Something about the idea of M sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day for 12 years of his life in order to *learn* has not been sitting well with me. It’s one of many reasons I’m drawn toward all you homeschooling moms. I seriously wonder how it was ever decided that children should learn this way, especially boys.
My boy isn’t a sit still kind of guy. :) And I’m not sure helping him learn to be that kind of guy is what I really want for him.
I’ve been reading The Minds of Boys: Saving our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, by Michael Gurian. So far it’s fascinating. The book, as a whole, talks about how boys learn and what needs to change in current teaching practices to help boys succeed in school. In chapter 3 he talks about helping boys learn before they begin school, and what we as parents can do to prepare them for learning.
Interestingly, the first thing he touches on is love and attachment. Apparently affection, *good touching*, and love affect the brain’s development, especially the areas of the brain that involve learning.
“Children with secure attachments are more likely to make learning gains for a biological reason : the organic mechanisms in the brain by which the brain learns require secure attachment in order to grow fully.” (p. 71)
Attachment is defined as the “ongoing process of affectionate caregiving that nurtures the [parent-child] bond throughout a lifetime.”
I’m finding so much good information in this book, and I want to share some of it with you – especially those of you with sons! And I want to record some info here for myself too, since this is a library book and I know I’m going to want to remember a lot of what I’m reading!
Gurian lists 10 ways to promote attachment between ourselves and our sons. These are geared specifically towards boys because, believe it or not, boys and girls are different (seriously!). And these ways work with the average boy brain in mind…
(Number 8 especially stood out to me.)
1. Bursts of Attention – 5 long bursts, several minutes, of undivided attention every day (along with smaller bursts too).
2. Lots of affirmation – notice accomplishments and efforts, give praise and hugs
3. Verbal Mirroring – use words to describe what your son is doing; listen carefully to your toddler, then repeat back to him what he says - “You’re right, that is a big car".
4. Physical Play – playtime is organic learning time for body and brain (this is something I definitely need to work on – my husband is so much better with M in this area).
5. Leadership – let your boy take the lead in activities often, imitate him, play follow the leader and take turns being the leader.
6. Enthusiasm – the feeling of joy is often directed through the temporal lobe of the brain, development of it helps with enthusiasm later for learning. Find things to do together that inspire your son’s enthusiasm and joy.
7. Predictability – Provide consistent, predictable structure and clear limits. This promotes secure attachment.
8. Self-management – Gurian says here, “Implement behavior management strategies that are based on your son’s developmental stage rather than a later or earlier stage. Expecting your son at three to ‘use his words’ when he’s angry will, almost every time, be developmentally inappropriate. He may just need to throw a tantrum (in a safe place), hitting the floor with his fists until he releases his energy.”
9. Choice Making – Do as little for him as you can, making sure he does as much for himself as he can; help him make acceptable choices. Making the right choices builds the frontal lobe in the brain.
10. Appropriate Discipline – no frightening him with yelling (at a young age… at an older age it might be called for, occasionally), or any other inappropriate discipline.
There’s so much in this book that is really speaking to me and helping me to understand M, I’m sure I’ll be posting some more tidbits in the days to come.
Have a beautiful day! :)