Sunday, April 7, 2013

unschooling is stalling out.  chana wants to go to school.  she is bored.  she is emotional.  she wants more friends.

part of this is her age.  the burst of hormones rushing through the bloodstream (if that's even scientifically accurate) is plenty for any human being to deal with.  but it's more than that.  this is the same age that sarah began to feel unhappy with homeschooling, too.  at the time, i thought it was because she had 2 close friends, and one of them moved away and the other went to school.  chana has a really nice social group, but no intimate friends that are girls.  i think that is what she is searching for.  and she is correct that it will be easier to find that in school than out of school.  i tried a variety of extracurricular activities and camps to help sarah meet girls at this age.  she socially integrated easily, but didn't make close friends (though it turns out, throughout her high school years, she was acquainted with a wide variety of people in various situations from these attempts).

is this a socialization issue?  is this just the age?  it's looking like it  won't be the best choice to homeschool chana for high school, either.  sometimes i think that for homeschooling to work best, it's great to have a few neighbors also homeschooling, with kids roughly your children's ages, so that they can happily play and play and play.

but to address the boredom issue.  chana still has 2 years left until high school.  although i think she would be able to tolerate sitting in class, it's something i'd prefer her to avoid.

i wonder if it's the unfurling spring that is causing her to to have a surge of energy that causes yearning inside her that she doesn't know how to answer.  sure, if she were in class for 8 hours a day plus some more time for homework she wouldn't be bored, but would that be addressing what she is looking for? but what IS she looking for?

i'm feeling like maybe it's time for me to not be so hands-off with her education.  every time i ask her if she wants to do something "educational," she vehemently says that is not what she wants.  in general, i don't really like organizing projects or hands-on activities. but chana doesn't learn anything from lectures, doesn't enjoy watching videos for information, doesn't like to read for information.  how will she get the idea that the world is an exciting, interesting place with many things to explore if she doesn't want to do the classic things people do to get information?  bear in mind, i've brought her to many museums and hand-on science classes, and she only enjoyed a small percentage of them.

but who is better equipped than i am to find activities that are perfectly designed for her temperament and interest?  i am thinking about making a list of possible activities to do when she is bored.  i feel like she would like to do something creative, hands-on, social, that expands her mind.  maybe i need to participate more in her activities for a while.

i read a book to you
we go to the pet store
we go to MoMA
we go to a science museum to play with the exhibits
we go to a zoo
we make a playdate
we choose something to all sit around and draw
we read some navi and maybe make a video about it or a cartoon
play with prisms
see if an avocado seed or a bean or a potato can grow if we put it in water
diet pepsi and mentos
play with chalk outside
make a sundial
make a sun print with construction paper
look for origami paper and make something
try to make an egg float
see what happens when you put oil and water together
try to make quicksand
try to stab a potato with a straw
make music with water and glasses
make invisible ink
hold a glass of water upside down and it won't spill (hopefully!)
make a kind of lava lamp
blow up a balloon without your mouth
make a parachute
make water travel by itself from one glass to another
make lemonade fizzy drink
(i took those last bunch from an easy looking site:

i'll let you know how she reacts to this list.


  1. Dr. Emily Amie Witty suggests:
    There is the notion of service learning usually for high school students but also middle schoolers. It's where the students give back somehow to the community thereby improving their own self-esteem and feeling like they matter. Maybe add some service-learning-type-activities to the list?

  2. i got a good reaction! chana was excited about just about every item on this list! she felt these would be perfect if she is looking for something to do.