I recently met a mom who told me about her children and their homeschooling. She reported that, “all of their waking hours” were spent doing book work. It was her belief that the children should be at the table completing schoolwork all day long. I saw the dining room table and, in fact, it appears that is what they did.
Because homeschooling is all about what parents deem best for their own kids, you can think what you want, but in the end, it is up to each family to do what they do.
In comparison, in my home, I always tried to make sure that my children had adequate “down time”. While we had (and still have) a very rigorous homeschooling schedule, I made sure to schedule time off on a regular basis.
As someone who needs time to myself, I suppose it was instinctive to make sure that my children had time off as well. (Now, we know that the literature says that children need personal space and time for play, too.) In fact, as they were growing up, I tried to enforce an informal rule that I established about leaving the house for activities – that is, one busy day out meant that the next day was spent quietly at home. This worked well for me, as I was always able to get things done at home on alternate days. Plus, my children had time to read, play, go outside, or whatever it is they were unable to do on days that we spent driving and schooling all over town in the van.
While this may not work for everyone, it is just what I did. Other families may adopt different schedules and create time off in other ways. It’s just something to think about.
During down time, children do many things. Homeschooled kids in particular seem to find many clever uses for their time. It isn’t always about watching televison and playing video games, although that happens (in my home) too. But it is often about other things, as well.
For example, when my children have time off they sometimes do things like this:
They also like to do this:
Sometimes, they try this:
And other times, they do this:
And even this:
I don’t consider this time wasted. In fact, if this kind of thing occurs in your home, you may in all good conscience award homeschooling hours for these kinds of activities. I do.
Now, it’s my turn to ask…Do your children have down time on school days? If so, what do they like to during time off?
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