In elementary school, I had a teacher who stated, “Public school is formal education.” And because of his belief in formal education, he wore a tuxedo to school every day.
A tuxedo, you guys.
Oh, Mr. R., I know wearing a tux was just your thing, but it was memorable. And sometimes, even now, there’s a small part of me that feels like I should hit a thrift store so I can rock a prom dress while poring over Greek mythology with my kids.
But I digress.
Not having to adhere to a school dress code (and not having to worry about what you or other people are wearing) is something many families cite as an advantage of homeschooling.
Doing school in your pajamas? I mean, that’s what all homeschoolers do, right?
We’re completely relaxed and never have to get dressed! Take that, Mr. R!
Well. About that.
While one of our annual (not) back to school traditions is receiving a new uniform (which happens to be a pair of lounge pants and a new t-shirt), and while we do have a few days at home where we wear exactly that, we have found four advantages to getting dressed for our school day. (Mr. R. would be so proud!)
Why You May Want to Get out of Your Pajamas, Homeschoolers
1. You’re ready for what the day brings.
If you’ve got an active family involved in all the things, you’re probably wondering how this PJs all day thing even works, right? Ever since my sons reached teenager status, I feel like they’re involved in something away from home almost every day of the week, so it’s hard for me to imagine not getting dressed for the day!
But when my kids were younger, we were home more often than not. And it would have been easy to spend our lives in our PJs.
I don’t know about your house, but sometimes people just show up. I think it’s worth pointing out that I’d like to at least have a bra on if my brother-in-law stops over unannounced to pick up the chainsaw he wants to borrow.
What about that surprise run to the ice cream shop? What about friends who are suddenly available to catch the discounted 2 pm movie in town? You know it’s hard enough to get all the kidlets in the car without the added chaos of Johnny needs to put on underwear, and Susie only has one sock.
The great thing about homeschooling is you never know where your day will lead or what adventures await you. There are trees to be climbed and messes to make and forts to build in the woods. I always figured we were more prepared to tackle those adventures in clothes meant for adventuring.
2. Your brain is in work mode, not relax mode.
I’m all for relaxed education and free, easy schedules, but if there is one thing I’ve learned as a work-at-home mama, it’s this: if I stay in the clothes I slept in—or dress like I’m ready to crawl back in bed—I’m w-a-y less productive.
I understand that no one sees me while I work on articles or schedule social media posts or answer emails about speaking opportunities. I could be wearing a bathrobe, and fuzzy penguin pants and no one out there would have a clue.
But I see me. And I know that when I sit down in my office still wearing my bedclothes, my brain never fully moves from the bed. For many people, there is a mental shift that happens when you go from jammie pants and slippers to jeans and flats.
And it’s not just parents who work from home. It’s kids who learn at home, too.
3. You know what fits.
Jammies are comfortable. Jammies are forgiving. PJs fit differently than regular clothes. That’s why we grab jammies to sleep in. Or stay in our PJs when we don’t feel well or just need a relaxing day to hang out.
But here’s the issue—kids grow fast. I knew a homeschool family who spent so much time in their jammies that when friends invited them to an art museum field trip, they realized their son had no jeans that fit and their daughter’s non-Croc shoes were all way too small.
If your kids are always in comfy clothes (read: jammies), you don’t know what else does or doesn’t fit. You don’t know what you need to keep an eye out for the next time you’re clothes shopping.
4. There is actually a purpose to the concept of pajamas.
I live on a farm. And although my quick research doesn’t actually support this, I believe one of the main purposes of jammies is to have something clean to sleep in. If you sleep for 8 hours—ok, let’s just pretend that you do—that’s 16 hours of life falling on to those jammies and back into your bed.
I’m going to keep the hay, the mud, and the manure out of my bed, thank you very much. Getting out of pajamas and dressing for your day means you’ll keep the food coloring, glitter, and rubber cement out of yours.
Dressed for the day doesn’t mean dressed to the nines.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not saying we should all dress to the nines to read Lord of the Rings. I don’t think we need a full up-do and a manicure to effectively explain how to balance a chemical equation.
But taking the 30 seconds to throw on a clean shirt and a new pair of leggings can make a huge difference in your productivity and mood for the day. That goes for you and your kids.
Most homeschoolers don’t change their outfits 27 times before arriving at the breakfast table or worry about what their classmates think of their hair. And that’s awesome because not having to worry about that stuff really does help our kids to concentrate on learning.
Which means it’s probably a good thing I don’t head to the thrift store to pick up a prom dress. Because honestly, mom in a glitzy formal? Who can concentrate on anything with all that craziness going on?
What about you? Are you school-in-your-pajamas homeschoolers or dress-for-the-day homeschoolers?