Friday, April 18

Day 3 - Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day

Okay, who knew that boys were actually different from girls? I knew that there were some differences going into this workshop, but never knew that the differences were so extreme.
The speaker at this workshop was Andrew Pudewa.
First of all, a doctor named Leonard Sax completed a study about 20 years ago listing the profound neuro-physiological differences between boys and girls. He then wrote a book about it called:
Why Gender Matters?
Some of the things that Dr. Sax found in his studies were that boys don't hear as well as girls. Males in general have a hard time hearing "soft" sounds well. Not only did he study older boys and men, but newborns as well. Even newborn boys were unable to respond to very soft sounds, unlike the newborn girls, who were able to hear them.
Dr. Sax found that boys and girls do not see the world in the same way. Girl's process color and texture with more intensity than boys. Boys' perception of the world is through speed and motion. Girl's see the world using (Nouns); Boys see the world using (Verbs).
Another study Dr. Sax performed was pain endurance. Boys and girls experience pain at different levels. According to the study, boys tend to get a surge of adrenaline from a bit of pain, giving them endurance to sustain more pain. Girls are able to forget pain, but feel pain with more intensity. This is why women are able to give birth multiple times, and boys (men) thrive on watching races, wrestling on the floor, hunting, fighting, etc. They thrive on action.

There are a lot of things in a classroom that can make a boy not want to learn. There is a label of laziness that tends to be placed on boys, when it comes to learning. Here are some hard honest facts that prove that boys are not lazy. Yeah, I had to see this one to believe it also.
One of the problems boys have with learning is simply the temperature of the room. It is very hard for males to concentrate in extreme heat. The optimal temp. environment is around 68 degrees for boys, where as the optimal temp. environment for girls is around 74 degrees.
The next problem boys face is organization. Boys (males) are not able to multi-task. The study showed that boys that were given one assignment at a time, before another was given, performed better than those given a days worth of assignments to accomplish. A checklist of assignments can also help the boy keep organized.
Another problem Dr. Sax examined was movement. Have you ever noticed that boys have a hard time sitting for long periods of time? That they rock in their chair, and fidget around? It's because boys need to move. The study showed that boys focus better standing up, than sitting down. (This is something my husband and I discussed at great lengths, and he agreed, that he does focus better standing, as do our boys. This has motivated us to purchase a different kitchen table, that is taller, and has taller chairs.) If you have a breakfast bar, or counter top, let your boy work standing up, and see if they are able to focus better. We, on the other hand, do not have room in our kitchen to build a counter top bar, so purchasing the new table and chairs will do the trick. Our table is really old, and needs replacing anyway.
HOW TO MOTIVATE YOUR BOY (or Girl) to learn.
The 3 Laws of Motivation:
1. Children LIKE to do what they CAN do.

2. Children WANT to do what they THINK THEY CAN do. (Something has to be relevant in order for them to want to learn it.)

3. Children HATE to do what they THINK THEY CANNOT do. ( A repeated failure experience will make them think they cannot do it.)

The 4 Forms of Relevancy
1. Intrinsic Relevancy - These are things of interest that are instinctive, or they are born with. This pertains to such things in boys, as weaponry. Even if you keep your boy from playing with guns and knives, eventually they will find a way to make one out of something. This I have found to be true with my boys. I find them making guns and swords out of math blocks all the time. No one showed them how, it was just instinctive. Anyway, this is why unit studies are good for boys.
I did a unit study on WWII with my boys earlier this year, and if you asked them what their favorite part of the unit study was, they would say that it was when they were learning to rip bandages out of sheets, and bandage the wounded. (See photos above) No one taught them to feel this way, they instinctively knew that they liked it, and continued bandaging each other the rest of the day, inventing gruesome scenarios to go along with it.
(Note: not everything can have intrinsic relevancy.)
2. Inspired Relevancy - This is where an idea or a bit of knowledge can be transferred to the child through the excitement of the person who is teaching. We all remember a favorite teacher. One who made going to school fun. This was a teacher who made learning interesting through her excitement of the subject. This is why good books are hard to put down. The excitement of the author is portrayed through the pages, and therefore transferred to you, making you excited too.
3. Contrived Relevancy- In other words- Form a Coop. Do you have a friend who is inspired by something? Woodworking, mechanics, sewing, knitting, etc...? Have them host a coop for your homeschool group. Their love for the subject, will inspire your children in subjects , where you are unable.
4. Enforced Relevancy - These are subjects that are required, and must be taught. In other words, forced learning. Forced learning, however, does not have to be boring. Boys love to win, and love learning games. For example: Your son has written his narration of a required book, but you notice that there are many spelling errors in the narration. Instead of checking every word with a big red check mark (which will make your son not want to write so much next time) try playing a game with him to find the misspelled words. Tell him that there are ten misspelled words in his narration. If he finds all ten, then he gets a dollar. If he finds 9, he gets 90 cents; 8, 80 cents; if he only finds 5, he owes you 10 cents, if he finds none, he owes you a dollar.
There must always be a positive and negative when playing a game with boys. There has to be a clear cut winner, and a clear cut loser. (Hard for us mom's who love fairness to accept, but this is what they thrive on.) Encourage boys to look in a dictionary for correct spelling of words, etc...
I have found that this also works for math, and my 2 boys thrive on trying to beat mom out of anything. I don't condone paying our children to do school work, and if this bothers you, you can use another incentive.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Just stopping in to say hi to another Ambleside mom!

Have a blessed day... hope you're feeling all better now!