As summer rapidly approaches, the likelihood of hearing that ominous word—boredom—grows increasingly probable. I learned to carefully avoid this word around my parents in my youth, as it typically meant being given a long list of chores. Our summers involved mostly outdoor activities: riding bikes, woodland exploration, and swimming—with a bit of reading thrown in on rainy days. Our family often had one vacation in the summer, with destinations chosen by my parents based on their interests and tastes, not mine. This was the norm, and it worked.
Modern Parents and the Boredom Principle
It’s safe to say that modern parents appear more obliged to provide the bored child with incessant vacations, camps, and activities to assuage their boredom than previous generations, which begs the question: is boredom a bad thing?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I read a book on childhood brain development for a continuing education credit for my social work licensure. I wish I could recall the text now, but I do remember that the author was emphatic that denying children of downtime—time to be bored—affects them in two significant ways. The first is less creativity, which was no surprise, but the second point was a bit of an epiphany for me. They also struggle to develop clear values and a subsequent moral structure.
Recently I was reminded of that book while listening to a TED Talk on boredom. Experts agree that free time and daydreaming are essential parts of childhood brain development. Over-scheduled children denied the time to reflect and be creative are not only starving their brains but wrestle with issues of moral ambiguity and difficulty solving problems. Sound familiar? Not to mention that modern children now possess devices that continually entertain and occupy their thoughts—regardless of what the calendar says. Modern science concurs on the subject of boredom with that 20-year-old textbook.
Building Quiet Time Into Your Day
Consequently, as soon as my children were old enough, I built mandatory quiet time into our daily schedule. Each day, my children were required to spend one hour alone in their rooms, where they did not talk, watch TV, or engage with any technology. Total silence. They were allowed to exercise, read, do crafts, build Legos, or anything creative, but they were not to do schoolwork. This was their time to pray, ponder, meditate, be mindful, daydream, analyze, stargaze, imagine, and think deeply.
We had a few more fun things on the schedule when summer approached than when I was a kid. We had a pool, so we had friends over quite a bit. The kids were allowed to pick one day-camp activity, such as horse or robotics camp, and sometimes we would go camping. Otherwise, we expected our kids to ride their bikes, explore the woods, and swim—with reading thrown in on rainy days. If they made the mistake of telling me they were bored, I always had a list of chores or projects handy, and I resisted the urge to fill in the blank spaces on our family calendar.
The Biggest Benefit of Boredom
What happened most was they built tree forts and mud pies and dammed our creek. They went berry picking. They colored pictures at the picnic table. They played with the dog and cat. They played kickball. They pitched a tent in the backyard. They helped me dig weeds in the garden or lay on blankets watching clouds, trying to find cartoon characters in the shapes.
They deliberated internally on their actions, observations, and experiences. They had an epiphany or two, which we would sometimes discuss over their bedtime prayers, and which helped solidify their values. They also had some of the most creative ideas! Through the power of boredom, they nurtured their brain development and pondered what was essential and what kind of people they hoped to be.
Parents, don’t waste the boredom! Instead, recognize it for the opportunity that it is and watch the great things your children will accomplish.
If you would like to watch that TED Talk on boredom, here is a link:
Mrs. Ferrell lives in southwestern Ohio with her husband of 23 years, her youngest child, and several pets. Mrs. Ferrell has many hobbies, including gardening, bicycling, quilting, photography, writing, and curriculum development. She is an avid reader and in constant pursuit of new challenges.
I know, you are so ready for a summer break. Sleeping in, swimming, camping, and vacation. I hear you. I’m just as ready as you are. But, I also remember just how hard it was to get back into the swing of things with homeschooling come Back-to-School time. So, this year (Home) School is in for summer!
There are tons of really good reasons to homeschool year-round, but today I’m going to share what I think are 5 great reasons to homeschool over the summer. Let’s dive in! 😉
1. Choosing to homeschool this summer gives you the freedom to break at other times.
Embracing the summer as a time of learning can let you flex when things come up during the year. And they do come up, don’t they? Someone gets sick, family visits, you travel during the holidays. Summer learning affords you the freedom to break when you need to without feeling behind or guilty. You set the pace.
2. Summer homeschool can help prevent that “summer slide” we hear about.
I know, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if your kids were anything like mine, that heat can be just as disrputive as a snow day. The heat makes kids lithargic. They tend to gravitate towards the air conditioning and often times a screen. Why not capture the screen time for learning?
4. Master a new skill.
Often times our school year is packed. We’re focused on the essentials and it’s hard to fit in a purely interest-based class. It might be time to learn a new language, master the math we’ll need for Chemistry next year, or hone our essay writing techniques. Even preparing for next year with a class on Study Skills can give a real advantage.
5. Getting a preview of coming attractions.
Summer classes at True North Homeschool Academy are a great way to preview how the classes work in the fall. Our classes are particularly designed to support our full year classes. Students will meet fellow True North Homeschool Academy students, learn from one of our world class teachers and learn to navigate our online campus!
We’re here to support your homeschooling choices, happy to answer your questions, and provide you with an educational option that helps lead your kids True North. We’d love to see you this summer!
Bundle Your Summer Classes & Save!
Summer Bootcamp Bundle allows you to choose 3 Summer Classes for 20% off over ala carte classes!
Choose from fourteen Summer Classes that will build students academic skills, setting them up for future academic success! Our classes are particularly designed to support our full year classes. Students will meet fellow True North Homeschool Academy students, learn from one of our world class teachers and learn to navigate our online campus! Choose from the following:
Time began in a garden, which makes it the perfect homeschool science. It’s a ready-made object lesson! God created plants of all different species and kinds. He replenishes us like a garden sprouting from the desert.
When our mustard seed-sized faith grows, it’s a tree so large the birds nest in it.
The Bible even tells us to plant a garden.
And then, there’s the biggest lesson — sowing and reaping. Every homeschool mom must know that one by heart.
“… A man reaps what he sows.”
With all of that in mind, why not try your hand at gardening?
Not Enough Space? Try Container Gardening!
It’s spring and everyone in the homeschool world is planting a garden because gardening is such a great way to learn about plants.
If you don’t have a plot of earth accessible for a garden, try container gardening. It’s easy. You only need some little pots, buckets, or containers,
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Grow Tomatoes in a 5-Gallon Bucket
Drill holes in the bottom for drainage, before you fill the bucket with soil. Plant one tomato plant per bucket. Use a stake in the middle to support the plant.
You can also grow cucumbers, melons, squash, beans, onions, lettuce, and carrots in buckets.
Grow Herbs in Your Kitchen Windowsill
Use tiny little pots or containers to grow herbs such as thyme, sage, oregano, basil, parsley, chives, and mint. Your kitchen will smell heavenly! The key is plenty of sunlight.
To start your herbs, fill pots with moist seed-starting mix ¾ full. Sprinkle 4-5 seeds on top, cover and pat gently. Cover with a plastic bag to keep moisture inside until seedlings poke through. Remove plastic and continue watering the little plants on your sunny windowsill.
Grow Flowers in Hanging Baskets
Flowers are lovely in hanging baskets on a porch, patio, or balcony. They brighten up the day for anyone walking by who can see them.
You can also grow tomatoes and strawberries in a hanging basket. Or try herbs like parsley, thyme, and mint.
Little children love learning about plants. In fact, science is fascinating, especially if they have a fun class like Science Exploration A (K-3) and Science Exploration B (4-6) where children learn about plants from the top of the mountains to the bottom of the seas.
Did you ever think that you are the answer to the world’s leadership crisis? Yes, you! You can change the world by raising motivated leaders in your home school.
At every age, these secrets work to build leaders.
Secret #1: Integrity Matters
Beyond punishment for dishonesty, reward your children when they are honest, singing their praises. When they do the right thing, shout it from the housetops so they know you are proud of them. Make it more important in your eyes than a home run or a great test score. Value integrity and model for your kids that it is a value worth living!
Secret #2: Leaders are Motivated Learners
Provide opportunities for your sons and daughters to pursue learning about things that delight their hearts. If your son loves archery, do a unit study on the Middle Ages. If your daughter loves horses, let her science class be an independent study on horses and how to care for them.
Model enthusiasm for learning by reading and researching. Let your kids know you love to learn.
Secret #3: Leaders Lead
Give your children and teens opportunities to lead. They don’t have to plan the family vacation on their own, but they could plan family night once a month or choose what color to paint the bathroom.
Give them access to the decision-making protocol in your house. Let them have a voice and participate in the final direction your family takes—at least once in a while.
Cultivate a heart for others, especially younger children, the elderly, and those less fortunate. When your family is observant—seeing needs and taking positive steps to meet them, you are also cultivating that heart in your children year after year.
Leaders lead because they care about others. When my daughter realized a homeschool dad who was going back for his degree needed help with College Algebra, she offered to tutor him. She saw a need and met the need.
Logical thinking is a great tool for your future leaders. True North offers Formal Logic focused on the structural validity of arguments and Informal Logic where students study and master 29 logical fallacies. These high school courses are great options for your future leader.
When it comes to educating our own kids, many of us, especially those who never imagined we’d be homeschooling, recognize that it’s a task that God has called us to. And He’s been faithful to equip us along the way. Amen?
We’ve understood our own role in being faithful to that calling. But have we ever stopped to consider that God has a calling for each and every one of us? Not just preachers, teachers, or pastors.
God is calling our kids.
For Such a Time As This
The story of Queen Esther in the Bible shows us just how God is working providentially through men and women who are called and prepared to stand in hard times.
Do you think Esther mulled over her calling? Did she study the nature of a calling on her life? I don’t know that we can know that, but we can know is that she was prepared.
Preparing Our Kids for God’s Calling
From the time Esther was little, she likely heard the stories of her people. She had seen God’s faithfulness demonstrated. Beyond her basic education, she’d obviously been educated in the art of persuasion!
Trusting in God’s Ability
Leaning on TRUTH, she used her best soft skills and life skills to make a stand and save her people.
Did all of the preparation that brought her to that place cause her to rest on her own ability? No, but she did have God Confidence.
And that’s exactly what we want for our own kids, isn’t it?
Independently Dependent On God
Back to homeschooling, I see so many parents diligently preparing their children for a future of independence. This independence comes with great responsibility, and we ultimately want to see them independently dependent on the Lord, right?
This is the only thing that will cause them to stand against a world in chaos.
Why the 3 R’s Aren’t Enough
We believe that Education is the Transmission of Culture. Every child can learn the basics of a good education. Many will excel at the difficult subjects. But that’s not a complete education. They need a foundation of a strong culture to find their true north.
But, what I care about most deeply, is using those fundamentals in a way that serves a bigger purpose — the transmission of culture.
A Bold Statement & A Challenge to You
I want our kids to excel at academics. I want them to be prepared for the Future of Work, be equipped with soft skills, and win in the gig economy.
But, what I ultimately want (and I have a feeling this is important to you, too) is to develop our kids to find their true north (the TRUE NORTH – Jesus Christ) and bring others with them.
All the teaching and learning we do is to that end. That we would know Christ and make Him known.
Is God calling your kids? I challenge you to ponder that question.
Then ask yourself if you’re moving in the direction you want to with their education.
Two Have a Greater Return for Their Labor
True North Homeschool Academy teachers are a group of passionate, qualified, creative educators providing carefully curated Core Courses and Clubs delivered by utilizing cutting-edge technology, gamification, and solid academic pedagogy.
We understand the unique challenges and opportunities of homeschooling.
If we share the same goals, and I think we just might, won’t you take a moment and check out our catalog?
Homeschool families tend to be DIYers. We take on the incredible responsibility of educating our families, often on one income. There is even a growing segment of homeschoolers who home church! It might be said the entire DIY movement started with education and homeschooling back in the early 1980s. We didn’t know anything back then of a homeschool tribe.
So, what’s a tribe anyway?
According to the Internet, a tribe is “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.”
Homeschool Tribe Community
The homeschool tribe community consists mainly of families. Many of our families don’t look that different from the world’s family units. We have many of the same problems. The difference for most homeschooling families within the community is that we have a common recognized leader- Jesus.
He is our religious, social, and even economic tie. He creates our shared culture.
Homeschool Tribe Culture
The homeschool tribe culture itself is unique. It’s different than the world’s culture because it rests on a person and not a time, place, or bloodline. While we see God’s Principle of Individuality within the culture, there is a tie that binds.
Finding Your Homeschool Tribe
With all of this in common, you’d think it would be easy to find a homeschool BFF. But, that’s not always the case. With all of the DIYing we do, we can become so independent we neglect our need for our tribe.
Our tribe can often be found within our church family. What a blessing that is!
If your church isn’t supportive of homeschooling, you may find yourself on the outside looking in. And that’s a lonely place to be. What’s a homeschool parent to do when they feel that isolation and loneliness set in? Try these five tips:
Five Tips for Identifying Your Homeschool People
To know who you need in your tribe, you have to know a few things. Things like, what you offer as a friend, what you want in a friendship, and what your friendship boundaries are. Try these tips to help you in your search.
Know what’s important. Do you need a supportive group? A fun group? A serious theological group?
Identify your boundaries. Are you the come-over anytime kind of mom? Do you put limits on your children’s electronics and TV exposure? Do you prioritize a specific time of the day for your family only?
Get your fundamental geography right. Do you want in-person support and friendship? Is an online setting okay? What about live interactive opportunities online? Maybe a combination?
Give and receive grace. Okay, this is an important one– there are no perfect people, so there are no perfect homeschool Tribes. Love your people as they are, where they are, and when they need it. And learn to accept that for yourself. Grace is key.
Embracing the Homeschool Tribe
Having a homeschool tribe can provide you with many things; support, accountability, spontaneity, friendship for your kids, and a respite from the demands of homeschooling and caring for your family.
If you’ve been a DIYer for any time, it might take you some time to learn to embrace the benefits. Don’t be afraid to try.