Phil and I always discuss, as we are parents to six boys, how school seems to be geared towards girls. We are not the only ones to think this. Seriously. We look around the top kids in our high school, the top kids in the elementary school my kids attend, and it's overwhelmingly females. Girls seem to be "built" better for schools. More able to sit still and concentrate, more motivated by attention from good behavior, more likely to excel at language and reading, which makes them more likely to succeed overall.
I remember clear as day when Maggie was not even three years old, we went to a bridal shower, and she sat at the table and colored for the majority of the party:
The other little girls there did the same. I remarked to my sister that I had never seen one of my kids sit and color for so long. She, being the mother of two little girls, couldn't believe my astonishment. My boys would color for maybe two minutes before they were running off destroying something to figure out how to put it back together. Having a girl seemed so much easier! I can imagine that teachers who are trying to get kids to focus in a classroom would find girls easier too.
I'm sure you've all seen these spinners that have been all the rage amongst school kids. They are being sold as anxiety reducers, and really seem to appeal to boys who just have an innate need to fidget. Likewise, I have a friend who teaches 5th grade that uses under the desk peddlers to give her boys a chance to "move" so they can focus on the lessons easier. I've mentioned before that I think boys and puppies are quite similar - they need to release energy! We make sure our kids are involved in sports so that they have a way to tire themselves out, play with friends, and flex their physical muscles after sitting at school all day flexing their brain muscles. I wish they could just go out into the neighborhood and ride bikes and play with kids like we did as children, but that's not the society they are raised in, unfortunately.
I'm so interested in finding out the ways that teachers and society are trying to help our kids learn better and I came across this video about how Finish schools have improved dramatically. Be forewarned, it's a Michael Moore film, and I've heard the whole documentary includes a plug for abortion, so don't go and watch that. This is just the excerpt about how Finland has done it:
Isn't that great? I just wish American schools would think out of the box like this. While watching the video, I thought of homeschoolers who are probably already raising their kids this way...short school days, no homework, lots of play time, music, and art. No wonder most homeschooled kids are so smart! We are wasting so many hours in school to produce nothing. It's frustrating! We love our Catholic school system, because they aren't "teaching to the test" like the public schools, but this video still makes me want to move to Finland :)