I don’t know that boredom is a summer issue in our home—oh it’s an issue, I just don’t know that it is limited to summer. As homeschoolers I think it could be a daily issue if allowed to be when we are—you know, actually home.
I think routine is a good thing in beating boredom. Routines can be changed often so they don’t become ruts, but a dependable framework is a good boredom beater. We school year round, taking mini-breaks, never longer than two weeks. After two weeks without some structure we all (even me) start falling apart and getting whiney. So that would be my first suggestion. Have a flexible schedule so that children know what to expect.
My boys don’t use the “bored” word often around me. Partly, I am sure, because I offer to give them something to do (work related) when I hear that word. Our issue seems more to be a narrow scope of what is the best entertainment. What I hear most often is, “Mom, can I use____?” Fill in appropriate electronic, passive equipment. So what is my answer? It varies.
For our question the first answer is most often, “No.” followed by silence on my part. And then, inevitably I will hear, “Well, what can I do?” And I offer several choices. My first is always reading. Sometimes I don’t offer the choices as much as recommend that they browse and decide on their own. Sometimes (sorry) I am a bit sarcastic and suggest a nap—I’d love one!!
Another suggestion is don’t over-schedule summer with activities. Allow a lot of free time to explore. I think kids are often just used to being dependant on a grown-up to tell them what they will do next. Creativity, the opposite of boring, involves thinking independently and if someone else wanted to do it for me all the time—I’d let them too!! It takes some getting used to thinking creatively, though. Some gentle (or forceful) nudging might be needed to start. We have two time consuming activities during the summer. One takes up four weeks for three hours each morning, during that time, other school work is limited. The second involves a week trip to visit family and a county fair. My sister homeschools her children and we make field trips a staple and it is a highlight of our summer—exhausting, but fun. But the rest of summer is light school, and much delight-led learning and free time, lots of free time. There is nothing wrong with a child laying in a hammock or in the grass and doing “nothing.” It is during those times of “nothingness” that many problems are pondered, growing is considered, or stories are created. Nothing is wrong with a little nothing.
My last suggestion is live with a few messes. My house will never, never grace Better Homes and Gardens or Martha. And it is small, incredibly small. But a friend did tell me she thought my house was comfortable. I’ll take that as a compliment. It is obvious my house has children in it. Part of that is because as they’ve grown I’ve left more and more things accessible to them. Books, games, toys (too many toys), art supplies, musical instruments, dress-up clothes. There’s a table set up in the yard for dinosaur dig kits, sports equipment to use. Inside the only limit to musical instruments is the time of day—we live in a duplex and drums are off limits after 9ish. Unless I want to wait on them things must be accessible. I think I will trade a spotless house for a little freedom—for all of us. Clean up is required at the end of most activities, but I’ve tried not to micro-manage that and appreciate honest hard work and true efforts.
I do have some activities planned, but I have learned to be flexible and realize that my boys just might have a better plan.
That’s what works for us. For more Works For Me Wednesday ideas visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.
This is a book giveaway week here!! My post with the rules and links to reviews is HERE!