Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Never Bored Again

By Sam Blumenfeld
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #49, 2002.

Pin It

Sam Blumenfeld


Do you have a child who really sees no point in doing anything, who simply can't get started, and would be satisfied to play video games all day if you permitted him to do so? Do such kids exist in homeschooling families? From what I've been told, they do. I've been asked to provide some suggestions in dealing with such a child.

When I was growing up in the 1930s and '40s, I was never bored. I loved reading and filled my free time with Bible stories and adventure novels for young boys. I loved to draw pictures, roller skate, listen to the radio, and write poetry. There was always something to do. Even though I had friends, I never needed them to entertain me. I walked to museums on my own because of my interest in history. I had an insatiable appetite for knowledge. So, the idea of a young boy in America disinterested and bored, succumbing to the monotonous inanity of video games is something hard for me to understand.

If he is a child in a large family, his parents may not be able to give him the amount of attention he wants. And since he is not a self-starter, he will not do anything unless guided by his parents who may be too busy with their other eight children.

So how do you get such a child to appreciate the fact that he is alive in a world full of marvelous things to become interested in?

My first question is: can the boy read? If he can read, then why doesn't he find some good books to read? Get him in the habit of browsing a library and looking for something interesting to read. If you have a good home library, so much the better. Give him books you have read, and discuss them with him.

My second recommendation is to get the child to learn to play a musical instrument. Piano, violin, trumpet, drums, any instrument that will engage the child's interest. Mastering a musical instrument takes time, effort, much practice but can provide much enjoyment. It is a very useful way to use time because the knowledge and skills acquired will provide a lifetime of pleasure and may even lead to a profession in music. Also, being able to play an instrument will bolster the youngster's self-confidence.

Knowledge games can also challenge a slacker child. I often play Geography Quiz with a friend's teenage daughter, and she enjoys the challenge. History Quiz ought to stimulate an interest in the subject. Or, how about philosophical discussions? Ask the slacker what is the purpose of life. You might get a surprising answer and a lifelong interest in philosophy.

Hobbies are a good way to get a child interested in something other than mesmerizing video games. Collecting stamps may not be exciting enough for some kids these days. So how about collecting autographs of famous people, or baseball cards, or old coins (even a slacker is interested in money!). Then there are crafts. Your local mall may have one of those arts and crafts superstores. Drawing, painting, sculpturing, calligraphy, flower arranging, basket weaving, sewing. You name it, they've got it. Or how about photography? Get the youngster a good camera or a camcorder. Encourage him to make a movie of your family. Or get him interested in making tape recordings of his grandparents who may have all sorts of stories to tell about the family's history. Or get him interested in writing the family history. For that matter, if he loves computers so much, teach him how to program, not just to be a consumer of programs.

It is said that the slacker child is simply a product of today's pervasive cynical culture. He is totally passive, waiting for someone to kick him in the rear. He lacks a zest for life. Well then, have him take up cooking and baking. Learning to cook can be an enormously interesting endeavor. He'll then take an interest in what you buy at the supermarket or at the farm store. Have him learn about different cuisines: French, Italian, Chinese, American.

In general, the slacker is bored because he himself is boring. He can't hold an interesting conversation, has no in-depth knowledge beyond that pertaining to his games and videos, and is content to fritter away the gift of time God has given him. He can only become interesting if he himself becomes interested in something. But if he is interested in nothing, then the video game is a perfect way for him to forget how boring he is.

Of course, every child needs the attention and guidance of his parents. The summer provides opportunities for camping trips, tours of historical sights, and visits to friends and relatives in distant places. Travel can open up all sorts of interests. Be imaginative with your would-be slacker. If you want to wean him away from the video games, you'd better provide a more compelling substitute.


Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

Time4Learning

Articles by Sam Blumenfeld

The Whole-Language Boondoggle

High School for Freedom!

Dyslexia: The Man-Made Disease

Teach Reading to the “Learning Disabled”

Uncle Sam Wants Your Child on his National Database

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Teach Reading to the "Learning Disabled"

Homeschooling and Charter Schools

Homeschoolers and Vouchers

The History of Public Education

College At Home

Learning from The "Old Dead Guys"

The Meaning of Educational Freedom

The Importance of Rote Learning

The Exodus Continues

A World Without Public School

The Benefits of Teaching History at Home

How to Tell Real from Phony Phonics?

Getting Started in Arithmetic

Teaching Arithmetic

Teaching the Alphabet

Teaching the Alphabet Sounds

Teaching Blends

Teaching Long Vowels

The History of Geometry Education

Never Bored Again

Learning Greek

How and Why to Teach Shakespeare

How to Get the Most Out of Homeschool Conventions

Forgotten American History: The Barbary Wars

Forgotten American History: God's Providence in the American Revolution

Forgotten American History: The Spanish-American War

Forgotten American History: The Great Awakening

Forgotten American History: Puritan Education

Colonial Education: The Free Market in Action

America Started with Educational Freedom

How Harvard Became Liberal

The Glory of the Alphabet

19th Century Communists & the Origin of American Public Education

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

It Pays to Know Your Legislator

Intelligent by Design

Teaching Kids to Enjoy Classical Music

Before Compulsory Education: The Private Academies

What Schools Teach: Then and Now

The Real Meaning of Easter

The Truth About Independence Day

The Benefits of Reading Biographies

Why We Celebrate Veterans Day

The Purposes of Education

Why Homeschoolers Should be Book Collectors

How History Was Taught Back Then

The American Almanac: A Great Learning Tool

The Fun of Going to an Antiques Auction

Politics and Homeschoolers: A Primer

A Novel Suggestion

Who Wrote Shakespeare?

Why Homeschoolers Should Learn Public Speaking

The Presidency

Party Politics in the United States

The Road to an American Independent Nation

George Washington: Our First President's First Term

George Washington: Our First President's Second Term

Celebrating Flag Day

Popular Articles

A Reason for Reading

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Combining Work and Homeschool

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

The Benefits of Debate

Teaching Blends

Myth of the Teenager

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

University Model Schools

Whole-Language Boondoggle

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

How to Win the Geography Bee

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

The Gift of a Mentor

Teach Your Children to Work

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Start a Nature Notebook

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Classical Education

The History of Public Education

AP Courses At Home

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

Narration Beats Tests

Who Needs the Prom?

Phonics the Montessori Way

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

The Charlotte Mason Method

Shakespeare Camp

I Was an Accelerated Child

Laptop Homeschool

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Character Matters for Kids

Bears in the House

Critical Thinking and Logic

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

Getting Organized Part 3

Montessori Math

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps