Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Same Sex Schools? Yes, Please.

While both of my older children started school last week, I have deemed this week as the first real week - with full days, normal schedules and homework. Tonight was a trying night around the homestead because of the latter. Rather than discuss specifics - because I do respect my top two "tween's" need for some privacy (they are old enough to read this blog, and do) - I thought I would just vent my frustration in a very generalized manner. 

Several years ago I researched the different learning methods of boys vs girls, as well as the advantages/disadvantages of same sex schooling vs coed classrooms. I recognized the reality of some very real benefits to a same sex education. Mostly because well, boys and girls just learn differently. In my naive, financially immature mind (money is awesome when it is your parents!) - I assumed it would be a given that my children would attend all boy, or all girl, private institutions.

Then, I grew up.

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to send my children to same sex, private schools here in my city. They both attend a coed, public, intermediate school (grades 4-6) in a better preforming suburb district. They, like many children, learn in classrooms without tailored instruction, based on each child's learning styles.

(Now, before I go any further, I do not want to imply any kind of dissatisfaction with our teachers.  I have the utmost respect for those who assume this responsibility. It is most definitely one of the most under appreciated, underpaid, demanding careers one could possibly chose. Teachers don't become teachers to achieve fame or become rich - they become teachers because of a genuine desire and passion for educating children. It must be incredibly difficult, and at times, very frustrating to manage 25 kids who all learn differently, and then to be held accountable for their performances. )

But... I strongly believe in the difference between the female/male brain and encounter the differences on a daily basis. Here are some differences that I wholeheartedly believe and observe as truth:

Girls:
  • practice neat handwriting
  • follow directions very carefully
  • are better listeners
  • ask questions when they are confused
  • typically are more cautious
  • work well in groups
  • hesitant in learning new math concepts
  • able to sit still
Boys:
  • content with messy handwriting 
  • quickly skim directions, or assume they know them already
  • visit the teacher as a last resort, become agitated when confused.
  • take more risks
  • prefer to learn alone
  • act out during times they find to be boring
  • not intimidate by new math concepts
  • prefer to move, and to have space. 

There are many,many more arguments and points that could be made. This is just a short list of what I find to be the most obvious differences in how boys and girls learn.  I have to keep these in mind as we attempt our homework, as both of them are very, very different in their approach.

I do not know how teachers handle different learning styles and adapt their teaching styles accordingly. Or do they? Are they mandated to just teach in one specific style, and hope the kids adapt their own learning styles? Whatever the answer - I certainly appreciate the role they play in my children's education - and cannot fathom the dilemma in trying to accommodate all students and still preform with high standards. I do not envy them.It is hard enough for me to understand and try to manage two children, with 1 hour of homework each.

All that to say, I would totally send my kids to an all girl, all boy school if I were able. They would probably protest, so I guess they should be glad that we are poor.  /evil laugh.

On the bright note: Everyone DID finish their homework in a little under an hour. And, I didn't require any wine to recover.