Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the trouble with boys

Finn is a part time choonies, part time diaper kid these days and Henry is walking like a champ when ever he wants (not when we want mind you, when he does) and it has got me thinking about the boys growing up. We have been asked about Pre-school for the blond one and right now we aren't signing him up for anything. We are talking about it and doing some research here and there but we are in no hurry to start the whole school conditioning thing yet. I think I have written before about my dislike of school compared to Kate's enjoyment. While I was at the library there was a book on the new book pile called "The Trouble With Boys: A surprising report card on our sons, their problems at school, and what parents and educators must do" by Peg Tyler. This looked like it would be right up my alley, it could give me some good stuff to use when talking to Kate about school. The book is good and it rings true to me but it has had the effect of making me question it even more. I feel like these type of books are trying to convince you of one thing, and even if that is one thing I would be predisposed to agree with I immediately fight against it. Even with that push back there is a lot in here that resonates with me. i like this bit at the end of the chapter called Preschool Blues:

So if your thinking about preschool for your son, choose wisely. his earliest classroom experiences may shape the kind of learner he becomes. To get him ready for school, talk to him, rhyme with him, and sing with him. After kicking the soccer ball, take him to the library for story hour.... Make sure the school has some tolerance for "play violence" as long as classroom order is maintained. Make sure his daily schedule will include plenty of time and space for movement
I don't think I am one of those parents that needs his kid to start preparing for college before Kindergarten so a lot of the warnings in the book are lost on me. I want Finn to succeed but I want him to love to learn on his own and have that success come from a natural overflow of an already creative spirit. I wonder if I had that before school, like Finn does now. I am not sure what happened to me but over Easter we were looking through a box of old pictures and in it were some 2nd grade report cards where you could see I had already checked out. I was not trying and unmotivated. Not doing my homework and smart but didn't apply myself. The thing is I really do love to learn, I want to know more and explore and I am not sure that has just come later in my life. I think it was broken at one time and I don't want that to happen for Finn and Henry. I still don't have any real answers but we are thinking about this a lot right now, and really trying to think about in terms of Finn and not Finn and Henry. Maybe what will work for Henry will not work Finn and I think that as parents we want to be mindful of that. This parenting thing is super hard isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Kate has shared some of your concerns before about preschool, and I agree with your feelings of trying to find the right place. I also think that if skip preschool all together or you wait too much longer it will be a terrible adjustment to school that he will actually remember. I'm just being realistic. I think you will see the plus side of school way faster then you will see his crushed spirit or other things you are worried about. Schools are a lot different now, lots of time to run around and be rough, chop up things, build with tools, climb, swing, tumble, play with cars, build train tracks, learn letters, practice spelling and writing, along with learning to follow directions, comprehend questions, learn how to be a friend and take turns, learn about the community and how to be a "big kid". Anyways, I know you will make the best choice for Finn. I went to preschool for 3 years and am still in preschool now, and I don't thikn I turned out so bad :) Love ya, Em

JR said...

That does help Em, and yours is an opinion that I value. The one thing about you turning out well though is that you are a girl and the system is setup for girls to succeed. I think that you are right about it changing though and the key is finding a place that will be good for Finn. Thanks for the comment

Linsey said...

Not that this helps, but I vote for homeschooling! :-)

Jamie said...

I agree with Em. And I can speak for boys, as Chase and Ethan have attended and are attending Pre-school. They both have, to this point, enjoyed their school experiences and going to school has helped with the give and take of play. I truely believe that some form of a school setting (Preschool or Sunday school) is essential to help with the socialization of children. Even if you choose home schooling children need to be socialized through play for their own futures. Doug actually made it to the 5th grade before the school lost him as a productive, participative student. After that he went through the motions and graduated. But again, as Em says schools have changed. There is so much more learning by instructors about brain development and the difference between the male brain and the female brain. Observation is your friend. Make an appointment at several schools and just visit and observe. Watch how the teachers interact with the children, boys especially. Also look at Montessori schools and see if perhaps that style appeals to you. Interview the teachers and see how current their education is, with all the new research you'll want to make sure they are up on the newest research. Remember too he will have a hard time when he first starts to attend because he's never been, so someone may have to attend a few days with him or stay for awhile anyway. Parenting is very hard and sometimes in an effort to "make it better for our children" we make decisions based on history. I hope you can find a suitable school that makes learning part of the play.

Kyle said...

You said it, parenting is hard my man. I do as much research, investigation, preparation as I can for where Owen goes, who he hangs with, teachers, etc... So as fathers we certainly have to take that very seriously. But in the end I think we also have to have the humility to get to a point where we realize much of it is out of our hands. They are going to be influenced by people we don't want influencing them, they'll be teased by kids we wish we could have protected them from. I've experienced both already and you probably have too.

Realizing that, I know that the time I spend in prayer over my kids is as crucial as my research on the teacher's abilities. So if I'm doing more research than prayer I don't think I'm spending my time very wisely. Both are important, but ultimately I trust my kids to Jesus, ask for protection over my kids, wisdom in my parenting, and grace over my family.

Praying for you guys as you make some big parenting decisions. Love ya.

mom said...

as for your concerns, tom and i would add that mandy and heath didn't go untill they were 4, meg and kate when they were 3.and tom reminds me that is was only mon. wed. Friday, and then half days only. They all went to the church preschool,(including our inhouse expert Em!) usually because it was our cheapest option. but they all did really well there. including crazy chris compson! but ya know, I really agree with kyle, you need to pray for the guys, and then see what works out. You have beautiful boys who are already very well adjusted. they love people, they love to read, and they are learning eagerly! It will take major effort to mess them up now!
also, i remeber our friend jenny rodriegus, who always reminded us to pray for our kids' future spouses! See how well that turned out!! love kris

Anonymous said...

We go to a co-op preschool that is all about socialization (sp?) and play. Once a week, I "work" at the school, as do all the other parents, and there are different stations the kids can freely play at, the only structure is snack time and a "circle time" at the end, where we all sing a good bye song. I bet there's a hippy skippy school like that near you. Kids all learn to read at different times and they will, there's no need to push it at 3-5. you guys are brilliant and you're kids will be great too! now's the time for fun. You can find a preschool that reflects YOUR family's rhythm, good luck! (If you haven't already found something that is)
Oh, to resonate with Kyle, prayer often leads me to the next place and things "seem to pop out of nowhere."
much love to your little family !