Life Updates & Homeschooling!

20181005_164916

We’ve had a lot going on since school started!  We decided to start homeschooling with our oldest, to give him more freedom and a better environment to learn through adventure and doing.  His grades were excellent, all A’s and one 89 this last 9 weeks, but only getting to have 20 minutes for recess (which was sometimes not even outside if it was a little wet or cold), 25 for lunch, and sitting there for hours and hours just wasn’t working, he was starting to strongly dislike school – even though he was good at it!

I spent some time looking online to find if there were other boy moms who had solved this issue of their boys needing more time to play and learn through movement (and less teacher criticism), and found this woman’s amazing blog Building Boys!

Having 3 boys herself, Jennifer Fink intimately understands that being in the typical school environment, with all-female staff who sometimes don’t understand themselves how hard it is for boys and label them “problem children,” can break a boy’s spirit and make him not even want to try at academics in the later years.

Perhaps needless to say, spending seven hours in a day an environment that squelches his natural instincts and disrespects his interests has not exactly engendered a love of education in my lad.

Two years ago, his re-entry after winter break was so tough for him – and so heart-breaking for me – that I wrote a Washington Post essay worrying about the effects of school on his spirit. I wrote:

Re-entry after winter break has not been easy for him. The rules and restrictions of school – Sit Still. Be Quiet. Do What You Are Told, Nothing More, Nothing Less. – have been grating on him, and it shows. His teacher recently emailed me; she’d noticed a change in his behavior (more belligerent, less likely to cooperate) and wanted to know if there was anything going on at home.

My guess, I said, was that he was upset about having to be back in school after break. I was right.

The lack of movement and rigid restrictions associated with modern schooling are killing my son’s soul. (Read More Here)

On that note, switching to homeschooling has been AMAZING.  It’s like a night and day difference, too, with his attitude and emotions at night (he was starting to cry a lot, not wanting to go back the next day – just heartbreaking for us as parents not knowing what to do)!

But now his classes only last until lunch!  He gets to do a woodworking class that’s part of the curriculum I chose in which his OWN DAD is his teacher (he’s so stoked)!  He gets to actually learn an instrument in music class, instead of having to stand there for 45 minutes listening to a lecture and singing what he called “baby songs” (they really were nursery rhymes).  We even went on our first field trip this week as a family to the planetarium since we were studying about the earth, sun, and moon in our sciences classes this week!

And the best part???  Absolutely NO HOMEWORK!!!!!  No more having to do an hour of homework after he’s already been in school for 7 hours.  That hour, having to help him and sometimes re-teach him what they learned during the day so he could do it, was sooooo hard for our family.  The baby would often be screaming and wanting to be picked up or play with her oldest bubba, and our 2nd son would also be trying to play and distract him.  They love him so much, and just wanted to play with him a little before dinner.  Now, they get to play with him so much more, and it’s beautiful to see the creative games they’re coming up with that incorporates all of them together.

It’s also solved our problems with my husband’s schedule in that he was only getting to see our oldest for 1 hour in the mornings (he works afternoons through evenings and comes home after their bedtimes).  NOW our son gets to see him for 6-7 hours a day, and have him as a teacher!  The flexible and relaxed feel of teaching my own son is just incredible, how different from feeling pressured and anxious in having to force 20+ students to understand math concepts and move all at the same pace – I’m not sure how teachers handle that.

If anyone reading this has experience with homeschooling, please let me know!  I’m currently reading a couple of good books that are teaching me how to make it the best experience I’m able to, but I’d LOVE to hear from other families how it’s been (or even not) worked for them.  The good and the bad issues, what to expect in the future, etc.

Thank you for reading!

Stephanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Think Pink Boys!!!!!

My son has started Kindergarten this year, it is our first experience with having a child in the school system in America, and it has definitely been an interesting journey.  Although we’ve opted for a different kind of school than normal, one by several of our friends’ admissions, is more “boy-orientated,” as opposed to structured to favor more feminine behavior, my husband has been particularly upset by the still prevalent, undeniably female emasculation of boys.

To put more bluntly, our American schools seem like they’re doing everything they can to get our boys to become less masculine.  We are faced with the task of parenting boys (we have 2 now) who at every turn it seems, are being constantly told that they need to be less male.  To embrace the feminine.  That there’s nothing wrong with them misunderstanding their gender.  That they can in fact, undergo surgery to become a woman, and will be lauded as a hero.

So let me explain… we picked a school based on it’s prestige of focusing on science and technology.  Our friends who have or have had their boys in this school are extremely happy with it.  The school provides smaller classes and teachers that are more able to bend the “rules” to “allow” for the typical boy behavior (and documented scientific need) to move around in order to be able to actually learn what they need to. When the boys get older, they have the option of entering exciting things like Robotics Club, Lego Club, and even are able to experiment at such a young age at learning how to build real amazing rockets!  This school is great, and yes, my husband wanted more than anything for me to do all I could (turn in all the papers on time, fill out the online applications, etc) last year to be able to get him into it.

It started with my husband and I seeing that our son would receive a color to represent his behavior in school each day.  This is the color chart below… take a look and try to tell me that our schools (even schools geared towards boys!) aren’t trying undeniably to feminize our boys:

  • PINK = Outstanding
  • PURPLE = Great Choices
  • BLUE = Good Choices
  • GREEN = Ready to Learn
  • YELLOW = Warning
  • ORANGE = Consequence
  • RED = Parent Contact

The first day, and for the first month or so, our son hovered on Blue or Green, with one Yellow in the entire month.  Every day it became a discussion of him telling me that he really really wanted to get Pink… that he wanted to receive their treat at the end of the year for getting into their Pink & Purple Club Party.  He stressed about it, and each day when he saw he had Blue or Green, he was disappointed in himself.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for rating behavior to some degree, schools need to give kids feedback on where they’re at.  At my elementary school, you know in the 90’s (holla!), we had a simple traffic light model that was used in class.  Red, Yellow, and Green, with Green being the best behavior.  My husband and I were angry and frustrated that the top two colors were Pink & Purple.  He wanted to know who came up with that “idiotic idea,” and even the teacher doesn’t exactly know.  It might seem silly to be upset or frustrated at such a small thing, but for our son, this is a major objective (and frustration) in his little life right now.  The goal of getting into that ever flippant Pink zone of outstanding behavior, and the lure, as well as the terror that is not being invited to the Teacher’s Pink & Purple Party.

We were walking in a mall recently, looking around at the shops and spotted a girl’s clothing boutique.  Guess what the name was?  I’ll give you two guesses…

Pink. &. Purple.

No kidding?

You don’ t say?

Well my my… I guess girls really DO hands down almost always love and prefer those two specific colors. But what about boys?  Do you ever see a boys’ clothing store named “Pink & Purple?

Unless there’s some strange attempt at a popular homosexual clothing line that I’ve somehow missed up until now, I believe no such thing exists.

It’s been documented before, many times, that the schools at least here in America are desiring boys to be more feminine in behavior… and not just because girls are easier to manage for the teachers, but as you can clearly see with this color chart even, the feminine behavior is now deemed The Ideal.

The problem with teaching boys that their behavior, their innate, God-given masculine behavior, is undesirable, is that it creates a horrible dilemma inside our boys that wants to reject everything they deem masculine now and in their future.  

If the feminine is held up as the golden standard of perfection, then the masculine is automatically falling short.

This self-rejection (or even self-hatred) of their masculinity lasts far beyond their elementary education, and the damaging effects to our society as we produce more and more effeminate men, paired with our girls being pushed to be more aggressive, controlling, pushy, bossy, spoiled, and sexually promiscuous, we end up having an extremely tumultuous society.

I’ve written before about the “crisis” boys are facing in our culture and especially the school system, our church did a sermon on it that you can find here.

Oh… and my son finally got that elusive Pink.  We were happy that he had such great behavior, but again, what on earth is this teaching him?