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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this is not a debate thread


and it rambles a bit


We've always been very mellow homeschoolers. I was attracted to homeschooling by the ideal of unschooling, yet I found when my kids were younger that they were not happy without some structure. When I didn't have a plan, they would get bored and end up fighting and none of us were happy. So I would say, "now it is time to do X" and they would usually do it quite happily. Sometimes they would say they didn't like something, so we would stop, do something else, or just go play. No big deal.

Yet, I see a real difference between what we were doing and truly unschooling. I decided to give it another shot. We've had a few ugly moments -- same stuff as when they were younger but now they are old enough that we are working through them OK.

Sometimes they get bored. There are things they say they want to do, but when they have time to do them, they don't want to. I'm sure if I just said "now it is time to do X," and they would be happy about it, but it seems like coming to the point of doing X without someone else telling to do it is a good life skill. Internal motivation is a good thing!

I'm not worried about what they are learning (other than internal motivation). They do lots of lovely things and are interested in all sorts of things. I'm just not sure what to say when they say they are bored.

I'm curious because it seems so natural in life to say you want to learn/do something, yet never do it. Why is that? It is the space between wanting to learn something and actually taking the time to learn it than I'm curious about. Are kids who are unschooled less likely to turn out as adults who do this? Is there anything we can do to help our chidren work through this?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move
I'm curious because it seems so natural in life to say you want to learn/do something, yet never do it.
At least for me, I think it is because there are SO many things that I am interested in, if I tried to pursue them all, I would be too overwhelmed. Also, there are things that I am midly interested in knowing/doing, and if you asked me whether I was interested in knowing/doing them, I would probably say yes, but the actual effort involved in learning/doing them isn't something I am willing to undertake, so I must not be all that interested in the first place. Also, the pace of life these days is so hectic (and we lead a relatively slow life compared to most people I know, but I still feel rushed sometimes) that when I do have some down time that I could devote to doing something productive, I would rather not "have" to do anything.

If your kids

Quote:
do lots of lovely things and are interested in all sorts of things
then I wouldn't worry if they are bored sometimes. Being bored is not always a negative, and I think it's often a learning process. It's learning to take responsibility for your time and to make decisions about how "active" you want to be.

Quote:
Are kids who are unschooled less likely to turn out as adults who do this?
I couldn't say, but then again, I don't think it's necessarily bad to have some things that you say you want but never do. That's part of the freedom of life: choosing not to do something, choosing not to exercise all your options, choosing not tp pursue all your interests.

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Is there anything we can do to help our chidren work through this?
Unless your kids are spending most of their time vegetating and fighting and are CLEARLY unhappy, I don't think that they need to be helped through it. External intervention could be construed as pressure, which can go a long way toward demotivating people.

HTH!

Namaste!
 

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HOw old are your kids? I have a ds almost 10 who is just now getting to the "I want to X" and actually works on it for an extended period of time (~2 hours)...and continues to go back to it day after day. I have a 5 year old who can concentrate for HOURS on his rescue heroes and other figures in very imaginative stuff...both complain of being bored at times....I even complain of that even though I have three books I'm reading, knitting, quilting, housecleaning laying around to do....

Sus
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move
I'm curious because it seems so natural in life to say you want to learn/do something, yet never do it. Why is that? It is the space between wanting to learn something and actually taking the time to learn it than I'm curious about. Are kids who are unschooled less likely to turn out as adults who do this? Is there anything we can do to help our chidren work through this?
I don't know for sure. To me, it seems like the adults I know who have avoided this have been people who have a real passion for a certain area. People who always wanted to be a doctor or a scientist for instance. In theory unschooling would seem like a good way to discover that area of passion.

I'm definitely an adult who lacks direction and follow through unless I have external motivators (deadlines, money, whatever). I was like this even when I was in school so I think some of it is personality/genetics. I do wonder if hsing can help temper the effects of things like anxiety and depression.

Sorry for the wander-y non-answer.
 

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Just a thought,
perhaps, part of the freedom to learn is the freedom to be bored.
Perhaps if your kids are given the chance to really drown in their boredom, after a little while, they'll just 'snap out of it' and start getting into interesting stuff.
I'm like that, sometimes, even though i have a bunch of projects on the go, and several books open and half-read, I'll find myself sitting around feeling bored. Generally, I find it relaxing from time to time to just lie in bed, and be bored, read or whatever, until I reach some 'breaking point' and I suddenly jump out of bed, take a shower and become a whirlwind of action. I just have to get the "bored" out of my system first.

another idea is that it's okay for you to suggest activities now and then. you dont even have to suggest in a way that sounds like you're telling them what to do, you could say it like "I'm going to do this puzzle/ papier mache/ cooking/ reading/ trip to the museum/ etc now, anyone like to join me?" I do that with my dd a lot, or I just get started on something in a visible area and she usually joins in, picks the part she's interested in and runs with it herself.

Have you tried leaving interesting stuff around to inspire your kids?

I'm not really an 'expert' but these were my ideas after reading your post.
 

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Actually,here is a link to an article that has helped me lots...don't feel it is criticizing you, but it gave me alot of things to think about and how we need to shake things up a little sometimes:

http://sandradodd.com/BoredNoMore

You mention that your kids are doing lovely and interesting things...so don't feel to bad that they are "bored" sometimes. One thing that has struck me so much about my unschooled children is how self directed they really are, when I really sit and watch them, it is amazing how they direct their own time, not being in school in that artificial environment that dictates what they do when. Really, when you think about it, perhaps being "bored" and working past it gives us that spark to try something new! Just my 2 c worth!

Tina, dp James, dd Stephanie (6)
and ds Jonathan (3)
learning through life here in Manitoba, Canada
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by dharmamama
Being bored is not always a negative, and I think it's often a learning process. It's learning to take responsibility for your time and to make decisions about how "active" you want to be.
I hadn't looked at it this way. I keep feeling like it is something that I need to fix.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SRHS
HOw old are your kids? ....I even complain of that even though I have three books I'm reading, knitting, quilting, housecleaning laying around to do....
They are 8 and 9. I seldom feel bored, but there are things that I would like to do that I have trouble actually sitting down and doing and this bugs me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cielle
I do wonder if hsing can help temper the effects of things like anxiety and depression.
I wonder about this too. Depression runs in my family and I think that aspects of our parents (AP, GD, and homeschooling) have given my kids a firm foundation in always knowing they are loved and accepted. They are grounded little people who are comfortable in their own skins
They just have times when they are a little fuzzy on what they want to do next! I think having the freedom to learn to structure your own time while still having loving family support would make the transition to adulthood eaiser.

Quote:

Originally Posted by majikfaerie
Generally, I find it relaxing from time to time to just lie in bed, and be bored, read or whatever, until I reach some 'breaking point' and I suddenly jump out of bed, take a shower and become a whirlwind of action.
I go through funky periods where I don't have the energy to do things, so I lay around a bit, then jump up and dive in. I hadn't thought about it in this context though because I don't think of the way I feel as "bored." I know that if anyone were to try to help me through it, it would just annoy me. It is sort of like I need to give myself permission to just lay around before I feel happy about other things.


Quote:

Originally Posted by canuckgal
Really, when you think about it, perhaps being "bored" and working past it gives us that spark to try something new!
I see what you mean (and I really liked your link!).
 

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i could have written many parts of that OP.

we are really random with our "lessons" and my 4 boys often get into fights and wander around finding things to do but don't ask to learn specific things.

sometimes they ask to learn specific things while i am nursing a teething baby or in the middle of making dinner and when i put them off for a bit I have lost the moment


i feel like we are living here and crossing paths but not really accumulating a bunch of knowledge together.

it is frustrating for me and makes me want more time alone to think about it which makes me less patient with them.

my kids learn from each other and library books and the questions they ask and the lessons they give each other and the few lessons we do together, but it often feels like i am cheating them of great learning adventures too.

looking forward to the responses to the OP
 

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I think that maybe this would be a good "learning" opportunity to show them what you do when you are bored or how you decide what to do next. What I mean is kind of gently guiding them and help them figure out what to do. Sometimes when I am bored, it isn't for lack of something to do, but I have lots of choices and its hard to decide or get motivated. I am one of those people that if I think its too hard, I might not try. However, if I have someone helping me or doing it with me I will give it a go.

Also a couple other ideas would be to say "I think we all need out of the house, lets go to the library and get some new books." That might spark some ideas in them. One friend suggested to me a jar with game ideas or crafts in them. You put in things you haven't done for a while, or new things you want to try and if the kids get bored, they can "draw" for an activity or game and do it together. It works for little kids (I have a 3 year old) not sure if your kids would like that idea or not.

I agree that being bored is not always a bad thing.
 

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I once read somewhere that often kids say "I'm bored" when they mean "I'm lonely" and that remembering this can help you respond well to the comment. It sort of makes sense...
 

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somewhere i had read an article that when kids say "i'm bored" ask them questions to help them figure out what they want

things like - do you feel like being inside or outside; do you want to be run around busy or sitting down; would you like a drawing thing; etc

you're not telling the kids what to do but rather they get to sort it out for themselves

although it seems like what i hear from most moms is that they just list a bunch of "work items" to be done and the kids find another activity pretty quick. it may solve the boredom but i don't know if i like the message it sends about teh work

i know i get bored too - it usually seems to be needing a change of scenery or something 'new' (a movie i havent seen in forever; picking up some fiction to read even if it's already in the house)
 
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