Quiet Time, Oh How I Love Thee!

Quiet Time

One of the biggest challenges for me when I began homeschooling was the sheer amount of talking and interaction required.  Though I was accustomed to having both children home all the time in the summer, teaching them for hours left the introvert in me a bit drained by afternoon.  As the rest of the day loomed before me I fondly reminisced about afternoon naps.

There were days when my ears actually hurt and even the sound of them playing in the next room was stressful.  {This is when those of you with double or triple the number of kids I have are laughing–I know, I’m a wimp.}  I also noticed frequent squabbling during afternoon play because they had been together all day, too!

Enter a homeschool mom’s secret weapon: Quiet Time.  The first wise, experienced homeschool mom to reveal this delightful idea to me was Tricia at Hodgepodge.  (I always pore over her blog soaking up her wisdom.)  I also read a great post from Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschool with her version of quiet time.

I realized this would save my sanity.  We tried various arrangements of locations and activities and I nailed down my goals for quiet time (other than just a few blessedly quiet moments to myself).  We now have a plan that works for us.

One Hour of Quiet

Quiet time lasts one hour, per Mommy’s timer.  Do not ask how many minutes are left.  Just remain in your quiet spot until you hear the beep.

The supreme rule of quiet time is that you must be quiet.  No talking–especially not to Mommy.  I play classical music from our composer of the month during quiet time.  The two benefits: my children hear a lot of wonderful music, and it serves as a reminder that this isn’t the time to talk to your family members.  (Even if you just saw a picture of a really disgusting bug or wrote the funniest part of your story.)

You must gather what you need before quiet time to prevent getting up during the hour.  You may choose the comfortable spot to spend the hour and surround yourself with pleasant, quiet activities.

You must spend some of the time enjoying a good book:  my ten-year-old daughter is required to read one chapter, my seven-year-old son must look through one book or listen to an audio book.

We try to fit quiet time in most days, though it often only works on the days we don’t have outside engagements.  Sometimes it happens in the early afternoon, sometimes when we return from an errand or meeting, and sometimes I pull it out in that pre-dinnertime hour  (especially if Daddy, our chef-in-residence, is home to prepare the meal).

The Quiet Cupboard

The Quiet Cupboard for Quiet Time

The first day I implemented the “Quiet Cupboard” my kids couldn’t wait for quiet time.  The simple idea of arranging an assortment of quiet-time-permissible activities inside a cabinet piqued their interest.  The lower shelf has activities good for either child, the top shelf has one side for my daughter and one for my son.

They are welcome to choose things that aren’t in the cupboard but they both gravitate toward the chosen activities.  I try to switch it up over each weekend.  No massive overhaul needed, just a few changes.  They continue to look forward to seeing what’s in the cabinet, and the variety of activities they engage in has increased since the quiet cupboard’s introduction.

What Goes Into the Quiet Cupboard?

Well, the ideas are practically endless, but here’s what you’ll find, on a rotating basis, in our cupboard:

  • 1-person games:
  • Puzzles (I especially love to slip geography puzzles in here)
  • Blocks: our Legos are out constantly, but I’ll put other smaller block sets in here like Lincoln Logs or Tinkertoys
  • Clipboard with paper and pencils–these can be used with some of the activity books or by themselves for drawing or writing
  • Activity books:
  • Art and craft supplies that don’t make big messes (not the time for ink pads, paints or chalk pastels)
  • Books: though they can choose a book from anywhere, if I want to draw particular attention to a book I’ll put it in here.  Books from the library or home, maybe one with beautiful artwork or photography, maybe one that goes with our season or studies (nature, science, history, art–so many choices!)

After Quiet Time

I can be a little tempted to keep my nose in a book or working on whatever focused task I was doing.  But (most days) I resist the urge and jump back into family life.  I take the time to admire creations, listen to story lines, or examine interesting finds from our hour “apart.”  We all enter our evening refreshed and ready to enjoy each other.

Do you practice quiet time in your home?  Share your version in the comments!

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3 Responses to Quiet Time, Oh How I Love Thee!

  • Tricia says:

    Oh I love quiet time too! And I love your take on it. A wonderful quiet cupboard and a big list of ideas!

  • We do but we don’t! ;) I love your idea of making it mandatory, and I intend to start ASAP.

    We don’t do quiet time every single day. But to be honest, it is a sanity saver. During that time, I’d really like to sew and read a book. That’s my goal!

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  • Sarah says:

    That’s such a great idea! Thanks for sharing :)

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Hi, I'm Heidi and I homeschool my two sweet kids. I want them to know that learning is an exciting lifelong adventure! We love great books, unit studies, notebooking, lapbooking, and hands-on learning.
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