I am the mother of 8 boys. The oldest is 28 and the youngest is five. I am also the grandmother to 3 grandsons. My boys are as different from their two sisters as to be a different species! Over the years I have learned some truths about these impish creatures.
One of the first things I learned about boys is they are noisy. They need to be noisy. Their games are noisy, their toys are noisy and they seem to need to make noise just to make noise. They make car noises, gun noises, highly annoying noises, all kinds of noises.
I have also learned boys are like puppies; they need to wrestle. And run and play and fall and throw themselves about. These physical things teach them about their own strength, how to treat others, about how it feels to get hurt and mostly about how their bodies work.
I have learned that boys like to get messy. The other day my 6 year old came in with his face and hands just caked with dust and grime. His dad pointed out to him that he was pretty dirty. “I know dad!” was the reply, like his dad was lacking in brain power, “I was playing in the dirt!”
Puddles are also a favorite. One son was unable to walk past a puddle for years without jumping into the middle of it, no matter where we were going or what he was wearing. The fact that he was wet was not the worst of it. The fact that he managed to soak everyone within a 10 foot radius was.
Boys also have an innate curiosity about the world around them. They love bugs and leaves and sticks and rocks and such. Just look in their pockets! They like the little creepy things that move faster than I do.
I have learned that boys have amazing imaginations. They like to play real people doing real things. When we study famous men, they want to learn how to be like them by pretending to be them.
Because boys are noisy and like to be messy and love to throw themselves about and wrestle with whomever is beside them, and collect everything they find interesting, getting them to sit still for long periods of time can be a challenge. Getting them to sit still and concentrate on the busy work of school for long periods is an even greater challenge.
But as homeschool parents we can choose to treat our boys like boys. We can let them be messy, loud and obnoxious, find the puddles, and wrestle. We can send them outside to collect whatever suits their fancy. We can let them run and play. We can let this be a major part of their day when they are young. We can let them learn by playing a fireman, a mountain climber, or a Revolutionary War hero.
Today many feel that to have our boys waste their time on such trivial pursuits is not teaching them how to be men and be part of society. They feel boys educational needs are to learn to read early and do complicated math at 6 and physics at 7.
I disagree. I think that boys need time to learn about their world up close and personal before they should be required to learn about how it is put together. After all, they will one day be creating worlds of their own and what better way of learning how to do that than from the bottom up?
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