for the past year something has been developing for my eldest. He is bored. I get it. He loves interaction things, specifically playing fooseball, street hockey, aikido, soccer, going to the skate park (weather has ended that) . . . and while he has opportunities each day to get physical, he'd like it 24/7 please. we try to play with him but we have other kids, our own interests, and family life that call our attention too.
In past years he was more 'into' solo pursuits (reading Harry Potter, drawing comics, building with Lego) but not so much now. We have introduced him to the internet, to following a simple interest into a world of odd links and ideas. doesn't grab him.
Other homelearners his age that we know are more 'schooled', though still very loosely and child's-interest-based. they have planned routines to their day and are (in a nice way) forced/encouraged to research samurais, or old boats or build WWII planes with lego or whatever. they make things based on ther learning, etc. I see them and know my son would not like things that way, the forcing of pursuing interests, but the end result is an engaged kid who's creative, task-oriented ideas are carried out. Even if i wanted to suddenly go this route (which we don't) he has no interests to start from and nothing we've exposed him to has sparked anything.
We have talked about the value in boredom, of the daydreaming and grea ideas that can come. but we also talk and acknowledge that it can suck and feel crappy. i recall myself and my brother becoming really into solo pursuits at this age (me dancing, him drawing) and my son understands that maybe a big interest is on it's way.
We've talked about hobbies, that I get up in the morning and am excited to knit/read/sew/bake/play my neglected violin. He wants a hobby, but nothing I think of interests him. I only know what I like, ykwim?
We've tried guitar, comic drawing, model building, writing, crafting, etc . . . but nothing sticks for him. He's starting to feel like he's just getting through each day, doing a puzzle, waiting for an interest to strike.
What do we do? Is there a huge list of hobbies? What does your son get up and do each morning that excites him?
No indoor skateparks or indoor rec centers with gyms or pools? If you have some kind of indoor facility, maybe you could organize something for boys his age. My 10 year old son does skateboarding (have multiple parks in town, including an indoor park about 45 min away, as well as ramps and halfpipes we built in the yard), he does legos, DS, some reading, baking, and has just started a woodworking class that he really enjoys - that is with several boys his own age, and they have a super long playground time when the class is over.
Mama of 3 amazingly sweet kids , living the dream on our urban farm
My son does aikido trwice a week, plus homeschoolers gym time (floor hockey) once/week, plus soccer twice a week. he is not comfortable being dropped off at an activity (like the pool) nor am I okay with it. the indoor skate park is not the same bowl style as the outdoor. He is not interested in classes such as you suggested. When he was younger, for sure, but not anymore.
Doesn't anyone have an unschooled child who is approaching 10 years old and is now bored and lacking in interests or ideas?
I will try but I do not know how helpful I will be
My eight year old DD does a fair bit of art and building stuff. She does some art online - Sumo Paint has been well used in this household. She enters contests with some regularity - and this gives her a short term project to focus on. She has enterred lego contest and gingerbread contests. Be creative and go online to look for contests - try local community centres, museums, etc.
My middle child (almost 12 ) has interests surrounding animals - she has built numerous guinea pig cages, gets her guinea pigs food, and particiaptes in guinea pig forums. She has also championned a change in diet for out dog and cat - and makes dog food on occasion. she is the only vegetarian in the house - and she spends some time researching and chatting on vegetarian sites. Oh, and she volunteers.
Thanks folks. He gets physical play and interaction through our homeschoolers group 4 times a week, 6 times when weather is good, plus we have friends over, he has great siblings, etc. and when we're alone (without company) he's not saying he wants company, needs to see people. in the past he'd enjoy the lull after an outing or company because then he had quiet in his home and mind to go draw or build something. But now it's "I don't know what to draw, I don't know how" or "I'm not any good at knitting". A total lack of confidence and an inability to see that for example I AM good at knitting because I actively pursued learning how and kept at it. I'm a huge adult unschooler! but the long-term goals thing is missing for him. I try to relate it to how good he is at soccer and aikido, which he's done for years, vs how he's just testing skateboarding now and so has far to go in mastering it. I suggest cartooning class or books with tips on drawing manga but he's not into it. That's what I mean, I guess. That he used to be so interested in a variety of things, resourceful and self-sufficient about using his time at home. So to me it doesn't feel/look like loneliness, I think if he had anywhere more to go or more folks to see he'd burn out. It looks like he's outgrowing building with lego, and reading books about wizadrs, which makes complete sense to me, heck he's been doing that stuff for years! but he's not seeing the other options maybe, the next steps, the new avenues, and coupled with his lack of faith in his ability to learn new things and succeed at them (and this is a kid who succeeds at most things he tries) and he's left wandering the house, nothing grabbing his attention.
So it feels like things aren't how they used to be, and he's not enjoying himself.
Thanks for the ideas kathyM.
It is not a bad thing to learn to deal with transition periods or bored periods. It teaches inner resourcefulness. While I would continue to throw ideas at him (because eventually one will work for him - but it might takes months or years...btdt). I wouldn't try to rescue him from this.
DS is 10 and still loves legos but the more advanced sets. He also has a lego program that he downloaded from the website that allows him to 'build' on the computer. I think its called 'Lego digital designer'. DS loves the techic legos (the ones with the power funcitons) and some of the HUGE sets. He also found a way to download some different plans from the lego website. So lego is huge here.
Maybe you DS just needs to wander the shelves at the library until a subject or topic peaks his interest then he can really run w. it.
At 10 he should be old enough to volunteer somewhere, either at the library (reading to littles), food bank (packing boxes), animal shelter etc.
Good luck. and if he is still bored, send him my way, I have stuff he can clean LOL
Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed
Seeking zen in 2014. Working on journaling and finding peace this year. Spending my free time taking J to swimteam
I have an almost 10 year old DD who has been unschooled her whole life. She also has not developed any all-consuming interests as of yet. She spends her days listening to books, drawing, playing piano and making friendship bracelets. She also likes playing Bella Sara on the computer and playing guitar hero. We are an intellectual household and I provide resources any time any of my kids mention an interest in anything (whether they are REALLY interested or not) but nothing has sparked her interest beyond a cursory exploration. I think she is an a transitional period and will soon begin to show some real passion for something. Possibly music, as she has recently begun playing piano/keyboard with a friend who plays guitar and is beginning to make up songs. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I am in the same boat, and I often wonder what's up with her, as I hear so often about other home/unschoolers at her age getting obsessed with certain subjects and spending so much time learning/doing stuff centered around that subject. I really think that not all kids are like that and we just have to trust that they will learn and grow intellectually on their own in their own way. 10 is a really in-between age, lots of changes are happening both physically and intellectually. The beauty of unschooling is in letting kids unfold naturally but I think that is also the challenge, too.
Let me tell you about my almost 15 year old.....
At 10 and 11 the only thing he was extremely interested in (other than his friends) was video games. He did a few other things occasionally, but was not passionate about them.
In the last year he has really woken up, for lack of a better word, in exploring the world in diverse ways.
He is now interested in Religon, Geography, film, magna, drama, crime.... and you guessed it, video games, lol. All of these things are interconnected for him, and very organic. He spends time off and on throughout the day focusing on these things. He has even started using math in some of these things (which makes my mommy heart go pitterpatter). He is starting to be interested in statistics about his interests, and he is noticing that stats seem to vary so he is looking a reliable sites and doing the math on his own to get stats. It is so neat to see!
He was doing none of this at 10 and 11. None.
I have a fundamental belief that people want to learn and explore and make sense of the world around them. If you (general you) provide a resource rich environment and model this yourself, it will happen. It might not be today, however. Patience is key (and honestly it has been my one of my biggest battles with USing and it (my patience) has grown as my children have aged)
Uschooling can be great for the child who has the desire to learn on his own and will seek it out. Then, for the rest of the kids, it is not good for. You are seeking out tons and tons of activities for your child, yet, avoiding anything that could be deemed academic. That is really not the purpose of unschooling. It makes it out like academics are evil or something, so it must be avoided at all costs.
For the child who is "bored," I would start adding in assignments. It can be textbooky, it can be project based, it can be reading. But just because something could be deemed academic does not make it bad or anti-unschool. You are definitely schooling your child in many many areas, you are just avoding academic stuff. It is not about what you can avoid.
At 10, I would do math. I would pick a foreign language too. I would start there and see if that tapers the boredom. Maybe look for a subject he is interested in. A study of Latin could and most likely would, lead to ancient studies. Maybe you want to launch an all out study of world geography. It really does not matter which you do, I would try to figure out what your child might like most, and then do it. Stick to it. Don't drop it in 2 weeks when he says he is bored. Maybe find something that you can commit to for 6 weeks. Look at project ideas, like research projects and such. Let him make a presentation at the end of the 6 weeks on the topic he studied.
Those are just a few ideas. Hope it helps.
There is so much research that can be done on the topics you mentioned he wants to do all the time. Have him design a good skate park. Maybe he could make a small scale model from paper and cardboard (there might be plenty left over at Christmas).
If it were my child, if worse came to worse, if he kept saying he is bored, there is plenty of laundry to be folded and floors to be washed.
Maybe have him be in charge of one meal for the family each week.Cooking can be fun. Building things for pets if you have them like cages or runs.
Starting a worm compost.My ds is 8 and likes reading,legos,and video games. My 11yo dd likes listening to music,drawing comics,and video games.My kids are currently in school,but I still get the *I'm bored* at times. I usually suggest reading,lol.