09 June 2011

Separating the Boys from the...Girls?

Aedyn decided he wanted to do some artwork/crafts today. Now he normally will draw or write, but today he actually asked to do a project kit I had in our school box (where we store all of our paper, scissors, etc.). then he asked to paint. So we did. They weren't big projects, but he actually paid attention and enjoyed them for about 15 minutes each. When you're a very active 2 year-old little boy that's a big deal!

It got me started thinking about when I might try to actually schedule in some structured "learning time." Even as I thought that, I corrected myself in my head. He's 2. Pretty much everything he does is learning time!

Jake and I have discussed and rediscussed schooling. Pre-school or not? 2-day, 3-day, or 5day? Kindergarten? Kindergarten isn't compulsory in many states. Un-schooling? Home schooling? Curriculum is definitely not cheap! Private school? Pretty pricey going that route too. Public School? Magnet school? Montessori? Charter school?
Who knew you had so many options? What we've concluded is that we'll wait until it's time. Next year we'll discuss pre-school, in 3 years we'll discuss Kindergarten.

But something has stuck with me since Aedyn was 3 weeks old. A news story I first heard in St Louis, that was then picked up by the Today Show (you can view the Today Show segment here). Same sex classrooms. The boys get physical activity, they can stand or sit on stools or in a tent. Girls curl up on bean bags and work in groups. Test scores are higher. Both genders more confident and successful. And guess what, the boys that can't sit still are diagnosed as being young boys, not mentally ill (Heads up, ADHD IS a mental illness, sorry if that's not exactly PC, but it is true).

Painting with water on construction
paper, mostly mess-free!
I want that for him! I want him to be a boy, I want him taught like he is a boy. An article I read in a parenting magazine a few months back even talked about finding a preschool that was boy-friendly or had teachers with experience teaching boys. (Goodness knows I wish I remembered the title of the article or at least which magazine it was!)

Are there some drawbacks? I'm sure there are. He will have to interact with the fairer sex at some point before he gets married after all. But as a whole I like the idea.

We've become a society that thinks that anything other than mediocrity is wrong. That teaching a child at his or her ability level is discriminatory. Heaven forbid we have an accelerated classroom so we don't lose our brightest students to boredom and resulting delinquency. Or a remedial class where no child has to feel like they are the only one who doesn't understand; so they need a little more explanation and help...GIVE IT TO THEM!

What if we actually taught girls to cash in on their abilities to multi-task and find connections and new solutions to problems, and taught boys to use their spatial relations skills and ability to focus on a problem and solve it! Instead of telling everyone that they are the same and that it's not ok to be exceptional, why don't we let them do what they're good at?

I don't have all the answers, but I do know that wherever Aedyn and Jaron end up for schooling, their teachers will know how to teach boys.

I'm raising men here, not genderless blobs, so please don't treat them that way.

Please comment with your thoughts and opinions! I know that this can be a pretty controversial topic. And be sure to follow on Facebook or Twitter so you don't miss any other Milk Bubbles that might make your day just that much more special!

P.S. Check and see where single sex classrooms are available in your state here!


  1. I read a very old article recently by a homeschooling mom whose point was, if we waited to teach skills and information to our children as they show readiness for them, most of the "labels" that exist now in schools would disappear. As mom to a 4-year-old who has an impressive alphabet soup of acronyms attached to him (which are real and appropriate when he is compared to his peers) I think about this a lot. His issues are severe enough that I believe intense intervention is warranted, but it still must be tailored to his readiness and his personality (which involves his gender), using his interests and his strengths to address deficits and difficulties.
    I have also felt vindicated recently about my decision last year to hold off on formal instruction for my other son, now 5 and a half. Again and again in the past 3 months he has laid my fears to rest by picking up skills (such as spelling and reading and writing)effortlessly, not because I made him sit and do it, but because he was finally ready to and interested in doing it. After feeling judged and criticized for his lack of fine motor skills or understanding of phonics at age 4, I am now doubly confident in the wisdom of tailoring instuction to each child according to their God-given bent. Kids are eager learners when you follow their lead. This doesn't mean my sons get to decide what they will and will not learn. It does mean I will decide (or carefully choose teachers who will decide) how and when they learn it by discerning their readiness for it and by presenting it in the way they can best master it.
    For now, this means one child is in public developmental preschool every morning and the other is homeschooled. Next year, we'll see. I appreciate your thoughtful post, Heather!

  2. This is so cool! Do we have same sex classrooms in Florida?! I haven't forgotten to email you! I just finished pushing out a review & giveaway today so I neglected my emails! Tomorrow I shall. <3

  3. @Natural Momma

    We do have more than I thought we would, I edited the post to include a link that has listings for each states. The Tampa area actually has quite a few (which I'm THRILLED about).

    No rush on the email, it's looking like we won't be able to move over until early September, but I want to stay in touch and keep it on my radar for when we do get over there!

  4. Going to the link, now! <3 Thank you!

    My oldest starts Pre K this year, so I am actually going to be looking at schools soon!

  5. i LOVE what you are saying about letting kids be exceptional. My mom (who is a teacher) has mentioned this many times, how there is so much money in public schools diverted to remedial classes that gifted programs and AP classes fall by the wayside. That is no way to raise a generation that will excel and lead in the future. I am so scared to do everything the best way I can for Logan because of the fact that I have to work full time. I feel like he is getting cheated and being dumbed down with the masses already. I will have to look into same sex classes or private schooling or SOMETHING for him here when the time comes... I have to do better for him than mediocrity! :(


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