Looking for an hour with no electronic gadgets, that’s filled with peace, quiet and literature?

Consider implementing an “Amish hour” in your homeschool.

Amish hour began at our house when my oldest outgrew nap time, but, still benefited from having some sort of down time. Also during this period we ran into a huge road block with him and his reading skills. To say that he hated reading was an understatement. Sure, he loved to be read to, but, did not enjoy the effort required to do it on his own. At the advice of another homeschooling mom, I backed off, way off! For a period of time we did not do any formal reading or phonics. I didn’t even mention the word “reading”.

I left him alone in his room during “Amish hour” with a stack of books and a few toys. He had picture books in subjects I knew interested him, books I knew he was capable of reading in the subjects he liked (namely Nate the Great and Henry and Mudge) and books I knew he would like that were above his reading level (Encyclopedia Brown).  After each session of Amish Hour, I did not ask him which books he had looked at or make any other comments about reading.

When we had been doing this for about 3 months, I began to get concerned over our lack of “formal” Language Arts. Little did I know that he had started reading the Encyclopedia Brown books all on his own! One afternoon after quiet time, he came to me while I was cooking and said he had read this really cool mystery and wanted to know if I could figure out the answer. He then began reading it to me and I realized this was no Nate the Great….he was reading Encyclopedia Brown! I was floored!!!! All that pushing and prodding had come to nothing. All he needed was some time, space, and quiet. Wow! He had surpassed where he “needed” to be and was now excelling!

Even today as my children grow, I still see the value of this down time. It promotes unity, creativity and a love of reading and learning.

If you’ve never done “down time”, “quiet time”, or “Amish hour” before, I suggest you start with 30 minutes right after lunch time. Give your children picture books with interesting subjects, a book at their level and a book above their level (with appropriate subject matter of course). If you don’t have a lot of books in your home, that’s alright. Just make a trip to the library. When visiting the library, don’t just stop at the kids section. Find out their interests and help them pick books from the non-fiction sections….animals, history, science, do it yourself…the sky is the limit!

You’ll be surprised at the places you and your children can go during the quiet peace of ”Amish hour”!