The Truth About Homeschoolers and Pajamas
Here at the Homeschool Connections blog, we like to tackle the important issues of homeschooling. That’s why today I am addressing one of the most common questions people ask about homeschooling—Do homeschoolers really do school in their pajamas? What’s the deal here? Is there anything to this stereotype, or is it just an urban legend? Today, we are going to get to the bottom of this.
I want to be scientific about this, so I conducted a survey among our Homeschool Connections students on the Student Café (Homeschool Connections’ own internal student forum). I created an online poll asking the question, “Do you homeschool in your pajamas?” Respondents were given four choices, “Always,” “Most of the time,” Rarely,” or “Never.” The poll was answered by seventy students, which is a pretty good population sample! I also offered the students the opportunity to give feedback on the question.
So, what conclusions did my survey yield?
The raw data of the survey revealed the following:
A strong majority of homeschoolers preferred to avoid doing school in their pajamas when possible, with 16% saying they “never” do so. A full 53% responded that, while they may occasionally do school in their pajamas, such instances were far from the norm.
Most students who addressed the topic said staying in their pajamas all day did not make them feel productive.
Maria, age 16, said, “If I don’t get dressed for the day, I’ll feel tired and get less done.” Natalie, age 14, said. “I used to homeschool in my pajamas most of the time, but now I get dressed before I go about my day. I find that getting dressed for the day before doing schoolwork definitely helps me to feel much more ready and energized. It also makes me feel more comfortable when I am dressed and not in pajamas.”
There was, however, a substantial minority who always or generally did school in their pajamas—if we take those who “always” do school in their PJs together with those who do so “most of the time,” then a full 31% of HSC kids can generally be found in their pajamas for the school day. There were various reasons for this choice, ranging from general difficulty getting moving in the morning to comfort preferences to pajamas as a form of self-care for challenging days. Sometimes, there was no particular reason, like Kyleigh, age 16, who said pajamas are simply her default: “If I’m not going anywhere, I’ll just work in my PJs.”
While it is hard to generalize the reasons for student behavior, the overall distribution seems to be as follows:
Some Further Considerations
As with any survey, this one is not perfect, and we need to take into account some further considerations when we interpret this data.
The Language of the Survey
The wording of the survey did not leave room for students whose approach is roughly 50/50. Some students wanted to clarify that no option characterized their routine. For example, Isabella, age 16, said, “It varies for me… it is closer to half and half for days in and out of PJs.” Lily, age 17, also said there was no generalization; it depends: “It depends heavily on the day. Some days, it makes me feel comfortable in my own skin and helps me stay happy to work in my PJs, but other days, it can keep me from feeling motivated. It’s all about my mood.”
Some students clarified that their decisions were seasonal. Miriam, age 16, said, “I do like to get dressed for the day (cozy as they are, pajamas get stuffy after a while), so I would say rarely, but as school mostly takes place in cold autumn/winter times, I am very much guilty of an abnormal amount of pajama days.” We may presume cases similar to Miriam’s may be found in regions with colder autumn/winter climates, where the “cozy” factor comes into play.
In addition to this, we must not assume that a student’s routine reflects their actual preferences. Several students stated that they would like to do school in their pajamas but are compelled to get dressed by the mandate of their parentals. Had the survey asked who would prefer to do school in their pajamas, we would likely see different results.
Similarly, we must not assume that students doing school in their pajamas always do so by choice. Several students said they strongly prefer being dressed but due to hectic schedules and circumstances beyond their control, they end up doing school in their pajamas by necessity. Ryen, age 18 (and recently graduated) said, “Getting dressed was part of my morning routine, so I would almost always be dressed while doing schoolwork. The exceptions to this were when I was running late to a morning class, for whatever reason (whether I got up late or needed to help my mother with something), I had homework due soon and didn’t want to take the time to get dressed just yet, or I was doing schoolwork in the evening after showering.” In Ryen’s case, school in pajamas reflected an exceptional case due to circumstance, not preference.
This poll was conducted in a forum of 13- to 18-year olds. The answers may have gone in a completely different direction if grade school children and their parents were included.
While the poll itself did not divide students according to gender, in the optional comments, I noticed girls were much more likely than boys to do school in their pajamas. If we conducted this survey again and segregated boys from girls, the results would likely vary, showing a higher percentage of girls opting for school in the PJs.
Perhaps most fascinating, however, was the common refrain from boys that they don’t do school in their pajamas because they don’t wear pajamas to bed, preferring to sleep in their day clothes. This indicates that school in pajamas may be less common among boys simply because they do not wear pajamas at all. This insight may open a fruitful field of inquiry for future researchers in the field of male teenage body odor.
Do homeschoolers do school in their pajamas? The truth may be that most homeschoolers do not, even though there is a large minority who do—a minority that would perhaps be bigger if kids were left to their own agency in matters of apparel.
Also, I wrote this article in my pajamas.
What are your insights on the “homeschooling in our PJs question I invite you to join us in our Catholic Homeschool Connections Community and start a conversation.