A few weeks ago I went to a home-school seminar weekend put on by the NCHEA for Nebraska Home schoolers. I had heard mixed reviews of this conference, but wanted to go any way, since next year we'll head into year 2. I wanted some encouragement, and to learn more about it, legally, from people who have been there, done that. I was blown away with the speakers. The tips, encouragement, and confirmation I felt was incredible and I can't wait to go next year. Not only that but I found a number of things curriculum and game-wise that I bought for the kids as an investment, and they've all paid off thus far. There is an option to buy cds of each speaker (7 per hour, 7 hours per day, 2 days) and I bought the three that I liked the best and could loan out to others who were interested.
My favorite speakers, of whom I went to three times over the weekend, was Andrew Pudewa. He was funny and engaging, and his speech titled, "Trying to Teach Boys Who Just Want to Build Forts All Day" was incredible and blew me away. I actually thought the title was a misnomer, since he talked less about the practical side of teaching boys, and more about the reasons behind why boys and girls are different: neurological, physiologically, mentally...I think I took about 6 pages of notes and wrote down the book he was mostly discussing...Why Gender Matters by Dr. Leonard Sax. I checked out the book right away and WOW! I was enthralled. I finished it in a few days and I will be buying this book simply to re-read when need be and also to loan out.
History about the book...you may have wondered what I was getting at yesterday but the fact is this: our children are completely over-stimulated, over-scheduled, over-medicated, and overly...BORED. Dr. Sax recognized that he was getting a lot of schools requiring him to make assessments of more and more kids who were thought to be ADHD, and [the schools] thought they needed prescription drugs to calm this effect. Dr. Sax, on the other hand, sent almost all of them back with notes saying, "Nope...it's just a boy!" and from there his book begins...
With the feminist culture heavily influencing "old" social norms, and the very new idea of replacing gender differences with the mantra "Everyone is equal"...our boys have been on a down-slide in academia (the girls are harmed in other ways, mainly social pressures) and our school system is really struggling because kids don't care anymore: Learning is not fun. Learning is not engaging. Learning can't even get you a job! And look at all the money and time and energy you have to spend doing it!
The reasons, however, are more than just equality in the classroom. The reasons are more subtle, common, and un-taught than that...boys can't hear as well as girls.
There is a boy messing around in the back of the room, drumming his fingers, looking at the walls, or falling asleep. This kid doesn't have ADHD, he simply can't hear* the [usually female] soft spoken teacher at the front of the room, and he probably didn't get enough sleep last night.
Boys also don't see color as well or as vibrantly as girls do*, and not only that, males follow speed and motion over females' preference of color and texture. ALL of this plays out in a classroom like this: Boy makes crazy drawing of a spaceship exploding into a black mess and girl draws a nice picture of a house and her family with many colors. Which one will the teacher react more positively to? Yeah...that's kind of a no-brainer, huh?
How about this (taken from book) experiment: 100 newborns were placed in a crib and to one side was a moving mobile and the other side of the crib had a [real] woman's smiling face. 100% of the male newborns looked at the mobile and 100% of the females responded to the face. Incredible!
Of course I am just giving a short teaser of this book, and I'll talk a little bit more about it tomorrow in how females and males respond differently to stress and risk, but I really encourage you, if you're ever around people of the opposite sex OR you're a teacher OR you're a parent....READ THIS BOOK....
To be continued....
* information taken directly from book where studies/gene differences/etc. are listed extensively
**click picture for photo credit