Kids are Bored? The Toxic Byproduct of Homeschooling No One Warns You About…
Diving into homeschooling is kind of like becoming a superhero for your kids. You’ve got the power to shape minds, ignite passions, and occasionally, make an awesome grilled cheese sandwich or even two breakfasts a day (you guys know what I mean).
As parents, we are blessed to be able to homeschool. We are put in a unique and wonderful position of being able to learn our children. How do they learn best? How can we spark their love of learning? We get to customize their education and cater our teaching to THEM. This is a blessing that is beyond words. But we all know that with great power comes great responsibility… and not just the laundry kind.
So, tread carefully because this gift has a dark side.
Today, we want to challenge you to think: What happens when the blessing is misapplied, becoming something… potentially harmful?
That Time Physics Wasn’t a Blast…
I learned this lesson the hard way last school year. I still cringe when I recall my son’s bored gripes after a lesson. It was Campfire, so you guys know it was engaging, conversational, and fun (as fun as physics can be, anyway).
His feedback? “”Meh, could’ve been more fun. I wish it was taught in a way that I’d like more. Doesn’t match my learning style. I was bored. Do we have to do it again tomorrow?”
My first reaction? Instant Mom Guilt and panic! “I must overhaul everything, so he enjoys every minute! I’ve failed!”
**I’ll wait just a moment to see if you guys can spot my error.**
Thankfully, my lightbulb moment came to me (it just took a moment longer than I’d like to admit… and really, it was my hubby who brought it to my attention lol). Was I turning our child into a mini learning emperor expecting everyone and everything to cater to him?
The Real World Isn’t Always Custom-Made
In my rush to fix my son’s discontentment, I actually failed him completely. See, I initially reinforced his entitlement that the world will bend to suit his whims. But here’s the reality: the real world isn’t going to roll out the red carpet for our kids’ specific likes and dislikes. Bosses won’t always ask, “How do you feel about this task?” and colleges or universities won’t customize courses or lectures like a Starbucks order. Preparing our children for a world that won’t always bend to their will is JUST as important as fueling their love for learning.
If we let our children expect constant educational accommodation, are we truly preparing them for future success?
Make no mistake; meaningful education should captivate students’ minds and hearts. Our position will never change when it comes to that. However, we risk poisoning the gift of homeschooling when we allow bored or uninspired patches to completely redirect our course.
The ‘Boring Physics’ Experiment
So, how did I handle the situation with my son and his dislike for the physics lesson? Well, I handed him a traditional physics textbook for the rest of the month (it taught the same exact content, but in a different way). Yep, he got a taste of old-school learning (the kind that doesn’t come with bells and whistles).
Spoiler alert: he didn’t love it.
The end result? Well, his achievement tanked for a time. But the important win? His complaint-reflex was cured! He learned what “boring” could really mean. More importantly, he grasped the value of our personalized approach. He learned a valuable lesson about different learning environments (and possibly, that Mom’s and Dad’s lessons aren’t so bad, after all).
The Sweet Spot in Homeschooling
While we strongly advocate for adjusting teaching methods to a child’s learning style, there’s a balance to strike. You know Campfire and what it stands for. We’re all for turning science into treasure hunts and history lessons into time-travel escapades. But when the learning (in any environment or curriculum) evokes a few yawns, it’s our chance to teach resilience and adaptability. When a subject isn’t your child’s favorite or appears dull, it’s important to persevere. These moments are not about spoiling or entertaining our children; they’re opportunities to build character and teach valuable life lessons.
Let’s help our children find joy in discovery, but also prepare them to face the diverse challenges in life! By all means, uncover what fires your kids up. But resist over-customization that poorly equips them for a world indifferent to their preferences.
We encourage all of you to embrace this journey’s unique aspects—including the ability to personalize education. However, let’s be cautious not to swing so far that we lose sight of our fundamental role: not just to entertain, but to guide, inspire, and maybe sneak in a life lesson or two between the laughter and occasional groans.