Early Bird and Night Owl

I had always read that children are most attentive and sharpest in morning hours.  I also believed that the more mundane subjects (math) should be tackled during these peak hours.  I was taught to do the most difficult tasks first, “when you’re fresh.”  So I’ve been teaching my children the same thing.  When we wake up we eat, then attack out math worksheets.

Just to insure a smooth transition I put the math books on the table before breakfast is finished, except for yesterday.  Yesterday the math books stayed hidden in the hallway on the shelf.  I was reading email (or something) and not paying attention.  Breakfast was eaten in record time and both kids vacated the premises as quickly as possible.  I’m not one to interrupt quiet play so I let them be.

Lunch came and went.

About four in the afternoon I said, “Hey we haven’t done any math today.  Let’s do it now.”  Keek and Fish went to the bookshelf and grabbed their books, sat down and set to work.  5 minutes later Fish was tapping his pen on the side of his head.  I asked if he would mind finishing his math instead of playing pen-head.  He laughed.  2 minutes later Keek said, “DONE!” and brought me her math before skittering outside to jump on the trampoline.  She was finished and did them all in record time!  I checked her work and she had completed all the problems correctly.

Fish, however,  was laying on his chair with his feet in the air, using pens like drumsticks on his feet. He spent three hours, poor dear, in that chair playing and trying to focus on the work at hand.  At seven I said, “I think you’re done for today.”

***Then It Hit Me***

Fish is an early bird as Keek is a night owl.

Those of you familiar with with Keek’s math woes know how she had labored over the pages and crumpled under the thought of math.  If only I had thought to apply common sense to the issue.  Keek wasn’t having problems with the math… she was having problems with the time of day.

As a parent I knew she was never a morning person.  Since her birth she’s slept in until at least 10:00.  As a colicky baby she cried non-stop from 11pm to 3am.  As a toddler, with a new baby brother, she would be cranky when he startled in the morning but fine anytime during the night.

Fish is the flip side of the coin.  In utero he would wake me up at 6am like clockwork.  I would be starving if I slept in until 7:00.  As a toddler he would wake up, at the slightest noise and be wide awake any time after 4am.  Up ’till four months (or so) ago he’s always woken at seven (or earlier) and come to our room to cuddle.  Now he gets up early and turns on the computer or plays a dvd quietly until the rest of us are out of bed.  By ten pm he’s wound down and, although he’s never sleepy *wink-wink* he’s ready to cuddle again.

Homeschooling allows my children to be their best.  Keek is not bound to struggle with math every morning because she can do it in the afternoon.  Fish is not stuck with afternoon assignments because he can always do his work in the morning.  If only I had realized this earlier!  Instead I listened to society… a society that doesn’t know my kids at all!  Another reason, I’m so glad, I homeschool!


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