I Homeschool So They Can Be Bored

Yes, you read that right. I homeschool so they can be bored.

homeschool boredom

So they can have time to get bored.

I think we as a culture have too much aversion to boredom. And we’ve filled our children’s calendars with so many good and wholesome activities that we sometimes fail to give them one thing they so desperately need: Down Time.

Down time without the television, the video games and the social media.

Down time to sit upside down on the couch, feet in the air and head on floor declaring,

I’m so bored!

Down time for those little brains to decompress and to languish awhile in the tedium of inactivity and understimulation.

Down time for those sparks of creativity to light their fires and drive them to self-directed activities and projects of their own choosing.

I began homeschooling for very different reasons, but the longer we do this, the more I appreciate the fact that my children have undirected free time. And after they hang there upside down long enough, they amaze me with some of the things they come up with.

Marble tracks made from cut up cereal boxes, forts out of things they find in the barn, artwork and stories and invented games. Pursuits of their own creativity.

And they only find that creativity after inactivity that stretches long enough for boredom to strike.

I used to think it was just about having free time. Free time would sometimes lead to active and creative pursuits and would sometimes lead to boredom. I didn’t used to value boredom as anything inherently valuable. I only saw it as a necessary side effect of having enough time to do other things.

But as I watched my children struggle through their boredom, trying not to announce it lest I give them a chore, I noticed that their greatest feats of creativity always came after these periods of boredom. It’s as if the boredom itself were paving the way for something better. It’s as if the boredom ietself were a necessary part of shifting gears.

So it didn’t surprise me much when I found out that science, too, was beginning to appreciate the creative power behind boredom. Or, as fantasy author Neil Gaiman says,

” … boredom is the place you create from in self-defense.”

So feel free to let your children get bored from time to time. And then watch their creativity soar.

This is part of the Blogging Through the Alphabet Challenge, where I am sharing some homeschool encouragement, from A to Z! Check out what I’ve written so far!

A is for Adventure
B is for Boredom
C is for Christ
D is for Daydreaming
E is for Every day
F is for Failure

Also check out the Homeschool Nook Link Party for more great homeschool posts!

22 comments
  1. Dana

    I agree! (Obviously . . . since that’s what I wrote about.) It doesn’t feel so good when you are in the middle of it and there seems to be a strange commitment to it. Maybe it’s just me, but when I feel bored, nothing sounds particularly interesting. I think that’s when you are looking for something deeper and more meaningful and you just need time to wrestle through until you find it.

  2. Linda S

    Love this! Boredom spawns the most amazing things and gives our brains a chance to kick into gear. It often leads to daydreaming and castle-in-the-sky building 🙂 Thank you for reminding us to let them be bored!

  3. Carol E

    LOL! Mine have also learned not to voice their boredom for concern that Mom will add to their chores list. Boredom gives them a chance to hi the reset button on their brains – something I wish I could do more often these days.

    1. Dana

      It is the best way to keep the whining down. I don’t mind them lounging around (upside down in a chair is a favorite position of the younger ones), but whine and mom has an immediate relief.

    1. Dana

      Yes! I was perusing pinterest the other day and looking at all the activities for bored kids. And theirs of course were beautiful and polished and made you want to try them, but I prefer what my kids come up with. It’s theirs and and they learned so much just in the execution of their idea, even if the finished product wasn’t pinterestworthy. 🙂

  4. TaMara Sloan

    This is something I need to do better at. I know my children don’t have nearly enough time to get bored so that they have to pursue something to do on their own and be a little creative. Part of it is that they are so busy with scheduled activities, especially the older ones who play school sports. It was so much easier when they were younger.

  5. Dana

    It is hard and for the most part, each of the things kids get involved with is good for them, too. I remember my high school years. I had hardly any down time. My eldest daughter’s days are getting filled with school, work and preparing for farrier course as well as now having a boyfriend. It’s kind of nice that a lot of their “dates” involve hanging out on the couch so she still gets a little bit of a break!

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