Happier Homeschooling: Free Time

Sometimes you really need to close the books and build a tent that takes up your entire living room.

The tent takes up half the house

Along with teaching to your kids’ learning styles and incorporating nature study into your curriculum, one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the free time your kids have at their disposal.

With the video games and television firmly turned off (usually, anyway), free time is an extremely important part of our daily schedule.  They are free to explore their interests, paint, do crafts, climb the apple tree, play with their toys in new creative ways, dress up and act like animals, create games, draw, get messy, make mud, and enjoy childhood.  Free time is a beautiful thing.

Climbing the Apple Tree

Climbing the Apple Tree

Painting Wilbur after reading a chapter from Charlotte's Web

Painting Wilbur after reading a chapter from Charlotte’s Web

Playing with Angry Birds Jenga- making his own creations to knock down

Playing with Star Wars Angry Birds Jenga- making his own creations to knock down

Time to be a Bunny Rabbit- complete with carrot!

Time to be a Bunny Rabbit- complete with carrot!

Working with the pebbles & creating a board game for the family to play (with extremely complex rules)

Working with the pebbles & creating a board game for the family to play (with extremely complex rules)

Making Mud

Making Mud

Free time is incredibly valuable in teaching the kids to take initiative, to begin and finish projects, and to cooperate with others as they practice these skills in this little microcosm alone or with their siblings.  It is time for self-directed sensory and hands on play and learning.  Protecting free time in our daily schedule is as important as making the time for reading and math instruction.  It is vital for a happy homeschool day, and for well-educated, well-rounded, independent kids.  And I get a little break too, which might be a factor in how carefully I guard this time.  It’s fun for all of us!

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