What do you call a hour with no electronic gadgets that is full of peace, quiet and literature????
Why it's "Amish hour" of course!
Amish hour began at our house when my oldest outgrew nap time, but, still benefited from having quiet, down time. During this period we also 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 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). During this time I did not ask him which books he had looked at.
It was closing in on 3 months since I had done any formal Language Arts with him and I was beginning to get concerned. Little did I know he had started reading the Encyclopedia Brown books 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 to me! 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 three non-nappers 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 them picture books with interesting subjects, a book at their level and a book above their level (with appropriate subject matter of course) - and if you don't have a lot of books in your home, that's alright. That's what the library is there for. 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'!