Monday, July 25, 2011

School Links and a Tip For Boys

Ten Habits of a Happy Homeschool Lots of great ideas here. Take what works for you and leave the rest.

Michael Thompson on Teaching Boys This is written primarily for schools. I don't know much about the author, but I appreciated many of his insights into boys and education. Again, take what is helpful and pass on the rest.

And my 2 tips for teaching boys: 1)Move it right along. 2) Keep them moving.

With regard to number one, I often say,
"Read this as fast as you can."
"Stay on task."
"Let's get this done."
"You have two minutes to do that paper."
"Who's going to get done with their math first...ready, set, go!"

Statements like these might make it seem like I am rushing through the school work or even trying to just check the box and get it done. It might seem like they would miss things or get stressed from the pressure. Not true.

In this house of 4 young boys this is what works to motivate them and keep school fun. Boys seem to get sidetracked easily and want to saunter through the school day. But what they really want down deep is to get to the point and then be done with it. My boys love learning and they enjoy school. I think part of the reason for that is that I don't drag it out. I require them to stay focused and pay attention and then they get to run and play. When I say I require them to stay focused that does not mean that they do it perfectly every time. It means that I am constantly reminding them and bringing them back to focus. Little by little they get better and focus a little longer.

One of mine used to get very side tracked during his reading lesson. Now I tell him to read the sentence as fast as he can. It helps him to focus and keep the meaning of the sentence as a whole in his mind. Instead of reading a word and taking a break, he keeps it moving, keeps the momentum, and reads much better.

We learn things dancing around, singing songs, and doing hand motions. They love sitting on the couch watching me be really silly during a Classical Conversations memory song.

Competition motivates them to do just about anything. They can be poking around picking up our play room. If I come in and say, "Who can get it done first?" they all spring into action. The funny thing about that is that they are all working at the same thing and it is a bit hard to determine the winner! They usually don't ask who won, but the competition spurs them on.

Now for point number two...if they can't sit still and focus then we get up and do something! Do it with them and it will give you a burst of energy too!

Jumping jacks
Dance to an upbeat song
Run laps around the house
Punch the air like a boxer
Hop on one foot
Ring around the rosey
Duck duck goose
Run in place as fast as you can
Hokey Pokey
Skip around the couch
Jump on both feet as high as they can

I want the boys to be able to sit down and do their work for as long as it takes. Sometimes they just have to control themselves. But many times when they have the wiggles I realize that they have been sitting through bible, then reading, then math...they have not been up in a while. If I send them to move around in some way and give them a drink of water they usually come back ready to focus again. I also let them wiggle a little while I am reading aloud. They can build something quietly or fiddle with something in their hands. This actually HELPS them focus. Sometimes it takes all of their concentration to keep every part of their body still. If they don't have to focus on doing that then they are free to focus on the story I'm reading.

All these boys are going to conquer the world when they grow up! You don't want to take all of that "spirit" out of them. Teach them to control themselves and wait when they need to, but give them an outlet now and then for all of that energy. They will thank you for it!


Ginia said...

Great tips! I will definitely use these!!

Brandy said...

Thanks Ginia!