When your children are homeschooled, it’s tempting to ignore inconvenient things like “bedtime.” After all, you can always sleep late the next morning and catch up, right? And there are so many exciting things that happen after what would be a normal bedtime for many school-age children. There are festivals…family events that run late…movies that you want to watch that inch just a little bit past bedtime…why not just go ahead and finish them up, and let your child sleep in in the morning?
This is impractical for a number of reasons. First, it means that your entire schedule for the next day is going to be completely set out of whack. If you don’t have a regular schedule, simply starting when your kids get up for the morning, it might not be too bad; but if you’re used to starting and finishing around the same time each day, it might be very difficult for your child to adjust. Furthermore, if you have specific plans for the next day—a field trip that starts at a particular time, an appointment that you have to get to, or an online session that begins at a particular time—it’s entirely possible that you will either be rushing through your normal morning tasks, or that they won’t get done when they normally would. Having to complete those tasks later—especially when they are “supposed” to be playing—leads to cranky children who don’t accomplish anything as effectively or as well.
Furthermore, a good night’s sleep can often be the difference between happy children, and children who are grumpy and hard to get along with. Children who haven’t slept adequately will have difficulty focusing, trouble concentrating, and issues with completing their assignments. They won’t absorb their work as well, and they might even need to repeat lessons over again later in order to make up for things that were not properly learned during those hours. Work will be more likely to be sloppy, half-done, or incorrect. Attitudes will suffer.
A child who has slept adequately, on the other hand, will wake up in a much better mood, with their minds ready to begin the learning process. They are less likely to be cranky and out of sorts, and more likely to be helpful and energetic. Their chores will be completed when they’re supposed to be completed; they’ll do a better job of staying on schedule; and they won’t be drowsing off while the teacher (whether that’s a computerized lesson or a parent) drones on about something they would normally be interested in.
Does that mean that there can be no special occasions, no lessons gained that are more valuable than the lost sleep and disorganized schedule? Certainly not. Special astrological events, family events that run late, or other circumstances may lead to late nights; and every once in a while, that’s all right. On a regular basis, however, a good night’s sleep is well worth the effort it takes to get everyone in bed on time—even if it’s difficult to juggle everything.