Tuesday Morning Reflections, aka The Importance of Boredom

As roadschoolers, we often get questions about our educations. How do our parents manage it? Are we doing well? Are we actually being educated, or are we just scanning through random textbooks in a haphazard sort of way? These are great questions, and quite reasonable. In fact, I wrote an article about education and social interactions on the road, if you’d like to read more about that!

As you all know, it’s summer! Vacation time! Just like everybody else, I’m off school for a while. Three months, to be exact. When I decided not to sign up for the summer term online at Oregon State University, I had no idea this meant I’d have three whole months to myself. For the first four days, I rejoiced in my laziness. I didn’t have any projects begging for my attention, no freelance writing work I especially needed to get done, and above all, no school! I had nothing going, and nothing I particularly wanted to do except for bake, go on long walks on the beach, and read. But, in the proverbial words of a wise, wise man (aka Karl Pilkington), “Happiness is like cake. You have too much of it and you’ll get sick of it.”

I was getting sick of vacation. What is life without work? Without things to plan for, projects to work on, and problems to solve, our brains will get so saturated with relaxation that it becomes a burden instead of something to look forward to. To be precise, I was (and this is something I never am) bored.

And so, my projects started.

  • I began to work on a book with a friend and great mentor of mine, Dr. Jessie Voigts from Wandering Educators. It promises to be quite the adventure for both the characters in the story and for me, and I hope to publish it at some point.
  • I agreed to write book no. 2 in the Artzy Girlz, Inc. series with Jen Silver, and have been plugging busily away on that.
  • I discovered a few fantastic fiddle teachers on YouTube, and have been playing with recordings in Garageband. I’d like to put together a cd for the grandparents.
  • I’ve been playing around with photography (and yes, Ms. Tracy, thanks to you I know what an f-stop is ;) ).
  • And my latest interest, herbalism, has taken up quite a few late nights.

Unfortunately, traveling means that I’m not in one place long enough to experiment with drying herbs or preparing tinctures, but I’m learning all I can from online resources in the meantime. It’s fascinating! Plants have been used medicinally for all of recorded history! For example, around 5,000 years ago, the Sumerians created clay tablets with lists of hundreds of different kinds of medicinal plants. And in 1500 B.C. the Ancient Egyptians did something similar on the Ebers Papyrus, which is one of the most important manuscripts we’ve ever found. There’s a lot in it about medicinal herbs. There’s also some flawed ideas. Apparently the Ancient Egyptians didn’t understand what the kidneys were for, and decided that the heart was the center point for all the veins of the body, and that those veins contained every kind of fluid humans need/use/make, including spit, tears, blood, and urine. Which makes you wonder what we’re mistaken about when it comes to the human body today.

Many of the common drugs we use today (I’m talking about good drugs guys, settle down) come from various plants. Aspirin and quinine come to mind. And there are many people who make herbal remedies from home, using herbs they collect in the wild, or from their gardens, or even from the grocery store, interestingly enough. It’s amazing the things you can do with everyday plants! Cloves, lavender, peppermint, catnip and marigolds all repel mosquitos if you crush them or infuse them in an oil. Lemon balm and feverfew can be used to calm irritable babies, help to cure insomnia, dissipate migraines, treat flu, and heal wounds faster than they would heal on their own. Who knew?

Overall, my point is that education doesn’t just come from books.

Free time is just as important for our schooling as scheduled activities and courses. It gives us the ability to exercise our imaginations, to explore things on our own, and to learn about the things we take interest in. I think boredom is something that ought to be embraced. When you’re “bored” your brain has the opportunity to discover a new interest, or to come up with a fantastic new idea. As a rule, I never say that I’m bored. I think it’s an excuse for not finding something interesting to do. Have you ever noticed that people who claim to be bored can’t seem to get out of it, no matter what activity they’re handed? Boredom is a state of mind, which would be better replaced with imagination, and will be if you give it enough time. So, if you can, get bored! You never know what you’ll learn!

What happens when I get "bored."
What happens when I get “bored.”

7 Replies to “Tuesday Morning Reflections, aka The Importance of Boredom”

  1. Hannah,

    Although I retired in 2011, I’m not sitting in my rocker with my blankie! I’ve been busy with volunteer work and trying to launch my own company. I, too, have to have projects so that my mind doesn’t atrophy! Having said that, there’s nothing like just sitting on the banks of a creek for an afternoon listening to water run over rocks.

    What is the freelance work that you do?

    Re: Herbalism. My great-grandmother was a Cree who emigrated to Vermont from Quebec. She knew all about herbal medicine, and Mom used to go out to the woods with her to pick stuff. Unfortunately, Mom didn’t realize the value in it (she was only about 8 or 10 at the time), and she didn’t retain any of it. It’s always sad when knowledge gets lost, so I’m glad to see that you’re acquiring it.

    — Russ

    1. Hi Russ,

      Most of the freelance work I do has been as a travel writer, although there have been a few exceptions. I’m an editor at Wandering Educators, and also write for Travel Generation and Content Blvd, among other things. I started out with Teen Travel Talk, but they started getting heavier on advertisement blogs, and I hate writing cardboard, so I haven’t written there in a while.

      My great-great-grandmother was a Native American. We aren’t entirely sure what tribe she was from, but my great-grandmother swore it was Cherokee. Who knows?


      1. I started writing not-for-school things regularly when I was 14, and I’ve never stopped. (It appears that you and your siblings have beat me on starting early!) Best wishes for yours! — Russ

  2. edventuremama says: Reply

    Hehe. Nice one Chica. I had no idea you were delving into drugs! ;) Keep going!

  3. So excited, Hannah, to work and learn with you. I’m never bored, either.

  4. Nice picture Hannah!

  5. Someone once told me that if you have an active enough imagination you can never get bored for too long.

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