Sunday, September 14, 2008

What is wrong with that boy?

I've started reading the book The Trouble with Boys and it is highly interesting. I'm only in the 3rd chapter where they are still talking numbers but so far it is a very scary number game.

I remember being in elementary school when some news program (20/20, etc) did a story about how boys were called on twice as often in class as girls. From that day forward, I would test my teachers on random days to see if they were guilty of descrimination (none of them ever were) because by God, I deserved to answers as many questions as any 'stupid' boy. I was a staunch feminist. I was a big believer in "anything you can do, I can do better" I'm the girl in second grade who forced my teacher to make the boys were shirts at our spring picnic because I was hot too "and if they get to take off their shirts, then I will too" I distinctly remember the strides girls and women made in the fields of math and science during the early 90s. I remember some arguement about Barbie not having enough "smart" jobs and how they brought out scientist Barbie, vet Barbie, etc to serve as positive role models for girls. I remember all that so why, suddenly, am I concerned about the achievement of boys? After all, boys are tradtionally higher preforming so why is this an issue.

I'm concerned about boy achievement because now I have a boy who isn't achiving. He is consistantly behind in reading. He isn't interested in learning to read. He is interested in science and math. Specifically Chemistry. If things blow up or catch on fire he is all over it but he loves all types of science. Guess which subject they barely teach at school? They have a short science unit each quarter but it is late in the day and passed over if anything else runs long or if there is a half day. It also isn't interesting science. It is "seeds and plants" and "sun moon and stars". At least it is something but it could be so much better. Instead, kindergarten and first graders are being beaten over the head with sight words and take home books and all manner of other age inappropriate activities. His lack of reading achievement seems to be a pretty standard complaint of boy parent's. They mention the achievement gaps in reading and how it grows from 3rd and 4th grade through high school, where girls vastly outperform boys, repeatedly so obviously, this something other parents are dealing with.

I have many questions about this book. For example, it mentions that boys are more likely to be expelled from preschool than girls. Is this because boys aren't able to function is highly academic environments at that young of an age? Is it because (as anticdotal evidence suggests) that there are more boys enrolled in preschool? Hopefully, these questions, and others, will be addressed. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this book as I get further in it but so far I highly recommend it for parent's of boys. Even if your boys aren't in school yet, it is never a bad thing to know what you might expect when they get there.

While you wait for this book here is an article from the author on the problems of boys in school.


Misc said...

Have you tried reading the Captain Underpants books with him? Evan LOVES those books (they're pretty hilarious). Or what about chem (or other science) books geared for elementary kids?

Also, what about an after-school/weekend science camp at the Orpheum or Savoy Rec Center? That could give TB a science component that he's lacking at school. Evan digs science as well (his class is currently doing an insect unit).

I think that a lot of teachers don't understand that boys tend to learn differently from girls. They tend to be more tactile learners and need to get up and move around. Boys are more physically oriented than girls (I'm generalizing, you know). Since most teachers are female, they tend to teach toward what they know (sit still, etc.).

TB will be fine - you and RF are engaged parents who want the best for their child. There's nothing better for a kid than loving, involved parents.

~rachel~ said...

There was an article in the paper the other day talking about boy and girl only classrooms. It mentioned that boys are better w/ hands on learning and shouldn't be expected to sit still all day- where as girls do better with that stuff. It's pretty interesting stuff, I guess I should look into that book.

I started a new blog for all my crappy craftiness- and put up a page I did- check it out and feel free to critique me- I am still learning :)

~rachel~ said...

let me know if I did the credit thing right or not- please