Do Your Children Have Enough Playtime?Sallie Borrink
Is it time for your homeschool to increase the amount of play? It might be. After a long winter and school year, everyone’s mind and body could use a break. If you keep a tight schedule as part of your homeschooling philosophy, your children could be a bit tired of that as well. Play may be a real need at this time.
Cutting Out Recess
It’s a well publicized fact that public schools have been cutting recess for years. In an effort to cram in more and more preparation time for standardized testing, recess is seen as relatively unimportant. Recess has been drastically shortened or even eliminated to give teachers and students more time to practice how to take a test on a computer.
This is incredibly unfortunate since we know it is developmentally inappropriate for children to spend hours and hours inside at a desk. As homeschoolers we see the folly in this. The lack of recess might even be one of the reasons you chose to homeschool!
Recess and Homeschooling
But in our push to make sure we complete our homeschool curriculum and that our children get the best education possible, it is easy to find ourselves cutting into their free playtime a bit more each week. We’re tempted to think that it’s more important for our child to practice his math facts (again) than it is to run around outside and build a snow fort or treehouse.
Some people might even take away playtime as a consequence for not completing schoolwork in a timely manner. While at first glance it seems reasonable, it probably backfires for many families because play is a necessity.
The Necessity of Play for All Children
Children need play. Play is a child’s work! They need it as much as they need to learn how to spell and add. To take away playtime from small children is to deprive them of one of the primary ways they are naturally wired to learn at that age. What may seem like an incredibly simple play activity to an adult may be the very building block their brain and body needs at that point in their development.
Not only do the little ones need play, but older children need it as well. They need the opportunity to clear their minds and exercise their bodies. Their play might look different such as shooting a basketball or kicking a soccer ball. But this is an important activity for them as well. It isn’t necessarily being lazy or shirking more important academic responsibilities. They may actually study better after exerting their bodies and clearing the cobwebs from their tired minds.
Is there some way you can include more play in your homeschool? Would your children benefit from a bit less academic push and more playtime? You might discover you accomplish more academics in less time when your children are free to play!