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Unschooling When There’s No Inspiration

We’ve homeschooled for a few years now, but we’re new to the unschooling world. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, we are “almost unschoolers” because the kids still do mama-required book work. We’re about seven months into unschooling, and we’ve hit our second roadblock. We’re not burnt out, nor do I feel like we’ll end up falling behind, but I do want the fire to stay kindled in the children. I want them to continue to actively pursue new subjects that I don’t set in front of them or try to interest them in. I’ve noticed children are most interested in something they find on their own. I want them to learn to love learning. Here are a few things we try when we seem to be uninspired:

Find a new book to read aloud. Fictional or not, books are teeming with beautiful inspiration. Reading a new book together opens up discussion. It encourages conversations about new subjects. It also sparks interest in new areas they may not have been interested in before.

Go on a nature walk. This always works for our family. It usually leads to a new study on a certain plant or animal. Since we’re aiming to be more in-tune with nature, this is a perfect way to get the kids interested in exploring something new. For instance, recently, our dogs killed a snake. I thought for sure it was a water mocassin, but it wasn’t as a someone pointed out, which led to us studying snakes. (It’s coming soon to the blog, too!)

Watch a documentary. Documentaries are like a book on the screen. You get (almost) all the benefits of a new book in one short hour or so. And, if we’re being honest, sometimes it’s easier to put something on Netflix and have some quiet time. So, this one is a win-win.

Let them be bored. When the kids complain of boredom, it’s so much easier to give them something to do. Craft, a puzzle, or whatever else. But, I’ve noticed they learn so much more when they say they’re bored and I tell them they have to figure it out themselves. Yes, there’s usually huffs and a small amount of sulking, but once they find something to do on their own, the magic happens. Just the other day the kids complained of being bored. After several failed attempts to keep their attention with various activities, I said, “Go find something to do by yourself. Alone, together. I don’t care.” The girls went outside a tried to start a campfire. They didn’t succeed, but they did have a lot of questions about how people started fires before lighters and matches, and when the wind dies down, we’re gong to try to start a fire without either of those. We learned a lot together. Hayden (successfully) made his own fidget spinner! Kids will figure it out! AND probably learn something along the way.

What do you do when your family is feeling uninspired?

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