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Teaching Teens to Sleep is Important

June 27, 2013

Is Sleep the Only Reason Homeschool Kids are Healthier & Happier?
Recently I read an article Homeschoolers Are Healthier and Happier Than Public or Private School Students about sleep and success in high school.

It stated that homeschooled students are healthier and happier, due in large part to the fact that they get more sleep than their schooled peers.  It reminded me of when my children were toddlers, and how difficult it was to convince them to sleep.  Now again with teenagers?  We need to convince them to sleep too!

After reading the article, I decided to ask my Facebook friends, “Do you think more sleep is the ONLY reason homeschool kids might be healthier and happier?” My facebook friends were eager to share their opinions, and I’ve compiled their responses here.  Most people concur that sleep is just one of the major factors that contributes to homeschoolers’ success.  Other factors people cited were healthy eating, good family relationships, and more relaxed schedules.  Here’s a sampling of the replies!

Not having to deal with peer pressures and bullies, for one! – Kim

Public school is a pressure cooker, it’s a bad system, some just adapt to it better than others. – Michele

Learning is fun & not always found in a textbook. They start class later, end earlier, & no homework. More family time. School in pj’s, barefoot, or on the sofa…just as long we’re learning. These are some of my boy’s favorite things about homeschooling. – Tina

Definitely it is more than just “more sleep”!! Homeschoolers are healthier, because they have PEACE, less stress, a loving family, unconditional love, grace, persistence, parents who never give up on kids, biblical values and moral compass, creative freedom, loving discipline, freedom to be who God wants. – Vicki

I think one of the reasons they’re healthier is that the kids are not in classrooms full of kids who may be sick, just getting sick or just getting over being sick. So many households are two income that sick kids are sent to school, there’s no one at home to care for them. I am convinced the reason we are not as sick as others during the winter especially is our limited exposure to sickie germs. – Tracie

Definitely more reasons than just this, BUT I do hear our friends talking about their crazy schedules before and after school and I am always left bewildered. I don’t know how families keep that schedule up and have good family time. I would not like it, nor would I deal with it well. – Christine

Not being constantly exposed to the germ of the day, being surrounded by people who love you and want the best for you, being able accomplish something without the frustration of ADD scheduling. I can make a huge list of why my kids are hardly ever sick, compared to their government schooled peers. – Beth

I know at my house we eat more often than if they were in school, and definitely eat healthier foods. I have boys, and they need to eat! We have breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and a snack! All good-for-us foods. The flexibility of learning at home allows time to keep their bodies nourished. – Dari

Because at least some of their lessons are tailored to them and not the masses. They can enjoy learning things that interest them and at their own pace. – Caroline

I think my girls have a healthier body image than I did. I think I started my first diet at 11 and my two girls, ages 18 and 13 haven’t ever considered dieting. – Terri

Healthier meal options, water to drink all day, plenty of time outside in the fresh air and sunshine, more regular physical activity. There is no peer pressure to look a certain way, no one pushing poor lifestyle choices. – Toni

Sleep, nutrition, free to move when they need – these all add up. But I think the best reason is they are in a nurturing environment with one-on-one attention. How could you possibly use a broken public school system to replace family time, love and customized learning? – Sarah

They not only learn the three R’s, they learn life skills the schools will not teach like banking, quilting, gun safety, and if they need extra help, it is there for them. You do not have to rush the learning so they really learn. – Verna

They spend their days in the care of a parent. There is no substitute for godly, conscientious parents who are willing to sacrifice to ensure that the next generation is healthy in every way (spiritually, mentally, physically, and more). – Rebecca

When they need a break from studies, they can go outside, go on a field trip, go for a walk or run, go for a fun outing with their family – get refocused and tackle the work head on. – Mindy

My friends feel sad that their kids don’t get much of a chance to be just kids – after school hours are filled up too! I appreciate that my home-schooled children have more un-structured time and aren’t spread too thin with all the ‘filler’ activities – we do less, but what we do, we do it deeper. – Sarah

Some kids in public class rooms are not there to learn, and they are constantly talking and passing notes to others in the middle of the lessons. – Brenda

I don’t think it’s sleep for my kids. We are busy and sometimes I think they don’t get enough sleep. But, they get their work done. They don’t have to sit in a chair waiting for school to be over or for the kid next to them to figure out how to do the problem. It only takes them 2 or 3 hours to do all they need to do for the day, and they are free to do whatever they want. No busy work. – Lisa

A few I can think of are eating healthier foods (and ones they like), loving environment, lack of feeling stressed if they don’t “get” the material right away, leisure to pursue interests/subjects that don’t necessarily correspond with their work, ability to rest if they feel overly tired, for whatever reason, when they need to. – Heather

What’s your opinion?  Is teaching sleep the key?  One of many keys?  Or does the article completely miss the point?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
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1 Comment »

  1. Leslie Klein Thompson says:

    I feel each child is different. For my youngest child,just turned 10, sleep is a huge factor. Her biological clock is a late one. I can put her to bed early,but no matter how exhausted she is,how much physical activity she has had that day, she can not fall asleep without reading a book.Usually an entire chapter book,and of course then it is later in the evening. Her brain just can not switch on and absorb material until late morning. In public school, yes ,she received straight A’s and high test scores.However,she was miserable,and told me she could not even remember what she learned in the morning. Also,she had medical issues that were constantly keeping her out of school even though the Dr. had written lots of medical notes requesting that she be allowed to drink water ALL the time during the day, and use the restroom anytime!The teacher I requested that would have made sure she was given her water etc..was denied because the principal wanted another teacher to have my daughter’s high test scores!
    Even when we she received a scholarship to a highly respected private school,and I spoke to the teacher at great length about the water,and restroom issues,safter a week in that school, my daughter became ill! I was stunned until during an open house, the teacher proudly told the parents that she took away the water bottles and made the kids leave them across the room,so that she could control the bathroom visits!I was so upset!The teacher that had requested my daughter ,would not have done this. However, that teacher was told, no,my daughter needed to be in the other class. Personally, I think it was that I had no clout because it was a scholarship situation. Sad.
    My youngest son,who is 13,prefers a schedule,and enjoys getting up in the morning.Except when he is so stressed from school because he is a perfectionist. If he stays up almost ALL nite doing homework or a project, he is an emotional wreck in the morning. He does not realize it, and a huge battle happens when he feels awful,but then does not want to miss school and get behind! With home school,and virtual school, he certainly is much more relaxed! He has extra time to learn and discover on his own. He is very happy not to waste his time on busy work below his grade level. This summer he is taking courses for high school credits(through FL Virtual School),even though he is going into 8th grade. He might want to try going back to public school,in high school,with all his friends. If so, I will make certain he gets plenty of sleep,because i have been through it before with all 4 of my kids! Sleep is so important,but not the only factor why kids excel in home school. Note: I did not home school my oldest two children.They are now in college on academic scholarships. I did,however,drive 40 minutes one way for years to make sure they went to “the best’ magnet schools.Or they had to take a bus for 50 minutes,and catch the school bus in the dark,to get to school!

    June 28th, 2013 at 3:04 pm

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