homeschooling. How can I bring the fun into learning again?
Start by having compassion for you and your amazing strengths. I don't know you, but I'd bet you have many strengths in the executing arena and are quite capable of "getting things done." Love that about yourself. And know that your son's strengths are in a different arena but are equally valuable. He may be dominant in the arena that influences and reaches out to people or perhaps the arena that sees what is possible. Allow him to learn as he learns best and you get to create the lessons that opens that space. You can check that off your list while letting him learn with his strengths. Does he need time to ponder? To create? To tinker? To organize? To talk about it? To collect information? To learn with friends? If you don't know, ask him.
The joy of homeschooling is in giving space to stretch our minds and learn rather than conform to a myriad of constraints. You may feel restricted by your ideas of a type A personality. Please don't let that limit you. Know your strengths, recognize the strengths in your son and appreciate the differences.
I need some help. My kid will just check out. In the middle of doing a math worksheet my kid is totally checked out. What can I do?
Kids are built to learn. From that perspective I am curious about what your child is learning while being checked out. Do they enjoy long periods of just being checked out? Looking out the window, maybe? Most people, young and old, benefit from just thinking. I wonder what checked out looks like in your kid. I wonder if a strength like futuristic is fully charged in the brain and they are in total creativity. Or maybe your kid is organizing the latest data they learned and considering all the different ways it could be applied to their life. Kids learn. You most likely do not learn this way and so you may not recognize it as a part of learning. Understand your strengths, understand your child’s. Ask the “Is it reasonable?” question and see what you uncover. (Worksheet #3)
How can I help my child focus on her schoolwork during the day?
The strength of focus may not be dominant in your child and expecting or demanding that she focus will only frustrate both of you. The goal is learning, yes? So let's reframe the question to how can I best help my child learn? She may need to be moving to learn. She may need friends or to talk it out. She may learn best by creating what she is learning about. Reading and worksheets might not be helping your daughter learn at all. Notice how she approaches learning. Kids do well when they can. How does she think she learns best? Writing about it? Acting it out? Dribbling a ball while reciting facts? Rethink "focus" and allow your daughter to use her strengths to learn.
What if I'm doing it wrong? What if I'm teaching the wrong things?
Don't brains love a vague question! What specifically could you be doing wrong? Teaching the solar system to a 7th grader when the other 7th graders aren't learning about it is not wrong. Teaching Greek mythology when the public school is teaching American history is not wrong. It is impossible to teach your child wrong. Kids are built to learn. Period. What you teach them may or may not be what the general population of that age is learning but that's ok. All brains offer the "I'm not doing it right" sentence. Yes, you are and your child is built to learn. How could you structure your homeschooling so that you enjoy the process of teaching? THAT'S a great question to answer.