Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Boys

The book I'm currently reading is, Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men by Leonard Sax.  I'm not finished yet, just about half-way through, but I'm really enjoying it.  It's got great research as well as practical suggestions as to what to do with the results of that research.  Plus, it's proving my pet-theories right.  (And who doesn't like that?)

For instance, we delay formal academics with our children.  They learn and experience a lot as young children, but we don't do a lot of sitting and writing activities.  I don't even begin to push learning to read until they are at least seven.  (Radical, I know.)  It never seemed worth the herculean effort it would take over the course of many, many months when we could accomplish the same things quickly and easily if we just waited a bit.  Plus, then, when one of them learns something quickly, he or she feels as though they are really smart.  (Which they are.)  So I loved reading a paragraph such as this:

"How could starting kids in school two years later [Dr. Sax is referring to an earlier section where he discusses how Finnish schools do not begin until age 7, yet Finnish children consistently out perform US children on standardized tests {for what standardized tests results are worth - e}] lead to superior performance when those children become teenagers?  Simple.  If kids start school two years later and are taught material when they are developmentally prepared to learn, kids are less likely to hate school.  If kids don't hate school, it's easier to get them to learn.  If kids do hate school, as many American boys do, then the teacher is starting out with a major handicap before even stepping into the classroom."

There have also been some really interesting bits about the need for personal experience in order to really learn something... just reading something in a book does not promote the same depth of learning that actually experiencing something does.  Once again, it's better for a child to follow a parent around the house, helping, exploring, touching, getting messy, and then playing these same experiences out on their own in their free time, than it is to structure a day with outside activities which may or may not accomplish the same things but at greater cost -- both to family life and general expense.

Do you have boys?  Read the book, even you homeschoolers.  It may have it's focus on improving how schools serve boys, but there is an awful lot in it about how children learn in general and the differences between male and female brains.  Its a fascinating read.

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Blizzard up-date:  Yes, it really came, thunderstorms and all.  The winds last night were pretty fierce.  Our roof is still on the house, we are still warm, and the children have already been outside playing this morning.  Some of the drifts are as high as TM.  Still snowing.

3 comments:

HomeSchool Mommy said...

The blizzard hit us this week, too (Oklahoma). There is SOOO much snow and it's SOOOO cold. We haven't even played it in yet because the wind chill is so low.

Have you read 'Better Late than Early'? It's a book all about starting formal academics later. We also have a developmental opthlamologist near us who did a conference on this issue. He presented a lot of information about our physical health being increased by delaying formal academics. He really stressed how important it is to play outside for as long as possible every, single day. He also suggested 7-9 years old as the start of reading age and 9-12 as the start of worksheet work.

We homeschool so we enjoy waiting as long as possible on things.

His Hands His Feet Today said...

This is how I tend to school as well!

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

This sounds like a good read, I am always interested in these types of books. I think our school system does such a disservice to so many boys. I am amazed at how much my big boys like to help around the house, in the kitchen, laundry etc. Thanks for sharing!

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