Most home-educating families I know of incorporate some sort of Quiet Time into their afternoons. And many couple I know who do not yet have children have commented that if they were doing what we are doing, they would want to have regular Quiet Time, too. When the children are very young, Quiet Time is really Nap Time, sometimes for Mommy, too. But once naps begin to be dropped, Quiet Time as a formal part of the day really sets in.
There are probably as many versions of Quiet Time as there are families, so I don’t want to talk about the shape which Quiet Time takes as much as the purpose of it in the first place. I can only think of three real options as far as purposes go, but if you have more feel free to add them in the comments:
- The primary purpose of Quiet Time is to offer a period of time for “recharging” before the day picks back up with dinner and other later afternoon and evening activities.
- The primary purpose of Quiet Time is to offer balance in the lives of family members–much of the day is spent with other people, often all in the same room, and this is a chance to be separate.
- The primary purpose of Quiet Time is to offer the introverted mother an opportunity for sanity, a chance to recharge her own personal batteries.
How we define the purpose of Quiet Time is going to determine what Quiet Time looks like and feels like within the family.
Which is Your Quiet Time?
Let me say now that I only consider options 1 and 2 to be valid options. Though introverted mothers may benefit personally from Quiet Time, I think holding that benefit up as the sole purpose for Quiet Time is dangerous. There was a time when, if I had been honest with myself, this was the real reason for our Quiet Times, and I found myself very resentful whenever someone woke up early from their nap, or needed help with a math problem. Now that I view Quiet Time differently, I experience the interruptions differently as well.
If a family chooses the first option, and decides that the purpose of Quiet Time is rejuvenation, then they are going to be obligated to discover what rejuvenates the individual children. For instance, if you have two extroverts, or one extrovert and your neighbor child is an extrovert also, letting them play quietly together is probably the best way to go, for extroverts tend to be drained by time alone.
Our Quiet Time is not for the purpose of rejuvenation. It is for balance. It is my belief that the ideal mature person can handle being with others and being alone equally well. And because I am a Christian, I also see the importance of spending time in reflection, prayer, and Scripture reading. Even for young non-readers, having a habit of Quiet Time can offer the space to grow into a more active spiritual life. So, just as I expect my introverts to show up and participate in Circle Time, I expect my extroverts to spend time alone during Quiet Time.
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