Below are 4 ways to provide time for productive interests. But before worrying about how to fit this into your already tight schedule, you’ll probably need to understand why you might want to make room.
Why to Provide Time for Productive Interests
Years ago, I read a book that really had an impact on our homeschool. The takeaway was that we needed to provide our children with time to simply play and be. This time was to be filled with their own interests.
If we found they were not using this time wisely, then we had an opportunity to train them to:
- Upgrade the activities they spent their time on.
- Help them wisely manage the hours they are given (a skill that we sorely need as adults).
- Inspire them to pursue those things that interest them.
- Help them to see that the word bored should never pass their lips!
There are also several goals here:
- To train our children to use their time wisely, as mentioned above.
- To allow our children to practice their skills on something they are already interested in, making use of the motivation within (think delight-directed).
- To help our children grow to understand that real learning isn’t confined to a certain part of the day, or to those things we think of as schooly, but occurs 24/7 for our entire lives.
- To give our children time to find their interest, invest their 10,000 hours, and pursue their life’s work.
How to Provide Time for Productive Interests
Providing room for productive interests and pursuits is really very simple:
- Create a block of time in your day where each child has time to himself. Don’t make it a large block in the beginning — just a half hour or so. As your child begins to use the time responsibly perhaps he can enjoy the privilege of having more than just a half hour to use productively.
- Help your child make a list of those things he is interested in — crafts, science kits, books, art, music, or any other projects he would like to work on. This is your opportunity to upgrade those interests — substitute a hands-on project for a computer game, for example.
- Make sure he has the necessary supplies to spend time with any project on the list he might choose.
- Each day during his half hour of free time, let him choose one activity from the list to work on.
You will soon find that his free time becomes his favorite — and most productive — time of the day!