Friday, January 12, 2007

rest time


I'm not sure if you can read the Jacob-designed sign in the picture, propped outside his door. It was one he made today during our rest time, and cracked his door open to place it outside. It reads "Naptime Do Not Disterb" (the spelling error is his, not mine).

One of the elements that we'd been having trouble incorporating from the suggested Enki Education daily rhythms was the idea of a rest/quiet time. I LIKED the idea well enough -- heck, time to lie down and relax and even, dare I say it, NAP, every day sure sounded heavenly to me! But despite the fact that I'm constantly tweaking and messing around with our daily rhythms, I was having trouble being HOME to have a rest time at some reasonable point after lunch. And both of my boys had dropped napping on any sort of a regular basis a full year ago.

I finally decided to just give it a try and see what happened. So at the beginning of last week, I took the kids right home after lunch and told them that we were going to have a rest time. They both pounced on the idea like I was offering them a bag of candy. Jacob immediately scurried off to his room, shut the door, and lept into bed. Zoo Boy led me by the hand to our bed (he still sleeps with us at night) and snuggled in with me beneath the duvet. 20 minutes later, he sprung back up to announce that he was done resting -- Jacob heard him and called from the other room that he, too, was done resting. Well, I WASN'T done resting, but didn't want to throw a monkey wrench into the postive, restful experience we'd just had, so I told them we'd stay under the covers (Jacob would join us in our bed) and they could watch a short video. I popped in a Between The Lions episode and went back to sleep for another blissful 20 minutes.

I immediately noticed a difference in our afternoon. Instead of a steady ramping-up of energy and the inevitable flaring-up of tempers, everything stayed on a more even keel. There was more cooporation, less bickering (not that they bicker all that much anyway, but still....), and when bedtime rolled around, everyone settled in quickly instead of having to toss a lasso around them and drag them to bed, hogtie them to the pillows, and sit on them to get them to hold still for the reading of the first book.

It worked so nicely, I tried it again the next day, coming directly home from our morning activity and lunch to jump into bed for rest time. We had pretty much the exact duplicate of the day before. Hot dang, I thought, this was a GOOD THING.

Of course, then I was unable to be home anywhere near mid-day for the next two days. I was tired. I wanted my nap! The afternoon and evening returned to escalating chaos. I started chatting with a couple other Enki families, and lo and behold, discovered that they too were unable to get in their rest period at mid-day. Instead -- and here's that innovative thinking out of the box that I seem to be missing a gene for -- they did their rest time in the mid to late afternoon. Well, heck, I get home at SOME point during the afternoon, even on days when we've got a bunch of stuff going on. I could DO that!

So I started tacking that rest time on whenever we got home from our morning ventures, even if it wasn't 'til late afternoon. And you know what? It's working for us! The kids are not only cooperative, but actually seem to enjoy that break, that time to refresh. Jacob usually climbs into his bed and reads or draws on his magnadoodle. Zoo Boy usually grabs a small toy to bring to bed with us, and either closes his eyes and truly rests, or plays quietly under the covers while I grab a quick nap. Like clockwork, about 20 minutes later (sometimes longer), Zoo Boy announces the end of naptime. Sometimes Jacob joins us, sometimes he continues to "rest" in his own room while Zoo Boy watches his video (either Between the Lions or Magic Schoolbus)and I....ahhhh....grab yet another quick nap. It's certainly leading to a less exhausted evening for me!!

This is a lot less time than Enki suggests rest time lasting (and they certainly don't mention the use of a video!), but for us this is what seems to be working, so I'm just riding the wave of success.

I LOVE the homeschooling!

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