Self Discovery Through Type Testing

The Learning Umbrella recently had a post about personality style and homeschooling style inspired by taking the “What Type of Homeschooler Are You?” test.  She said:

How much does your personality affect the way you homeschool? I, for instance, could never be an unschooler. I don’t like to be without a plan and a schedule, and it makes me very nervous when people act spontaneously.

But there may be people that it does work for, and their kids may be thriving and destined to grow up just fine.

So – how much of your “style” of homeschooling is your choice because of philosophy and how much is because of personality?

Interestingly, I had been thinking about the same thing, except with parenting styles.  Of course, I think parenting styles also have a strong connection to the homeschooling style of choice, which may all go back to personality style, as this post is considering.  But, as I’ve also been contemplating all of this, I have felt strongly that I have changed my styles, whether that is parenting or homeschooling, based on the needs of my individual children.  I have such a unique family, with strong personalities within the whole, and it has been my instinct to give each what they need from me.  I felt I was in the better position, as the adult and as the person who chose to bring each child into my life, to stretch and grow and learn in order to support their temperament needs and facilitate their style of learning.

Well, an interesting thing happened when I have stumbled on these tests and participated.  I would like to share my discovery, and see what you all think, and ask if someone has seen anything similar in their life.

First, a once close friend of mine was heavily into the Myers-Briggs personality type tests and asked if I would take it, as she had a guess for me.  So, I did here, and this is what I was categorized as being like as a worker:

ESFJ (Extravert, Sensing, Feeling, Judging)

Feeling types seek continuity through harmonious relationships and collective values. They excel at picking up on the tone of a situation and acting accordingly, adding warmth to a cool setting or turning sour into sweet. They will naturally seek to know what people do well, what they enjoy, where and how they work, and understand what they need in order to make the appropriate connections with other people. They weave and strengthen the collective fabric of social conventions and interactions.

Let an extraverted feeling type know that you are in need of an accountant and they will most likely give you several names. They seem to have an infinite number of acquaintances from all walks of life and are always on the lookout for people in need and those who can help out. Inclusiveness is important and they are particularly sensitive to those who are excluded.

Harmony comes from good, supportive relationships and upholding collective values. They are always focused on the other person, feeling a glow when those around them are happy, and troubled when something is amiss. They are natural cheerleaders, often expressing support, gratitude, and encouragement, and heaping praise onto those they appreciate. They take note of what is being done and what needs doing, offering their help and assistance wherever necessary.

As team players and project leaders, they have a gift for rallying their players, focusing on what is being done right and each member’s strengths. They are loyal and they expect loyalty. They carry conversations well, finding common ground with their speaker. They tend to find the correct and gracious way to respond in any given situation, no matter how tense or uncomfortable it is.

It is well to note that extraverted feeling types will uphold a wide range of values, simply because shared values are what create harmony. Some will profess the importance of tough-minded logic, justice and scholarly debate because their environments have these shared values. They tend to adopt the collective values of those they love and ‘belong to’.

The write up above and at this site seems to reflect my general personality to about 2/3 based on my own assessment.  Well, about a year later, when I joined this blog family, Ron at Atypical Homeschool had a quiz on what kind of mother you are.  I thought, okay, that would be fun to see how my personality comes up as a mother.  Well, guess what?  Did I have a surprise, and to me, a validation of what I felt had been happening through my mothering experience.  It came up with this:

(INTP:  Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving)

Your type is: intp —The “Love of Learning” Mother

“I keep the encyclopedia in the kitchen so we can look up things together while we eat.”

  • Intellectually curious and patient, the INTP mother relishes those times with a child when they are learning something interesting together. Whether they’re at the zoo or computer terminal, she sparks to answering his or her “whys” with in-depth responses or new knowledge.
  • The INTP mother is also objective and introspective. She listens to and discusses children’s ideas and questions as she would those of a peer, fostering self-esteem and confidence. Open and non-directive, she allows children the freedom to do for themselves and quietly encourages them to believe they can do it.
  • Independence, autonomy, intellectual development, and self-reliance are probably the INTP’s highest priorities for her children. An avid reader, she naturally imparts an appreciation and love of reading as well.
  • Drawn to all types of learning, the INTP may also value her mothering experience for all the new insights about life it provides her.

Did you catch that?  My mothering personality is the EXACT OPPOSITE of my working personality type!  First of all, the description that was provided of my mothering style quite perfectly describes my view of myself.  Beyond that, I found this discovery very interesting (as is my nature if you go back and read . . . LOL!) and did some thinking and comparing over the past several days.  This is what I came up with:

With the following traits:

They will naturally seek to know what people do well, what they enjoy, where and how they work, and understand what they need in order to make the appropriate connections with other people.

Harmony comes from good, supportive relationships and upholding collective values. They are always focused on the other person,

As team players and project leaders, they have a gift for rallying their players, focusing on what is being done right and each member’s strengths.

They tend to adopt the collective values of those they love and ‘belong to’.

as fodder in my personality, relationships indeed are very important to me, and it is one of my “gifts” to “see” who people are and what they need from me in order to fully be themselves.  It’s interesting to consider the idea that I may have “adopted” the values, or in this case, the value of individuality each of my unique children required and demanded of me, as indicative of my loving and belonging to them.  So, in one sense, what I pursued in my parenting is reflective of my personality traits.

On the other hand, it shows that one can change and stretch and grow in order to give what others need.  This is reflective in my total opposite mothering personality.  So, it appears that this phenomenon may have occurred both because I value relationship and meeting the needs of my children, which is also part of my personality, yet, it changed me dramatically.  And yet still, who I originally am is intact as well, and is usually the personality I use with people and relationships outside my home.  I also see it come into play as I conduct the “business” of interventions for my children with autism.  Actually, I find the “driven” working me doesn’t have a healthy place in our home, so I’m grateful that I intuitively took the useful parts of my personality and grew them in benefiting my children in allowing them to be them, and yet blessing myself through the awesome experiences they have provided me as their mother (as noted I value in the mothering type explanation)!

So, then, it doesn’t surprise me that my type of homeschooler that came up was:

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?


Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in your reality. You are an unschooler. You will tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort. Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on everything. If your school had an anthem, it would be Dont Worry, Be Happy. Visit my blog: http://www.GuiltFreeHomeschooling.blogspot.com
Take this quiz!

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Although we are individualist unschoolers, which means each child pursues learning in the way that works for them and makes sense to them (i.e., structure, flexiblility, natural, texts, etc.), it is I, as the mother, who remained the most flexible to follow the path of what each child desired and needed, and I jumped in with all of my heart to figure out what I needed to do within myself to either not interfere with that process, or to assist and facilitate.

Kinda complex all in all; but kinda cool.  Did anyone follow me?  What do you think!?  Opinions desired . . .

6 Responses to Self Discovery Through Type Testing

  1. Yes, I do. I don’t think it is at all unusual that someone’s work personality is widely different from his or her family one. Our involvement is very different from one to the other.

  2. I agree with Ron. I think one’s “mothering” personality and the personality that deals with the outside world evolved at very different points in one’s life, adapting to very different needs. It would be surprising if these two parts of ourselves were mirror images of one another. Does this make sense?

    By the way, I took the Myers Briggs at several different points in my early adulthood, and came out two different ways. I was evolving. Plus tests are just tools, there’s nothing sacred about their results. They do make good springboards for discussion and reflection, which is how you’re using them. :-)

  3. I found your discussion very thought provoking. And I agree wholeheartedly with the last comment about tests making good springboards for discussion and reflection. It is the discussion that brings out the real learning and development, in my view, and sometimes putting it all down on paper or telling someone is what is needed to get the ideas clear in your mind. I did a similar test about decision making style and came out very extrovert. You might too. An extrovert decision maker is one who considers the options by talking them over (versus and introvert who goes away and thinks about it and then only tells others when a decision has been made). So there are lots of ways of looking at what those personality characteristics are about.

  4. Interesting to think about…I am an ENFP…I never took a test while working, but I am pretty sure it would have been close to the same. I also think that my parenting is very tied to my personality type. I don’t see my personality type changing for my kids (other then I find that I increasingly enjoy my alone time!). But I do see my personality type playing into how I relate to my children and how I go about looking at what they need.

    Relationships are VERY important to me. I am very much a feeling/intuitive type of person. I am also very good at seeing things from other people’s point of view and finding value in that pov. In that sense I am very willing to stretch myself and look for better ways of doing things that meet my children’s needs, even if they are different from what I need.

    I do think that this is why unschooling appeals to me…it is very much about relationships and honoring each others individuality. About helping a child find the path that makes sense to them and learn in a way that makes sense for them.

    I’ll have to think about this a bit more….interesting….

  5. I think this was a full circle moment for me in understanding myself. This *former* friend I mentioned and I had a falling out last year, mutually and respectfully, but it left me wondering how the confusion occurred. We both go to the same church; her daughter and my oldest son were both unschooled from the beginning; and they started dating. We moms were really good friends and met often to discuss unschooling and parenting and the strong personalities of our children (her only and my oldest) and I thought we had so much in common, although I knew she was more emotional/sensitive than I, but I thought we mutually appreciated our differences. Things went fairly well the first six months of our children dating. Then some miscommunications began to occur and then the masks came off. Both my friend and her daughter felt I had a controlling personality. Admittedly, with my friendships, I think I retain my more aggressive personality traits: extraverted discussions, like JoVE mentions, where I put everything out on the table in order to figure things out, no holds bar.

    My oldest was confused by their proclamations because he never saw me as controlling. He recognized my proneness to speaking whatever was on my mind, without censorship, but he also knows it’s how I think things through and to only listen to half of what I say . . . LOL! He tried to explain to them how he felt he had been raised with a lot of freedom and respect, as indicated on the mothering style in this post, but they tried to convince him that I had him duped.

    My friend tried to “prove” my controlling nature through this type testing! I became confused because I understood my “business side” did exist, but I knew through experience and my children’s interactions and my heart that it wasn’t happening at home (hey, I had already self analyzed all of that . . . LOL!). So, I guess this is a personal validation of what I knew in my heart, and not to put that much credence on these tests, like you all mentioned (and which *I* hadn’t), but this person had, and I had tried to help her understand I am way more than a particular type test can show. I guess I needed this validation for my heart and vindication for my mind because of my inner analytic who likes to sift through all the information. Plus, I’m the type of person who always wants to ask, “Is it true?” in order to stay self aware.

    Outside of all of this personal need for this realization, it does make sense that our working personality would differ from our personal home living one. On the other hand, I have to contemplate if it is a good thing to use my working personality with my friendships versus my personal home living one. On the other hand, I have only felt those feelings toward my family members. My friendships I treasure for my ability to have deep analytical conversations. I have one friend currently who has my same working personality type, and the same desire to have my mothering personality on the flip side. Maybe what I need to think about is why I don’t know how to have the familial relationship with a friend. Or maybe it’s that I don’t need that . . .

    Hhhmmm . . . more to contemplate. Thanks for the insights so far, everyone!
    -Cindy

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