Developed by Don Lowry in the 1970s and drawing upon personality composites that date back centuries as well as twentieth century clinical psychology, the True Colors®* personality identification technique provides homeschool parents with a framework for understanding what makes us (and those around us) tick in a variety of relevant settings: home, school, and work. A greater understanding of personalities, differences, and worldviews helps diffuse conflict and point the way to richer, more meaningful interactions. Ultimately, you can enhance your understanding of what all parties need to have a satisfying, customized home education experience.
The four colors in the True Colors® model are Blue, Gold, Green, and Orange. When one is working with these personality descriptions and attempting to determine which one most accurately describes an individual, it is helpful to list them in descending order (1 to 4) from most pronounced to least pronounced. The ranking reminds us that we have all the colors and the attending traits within us, to varying degrees. In reminding us of our similarities, we are less tempted to "bash" colors different than our own.
In my how to homeschool workshops, when I've assigned online readings (such as this one) on the topic of True Colors®, parents have responded favorably. As the participants have shared their family's "color palette," I've noticed that there are certain composite color characteristics of homeschool parents and children.
Synthesizing what I have seen recently together with my experience as a career counselor in a university setting that used True Colors® as a coaching tool, I've typed up the following brief descriptions, color coding them to make it easier for visual learners to perceive the differences.
Blue: Blues are the peacemakers and peacekeepers, prone to want to please. For better or worse, they seek harmony and like to minimize, defuse or even outright avoid tension unless a major principle is violated. They can be passionately assertive if provoked! Blues enjoy helping others and appreciate being noticed for their caretaking efforts. As homeschool students they are among the easiest to teach; most Blues are comfortable with everything from workbooks and large-scale projects (both group and individual). In the working world, they are found in a variety of worlds, including caretaking and creative professions.
Gold: These folks are the traditionalists, taskmasters, and keepers of order. They thrive on clarity, routine, and structure and they like to have a clear sense of measurable progress. As students, they are most comfortable with clear-cut curriculum, including workbooks, that presents instructions in a step-by-step ("stepwise") fashion. As homeschool parents, they may struggle with how to do homeschooling "right," when in truth there are many good paths to success. Golds gravitate toward working in institutions and in organizations heavy on honoring hierarchy and with meticulous rules about behaviors and procedures, including the military. Not surprisingly at least one researcher has noted that they are highly represented among today’s K-12 teachers and school administrators.
Green: Driven by thoughtful curiosity Greens are prone to question authority and defying convention not to be argumentative but rather because they have a keen eye for weak rationales. Many of my parents with gifted/2e kids have described their children as being Green. These individuals will respond positively to people and structures that they respect and believe to have integrity. Greens typically enjoy being self-directed in their educational pursuits and are apt to carry intense passions and interests into adulthood. Project-based learning is terrific for them, and some homeschool children thrive with unschooling, too. As adults they gravitate to work and hobbies that rely heavily upon the strength of their reasoning abilities and their deep need for intellectual stimulation.
Orange: Vibrant by nature, Oranges are prone to extroversion. They enjoy trying to juggle a crowded schedule and may be “movers and shakers” socially. They are playful learners (“class clowns”), employees, and parents, but they can be fiercely competitive and tenacious as well. Oranges thrive on interaction and action and relish hands-on activities from childhood to adulthood, making them good candidates for project-based learning and unschooling (like Greens). They long to connect with others in a way evocative of Blues, but in a more robust, even irratic fashion. Oranges tend to gravitate to artistic fields, especially design and performance, or they find ways to integrate creativity into their otherwise seemingly ho-hum lives.
If you'd like to delve further into the topic of personality in home education, come back on April 29th for Part 2 of this post. At that time I'll talk about which colors on your palette--if present--are most apt to clash in a homeschool setting. Between now and then, I will share a few posts that lightly touch upon temperament in homeschooling. [UPDATED: For Part 2, click here.]
Also, if you'd like to learn more about True Colors® in particular, I strongly suggest that you look at Mary Miscisin's web site, where you will find a terrific free online personality assessment. She also has a great section of her site dedicated to "color lingo in the classroom" which can be useful in a homeschool or afterschool setting.
*Remember: While I am not a certified True Colors® consultant, I do offer individual consultations and workshops to help you puzzle through the realities of homeschooling. I'm comfortable coaching families with bright, colorful palettes who are struggling to establish themselves as home education or experiencing personality clashes. All conversations are confidential. Let me know if I can help you.
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