She paused mid-scene: an elaborately constructed tea set for toys, and announced “school is boring. I want to play with my unicorn and draw and go outside and on the swing.” My heart sank. My sweet little girl, the oddball of the family who loves workbooks, just told me that she hates school.
What’s to hate?
She’s in first grade. Homeschooled. She barely does more than 30 minutes of bookwork on a good day, and the rest is exploration, playing outside, science experiments, art, and nature walks. It’s far less demanding than her public school counterparts deal with. I want to tell her that. I don’t.
That horrible word
Boring – the kiss of death to learning. My kids are rarely bored. They can make up a game on the spot using only sticks or a leaf. I hand out tiny ninjas in grocery store lines because they’ll amuse themselves (mostly calmly) while I finish. They build things, design things, imagine entire worlds, and putter around outside all on their own.
It’s only school that’s boring. It’s school – the curriculum I so carefully selected, the educational toys, games, puzzles, and sticker workbooks that are ‘boring.” I want to scream in frustration, but I also understand.
The deviation from our norm
This is the first year we’ve relied so much on curriculum. The first year we’ve schooled with one pitiful bin of supplies for each kid. It’s not the first year I’ve been physically limited, but it is the first time the kids have given up so much of my time to other people. The flooring guys, the cabinet installers, the random electrician/plumber/contractor appointments that we’re stuck in a weird time warp with.
It’s been a hard summer, and it’s not getting any better yet.
But she has to – or does she?
Sure, I could tell her that she has to do school. She has to learn. I didn’t, and I won’t. A 6-year-old shouldn’t be saying school is boring. Boring equals a failure on my part, not hers. It’s my job to figure out what is the problem and somehow, using the limited tools at my disposal, fix the problem.
She’s supposed to be learning. She’s not supposed to be bored. If I have to, I’ll toss the curriculum in the trash before I let it kill her love of learning.
So much for saving time and effort.
This is interesting. My 8yo is also currently in a “boring” phase, but I’m getting signals that he doesn’t actually know what the word means and is using it when things are uncomfortable, possibly frustrating, or he’s just wishing he’d be doing something else.
Yes, we need to give our kids engaging learning experiences, but they also need to be pushed or stretched at times to practice engaging in things that might not come naturally. The key is when to push and when to let it be, right?! 🙂