I came to a realization after having finally verbalizing a concept out loud today (the power of good voxer chats.). I value giving my kids that scary F word…. Free Time!
We are told as educators to plan every second of a child’s day. They are to go from one activity to another. I learned a long time ago, that isn’t how your classroom is really going to work. Kids finish different activities at different times, they have times when you will not be watching, directing, or available for them. Real people have free time. One of the things I am working on developing with my kids is that I am not going to treat them like 1st Graders, I am going to treat them like people.
In real life, real people have free time. Learning how to manage your time, especially unstructured time, is extremely important to developing good people. How does one learn to become good at managing time on their own if the first time they are given genuine free time is after they graduate high school? How can we expect kids at 18 to know how to manage time effectively if every second of their day is mapped out for them?
I propose a different route. While learning to meet deadlines and operate on others’ schedules is important, it is also important from an early age, that kids learn how to develop an understanding of valuing their time. It is an incredibly difficult concept, but like everything else, if you give kids the tools to be successful, they will usually provide you with a positive surprise!
In short, give kids free time. It will be one of the most important things they learn to have in their entire life.