The following is a post from contributing writer Carlie who blogs over at So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler?
Quiet time. A place that every mother longs to enter into each day. A place that some mother’s wonder: Does it really exist? A time that all homeschooling mothers need. But how? When? Where?
Although there is not “one” solution to this question, I want to give some of you who are struggling to find this time in your daily life some pointers on how to achieve this – specifically with multiple children.
When we first started homeschooling, it was much different as we only had one child. We bought her first preschool curriculum well before the age of two, because she was ready. The lifestyle of homeschooling started in our home from birth, so I had to make a conscientious decision to make sure that I was able to have some quiet time each day to ensure that I would be able to be as patient, loving, and kind as possible. If we are telling ourselves the truth – we all need to make sure we are able to refocus and re-prioritize during our days. One scripture that has helped me to continually remember the importance of this time is:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)
It is very clear that as the enemy can, he will try to steal everything he can (our time, our patience, our peace) during the days to ensure that our homeschooling (or anything for that matter) is not our top priority. A sabotage of sorts, if you will. But the good news is contained in the second part of the scripture above: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. In the life that Christ gives comes rest to be ready for everything He has called us to do in this life on Earth – and YES, this includes God’s full blessing within our homeschool.
One of the best ways I found to schedule quiet time is to set the boundaries from the beginning. I will try a new idea and be consistent to see if it is the right fit for that particular child. Often times we would start something and find out quickly it would not work. However, once we figure our what works for each child we are consistent to ensure that both mother and children get some quiet time on the schedule each day.
Here are some suggestions for the younger ones as you train them to have their own quiet time, allowing you to have yours:
- When our children were babies (up until age 1), I would encourage short periods of independent play each day. Of course all children are different so there is no set way to accomplish this. This independent play would usually consist of maybe 10-20 minutes of exploratory play with classic toys (with no sounds/lights). Some of our children’s favorites over the years have been: wooden shape sorters, stackers, wooden blocks, cars, etc. I have successfully implemented this with each child and it was their first introduction to “quiet time”.
- In the toddler stages (ages 1-2), we continued the classic toys for playing during “quiet” time coupled with some more modern number games and letter building activities.
- Preschool ages (3-4) in addition to the above, we will also implement lacing shapes, coloring, painting, play-doh, puzzles, trains, and even some Biblical based DVD’s such as What’s in The Bible?
- Kindergarten thru 3rd grade we continue to use the Bibical based DVD’s, lot’s of book reading (both real books and books on cd), and quiet play with some of their favorite things.
Of course there are many other wonderful things that we can use to train our children to have independent time – but the goal is for it to be “quiet”. This has made our homeschool and family life much more peaceful and manageable over the past 11+ years of being at home with our three young children. Even if your child is a little resistant to this idea at first (BOTH of my boys were) keep being persistent and they will learn to enjoy this time as well. Over the years this has become a time that everyone looks forward to each day, and I am so thankful for it!
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