Do We Really Do School In Our Pajamas?

do we really do school in our pajamas

Written by contributor Lora Lynn Fanning of Vitafamiliae

Recently, I put a small statement out on twitter and facebook to say that, for the first time, we had actually DONE school in our pajamas. I’d always heard people joke about homeschoolers spending the day in pj’s, but I’d never actually done it until that morning, when the lure of the elastic waistband in my pajama bottoms was just too strong…

My email and twitter stream blew up with responses ranging from, “Really? I haven’t bathed or gotten dressed all week!” to “We don’t wear pajamas outside our bedrooms.”

I was surprised at how strongly folks reacted. A quick informal poll on facebook and twitter revealed that each homeschool family, whether they stay in pj’s or not, has a “system” that works for them. Maybe just Mom needed to be dressed, or only those old enough to do school. Other families were dressed and ready to roll at the same time every day!

For our family, while I don’t have a hard and fast Rule about getting dressed, it is part of my morning routine as well as my children’s. I don’t feel awake or very “with it” unless I’ve had a shower, so I make sure it’s something I achieve before I try to impart any real knowledge or math facts on my children.

Another mom I know actually buys her homeschooled children uniforms, complete with khaki shorts and matching polos. They put on their uniforms each morning, head out the front door, walk down the sidewalk, and then turn around and walk back into the house to officially Begin Their Day.

Ultimately, the goal is that we accomplish learning, not that we put on a bra and brush our hair. But I think this highlights one of the best things about homeschooling: you can do what works for you.

If your kids like to do their math in their skivvies, okay. If your kids memorize multiplication tables better when they are in matching outfits, that’s okay, too! And if, one day, the uniforms aren’t clean, you can give school a try in your sweat pants! Homeschooling offers you the flexibility to make the rules!

So, what works for your family? Are you the sort of family that parses participles in your footed pajamas? Or do you parade the neighborhood in uniforms before you start your school day? Do your rules apply just to your kids or to the whole family?

This post originally published on February 27, 2012.

About Lora

Lora Lynn earned her stripes becoming mom to seven kids in seven years. She’s lived to tell about it and shares her mothering know-how with comedy, common sense, and a whole lot of chocolate at Vitafamiliae. Through infertility, high-risk pregnancies, adoption, and life as a homeschooling, twin-raising, stay-at-home mom, Lora Lynn writes with humor and honesty on what’s most important in all the crazy – a life defined by family.


  1. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I could live in my pjs!

    The pre-school/pre-k that my two daughters attend does a monthly pajama day and it is their favorite! I have also seen the elementary students that have the daycare as a before/after care location in their pajamas on occasion…so even public schools do it every so often. Not a big deal…whatever works!

  2. This is always a fun discussion! When we announced to the girls that we were going to start homeschooling a few years ago, one of the first requests I got was “so can we stay in our PJs all day?” (This from my daughter who preferred to wear “soft pants” to school whenever possible, even on cold, snowy days!) Personally, I love the comfort of my flannel PJ pants over my denim jeans too. However, my husband, who also works at home and does get showered & dressed before hitting his desk, does want to see the girls dressed and ready for the day too. Most days, that’s exactly what we do, especially if we have an afternoon enrichment activity on the agenda. But if we’re going to be home all day and it’s cold, snowy, gray, someone’s not feeling well, or any other reason why I think it would be fun to stay warm and comfy, then we do!
    Renée Gotcher’s latest post: When in doubt, seek support!

  3. I hope to get dressed everyday… and I probably succeed about 1/2 the time… Lots of days I am the only one left in my pajamas because I have started a project and just don’t want to stop and get real clothes on.
    Sarah Scott’s latest post: A Little Help From My Friends…

  4. I love that we don’t -have- to get out of our PJ’s if we don’t want to! We are pretty relaxed around here, so there are days that we change into real clothes right before we head out the door. We like to walk down the middle between structured and unstructured. It works for us.
    Shannen’s latest post: Planning High School with College Exams

  5. Yeah, we get dressed most days. After noon the pjs get a stale, tired feeling to them and then you’re stuck at bedtime trying to decide whether to put on clean pajamas or to go to bed in the dirty, worn ones. My kids do love a Pj Day, though, so on those winter days when we’re not going any place, I’m ok with saying Yes. It’s just not the high point for me that it is for them.

  6. I have discovered if I or my kiddos don’t get dressed it seems as if we have never started the day. So most days find us dressed, but it can really vary from day to day when that happens but usually it is by 10:30. Funny story, when my husband taught at private classical school with uniforms he as a teacher thoroughly disliked pajama day. He said they were always just off days. I don’t think that the uniforms made the kids better students necessarily just having something so different threw them off.

  7. We get dressed if we are going out. Otherwise we are in pj’s or outside play clothes. We live out in the country on a small farm so our “town” clothes don’t have dirt stains….

  8. Christina Hirst says:

    We do school in our pjs! When my daughter went to public school, we always bought a special outfit for the first day of homeschool. Now we buy a special pair of pjs that she wears the night before as her special outfit.

  9. We do expect our girls to get dressed with hair brushed, teeth brushed right after breakfast…. As we think of the pattern we are starting and putting them into their frame of mind for their adult life. Even if we aren’t up and ready as early as those around us who ride a bus, we usually start are school day by 8am, it is important to my husband and I that we build their life rountine as active participants for their future… As we believe these habits are only harder to teach, once other habits are already ingrained. We don’t see many working adults in their pjs, so we ask our kids not to be in theirs, but we aren’t against a fun pj day either… it just isn’t are everyday norm.

  10. Well our pjs consist of sweats generally, actually all I sleep in is a t-shirt, so I do put on more clothes lol. My husband is from a farming family. His dad changed from his dirty farm clothes to sweats, so he does the same, even though he doesnt always get dirty at work. My girls usually change clothes at some point in the time during the day. But we only mandate getting dressed to go out of the house and you can’t wear something for more than 24 hours. I prefer to take showers in the afternoon, then put on clean sweats if I am staying home. We don’t shower every day in the winter though, it is too dry. The rest of the year we change clothes a lot because we get dirty working outside most days, which is another reason we tend to shower in the afternoon or evening. If I have jeans or regular pants on my girls or husband will ask where we are going. We are otherwise disciplined and hard workers, we just don’t identify with it through our clothing. With farming work often involves wearing old worn clothing anyway.

  11. Juli vrotney says:

    We do pj’s as well as regular play clothes at our hpuse. It isn’t a big deal either way….only if they want to go out to play..they have to be dressed. Fun either way….my kids are young…

  12. I feel like my day hasn’t started until I am showered and dressed. I do my best to do this before the kids wake up or as soon as possible each morning.
    Striving for SImple’s latest post: Family Favorite – Beef Stew

  13. When my daughter turned six this year I found myself forcing the “get dressed” issue a little more. It does seem to help her focus, some days. Other days the pajamas are a saving grace… a relaxed start to our day. We also have “home” clothes and “around town” clothes. My girls love to get dirty in the backyard, so when it’s time to head to the library, co-op or just the store I try to remember to brush their hair and have them pick something without stains, lol.
    Tori’s latest post: Gems, Jammies and Gingerbread: Science at home

  14. We start out in Jammie’s! My 14 yo daughter will do half her studies, shower, lunch, then the other half. The boys? Pajamas all day if I let them. We get dressed at different times, but I know I’m dressed before my husband s home and I’m starting dinner!

  15. I bought my son uniforms to make it seem more of a thing, like we are really doing this! He thought it was fun and doesn’t like to wear them unless he is “working”… Which, at four years old, means building rockets and trains in the backyard, with the occasional sit down to practise writing his name :-) It was nice to be able to share pics on fb of him in his uniform while all his other little friends are heading off to prep too. We like the fact that he can have the freedom to wear bright coloured outfits, and just a pair of shorts, barefoot, if he likes too. Having attended a private school myself, I like the values I learned for proper presentation though and it has stood me in good stead in my life so far.

  16. We have nothing formal at all. I usually try to get my kids dressed simply because three of the four are three and under and they usually manage to get themselves quite and nasty after breakfast!! Some days I never get dressed but I do try to pop on a jumper because I like to take my kids outside for recess but not in my pj’s!! Also my husband is working and going to school right now so I feel kind of bad if I lounge around in pj’s while he has to get dressed and go out. Some days though I have two little boys running around in nothing but diapers, two little girls wearing princess dresses, and comfy pj’s for mom! Our dress does not seem to affect our productivity so that’s good!
    Jenny Beard’s latest post: Currclick

  17. I’m surprised no one else has said this yet: we’re nudists, so putting on clothes in general is only for when we plan to leave the house. My boys will put pajamas on if they’re particularly cold or pretending to be superheroes, but other than that, we all lounge around au naturel. This helps us tremendously with cutting down on laundry because we don’t have regular access to a machine – aside from a small, 5 lb, hand crank machine. I can see how having a uniform for schooling would help get them in the right frame of mind though. Maybe I should look into making them each bow ties to wear as a signal that we are schooling now 😀
    Roxanne’s latest post: Braedon

  18. we have started in our pjs several times but I always feel more successful if i get ready for my day. today my kids got ready before me and i must say it’s time to get ready for my day!

    on a side note I think having intentional PJ days would be fun.

    lana wilkens’s latest post: The World’s Advice

  19. We have come up with a happy medium on this topic. If there is snow on the ground, we stay in pajamas. Living in KY, this is only a few times each year… except for this year!!! The novelty has worn off and we would rather get up and dressed. :)

  20. I like what Therese said. As it is currently FEbruary and we have about 14 inches of snow outside, we are in our pajamas. One is reading under a blanket, one is building a ferris wheel from K’nex and I am considering a shower as we have karate/gymnastics/girl scout cookie pick up tonight. It’s 11 am and we are quietly moving through our morning. I hate to disrupt the peace simply to get them into clothing that they will need to change OUT of so that they can get dressed for sports tonight. I am not a fan of unnecessary laundry!
    Tracey’s latest post: Because Girls CAN Do Anything Boys Can Do

  21. I am of the “relaxed” approach to homeschooling. Life is stressful enough for kids, so why add to it. If they are comfortable in their pajamas then let them be in them. They know the difference between wearing pajamas out of the house vs. at home. It isn’t like they are going to go to a formal dinner as adults in footed pajamas because I let them do there math lesson in them as a child. A child will still understand structure not because they where pajamas while learning but because you taught them. There are bigger fish to fry. Now for all you folks who think, “Oh she must not be very strict about her kids education,” all I have to say is my eldest, a 10th grader, will be taking his first year of college classes next year. He isn’t a savant, or have an IQ of 150, he (and I) has just worked hard on education. Yes, and all while in our pajamas.

  22. I am just way to relaxed to worry about if they are dressed and I’m sure not going to have them walk down the sidewalk and turn around and come back. I have one who gets dressed before he starts school and I have another who will stay in his underwear all day.

  23. Think of it this way. Would you, yourself or wild you want your children to go out in public or go to work inappropriately dressed? There’s statistical evidencethat how you dress has an impact on both performance and outward image. It has been strongly suggested that those who work from home should dress like they would has they went to an office. Dressing children for success is no different and it prepares rhem for the future. Just because my kid can wear flip flops to public does not mean he should, nor will I let him. I also don’t let him wear raggedy clothes to school. It’s a matter of self respect and respect towards learning, and later the respect towards the company you work for. Parents teaching children at home should also dress like they would teach others’ kids. It doesn’t matter if it’s just your kids; there should be separation between school and the rest of the time. Maybe, a dress down day once in a while is nice to have, but it shouldn’t be daily.

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