Bored Homeschoolers

It was a Friday night and we had nothing to do.  Bored homeschoolers. It’s quite funny.  Our lives had been so wrapped up with a recent set of concerts and preparing for college admissions, that on this quiet evening we were all looking at each other and wondering what we should be doing.  No one is bored because our house is perfectly decluttered and we have minimized the contents to the barebones.  Just the opposite, the moment I stopped clearing out corners and closets because life was busy with college admissions, they mysteriously began refilling.  Minimalist Homeschool ClosetThere is plenty to catch up with, but we are just in need of doing nothing and letting our lives slow down.

When the kids were little and on the odd occasion they complained about being bored, I would respond with, “Great!  Out of boredom comes incredible creativity.”  They hated it.  They did not like that I was not finding them something to do.  And I really did not want to crush out creativity by rescuing them from boredom by finding them chores, books to read, or running them around town with diversion activities.  So, I let them stay bored, and usually in about 30 minutes, they had found the craft box, pulled out the guitar, scout merit badges to work on, or set up a new version of Risk complete with added Legos and Playmobile characters.  I wasn’t ignoring their cry of boredom, I just wanted them to learn to find contentment from inside themselves and not by being entertained by others.  It’s a hard skill to master.

Maintaining a simpler life has been a challenge, it’s really hard to balance minimalism and yet keeping a well stocked closet of creative play items.  I become defensive about the swim lessons and piano practice with my hard-core minimalist friends.  To them, minimalism would be toys only found in nature, and activities the kids create on their own.  I’m just not there, and yet I push away from the society that fills every moment of the free time with entertainment and stimulation.

We have three closets for “rainy days”, which we get a lot of in Oregon, for when we often need indoor activities.  Turning on the computer or the television was not a permitted rainy day activity, so I filled the closets with supplies to inspire.

Do I minimalize the art closet and toy closet?  I’ve sorted and organized the contents.  Passed along craft materials we are no longer using, or used up old supplies without replacing.  But my heart struggles to pass along the puppets and dress up clothes that I spent hours sewing, or the Playmobiles and Legos that the kids still have very fond memories, and will pull out when younger cousins visit.  Even when they were younger, I don’t know how much I could pare down the toys.  We kept things simple, trying to buy more quality than quantity as gifts.Spice cake

The house felt stuffed.  The kids were bored when I started writing, and ended up playing with the dog and eating leftover Epiphany spice cakes.
All too soon the house will be quiet every evening, the closets will remain organized from lack of homeschoolers, and I will long for these days that I struggled with what to declutter or how to simplify our lives.

 

 

3 Comments

  • Shea

    February 6, 2016 at 4:03 am Reply

    Oh my word – this. I spend time reading and dreaming minimalist, but our homeschooling life seems to require the books, the playmobil, the games, the craft ‘stuff’. Many times in my purging I’ve thought “someday there won’t be anyone here to play with that playmobil” and that, in turn, helps me to be grateful for this ‘stuff’ even as I find different ways to manage it. This is my first time to your site and this was exactly what I needed to read! Thank you!

    • Anne

      June 18, 2016 at 12:19 am Reply

      Thank you . . . your comments make it enjoyable to keep writing. In the writing it is so much fun to remember the early years and to try again for the next child coming up through the ranks. Hang on to the play mobiles. All too soon you will look back and wish you had sat down to play one more battle scene in Narnia or created an imaginary zoo. In what ways are you putting minimalism to practice in the rest of your homeschooling?

  • Kara

    September 9, 2016 at 10:47 pm Reply

    Yes, this. So much this. Thank you. I struggle with the very same thing. The very same thing. So glad I am not alone in this.

Please take a moment to share your minimalist homeschooling ventures.