My hands-on son has shown an interest in motors and cars since he was very small. But we have never had anything for him to work on other than a broken bread maker last year. And I could tell right away that what he really needed was a real engine motor. But we live in suburbia and there's no way we could get him an old car to tinker on - we just don't have the space.
Then one day it occured to me that we do have some space in our garage just for an engine without a car attached. So I put an ad on craigslist under "items wanted" asking anyone who has a spare motor lying around if they'd like to donate it to a homeschooler's future. I really didn't think I'd get any responses but to my utter amazement, a man who owned his own engine repair/rebuilding shop responded to the ad and told us that if it really was for a kid and not a "scrapper" he'd love to help. Well praise God! My husband took both our sons on the hour drive to the man's shop to pick out the motor and they had a great time and our son expressed his gratitude to his dad for taking him and the man's generosity in giving him a motor.
So now, our son has a small engine motor (from a lawn edger) to work on. His first task is to completely dismantle and take apart the engine and then rebuild it piece by piece. He will learn all about how motors work this way and will have hours of fun doing it. My husband said that they can use it to build a go kart someday, too.
He's going to share the experience and work so his older brother will get to learn about motors, too. But the motor will still "belong" to our younger son and I'm sure he'll enjoy the feeling of being the one "copied" now. I can't wait to see the beaming joy on my son's face when he comes in the house looking like a grease monkey to tell me about his engine conquests.
When we give our children real things to do, they are preparing for real life. Video games have no real life preparation and I'm thankful beyond words that they are not in our home. They had a brief stint years ago after xbox first came out and I watched as my husband and sons time was literally being sucked into a vacuum of vicarious, surreal UNreality. It was really disturbing how quickly that happened.
Then one day, I prayed that the Lord would please remove that from our home. I wanted to take a sledge hammer to it, but I knew the Lord prefers that "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Phil 4:6)
Shortly thereafter, the xbox broke. I was stunned that the Lord would answer my heartfelt cries and do something that dramatic! My heart leapt with joy and thanksgiving! That thing and it's games were finally out of our life for good and have never returned.
After that, our family took up golf together and our games went back to the old fashioned ones like chess. It's been 5 years now and we've grown closer ever since. Plus, I think our sons I.Q. levels have sky rocketed, their appreciation for the "little" things has increased and they are calmer.
If you've wondered how to keep your boys busy, pray and ask the Lord what to do. Look around for real life things they can spend their time doing. The rewards will be worth all the effort.