Five thirty every morning and a cheery little infant face would be pushed into mine. We could almost set our clocks by our early risers when they were little and nothing we seemed to do changed it. We tried keeping them up later, lots of exercise, busy days. It didn’t work. We just ended up with tired grumpy children.
Fast forward ten years and it was a miracle if our teenagers were up before midday. Then we had to make the decision as home educators; do we get them up to get on, or do we leave them to sleep and work later?
I got into a fierce argument about this with an old traditionalist non-home educator once. His argument was that lying in bed till midday was ‘lazy’. My argument was, if they’re doing the work later, studying till the early hours and in the case of one family I knew still managing to get A* when they took exams, what was wrong with that different approach?
He wouldn’t have it. According to him it was still ‘lazy’. But that was the kind of bigoted attitude we came up against sometimes when we were trying to take a different approach to our children’s education. People can’t see beyond conditioned thinking even if it works better!
I know this is a dilemma for some home educating parents; whether to get the kids up or to leave them to their own sleeping/working patterns. Our understanding of the teen brain (see here)has grown enormously over the years. Teenagers not only need more sleep but their sleeping patterns are so disrupted by hormonal changes that keep them awake into the small hours they are often sleep deprived. And even some schools are recognising that, to be able to function at their best, teens need a different working day and have changed their school day (see here) to suit them.
When you homeschool, you can plan your working day to suit your child’s personal needs at the time. Some of the home schooling families ours grew with shifted their working day to much later. But it was still no problem for the kids to adjust back, as some parents worry about, into a more common routine that fitted in with college and universities and work.
For myself, I didn’t let them lie in too long because quite frankly I wasn’t up to helping them in the small hours – so you do have to take into account your parental needs too. But don’t worry that kids may not fit into the ‘normal’ social and working pattern. All the HE kids we’ve known interacted so much with the world anyway that they are better able to slot into that world than school kids who’ve been shut away in institutions all their growing lives.
It’s entirely up to you how you manage the timing of your home school days. What’s most important of all is that you suit whatever you do to your child’s and family’s needs and not be influenced by bigoted ideas of ‘lazy’.