Thursday, October 11, 2018

How Do You (and Your Kids) Get Enough Sleep?

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How Do You (and Your Kids) Get Enough Sleep?  Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

No matter how long we've been homeschooling, we are curious about how other homeschoolers do things. And homeschoolers who are newer to the game obviously have lots of questions! This series will try to answers some of the questions homeschoolers ask each other. Questions about how we handle some of the little details and about our opinions on different aspects of homeschooling. Questions that we all might answer differently because what works great in one family might not work at all in another.

Today's question is a summary of a bunch of questions I've been asked and I know other homeschool moms are asked as well. How do I get enough sleep? Pretty sure I don't get enough sleep, at least not on a regular basis. Do my kids get enough sleep? I feel like they got more than enough when they were younger. Nowadays I bet they get enough sleep, just not always at night when they should be sleeping. But I digress. Let's talk about how homeschool families ring the bell on their mornings. I've got a little collection of related questions to answer, and this is certainly an area where there's a wide variety of answers!

How do you get your kids going in the morning? How late do you let your kids stay up? What time do make your kids get up and start school? Do you have a set time?

How Do You (and Your Kids) Get Enough Sleep?  Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Truth is - I've never been much of a morning person naturally. I've sort of become a morning person out of necessity, because I've spent pretty much my entire adult life getting up to go to school or work, or to send at least one of my loved ones off to school or work. But while I may be out of bed and drinking coffee before dawn, I'm not in the mood to be energetic or productive. The result is that I've never pushed an early "get out of bed and get going" time on my kids. Even as babies and toddlers, my kids weren't wide awake and raring to go at the crack of dawn. (Probably because we didn't put them to bed really early, but I'll get to that.) So yeah, mornings have generally had really relaxed rules, and I used to worry that I was setting my kids up for failure by not insisting on a consistent and early rise and shine time. I let them get away with way too many snooze buttons, and the only times I was strict about being out of bed by a certain time were when we truly had to be somewhere by a certain time. 

How Do You (and Your Kids) Get Enough Sleep?  Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

How Do You (and Your Kids) Get Enough Sleep?  Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

So I'm not that good at getting them going in the morning. I was way too flexible on a school start time, and not even very consistent with consequences for not being up on time. On days when we had to be up and moving to get to co-op or something, I resorted to nagging more often than I should have. It took me until the last few years before I established relatively consistent wake-up times. But believe it or not, as my kids graduated and went to college or work, they've been perfectly capable of getting up early on their own, and have rarely slept in to the point of being late for work. I cannot account for this fact. At best I can say that maybe we've set a good enough example of being responsible to arrive at work on time. 

Perhaps we've had trouble getting up in the morning because of my answer to the question of how late I let my kids stay up. In general, I've allowed my kids to stay up later than the national average. Not that I know what the national average is. But I do remember that around the middle school years, their bedtime was about 10pm and that wasn't strictly enforced. I had a bit of a dilemma when my oldest two thought they should be allowed to stay up later than their baby brother and sister, but they were already staying up that late! The actual times for "get ready for bed" and "lights out" have fluctuated, but somewhere between 9 and 11 has been pretty standard.

What time do we need to be up and working on school? As I said, I had trouble staying consistent with this, but I eventually got there out of necessity. For many years, I gave the kids their wake-up call at 8:30am and did my best to insist that school started at 9am. If they wanted breakfast, they had to get up and be finished eating by nine, because the books opened at nine. Now with just one student, that is still the basic rule, although on co-op mornings we actually need to be out of the house by seven because our first class starts at eight! And we do it! There was only one time we were late (so far) and that was because of a flat tire, not a snooze button fail.

How Do You (and Your Kids) Get Enough Sleep?  Part of the How Do You Homeschool series on Homeschool Coffee Break @

That's the unvarnished truth about bedtimes and mornings in our homeschool. I know families that are even more relaxed than we've been, and I know a lot of families that get up and do all their chores and finish at least a couple of subjects in school before I've even finished my coffee. 

How do you handle wake-up times and bedtimes? Does the homeschool bell ring early in the morning or just whenever? Leave a comment and let me know what works for you - or leave a homeschool question you're curious about.

This post is linked at the Homeschool Linky Party on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

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