In today’s episode we are talking about one of the myths that homeschoolers have to live with and that is the thought that Homeschoolers live all day in our pjays. For sure,  we could but I think it is more of a misconception than a reality for most homeschooling families and certainly for ours.  Being dressed for the day was one of the habits that I wanted my kids to have.  But like all the things we want to teach our kids we need to have a why.  Listen in as I share our WHY – why we didn’t homeschool in our pjays.

The Simple Reason Why we didn’t Homeschool in our Pyjamas!

As homeschoolling parents, we understand that our role goes beyond academics.  Since we have our kids at home, we have the opportunity to teach faith, character and life skills as well as the academics – all through the day!  This issue of getting dressed in the morning falls into that category as a life skill.  

The main reason why we got dressed in the morning was that we were training for life – the habits we establish in childhood will be the strongest habits they have in their life – for the rest of their life!   Getting up and getting dressed is a habit, or a life skill that prepares our kids for the years ahead, beyond homeschooling.

 

So we get dressed because:

1–You are ready for your day – getting dressed helps you make a mental shift from going slow and lazy to doing what has to be done.

2– You learn that there are appropriate clothes for various parts of your life – pjs for sleeping/relaxing, work clothes for manual labour, smart clothes for business, casual clothes for everyday, party clothes for partying etc.

3– How you dress affects your focus, effort, and quality of work. It is very easy to be sloppy when in sloppy clothes.  It is a gradual slide, where at first it doesn’t seem to make any difference, and then little by little we let other things go – all because we have been indifferent to how we prepare ourselves for the activity.

4– Getting dressed shows respect to others around you.  It tells them you are prepared to be with them for whatever you are doing together.  This may not seem that important when we are just together as a family – but fast forward to teen years, how will you feel if your teen feels it is appropriate to wear tracks to your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration?  What we teach our kids today – will be how they live tomorrow.

5– Develops a habit for life.  Though our homeschooling lifestyle was very relaxed I wanted my children to learn the habits of getting up and getting out the door on time so they could meet appointments and deadlines.  They needed practice in making decisions on what is appropriate for the day, being flexible if things didn’t come together how they liked, and all while being aware of the time! Getting dressed in the morning gave them the opportunity to practice these things.

 

When I was a child, if we were grumpy, my mum always sent us off to ‘get our smile’.  My sister didn’t believe it made any difference so one day she checked it out.  When mum sent her to go find her smile, she went to the bathroom to watch for the so-called transformation (because she didn’t believe it would happen) and sure enough when she smiled she not only looked different, but she felt different.  It is much the same when we get dressed.

{another memory I have is…}

As children, if we were sick and were staying home from school, mum always made us have a shower, change into fresh pjs and then we were sent straight back to bed (but as a bonus, she always changed the sheets for us while we were in the shower so our bed was fresh too).  She would also encourage us as teenage girls as we started to learn to deal with our monthly cycle, that if we weren’t feeling 100% she would encourage us to dress up a little, to take extra care, to wear something we felt great in. It is advice I follow today and I certainly passed this wisdom on to my girls.  Because how we deal with our externals does have an impact on how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about life in general.

One of the lessons I learnt from my mother-in-law was how she dresses for the activity.  It was nothing for her to have a quick shower and change clothes for the next activity in her day.  She kept very busy doing all sorts when she lived on the farm.  The lesson I observed, and tried to remember, even today, is that it doesn’t really take that long to change if you need to.  She often changed from gardening clothes to presentable going out, town clothes, and then back into gardening clothes later in the afternoon.  It took her very little time.  I often put off doing a certain activity because I don’t want to get dirty, or I’m not prepared – I make it a bigger deal than it needs to be – Mum showed me it didn’t have to take that much time.

Being dressed for different activities has certainly changed since my mother-in-law was living on the farm.  We are a very casual society and we may well exercise, garden and do the groceries all in our active wear.  And that is okay – I’m not saying what is appropriate,  but rather to think it through and to teach your kids to be aware that how they dress impacts them and their efforts and that they are learning habits for life.

 

See the Principle not the Practice

Getting dressed will look different in different homes  – we live in a hot climate and staying in our pjays isn’t about being warm and snuggly.  I can easily imagine the temptation to stay warm in the middle of winter in some places.  So take the principles that I’m sharing and apply them to your situation – to your family.

A resource that I used a lot when my kids were young – I still dip into her methods when I get overwhelmed – is Flylady.net.  She has a website, and an app these days, she helps you gain control of your home  and your habits. One of the foundational principles she teaches is get up and get dressed – and as she always says – get dressed right to the shoes.  Well, I’m a barefoot person myself, but I get dressed, right to the makeup!  We have to take the principles – because that’s the wisdom – and apply it to our situation.  I personally feel ready for my day when I have make up on – even if I am barefoot!  So what is ready for you and your family?

When it comes to getting dressed as a homeschool family, let me just clarify though – we didn’t wear uniforms.  I think uniforms have their place but not in our homeschool.  We were a family living life together, on a farm, in a remote part in Australia – so our clothes reflected that and reflected the activities that we had happening in the day.  

Actually, another myth that homeschoolers often have to address, and I’m sure you are familiar with it – and that is that we are stuck at home all day.  I think this is probably the reason why people think we stay in our pjays.  The truth is we are out and about doing life, engaging with the community, volunteering, taking music, dance or art lessons, joining in with sporting activities, and other clubs or doing the things that interest us.  We really can’t stay in our pjays all day, every day, and have an active and varied learning experience at the same time.  So in that sense the whole thing is a moot point – except for the fact that we need to think about why we wear what we wear.  That really is the bottom line.

As you encourage your kids to get dressed, in appropriate clothes for their activity you need to know why.  Why get dressed, and why is this appropriate to wear?  Seems basic, maybe you taught your toddler about dressing for the weather, or the activities – but believe me as your kids get older they need to know this lesson for every stage of growing up – from toddler to teen to young adult – because they will question you – and you need know your why.

 

Heart-focused Action step

Remember, our children are always watching and learning from our actions.  Do you have good morning habits that prepare you for your day?  This of course is bigger than just getting dressed – but it certainly includes it.  You set the example, but you also need to be able to communicate why it is important.  

To be honest, there were times that my kids pushed against this – especially in the area of wearing shoes.  Like I said, I am a barefoot girl, and we have a barefoot house – but I did want my kids to learn to wear shoes when we went out and about.  But it was something that was worked on right up till they left home!  

One of the ‘why’s’ that I shared with my kids was based on Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

When you raise your kids you never know what opportunities they will have when they are older – and I wanted my kids to be prepared.  Of course I don’t expect them to meet a king, but I expect them to be able to be comfortable in the presence of leaders and even be a leader themselves in whatever field or sphere they find themselves in.  And though we like to think that we are seen for who we are on the inside, and the skills we bring to the table, the reality is first impressions do matter – and though we don’t want our kids to be people pleasers and mindlessly go with the trends – we do want them to be aware of how they are perceived and to be able to make the most of opportunities.

So the key principles that I’d like you to ponder this week are two fold:

  1.  The way we dress, affects our attitude towards our day.
  2. The things we do today will affect how our kids live tomorrow.

 

Getting dressed in the morning is more than just donning clothes; it’s a lesson in discipline, responsibility, and being prepared for whatever happens. By establishing this simple habit, we’re equipping our kids with a life skills that they’ll carry into adulthood.  Being dressed and ready  has an affect on how we carry ourselves, on our attitude to the world, and how we spend our time, money and energy. 

And we have the opportunity to help our kids learn that while they are young.  

Further Reading:

​10 Ways Parents Make Parenting Hard – Harder than it has to be! We can make it harder than it has to be by the habits we get caught up with; but you can catch yourself and start responding differently. Being aware is the first step.

Parenting is a Journey and you can’t Compare: Instead we need to celebrate the differences and what we can learn from each other.

The Most Important Life Skills for Teens to Learn before they Leave Home: We want our kids to be responsible young adults so we must teach them the skills that will enable them to be just that!

What to do when your Child doesn’t have a Teachable Heart? Does your child have a teachable heart or do they resist your instruction? Here are the strategies that worked in our home when these attitudes happened.

 

 

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