If you’re looking for a way to add a daily quiet time to your homeschool routine, this blog post is for you! Read on to learn all about the importance of a daily quiet-time and how to incorporate it into your homeschool day.
What is Quiet-Time?
When we first had Thomas, Gary and I found ourselves in the rather unusual situation of becoming pregnant with twins within six weeks of his birth. A little over nine months after his birth, Lillie and Charlotte came along. Somehow, Gary and I had managed to have three babies in the space of nine months and three weeks. Yikes!
This meant that the hippy-go-lucky lifestyle I had envisioned for myself didn’t seem feasible. After all, there were three babies verses one weary mummy. My days became about military precision just to survive. And I did, but barely. I chose a routine for our days and stuck to it.
Nap-Time Transitioned to Quiet-Time
The day eventually came when Thomas was ready to be awake rather than nap. My heart sank because the reality was that those times of quiet renewed me for the afternoon ahead. So quiet time was born. It started with Thomas simply lying on his bed for an hour or so whilst his sisters slept. I made up a basket of goodies for him to play with and/or read. The girls napped, he had some down time and I, I maintained a little time to relax and read.
Shortly after the girls began to stop napping for so long and eventually dropped napping all together. The transition was simple, as were the rules. I gave the girls a basket of goodies to play with, which were only available at this time. They had to remain on their bed and remain quiet.
It really was very successful for two of my children. Lillie did not enjoy being on her own (although her sister was in the bed beside her). And she did not enjoy trying to play by her self. The other two thrived and looked forward to this time. Once Lillie was reading fluently, she too enjoyed them as much as the others, so I am glad I persevered.
The Importance of Consistency with Quiet-Time Expectations
It is never too early to train a child for quiet time, nor is it ever too late. That said, transitioning a child from nap time to quiet time is probably the simplest method requiring the least amount of training.
The older children dropped naps at age 5, Abigail dropped hers way before. It was a bit of a shock to me when an 18 month old Abigail suddenly stopped napping during the day.
However, I did exactly as I had with the older three and transitioned smoothly into quiet time. The older ones already had quiet time after lunch so Abigail was effectively doing a grown up thing in her eyes. She was still in a cot which made keeping her in her bed simple.
Each afternoon I tucked her down for a nap as usual, except this time I added a box full of toys at the bottom of her bed. Naturally as soon as she got tired of trying to get to sleep, up she popped and played with her toys quietly in her cot.
When Becca dropped her naps she too learnt to enjoy quiet time as well.
Writing it out like this makes it sound simple and seamless. But that wasn’t always the case. There were times with Lillie, in particular, when she simply did not see the purpose or importance of this mum-mandated quiet-time. She would rather not, thank you very much! Nevertheless, I kept my expectations of quiet-time, and eventually, just like chores, they became second nature.
One of the huge blessings of quiet-time is the fact that all my children enjoy their own company, and in fact, need it at times. This is a great gift to give to your children. To be content in one’s own company is a happy thing in deed.
The Importance of Quiet-Time During the Teen Years
As the children got older, I found the importance of quiet-time multiplied. It no longer happened because I needed a break but because the children all really enjoyed it and looked forward to this daily time of quiet.
The world wants us noisy, wants us busy, wants us hurried. This down time slows us. It allowed us all time away from each other which helped to encourage good relationships. The older ones in particular seemed to need this time and often took themselves off without me even asking.
How Long Do We Have Quiet-Time For?
Quiet time has traditionally been about an hour. We always have it after lunch, when everyone’s tummy is satisfied and they are all full up and slightly soporific.
However, if I was starting to have quiet-time when the children were a bit older, I would start with a smaller amount of time and lengthen it slightly until an hour had been achieved.
What Do They Do During Quiet-Time?
When the older three were little we invested in this quiet time because it was so necessary for my continued sanity! Each child had a basket full of quiet toys. Think magnetic shapes, felt pictures, books, as well as a child’s cd player and CDs (bought at charity shops).
As they became more used to it we realised that the cd players were more trouble than they were worth and gave them back to the charity shop! In their place I played a bible storie cd in the back ground which they all really enjoyed, as well as playing with their quiet time toys.
Often, during a growth spurt a child would fall asleep listening to the cd. It was wonderful, because without even trying they automatically slept more during the times they needed it.
How I Incorporated Quiet-Time Into Our Unit Studies
When the children were little, our homeschool consisted of book units. As they became older (five plus) we used unit studies as our main method. This gave us an easy ‘theme’ to work with regarding their quiet-time activities. The book units were one week long, and so the themed activities changed each week.
Once we were doing unit studies, which typically lasted about six weeks or so, we encouraged the children to read during their quiet-time. This was super useful because as part of the unit studies, I would always buy a huge selection of historical fiction. There was simply no way we could have got through so much reading without that one hour of quiet-time.
I never put pressure on them to read every single book. Thomas and Charlotte loved to read. Charlotte particularly devoured the books at the rate of knots.
Lillie was not such a reader. She is an artistic soul and preferred to do things with her hands (much like Becca, in fact). If there was an option of listening to the book, I’d always give her that. This meant she could make jewellery or paint (she had an art studio in her bedroom) whilst still getting the literary input the books offered. Audible is great for this.
The Importance of Quiet-Time During the Teen Years
During the teen years, we use quiet-time as an excuse to do reading we might not always have time to do otherwise. As the older ones grow up they are being exposed to lots of influences which might not always be positive, or give out the messages we as parents would like. Dr Who fits into this category for us.
The children have friends who really enjoy watching the Dr Who series and have kindly lent it to my children. Instead of banning it completely, we have explained to the children that we need to balance out what they are being exposed to by ensuring they are watching these films through Christ based specs. To this end, Gary and I invest in films with a Christian message as well as books by written by favourite Christian authors. Some of the books I will work through with the children, others they read during quiet time:
They find this much more palatable than a complete banishment of Dr Who, and we are able to discuss our concerns with them without a barrier of attitude to hurdle over. Until the age of about ten I would have been an incredibly protective parent, but as they’ve matured I’ve seen how important it is not to ban them from everything which may be negative but to encourage them to have a biblical perspective on all things so they are able to make their own minds up. Quiet time is one such way of achieving this.
This is part of a short series I am doing relating to the ins and outs of how we homeschooled. Previous Posts are as follows:
Our Angelic Scalliwags Homeschool
Dealing With Home Education Authorities
Is Homeschooling Your Calling?
How to Make Homeschool Decisions