By Contributing Writer Sherri Barth
There’s a good reason that I’m writing on this particular topic for y’all this month…because I am a victim of homeschool boredom. It typically hits me twice a year: right about now (in the fall, November-ish) and again in the spring.
Our school year began on August 5th this year and after weeks and weeks of disciplined, daily accomplishment, the life that got in the way threw us off course. For me, that sometimes leads to trouble getting back on track, or boredom once we do. Chalk it up to my personality or my (never diagnosed) A.D.D.
Either way, over the years I’ve been homeschooling, I’ve had to devise a few methods to adapt to my propensity towards boredom while continuing to make sure the kids are covering all the things they need to.
So in my current funk, I thought I’d share with you my go-to defenses…
1 ~ Homeschool Year Round
When I started homeschooling my oldest daughter for kindergarten back in 2007, we followed the same schedule as our local school system. But as time went on and my son joined us in schooling, it became harder and harder to keep the public school schedule.
The life-event that forced me to make the jump to “year round” homeschooling full-on was the birth of my daughter (and third child) in August of 2009. When another daughter (our fourth child) joined us in October of 2010, the true benefit of using more of the calendar year for our school days was glorious. We still get all 180 days of school in, as recommended by our state, but because it is spread out from the first of August through the end of June (we do take all of July off) it is incredibly nice to be able to take a couple weeks off here and there throughout the year for breaks, planning, renewing our energy, or emergencies.
2 ~ Do a “Special” Study
Sometimes, it’s just the drudgery of our lessons that gets to me–the day in, day out, same ol’-same ol’ three steps forward, two steps back routine of teaching children new things. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world, but honest homeschoolers will admit that sometimes things can get very routine.
Another way to combat the boredom that can accompany this is to whip out a “special” study! Feeling a little bored and it’s getting close to Thanksgiving? Grab a Turkey Day Unit Study and tear that thing apart, while taking a brief break from your regular schedule! We do this for Christmas every year during the month of December, and by January we are ready again to tackle anything with fresh eyes.
3 ~ Pick Activities That Recharge
Take some time to check out your local homeschool support groups. We are very blessed to be part of one here where we live and have access to some excellent activities and programs that help us to recharge throughout the weeks and months.
Last year, we participated in a weekly homeschool P.E. class. This year, each of our kids is part of our group’s monthly homeschool Book Clubs! Activities like these get us out of the house, away from each other a bit, and give us a chance to focus on something outside the realm of the daily grind.
4 ~ Change the Scenery
Homeschooling looks different in every home. For us, it takes place around my grandmother’s dining room table in the room we’ve turned into our school room. For others, it happens out of workboxes on the kitchen table. No matter what your set-up looks like, sometimes that can be the root cause of your boredom.
If it’s cold outside…grab up the day’s work and head for the library! If it’s warm out…GET THEE OUTSIDE! And honestly, there are times when you don’t even have to leave the house. One of my older kid’s favorite things to do is school in BED on cold winter mornings.
The key here is to just think outside the box and be willing to change up your scenery if it seems that boredom is setting in.
5 ~ Fix “Broken” Curriculum
Not every homeschool curriculum is a good fit for every homeschooling family. In fact, each child within a homeschooling family may have needs that require different curricula. But if you’re like me, (a perfectionist who rarely is…) when you spend money on curriculum, you intend to use that sucker for every last penny it’s worth!
So getting started with something only to realize one-third or halfway through it that it’s just not working, will nearly gut you. I have experienced boredom that was born out of simply trying to fight through forcing curricula to work so we could f.i.n.i.s.h. it. Because I bought it. With money. That I could’ve bought other things with… like a massage.
I did save this one for last though because it can be the most “expensive” option for dealing with homeschool boredom. However, if you’re experiencing curriculum-based boredom and have attempted all of the other suggestions above for overcoming that boredom, it may very well be time to reconsider that curriculum!
So how about y’all??? Anyone else out there suffer from this problem or am I really just that weird? On the off chance that there are others out there, how do you beat your boredom? (I’m always filing away new ideas…)