Do you get to sleep in and start school whenever you want?
My kids are often asked these questions – and it makes them chuckle that when their puplic school counterparts imagine a day in the life of a homeschooler that sleep and pajamas are high on the list of “Things to Know About Homeschooling.” But maybe all of those curious kids are just asking the questions that scientists have been asking lately: Do homeschooled students have healthier sleeping habits that kids who attend brick and mortar schools?
The answer seems to be a resounding YES!
Not a surprise to me – I homeschool my own 4 children but also have a foreign exchange student as well who has to be at the bus stop long before at least 2 of the kids have even rolled out of bed. And he doesn’t return home until almost dinner time (and that only happens when there isn’t after school practice). And then there is homework. And then the cycle starts all over again.
As the mom of teens I also have had the pleasure of trying to rouse them from a deep sleep – an unenviable task. It is not, however, because teens are lazy – but because their bodies are hardwired to work that way. As our preteens morph into teenagers seemingly overnight, their brain structures change and their circadian rhythms actually require going to be later at night and awakening later in the morning.
So to answer those burning questions about homeschoolers and sleep… sometimes we do sleep late. Sometimes I even am the last to rise. We usually don’t do school in our pajamas, only because we would look a bit obvious when we showed up for guitar lessons or play practice or at the library. Rarely do we have a day to stay home – but when we do – you can find me in my leggings and t-shirt and the boys in various stages between pajamas and “play clothes”.
Maybe the reason why research shows that homeschoolers have better sleep habits isn’t just because we can let our kids sleep late in the morning. Maybe it is because we are blessed to allow them the time to play, explore, invest in personal interests, and help determine some of their own scheduling. Perhaps it’s not just about bedtime and what time the alarm is set. It is about listening to the whole child.
What time do you have lights out?
Do you have a set time to start school each day?