When you’re feeling behind with homeschool, it is easy to think the best way to catch up on your curriculum is to do school all day long. If wintertime finds your house quite buried in snow like ours is, you may think, "Why not start cramming? We might as well do school seven solid hours a day like the brick and mortar schools. We can't get out and do much else!"
What sounds like a great solution to feeling behind turns into a mix of bad news:
- Kids are burned out with eyes glazed over.
- Negative attitudes are popping out.
- Mom is exhausted.
- Everyone is miserable.
- You may even start doubting your ability to to homeschool at all.
I love chatting with my friends who have kids in public school because they remind me how much time is wasted in the classroom. This realization gives me permission to relax about our homeschool schedule. Kids who attend school get breaks throughout the day, so kids who are schooling at home should get breaks as well!
In our home, breaks take the form of a daily quiet time each afternoon.
My kids are more motivated to work diligently on school work in the morning if we have a time each afternoon to recharge. Not only do the kids need this refresher every afternoon, but so do I! If i consume myself with staying on track with our schedule, I lose my joy and burn out quickly without any time to rest.
Daily quiet time used to happen if I was lucky enough to get all the babies and toddlers to sleep at the same time. Sometimes I felt like I was stuck at home in the afternoon; however, it turned into a beautiful part of the day for me. As my kids got older, it has transitioned into a restful time we all love. Here are five reasons I am convinced we will never outgrew our habit of a daily quiet time.
1. A Break from the Family
Homeschooling provides families with the chance to bond deeply with each other, but every good relationship needs a chance to breathe, too. During quiet time, Mom gets a break from the kids, and siblings get a break from each other. We love our resident toddler, Little Brave; however, we all need a break from him in the afternoon! After a few hours of quiet, we are all more prepared to deal with his loud, boisterous behavior when he wakes up again.
2. Time for Read-Alouds
Our current schedule works best if we have about an hour in the afternoon set aside for our Read-Alouds. We use this quiet time during the toddler's nap for my older kids to grab some snacks, join together in the living room, climb under blankets, and rest while listening to our Sonlight Read-Alouds. My kids love reading aloud to me during this time as well because they have my undivided attention.
3. Quiet Free Time
Time to quietly explore other interests is something my kids look forward to each day. As homeschool moms, we can easily fall into the trap of directing all of our children's activities. Our daily quiet time is opportunity for my children to explore all on their own. Building with legos, drawing with colored pencils, constructing stuffed animal houses out of boxes or working on a simple sewing project are all activities my kids work on in the afternoon. I have been pleasantly amazed at how much they learn during this free time!
4. Self-Care for Mom
After a productive morning of school, an afternoon quiet time is my chance to recharge. I am not ashamed to admit that I take a nap during quiet time nearly every day throughout the school year. Naps make me a better mom, so I have learned to stop fighting what will help me get through my day well.
Maybe you aren't a napper. Your daily quiet time could be used for a workout, reading a book of your own choice, painting your fingernails, preparing a gourmet meal, or meditating with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
5. Transition from Teacher Back to Mom
Growing up homeschooled, I always appreciated the many times my mom took off her teacher hat and played the role of my mother. I try to implement this change of roles in our home, too. During afternoon quiet time I begin my transition from mom as teacher back to regular old Mom and begin to prepare for a night of family time.
If your family is needing more rest and relaxation added to your homeschool routine, I encourage you to try a daily quiet time. It may be just what your family needs to add some relaxation to your homeschool days.