Eliminating After (Home)School Boredom

Oct 05, 2011 4 Comments by

I need some help. I had purchased a few extras to add to our basics for our school year, thinking it would not be too overwhelming for my kids (or me). However, I’m starting to second guess myself. My kids average an hour or two a morning, which I think is plenty for a 5 and 7 yo, but come afternoon they are bored. I am scratching my head trying to figure out what to do! We have logic puzzles, geography puzzles, etc. It tempts them for a couple of days, but then they run out of steam. Any suggestions?? We do plenty of coloring/drawing via notebooking and just on their own, we also do science experiments every other week. Just stumped. :) Thanks!
Andrea

This is a fantastic question that has given us a lot to think/talk about here!

Before I actually answer your question, let me just commend you on what you are doing. The fact that school isn’t taking long is great, they are mastering the material and you are setting a doable pace!

There are probably more approaches and options to the remaining time in your day than there are homeschooling families, but let me just share a few of our favorites, all of which seem interwoven at some level. I should also mention that the options available to you depend a great deal on your circumstances and personal preferences. A rural introvert will have much more interest in an animal raising idea than in touring city landmarks:

Work
This is huge around our place. Hopefully they are already doing chores, but are there ways that you can increase the complexity of their tasks? For instance your seven year old could have an active part in meal planning, making a shopping list… That time then becomes a blessing to the whole family while also building skills they’ll use forever. Plus, children enjoy playing a “real” role in the family – at least most of the time.

Skills

On a similar note, what skills might they like to develop? This can include cooking, knitting, sewing, woodworking, knot tying, making balloon animals or any number of other skills that may prove to be a life skill, fun hobby, or used only for a year and then seemingly forgotten!

Interests
Are there options for encouraging them to follow their interests? For instance if you have a son who is enamored with cars, do you have the garage space for him to completely deconstruct an engine? If you have a child comfortable with 100-piece puzzles, why not get a 500-piece puzzle and encourage them to work on that at their leisure. (Include a reward for completing it if you like.)

Elective Academic Pursuits
While no child should be overwhelmed academically, some are ready for more of a challenge, be that in foreign language, art, electronics, construction, music lessons or the like. Construction and science kits are particularly terrific for young learners – they will have a blast and learn much more than they think they have!

Projects
Having identified some of their interests, can you help them come up with a multi-day project to work on? Your beginning seamstress may be excited to tackle a baby quilt. Other ideas would be knitting a stocking cap, building an elaborate fort, or even cultivating a garden. (If space allows.)

Animals
If you have the space for it, raising animals is in many ways a perfect project. From worms to chickens or rabbits, there are relatively low-cost ways for children to learn responsibility, financial prudence, and even important life-lessons when you have the opportunity to pursue animal husbandry.

Urban Ideas
A lot of these ideas are best suited for rural life, but being in the city just means you have a different set of options. What about field trips to local attractions? Joining a library program? Are there local church activities that they could help with? Our local Christian school has even had ways for homeschoolers to join them just for field trips, making it a chance to connect as well as learn.

Ideas
Have you considered Little Contenders for the Faith and Little Keepers at Home? Even if you’re not doing the whole program, (I confess, our family never did) there are a ton of helpful ideas of useful things to teach.

 

Those are our thoughts, what would you add?

 


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About the author

The oldest of the "Timberdoodle children" I now work full time for the company, filling such roles as marketing manager, curriculum adviser, video producer, etc. In my spare time I enjoy reading, babysitting, baking, and volunteering with our local school district, in the church and as an EMT with the fire department.

4 Responses to “Eliminating After (Home)School Boredom”

  1. Karri says:

    GET OUTDOORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have 4 boys and the quickest way to eliminate boredom is to get outside and do something. Because of my husband’s job, we often stay in hotel rooms, so boredom is quick in coming. As soon as school is done we get out and do something. Our budget is limited, so we often just go for a long walk, find a free park or swim at the hotel. Little kids MUST be physcially active, not only for their physical health, but their mental health. Fresh air is the best cure for colds to boredom :) Let the little ones take a magnifying glass out on their trip and I assure you that you will have plenty to discuss for school that day and the next! Hope this helps a little :)

  2. Michelle says:

    My kids participated in a project called “Lilies of the Field” where a local grocery store saved all of their “toss away” flowers for our group, which were picked up on Tuesdays. One family would sort through the flowers, getting rid of any that were way past their prime, and the rest of the flowers, which still had a fair bit of life left in them, we took over to a local retirement home. Our family, with the help of a few others, would hand out small bunches of flowers to the residents and take a few minutes to speak to each person. This activity cost us nothing, took only about an hour of our time during the week, but the rewards were great. Our kids met some wonderful people and we have great memories of our experiences. I’m sure there are any number of other volunteer activities that you can find to participate in locally, choosing ones that fill the amount of time you have available.

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