The Great Homeschool Pajama Debate

a girl wearing pajamas works on a tablet
It’s nearing noon. The four of us are strewn around the house reading books, building LEGO models, watching documentaries, or cooking up some kitchen science. Occasionally someone pipes up to ask a question like "How are sound waves and light waves different?" or "What happened at Waterloo?" or "Why do American still use cups when the rest of the world uses liters?"

It’s not our everyday style, but these are the days I remember the best—the relaxed and peaceful (albeit not quiet) learning that seems to happen only under very specific circumstances. More often than not, these days include one common ingredient: pajamas.

Wearing Pajamas During the Homeschool Day  

Some people feel wearing pajamas during the day is not professional and will lead to laziness. To set a serious and studious tone, they insist that their kids get dressed before beginning their homeschool lessons. Others feel people should be comfortable in their own home, including wearing pajamas throughout the day if desired.

In Defense of a Pajama Friendly Learning Environment

We, on the other hand, are pajama wearers. In fact, we’ve been known to wear pajamas all day long if they are comfortable enough and our schedule doesn't include any errands or appointments. Our comfortable attire mirrors our comfortable pace of interest-led learning. Wearing pajamas during the day is acceptable and does not set up kids for a lifetime of laziness.

1. Kids are not adults

At different points in our lives, we behave according to the societal expectations placed on us. We also grow, mature, and change. Toddlers who consistently woke up at 5 a.m. daily mature into teenagers who can easily sleep until noon. As such, we shouldn’t assume that what we wear as kids at home will effect what we wear as adults in the workplace. After all, do we think all men in business suits wore suits as kids? Just because your kids wear pajamas to do their homeschool lessons doesn't mean that they won't know how to get dressed for their day when the situation requires such behavior.

2. Comfort lets us focus on learning

While pajamas are not necessary for comfort, some people do feel more comfortable in baggy t-shirts, cozy hoodies, and stretchy yoga pants. If kids feel more relaxed in pajamas, it may enhance their learning. We all learn best when we are in our element, and comfort can be an easy way to get in the zone.

Pajamas mean safety since we only wear them at home. If you are deschooling (helping a child transition from public school to homeschool), wearing pajamas may be a powerful signal of how wonderfully different this new way of learning will be. 

The Great Homeschool Pajama Debate • is it okay to let kids do homeschool in their pajamas?

3. Being productive is a learned trait

People can be productive while wearing pajamas, and people can be lazy while wearing dress attire. Getting dressed every morning is not a guarantee that kids will be productive. If you find that getting dressed helps your kids do better at their lessons, then by all means, that's the route to take! But regardless of what your kids wear for read-aloud time, you still have to train them in attention, hard work, and time management.

4. Homeschool is about freedom

Part of the reason many people choose to homeschool is for the freedom it allows. And a part of that freedom is allowing kids and teens to express themselves as they see fit. If that expression leads to pajamas, fine. If they choose to dress nicely, that is great, too. Some kids show up to the kitchen table in a costume or a cape! That works too! This is why we homeschool.

Another part of homeschool freedom is being able to start school at 9 a.m., noon, or even 4 p.m. With such a flexible schedule, lounging in pajamas for half the day may be quite appropriate.

5. Really, why not?

Because adults typically have to go to work or engage in some responsibility that requires being dressed, pajamas during the day are not an option. Kids who don’t have those responsibilities should enjoy it while they can. They may not have the chance to stay in pajamas for 24 hours at a time again.

Besides, wearing pajamas all day may reduce that mountain of laundry you still need to fold. If you worry that letting your kids wear pajamas all day is setting a bad example, maybe you can institute a pajama Friday similar to the casual Friday that many businesses allow. 

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