A Strength Based Homeschool: How To Do It

For several years now, I have shared snapshots of what strength based approach looks like for us.

Endless pictures of fish stores, computer builds, reptile zoos and Harry Potter crafts.

Blog post after blog post, 75% of my Instagram feed and just about every conversation I share has something to do with my boys’ interests and strengths.

strength based homeschool

Since publishing the first post in this series about why a strength based approach matters, I have received a ton of questions about how this actually works.

Although I can’t give you an easy answer, I am excited to talk details. I am grateful to be able to share what my experience has been, what has worked, and what hasn’t in pursuing a strength based approach to my boys’ education.

A Strength Based Homeschool: How To Do It

How Do I Figure Out My Child’s Strengths?

Preferred Subjects

The easiest place to start is with the subjects that are more natural for your child (and the ones that produce the least resistance). For example, although my son has an extreme aversion to math, he is fascinated by chemical reactions and other scientific processes. Or my youngest, who still struggles to read basic texts but loves writing his own stories (with me as a scribe).

The subjects that are natural strengths are the ones that help us begin to create and implement educational plans.


Once you have identified the traditional school subjects that are most natural for your child, the next step is to determine key interests.

For some children, this is quite simple. (Anyone who comes in contact with my youngest son for more than about 45 seconds is going to hear about animals.) For others this can, at first, seem difficult.

Whenever I write about interest-led learning, I inevitably hear from a mom or two who is concerned about not knowing her child’s real interests.

“He only wants to play video games.”

“She is really only into actresses and make-up.”

“He seriously doesn’t want to do anything other than watch TV all day.”

I understand the hesitation – how can these interests facilitate learning?

Although next week I am going to share nitty-gritty details of how to incorporate these interests into actual learning, for today, the most important thing is to identify what they are, no matter how not-educational they may seem.

Learning Style

Finally, determining your child’s preferred method and style of learning is an important component of strength based homeschooling.

Does your child prefer reading over listening to audiobooks? Does your child like to move while learning or is it more of a distraction? Do you have a child that needs to touch and feel everything?

Information about your child’s learning style is critical in helping you create a plan for your strength based homeschool.

Once you have identified these three components of strength for your child, you can begin to actually implement strength based learning in your homeschool.

Think of it like a formula –

Preferred Subjects + Interests + Learning Style = Strength Based Education

Want a resource to help you discover these essential ingredients?

Use the same workbook template I use to create your own individualized learning plan.

A Strength Based Homeschool: How To Do It

Now, the fun/also hard part begins.

In my experience, the number one barrier to creating a strengths based homeschool has nothing to do with curriculum choices or planning.

I think the biggest problem we face in taking on this approach is our own fear.

A Strength Based Homeschool: How To Do It

Overcoming Fear

A strength based approach typically means that we spend the majority of our time doing things that fall into the strength based formula.

Preferred Subjects + Interests + Learning Style = Strength Based Education

The question we all ask, and are afraid to hear the answer to is “What about the subjects that are weaknesses?”

It is a reasonable question, and one that forms the foundation of a traditional school approach. Most of us were taught with this mentality – the areas of weakness need remediation and the areas of strength can just be left alone. After all, they’re fine. They are already getting an A in language arts. Why spend time on what isn’t broken?

What helps me overcome the fear of letting go of this method, is that research has shown over and over again that spending a majority of time on our children’s strengths exponentially increases their overall ability – even in the areas that are weak.

More importantly a child excited to engage in learning, assimilates and retains new concepts and ideas faster and more adeptly than a child forced to achieve the average in all subjects. 

A Strength Based Homeschool: How To Do It

The Strength Based Homeschool Series

This is more than enough to get started.

Next week, we will wrap up this series with a very practical, behind the scenes look at strength based homeschooling. In addition to sharing samples of lessons and life from my own homeschool (and my boys’ specific strengths) I will also share ideas and project plans for children with other strengths and interests. (There will even be sample plans for those kiddos who prefer make-up, TV and video games!)

You can find links to all three posts, once published, as well as more specifics about this series HERE.

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