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    teaching boys

    Do you teach your boys differently than you teach your girls? My boy is my youngest, with 2 older sisters. In talking with my husband about some struggles our son is having with school, my husband suggested that maybe I should be teaching our son differently. He wasn't sure how. ;-) What has been your experience? Do you present material differently to boys vs girls?

    (I have heard Andrew Pudewa's talk about boys/girls and I've read the Sax book that talk is based on.)
    Melanie
    2021-2022: 13th year homeschooling. 8th MP year.

    A, 12th grade: online classes with MPOA and TPS
    E, 10th grade: 10th grade core; math with MPOA, biology at co-op
    B, 7th grade: 7th grade core; math and comp with MPOA

    #2
    Hi Melanie!

    Such a question! And yes, I would definitely agree that there are differences. I love the Pudewa talk, but I have not read the book that you mentioned.

    As my sig lists, we had one girl, then a boy, then five girls in a row, before capping off with two boys. So, the girl side of things I know *oh so well*. But having a teenage boy thrown in there, and then a fourteen year gap before having another little guy running around, it has been fun to be reminded of the distinct differences that exist between the two. It is eery how similar little man Michael is to his big bro; he brings back so many memories.

    For us, what I notice is that boys have a quick first impression that is usually not the best. I.e. you have to give them simmering time. If you try to go too deep too fast, they won't get there. So for example, we usually don't have good conversations about a literature book until about 2/3 of the way through the book. There's just not enough "meat" for them to discuss until we have gotten that far, and it seems rather pointless until you are much closer to the end. I have come to expect that that is normal. - at least for our guy. We still go through the work, and I still try to encourage openness of mind, but it seems like it takes a really long time for him to get there. Girls, on the other hand, tend to have more of that openness right off the get-go. They seem to put themselves in other people's shoes really easily and take to nuance better. My boys are as literal as the day is long and have little patience for what falls outside the black and white - at least, at first.

    With that being said, my older boy does grasp the understanding of what mathematical concepts actually mean in a way that is more thorough than my girls. My girls will learn algorithms well, and can hold their own in advanced math, but not with the same level of conceptual depth as my son. My girls seem to get the "people stuff" better than my boy, while my boy tends to get the "abstract set-up and forces of the universe" stuff better than my girls.

    What that means for how I teach them is that I have to encourage each of them to grow in the areas that are hardest for them to do on their own. With my girls, the questions and help they need from me are always about math and science. They never ask about a problem they are having with literature - principally because they don't seem to struggle with it at all. And it is vice versa with my boy. He never needs help with math or science; or if he does, he looks on Kahn academy. But it is the areas of literature and classical studies that require a lot more of my time and patience...to help him step outside his own experience and impressions to consider something larger, something more universal. It's not a pleasant thing for him, and is often a grumpy experience. BUT...then he will have something to say to encourage one of his sisters that shows that he did in fact internalize the lessons we talked about and we did make progress....just not anything pleasant in the moment of the lesson itself!

    HTHs,
    AMDG,
    Sarah


    2020-2021
    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
    DS, 17
    DD, 15
    DD, 13
    DD, 11
    DD, 9
    DD, 7
    +DS+
    DS, 2

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Melanie!

      Such a question! And yes, I would definitely agree that there are differences. I love the Pudewa talk, but I have not read the book that you mentioned.

      As my sig lists, we had one girl, then a boy, then five girls in a row, before capping off with two boys. So, the girl side of things I know *oh so well*. But having a teenage boy thrown in there, and then a fourteen year gap before having another little guy running around, it has been fun to be reminded of the distinct differences that exist between the two. It is eery how similar little man Michael is to his big bro; he brings back so many memories.

      For us, what I notice is that boys have a quick first impression that is usually not the best. I.e. you have to give them simmering time. If you try to go too deep too fast, they won't get there. So for example, we usually don't have good conversations about a literature book until about 2/3 of the way through the book. There's just not enough "meat" for them to discuss until we have gotten that far, and it seems rather pointless until you are much closer to the end. I have come to expect that that is normal. - at least for our guy. We still go through the work, and I still try to encourage openness of mind, but it seems like it takes a really long time for him to get there. Girls, on the other hand, tend to have more of that openness right off the get-go. They seem to put themselves in other people's shoes really easily and take to nuance better. My boys are as literal as the day is long and have little patience for what falls outside the black and white - at least, at first.

      With that being said, my older boy does grasp the understanding of what mathematical concepts actually mean in a way that is more thorough than my girls. My girls will learn algorithms well, and can hold their own in advanced math, but not with the same level of conceptual depth as my son. My girls seem to get the "people stuff" better than my boy, while my boy tends to get the "abstract set-up and forces of the universe" stuff better than my girls.

      What that means for how I teach them is that I have to encourage each of them to grow in the areas that are hardest for them to do on their own. With my girls, the questions and help they need from me are always about math and science. They never ask about a problem they are having with literature - principally because they don't seem to struggle with it at all. And it is vice versa with my boy. He never needs help with math or science; or if he does, he looks on Kahn academy. But it is the areas of literature and classical studies that require a lot more of my time and patience...to help him step outside his own experience and impressions to consider something larger, something more universal. It's not a pleasant thing for him, and is often a grumpy experience. BUT...then he will have something to say to encourage one of his sisters that shows that he did in fact internalize the lessons we talked about and we did make progress....just not anything pleasant in the moment of the lesson itself!

      HTHs,
      AMDG,
      Sarah
      2020-2021
      16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
      DS, 17
      DD, 15
      DD, 13
      DD, 11
      DD, 9
      DD, 7
      +DS+
      DS, 2

      Comment


        #4
        Hey Melanie!

        I have four boys followed by three girls. I wouldn't say that I've taught them differently, but I would say that school is intrinsically different with girls than it is with boys. Generally speaking, the girls seem to understand things easier, they're happier to gather around for group subjects, and they tend to be more attentive (depending on personality).

        Your boy is in 6th...I wonder if his struggles are related more to "7th-grade-itis" than the way you're teaching.

        This condition is most severe in boys and, despite its name, usually starts around age 11 and runs until they're about 14. We've been through it 4 times now. Two are through it, one just got out of it, and the fourth seems to be over the worst of it. Symptoms:
        • they think they know more than they actually do, so they see no reason for you to exist as their teacher.
        • They think they have everything under control, so they see no reason to follow a plan.
        • They have far more interesting things to do, so they see no reason to spend more than the minimum amount of time on school each day (if that)
        If this sounds like what you're dealing with, here are the things that helped us most: 1) clear expectations: this work, this day, by this time, 2) clear boundaries: if the expectations aren't met, these are the consequences, and 3) dad's consistent involvement as "principal" so your young man knows you're not the only one in the game. My husband would back me up on difficult days, review/discuss their planners when they needed a "come to Jesus" talk, etc. I know some dads will even teach a subject or two at this stage.

        If this doesn't sound like your son, ignore all the above. If it does, I hope this helps!
        Last edited by jen1134; 10-23-2020, 06:33 PM.
        Jennifer
        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

        2021-2022
        DS18: Almost done!
        DS17: MP, MPOA
        DS15: MP, MPOA
        DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
        DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
        DD9: SC3
        DD6: MPK

        Comment


          #5
          I agree. During my time teaching tenth grade, many of my male students were more playful, off-task, and bare-bones in their submitted assignments. They openly voiced their disapproval of the material we were covering (decrying it as boring, useless, etc). I think that part is very normal and needs to be addressed once.

          I also grew up watching my dad speak to large groups of soldiers, predominantly men, and his incorporation of humor, passion about his topic, and playful ribbing always captured the attention of his audience. He was an electric speaker. If you've ever read old speeches made by military officers, there is so much to glean from how commanders speak to their troops. It's a process of establishing authority, camaraderie, and trust...and then come the orders...and then comes the follow-through.

          I try to incorporate humor, highlight comic ironies, and dramatically reenact scenes from books I read with my eldest (albeit a girl). I'm much more likely to resort to humor with my ~7yo boy as means of diffusing his frustration and reestablishing my authority to get a task done. And I know I'll be relying on my dear husband in the later years. He's always telling me: men want fewer words. LOL I think that mirrors what Jen said with date/time/place deadlines and simple, clear instructions.
          Mama to 2

          Spring start MP1
          Summer start 5A

          Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
          SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

          Comment


            #6
            Hi, Melanie. We have five boys, and my husband is a 6th grade teacher at an all-boys classical school, so for us our two girls are the anomaly. :-)

            I see in my girls a more instinctive understanding of our expectations for them, and a greater desire to please us by meeting those expectations. It's not that the boys don't want to please, but they want to please us by showing us the cool things they can do--they want to perform more on their own terms. This seems to cut across all my boys who differ very much amongst each other in temperament, academic gifts, and developmental stages. We have to show interest in whatever those things are that they really want to be doing instead of schoolwork. And like Jen said, express our expectations really clearly with set consequences.

            Homeschooling older boys is especially hard, I think, because so many boys thrive on competition, and that can be nonexistent when our boys are working home alone, or when they have sisters nearby who just seem to like doing schoolwork more than they do! Dad can help by being the boys' mentor, challenging our boys to do their best, and helping them get to some extracurricular activities where they can compete or perform or just develop some outdoor skills they can be proud of.

            I don't necessarily teach my boys differently, and at my husband's school, the boys are taught in a classical, orderly manner in a traditional-style classroom. But, they incorporate a lot of physical activity--50 minute periods of focused classroom learning followed by a 10 minute game of frisbee, for example. My husband's sixth grade students are outside, running around, many times per day, basically on the hour for at least 10 minutes, with two longer recess periods as well as a daily PE class in the afternoon. Also consequences for poor behavior do not involve sitting still or missing recess; they may have to run around the campus and pick up so many pieces of trash instead. For our homeschooled boys, we use a trampoline for those short breaks.

            I hope that helps!
            Catherine

            2021-22
            DS18, 12th
            DS15, 9th
            DS & DD13, 8th
            DS9, 3rd
            DD6, 1st
            DS3
            DS & DS born August 26!

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
              Catherine, I think competition would be great for my boy, and is one of the reasons I *may* send him to a private high school.

              This is my 3rd time parenting through middle school, and I often jokingly say that middle school is a tricky time to stay alive. ;-) Their heightened need for independence can make you crazy. And that may be coming into play here, but I don't think it's the whole deal.

              Here's an example of what I mean - let's say, hypothetically, that you have a kid who has done PL, LC and took 2 full years to do FFL, and you say to that kid, "What tense is this verb?" and he looks at you and says, "I don't know. First? Second? What's a tense?"....should you perhaps be teaching that kid differently?? If I say, "You know the tenses...present, imperfect..." he can finish that just fine. He knows it. He just can't/won't pull it out when asked. English grammar is the same way. "What's an adjective?" asks the kid who has been faithfully taught all the parts of speech for many years.

              My husband's thought was that maybe the way I present the material worked for our girls, but that our boy needs something different. But of course at HLS they have boys and girls together in classrooms, learning from the same methods. So I don't know. Maybe I need to go slower. I don't think we can go on to SFL yet. I wonder what they do at HLS when a student just doesn't get the Latin. (Does that happen?)
              Melanie
              2021-2022: 13th year homeschooling. 8th MP year.

              A, 12th grade: online classes with MPOA and TPS
              E, 10th grade: 10th grade core; math with MPOA, biology at co-op
              B, 7th grade: 7th grade core; math and comp with MPOA

              Comment


                #8
                I'd be interested in hearing Catherine Saylor 's take on this. My first thought is that he's showing some red flags. Is this a new thing or has he always struggled in these areas?
                Jennifer
                Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                2021-2022
                DS18: Almost done!
                DS17: MP, MPOA
                DS15: MP, MPOA
                DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                DD9: SC3
                DD6: MPK

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by melaneesa View Post
                  Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
                  Catherine, I think competition would be great for my boy, and is one of the reasons I *may* send him to a private high school.

                  This is my 3rd time parenting through middle school, and I often jokingly say that middle school is a tricky time to stay alive. ;-) Their heightened need for independence can make you crazy. And that may be coming into play here, but I don't think it's the whole deal.

                  Here's an example of what I mean - let's say, hypothetically, that you have a kid who has done PL, LC and took 2 full years to do FFL, and you say to that kid, "What tense is this verb?" and he looks at you and says, "I don't know. First? Second? What's a tense?"....should you perhaps be teaching that kid differently?? If I say, "You know the tenses...present, imperfect..." he can finish that just fine. He knows it. He just can't/won't pull it out when asked. English grammar is the same way. "What's an adjective?" asks the kid who has been faithfully taught all the parts of speech for many years.

                  My husband's thought was that maybe the way I present the material worked for our girls, but that our boy needs something different. But of course at HLS they have boys and girls together in classrooms, learning from the same methods. So I don't know. Maybe I need to go slower. I don't think we can go on to SFL yet. I wonder what they do at HLS when a student just doesn't get the Latin. (Does that happen?)
                  Hi, Melanie. It is possible that you're seeing something that's more than just the differences between boys and girls. Some of my boys have learning challenges, and while I still use MP materials and the classical method, we go at a much slower pace and with lots more review and visual aids. Has your son always struggled a bit with schoolwork, like with learning to read, or penmanship, or remembering math facts? What are his strengths?

                  Cheryl Swope just posted today in the SC Forum some suggestions for another 11 year old boy who is struggling to keep up in SFL.

                  https://forum.memoriapress.com/forum...tin#post125874

                  And, Kelly Rottmann led an SC Sodalitas session this summer on teaching First Form Latin that you might find helpful. She had lots of ideas for how to build in more review.
                  Catherine

                  2021-22
                  DS18, 12th
                  DS15, 9th
                  DS & DD13, 8th
                  DS9, 3rd
                  DD6, 1st
                  DS3
                  DS & DS born August 26!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by melaneesa View Post
                    Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
                    Catherine, I think competition would be great for my boy, and is one of the reasons I *may* send him to a private high school.

                    This is my 3rd time parenting through middle school, and I often jokingly say that middle school is a tricky time to stay alive. ;-) Their heightened need for independence can make you crazy. And that may be coming into play here, but I don't think it's the whole deal.

                    Here's an example of what I mean - let's say, hypothetically, that you have a kid who has done PL, LC and took 2 full years to do FFL, and you say to that kid, "What tense is this verb?" and he looks at you and says, "I don't know. First? Second? What's a tense?"....should you perhaps be teaching that kid differently?? If I say, "You know the tenses...present, imperfect..." he can finish that just fine. He knows it. He just can't/won't pull it out when asked. English grammar is the same way. "What's an adjective?" asks the kid who has been faithfully taught all the parts of speech for many years.

                    My husband's thought was that maybe the way I present the material worked for our girls, but that our boy needs something different. But of course at HLS they have boys and girls together in classrooms, learning from the same methods. So I don't know. Maybe I need to go slower. I don't think we can go on to SFL yet. I wonder what they do at HLS when a student just doesn't get the Latin. (Does that happen?)
                    This sounds very familiar. My oldest took 2 years to complete FFL. We started this year with 6 weeks of FFL review (love that little book) and are now moving ahead in SFL in 7th grade. My son also draws a blank in English grammar at times. He's been taught and has memorized everything in English Grammar Recitation through book 3 (working in book 4) but still sometimes says "I don't know what a direct object is" or something similar. I don't know that it's a boy thing necessarily, as my next son in 3rd grade is just eating up or seems to already understand many Latin and English grammar concepts. But maybe a more common struggle for boys? I don't know...mine are relatively young. I also don't know what HLS would do with a student who doesn't "get" Latin, but my attitude has been that Latin study is important to all my kids' education, so I will try to be consistent and clear in daily teaching and review, and keep my son progressing as fast as he shows mastery. He really doesn't want to end up studying at the same level as his younger sister, so that is providing a bit of incentive for him this year to persist in SFL. I also believe that anything he DOES learn of Latin will immensely help his vocabulary and logic skills and any other language he chooses to study in the future, so if he never reads Virgil, he will still have benefited from Latin study.

                    I also definitely agree with boys being competition/performance-driven and needing plenty of physical activity. Latin and math are important, but once they (and other academics) are done, my son is very happy to get on with riding his bike, building stuff with dad, mowing lawns, and participating in rifle club. Surprise, surprise, my kids don't all have the same level of enthusiasm for academic learning that I do/did!
                    Amy

                    DS 13 MP8
                    DD 11 MP6
                    DS 9 MP4
                    DD 6 MP1
                    DS 4 R&S Pre-k books
                    DS 1

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you, smithamykat! This helps. I agree with what you said about Latin, and I need to keep that in mind.

                      Jen and Catherine, thanks, but I don't think there's anything else going on. Mostly low motivation, probably. He'd just rather be playing sports.
                      Melanie
                      2021-2022: 13th year homeschooling. 8th MP year.

                      A, 12th grade: online classes with MPOA and TPS
                      E, 10th grade: 10th grade core; math with MPOA, biology at co-op
                      B, 7th grade: 7th grade core; math and comp with MPOA

                      Comment


                        #12
                        You've gotten great help here, but I did have a thought. If you are not working on the grammar questions in the back of the workbook, that would be a good way to solidify all the terminology for your son. Our students memorize those grammar questions, and we recite them weekly. If you haven't been memorizing them, you could just read them together for now (you read the question, he reads the answer), and start working on memorizing them. This should help a lot toward understanding of the grammar overview through mastery of the definitions.

                        Tanya

                        Comment


                          #13
                          melaneesa I just thought of something we ran into with one of my boys: he knew the concepts and could complete a definition if I started it, but he didn't connect the definition with the terms. If I said "1st Conjugation of Amo, Present System" I would get a blank stare; but If I said conjugate amo, he would rattle off the present, imperfect, and future with no problem. Once I realized this, I began using the official terminology when cuing recitations, linking it to the concepts as we went. It seems to have filled this gap. I will say that this particular child seems to have more trouble when we go over things orally. Whether that's a focus thing, a processing thing, or simply being a boy, I have no idea. HTH!
                          Jennifer
                          Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                          2021-2022
                          DS18: Almost done!
                          DS17: MP, MPOA
                          DS15: MP, MPOA
                          DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                          DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                          DD9: SC3
                          DD6: MPK

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by melaneesa View Post
                            Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
                            Catherine, I think competition would be great for my boy, and is one of the reasons I *may* send him to a private high school.

                            This is my 3rd time parenting through middle school, and I often jokingly say that middle school is a tricky time to stay alive. ;-) Their heightened need for independence can make you crazy. And that may be coming into play here, but I don't think it's the whole deal.

                            Here's an example of what I mean - let's say, hypothetically, that you have a kid who has done PL, LC and took 2 full years to do FFL, and you say to that kid, "What tense is this verb?" and he looks at you and says, "I don't know. First? Second? What's a tense?"....should you perhaps be teaching that kid differently?? If I say, "You know the tenses...present, imperfect..." he can finish that just fine. He knows it. He just can't/won't pull it out when asked. English grammar is the same way. "What's an adjective?" asks the kid who has been faithfully taught all the parts of speech for many years.

                            My husband's thought was that maybe the way I present the material worked for our girls, but that our boy needs something different. But of course at HLS they have boys and girls together in classrooms, learning from the same methods. So I don't know. Maybe I need to go slower. I don't think we can go on to SFL yet. I wonder what they do at HLS when a student just doesn't get the Latin. (Does that happen?)
                            Late to this, but I think you might have my son! He’s 12 (7th grade) and that conversation (we’ll call it hypothetical) sounds VERY familiar. He is finally in unit four of second form, but sometimes I wonder how much he really knows. I will say my older boy was similar (he does have a better memory and reading speed), but same thing what’s a verb? I held him back a year and is in 9th grade this year at 15 (very late summer birthday) and after going through MPOA for third and fourth form he chose to start over this year with Lukeion. He had A’s with MPOA, but did as little as possible and HATED translation because he really never payed much attention to really learning parts of speech. He asked me the other day to sign him up for a grammar class (picture me falling out of my chair)...I think it might be helpful. I responded how about cracking open the grammar book I bought you and you can take the class next year if you still need it. I asked him the other day if the new Latin class was helpful and he said “yes...I think I didn’t really pay enough attention before“. Bingo! My hope is to finish second form this year with my 12 yo and work a bit more heavily on English grammar before moving on to third form. The grammar questions and brief EGR just aren’t cutting it here either. Still, I think some of it is waiting for them to grow up a bit as well.
                            Dorinda

                            Plans for 2021-2022
                            15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
                            DD College Freshman
                            DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
                            DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
                            DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Oh gosh, what Dorinda just said sparked a very similar memory for me too - both with my son, and also a couple of daughters. It’s that awful 11 year old year - full of so much frustration. It’s like they cannot concentrate at all, or have temporarily lost their ability to think ahead, expect outcomes, etc. I remember my son saying at 13 or 14 that he was able to remember what it was like to be 11 and he just felt a bit crazy (non-technical term there). He was all over the place. And even just a couple years later he was able to look back on that himself and realize it. And one of our girls took a very zig-zaggy path on Latin, including one year of FFL, one year of SFL, then a year and a half of Henle I, then reviewing SFL, and then heading into TFL feeling strong. She completed TFL as a 14 year old with ease, and is now doing great in FFL at 15. It seemed really messy at the time, but it was what she needed to do.

                              AMDG,
                              Sarah
                              2020-2021
                              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                              DS, 17
                              DD, 15
                              DD, 13
                              DD, 11
                              DD, 9
                              DD, 7
                              +DS+
                              DS, 2

                              Comment

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