Whenever I’m asked for homeschool advice, about daily routines, or about how I manage to stay sane as a homeschool mom, I always talk about the most important part of our homeschool day: our daily, afternoon quiet time. I honestly doubt I would be able to homeschool without it.
Quiet time has been a staple in our homeschool from the very beginning — it’s been a part of my oldest’s life ever since that very sad day that she outgrew napping. These days, I don’t have any nappers anymore — but we STILL have an hour or two of quiet and alone time each afternoon. And while we don’t avoid activities or errands that keep us out of the home during this time, we do make a point of keeping this routine pretty much every day that we are home.
I definitely lean towards the introvert side of the personality spectrum, and I NEED some time to myself to function well. But I do think that a regular quiet time is beneficial for all homeschool moms and children alike, regardless of individual personalities and need for quiet and solitude.
Quiet Time Benefits for Homeschooling Moms:
Time to think
Sometimes it can seem like there are multiple people talking to you from sunrise to sunset You’re teaching lessons, answering questions, and breaking up sibling squabbles all. day. long. An hour of quiet in the afternoon gives you an opportunity to hear what’s going on in your own head.
Time to recharge
An afternoon quiet time gives you that coffee break that other working mamas get. A time to put your feet up, close your eyes for a bit, or read a book. Eat that chocolate bar that you’ve been hiding. Take a nap if you need to!
Time to pursue interests
One of the benefits of homeschooling is the ability for children to follow their own interests — but what about your interests? Do you have any? We all want our children to grow up to be lifelong learners, but are we modelling that ourselves? Having an afternoon quiet time gives you the time to work away at your own reading list, sew, or work away at some other hobby.
Time to prepare for lessons or meals uninterrupted
Sometimes it’s just so much easier to prep when there aren’t a myriad of little voices, activities and moving bodies distracting you! While I do try to reserve my quiet time for activities that are for me, I do on occasion use this little bit of margin that is worked into my day for household or homeschool activities. I also sometimes use this time to spend one-on-one time with one of my children
Quiet Time Benefits for children:
Time to recharge
Kids need time rest too! I know my kids would be go go go all day long if they didn’t purposefully take a break. And I have noticed that on super busy days, or even on days where they are playing hard all day long with friends or each other, they tend to get cranky. Having an hour set apart for quiet and solitude seems to help them play or work better and get along.
Sometimes, kids need a break from each other, especially when the current sibling dynamic is frustrating. If you’ve got a kid that you feel you need to get a break from, chances are, his siblings could use that break too!
Toddlers and preschoolers who have outgrown napping sometimes take it back up again (usually accidentally!) while having quiet time. Their little bodies may still need that little afternoon recharge, but it’s highly unlikely they will go back to the practice if the entire household is active (and so very interesting!) all day long. A daily quiet time allows those sweet ones to outgrow their napping phase in a gradual sort of way that meets their needs.
Time to read
Having a block of unscheduled time is so important if you want to raise readers! There are so many awesome activities our kids can be busy doing — formal learning, pursuing interests/hobbies, sports, etc., but if we keep our children’s days so full, they may never get the chance to just pick up a book and read! Free reading is so important!
Even reluctant readers and non-readers can experience this benefit by using audiobooks. My children have enjoyed listening to a wide variety of audiobooks from the age of two! Audiobooks during quiet time are a great way to get the benefits of more read aloud time into your children’s day.
Learn to Entertain oneself/learn to be alone
One of my goals has always been to raise my children to be people who are comfortable with their own company. It seems so many of us, adults and children alike, struggle with being busy all the time and then not knowing what to do with ourselves if there isn’t some planned activity going on. There is so much value in allowing our children to become bored, and in allowing them to solve that problem on their own.
Protected free time
Having a regular time each day that is protected from scheduled activities allows children the free time necessary for pursuing their own interests. Building with LEGO, drawing, handcrafts, and free reading are so valuable, and yet are often pushed aside in favour of more exciting or adult-directed activities.
Our daily afternoon quiet time is a welcome break in our day and a part of the daily rhythm that keeps our homeschool running smoothly. I had no idea how big an impact this simple daily habit would have in our homeschool when I first built it into our family life — at the time I was just an exhausted mama to a newborn and preschooler who desperately wanted a nap!