When homeschooling your child, you are in tune to his rhythms, his sleeping and eating patterns, and his biological makeup, which has been a part of who he is since he was a baby. You can see when he is widest awake, when he is most alert, and when he is better able to focus and to learn. You can also provide him with more nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day to keep his blood sugar normal, eliminating the highs and lows that can result from improper eating habits. And you can ensure that he gets a good night's sleep to fit his homeschooling patterns, as well as rest and relaxation time when needed throughout the course of the day.
You will be better able to work with his weaknesses, take advantage of his strengths, and provide a more balanced day of educational activities. As a result, he will respond and react more positively to his natural peak learning times, which are in tune to his particular lifestyle and learning patterns.
Peak Learning Times
Some people are morning larks. Others are night owls. Some prefer to get right to work first thing in the morning, then enjoy their afternoons with a clear conscience of a good day's work already done. Some savor the relaxation of quiet morning hours, then rev up for excitement and activity in the late afternoon and evening hours.
Children also experience peak hours throughout their day. Some are still groggy and sleepy-eyed at 10:00
You can see what a difficult time these children would have focusing and learning if they were in school between 8:00
Research has shown that a good night's sleep is critical for alertness, learning, and retaining information. When sleep is limited or interrupted, the mind's ability to focus or to recall information is limited. Some researchers have recently found connections between sleep problems and ADD or ADHD.
Sleep Patterns and Learning
Your child's particular sleep patterns can affect learning and the ability to focus. Some children simply will not fall asleep before 11:00
Some children never took naps when they were young, others took morning and afternoon naps. This is all a part of who they are. Changing children's sleep habits can be done over time, but it can also go against their natural biological makeup, never quite setting well with them.
Nutrition and Learning
When children go off to school without a nutritious breakfast, their blood sugar generally falls around midmorning. This creates the midmorning slump, resulting in tiredness and a reduced ability to focus. If math class was held in school at 10:00 or 10:30 each morning, and your child was not doing well in math, the midmorning slump could be part of the problem.
Studies on nutrition and brain function have shown that poor nutrition or meal skipping can impair a child's mental and physical performance. As you prepare nutritious meals for your family, educate children on the importance of a well-balanced diet and healthy snacks — lessons that will ensure a long and healthy life.
The same effect occurs around 2:00 or 2:30 in the afternoons. Depending on what the school lunch consisted of (hot dogs? pasta? pizza?), your child may experience a mid-afternoon slump. She would be especially affected if she were an early riser, had missed out on a good breakfast, had a less-than-nutritious lunch, and was awarded no time to relax between classes. With her body running low on fuel and rest by the 2:00 class, her level of alertness and learning receptiveness has dramatically diminished.