What time should you start your homeschooling day? This is a common source of anxiety for many homeschooling families. It was for us as well. Having come from a traditional school background (I was a teacher for five years before leaving to homeschool The Tornado), I was used to waking up at 5:00 AM to begin my day. That meant the she was awake that early as well. Our bedtime ritual began at 5:00 PM and she was usually asleep by 5:30 PM. I was also attending graduate school so between lesson planning, grading, and writing/reading for grad school, my nights did not end until much later. And we were all miserable.
When I left teaching the first change I made to our lives was to increase the amount of sleep we got. My daughter has always been a good sleeper so that wasn’t an issue. But I suffer from insomnia and struggle to fall asleep. Once I do, I can sleep for fourteen hours with no problem. Unfortunately, I rarely (even now) get more than six hours, and that’s being generous. Dealing with poor sleep health and trying to homeschool while cranky and exhausted made for pretty bad experiences.
At first, I thought that we had to start our homeschooling day on a “normal” schedule. We awoke around 8:00 AM and homeschooled right after breakfast. But it did not work for us. I work from home and need time to deal with business during regular business hours. The Tornado is not a morning person either, much like her parents. She struggles to focus in the early day and we both do better when we have a chance to ease into the day.
The solution for us was to start our homeschooling day in the early afternoon. We usually start at 1:00 PM, but we are flexible with that. Some days we manage to start earlier, most days it’s later. What I have learned is that we do what works for us and I no longer feel guilt of shame that I am not “normal” schedule homeschooler. When it comes to preparing our daughter for the real world, my husband and I believe that it is more important to teach her to do what she needs to do to meet the goals that she has set for herself. That means if she takes a job that begins at 8:00 AM, then she will know that she has to plan her life accordingly. Additionally, I think it’s important for her to know that she does not have to do things like everyone else. She can create a life of herself that best fits her body-clock.
So. what time should you begin your homeschooling day? At whatever time works for you.
What do you think? When do you begin?