Honestly, I’m not certain what the school’s hours are. I assume it is something close to 9 to 3. But we haven’t restricted our learning to a schedule in over a decade. In fact, the idea that learning can be scheduled is rather ridiculous.
Think about it for a moment…
- Did your baby learn to roll over between 9 & 3?
- Take their first steps during a certain slot?
- Say their first words?
For most of us adults, we rely heavily on the internet for information and learning…
- What if Alexa told you, ‘I’m sorry I can’t retrieve that recipe. Please ask again between 9 A.M. and 3 P.M. Monday to Friday.’
- Or if you wanted to Google the Black Panther Parties Ten-Point Program (and you really should read it)? And all you got was that dancing dinosaur with the message, ‘I’m sorry but that facility is not available at this time. Try back between 9 A.M. and 3 P.M.”
- ***Gasp*** You might even have to bring out those bound paper things. What were they called again? Oh, yes, books. Hardback and paperback.
But that is exactly what we do. From the time that the child is ‘school age.’ (And that varies from place to place), we expect learning to occur during prescribed hours and in set locations. And that pattern continues for the next decade, sometimes two.
Is it any wonder that most children and young people lose their passion for learning? In fact one study showed that almost one-quarter of Americans had not read a book in the last year.
And what if, like @PanKwake and many other neurodivergent people, your body does not keep to circadian rhythm?
Sleep has always been a challenge for @PanKwake. As a toddler and young child, it would take us an hour, two, and sometimes more to get her to sleep. When she was in nursery, she took a nap, actually she usually just lay quietly. But once she began reception, it was just too much for her.
I struggled to get her up, dressed, and to school on time. And by the time I picked her up at 3, she was so overstimulated that she melted down and most often collapsed into a restless sleep. Back then she had epileptic seizures – often in her sleep. If she did take that nap, then I had even more trouble getting her to bed. And the cycle began again the next morning with a tired child before she even made it to school.
Like I said, when we first de-registered, I attempted to keep a more structured approach. But even then I relaxed quite a bit on that schedule. @PanKwake usually slept in until 9 or 10, sometimes later. Even once I abandoned the structure, I felt compelled to keep to that traditional 8 or 9 P.M. bedtime for a child. Of course, I often lay in bed with her until 11 or midnight. Sometimes, I fell asleep before she did. I even resorted to medication (melatonin is a chemical naturally produced in the body that aids sleep) to achieve that outcome.
Somewhere around eight or nine, it dawned on me…
Why does she have to stick to a certain bedtime? And we began to relax even that. Of course, we lived in a small flat where she was always less than ten feet away from me. I had a chain latch installed above her reach. And I dozed more than slept most nights.
From the time I began to allow her body to follow its natural sleep and wake cycles, her seizures decreased. And eventually disappeared. of course, the doctors and ‘experts’ would say that was just coincidence, that she outgrew her childhood epilepsy. And we will never know for certain. But I’m not a big believer in this coincidence thing.
It was not easy, especially on me. I would have to get up often to help her with games or face meltdowns. And I remember one time, when she had found a gaming buddy who must have lived in another part of the world. She would wake me at 3 A.M. to help her text them. (Remember she is severely dyslexic and cannot read.) But it was a teachable moment. In that time, she mastered the copying text skills that she uses to this day with written communication.
These days, @PanKwake goes around the clock with her sleep schedule, making school or that structured approach virtually impossible. But it isn’t too much of an issue with Self-Directed Learning. She ‘reads’ her Wattpad stories, watches her educational videos, or her gaming while we sleep. I check in with her in the morning and we talk about the things she has learned.
And on those occasions when she is on ‘normal’ sleep at night and awake during the day schedule, we do amazing fun things like…
So, no, you don’t need to sit your child at the dining room table from 9 A.M. til 3 P.M. In fact, even if you do follow one of those ‘curriculums’ and structured learning, most people find that all ‘school work’ (and in those cases that is an accurate assessment of it) can be accomplished in two to three hours, four tops. Which leaves far more time for actual learning. Assuming they have not been turned off and tuned out by that stuff.
Time for some gardening and learning for me now…