Me: Profiled on Life Without Pink.

Boy Mom Spotlight: Meet Lynette | Life Without Pink….

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Another, great, mom of boys has a delicious blog where she writes about celebrating the boys in her life. She has also been so gracious as to profile me on her Mom of Boys page! So, go give Tina a little love, and read all about the greatness that is a Life Without Pink!



Private or Public Schools – My story

I love my boys. They are bright, inquisitive and quite the handful. I knew they were smart, they did take after me a little bit. But, I am a HUGE supporter of education. In my opinion education is the great equalizer. It offers people so many opportunities to become great. Education doesn’t always mean reading books, education for me is learning anything. Learning can be done in a classroom or through the school of hard knocks too.

Boys are more likely to be identified as ‘troubled’ or ADHD, when they may not actually have that challenge. In a prior post, I wrote how I thought the typical education system pendulum has swung so far to favor girls, the system is leaving out boys. In our mad dash effort to equalize education across the sexes, we have left boys behind. This is one of the main reasons we chose to put my twins in private school.

ArchieClassMy boys are active, no doubt about it. They drive me nuts half the time with the level of energy I just WISH I had. They are smart and have such a unique way of looking at things. I want to treasure that uniqueness, people who come up with ground breaking ideas are rarely the crowd followers are they? Personally, as someone who has had personal experiences with understanding and learning things a bit differently from my peers, I knew they would thrive in a smaller environment. I also knew I couldn’t quit my job to stay at home and home school. Bless you parents who are able to, but I lose my patience with adults too easily to have the patience to teach my kids. It was better for all involved if I sought out the professionals.

It is a sacrifice to put the kids in a private school. Don’t think it’s all roses and butterflies my friends. There is payment for one thing. Good gracious, what I could do with that money! Retire in comfort most likely. But again, I have said and firmly believe education is best way to give my kids a leg up. Finding a school and program that inspires them to learn, apply what they learn and question what they see is invaluable. There is also a bit of a social inequality I feel. I have never seen so many medical professionals in one room outside a hospital than when attending a school function. When a kid in my sons classroom says “See mom, I wrote about our dinner at the country club.” and I think, “Well, I showered before I showed up after running 2 miles.” just shows a different social background. This is good for my kids too, gives them experience in all sorts of things and teaches them people can come from different places and still get together.

Ultimately the reason we chose the private school option was the curriculum. The public schools just couldn’t keep up. When I saw what was required for Kindergartners to begin school, I was shocked. My kids knew this stuff at 3 years old. Know your primary colors, count to 10, know the letters of the alphabet, I could go on. Makes me wonder why public schools don’t start teaching highly capable kids from kindergarten on.

Bored boys with lots of energy are not good classmates. My bored boys who are not challenged will cease to push forward, preferring instead to float along with whatever happens. Know your child and know your options. There may be scholarships available and other ways the school lets you fundraise. Don’t put your child somewhere just because you have no other option. Make sure the fit is right, give them the best start!

Schools Are Leaving Boys Behind

All 3 of my children are boys. This is my point of view as a mom of boys. Our schools are broken. In our effort to encourage girls in school, we have left behind the boys. In many education chats or articles I read it is to encourage girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). As an IT Auditor, I definitely see where women can be under represented in the Technology field. But, I never see any rah rah moment to encourage boys in Reading/Writing or language, areas of struggle for many boys.

20130911-222804.jpgBoys learn differently than girls. Many boys are very tactile. They need to touch, break and destroy things physically to learn how it works. Want to know why a man doesn’t read the manual? That is because most of them don’t learn by best reading directions. Verbal cues are only slightly better, but hands on, physical tearing apart or into something seems to be the best way for many to learn. Ever notice how boys can wrestle and beat each other up and stay or become the best of friends? Ever notice how when your son runs up to hug you, he slams his body into yours. The harder the slam, the more he missed you, at least that is what I tell myself before I brace for impact. Our early childhood education system is so geared toward girls it is frightening.  Boys need to move, to touch and their way of relating to one another isn’t ‘School Appropriate.’ I can’t tell you how many times I have had to tell my boys that their normal boy-style of play just isn’t something they can do at school.

How many early childhood education experts are men? How many preschool teachers are men? What is the ratio of men to women in an elementary environment? Men are under-represented in this type of environment. Lets face it, Men are from Mars and little boys are definitely like the moons circling that planet. They think differently, act differently and our boys need better than to be pigeonholed into a label that reads “ADHD” or “Disruptive”. They are boys. That is enough. Their boy-ness is part of them, and should be encouraged, not squashed. We should encourage ALL children. We need to encourage all children to explore what they might be most interested in. We should let them experience all of it: Writing, Reading, STEM etc. and not let them give up or only follow the easiest path.

Related Articles:

The Challenge of Boys in Our Early Childhood Programs

TED Talk: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning by Ali Carr-Chellman

My life – not like a movie

Photo courtesy of: Click the picture for the website

Trending on twitter yesterday was a hashtag: #IfICouldLiveMyLifeInMyFavoriteMovieItWouldBe and I started thinking about my favorite movies:

  • Pretty Woman – Nope, don’t wanna be a hooker
  • Last of the Mohicans – Daniel Day Lewis is beautiful, but I don’t like the whole “watching my sister die” thing
  • Persuasion (BBC version) – While she ends up with the love of her life, she spends 10 years pining for someone and living with her idiot relatives.I don’t want to be that girl, I was born in the wrong century.
  • The Sound of Music – I don’t want to hike over the alps running from Nazis
  • Bridget Jones Diary – That girl is cute on TV, but I would annoy myself in real life.
  • The Matrix – I get too much screen time as it is. Who wants to really be plugged into a computer?

So then I thought about TV shows.

  • Castle – Its like ‘Murder She Wrote’ either the people you know are dying or are being accused of a crime, not as much fun in real life I would think.
  • Big Bang Theory – While I think Bazinga is a great word and all, no. I couldn’t handle Sheldon.
  • Warehouse 13 – This one is actually pretty cool, except for the getting turned into strange beings or mind altered pretty frequently. At least they get cool toys.

Image from Make. Click for link.

All this made me think, while TV is great for entertainment, it is definitely NOT real life! I get enough real life in my *gasp* real life. Sometimes losing myself watching someone else’s ‘zany’ life is a good idea, but lets not fool ourselves, in most any situation, we would welcome real life vs the fake stuff anyway. Except for the size of those girls thighs, I wouldn’t mind doing some sort of sci fi brain swap thing with a really great/cute actress like Selma Hayek or something. If Im going to pretend, I also ran across a blog called CultureWav that mentions she found a way to immortalize yourself as a super hero. How neat is that? This might be something we do for the kids as a Christmas gift this year. They are BIG right now into being Superman, Batman, Spiderman etc. Or maybe I could get myself one of these really cute aprons I found via Make and Bethany Sew and Sew. I think I could do ANYTHING in these!

Raising a boy to be a man

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Yesterday I received an email from my twins’ Kindergarten teacher. The school they attend is full-day, but only has 1 grade per class. It is a small school. We chose it for the curriculum and the location to the house. I am grateful the school is small enough teachers can tell the difference between my two boys (I think its easy, but sometimes when Im not paying attention…) Don’t even get me started about the hubs. He can’t EVER tell them apart. Gah!

With such a small school, the teachers and the parents can really work together to make sure the child is doing all they can to excel in school. The email I received today told me that Sean had peed all over the bathroom and refused to clean it up.

This was shocking, because well, Im a girl and can’t really pee all over the place without peeing on myself. So, this type of activity just baffles me at my core. Also, Sean is usually pretty good about his aim, sometimes, okay occasionally. By the time I got home, I was pretty upset. How embarrassing to be the mom of the kid who PEED everywhere, ugh! Gross!

Sean and I talked, he said he didn’t do it. I had to think to myself: Did my kid just lie to me to get out of trouble, or is he really telling the truth. So, I pulled a whammy. I said: “If I find out you are lying, and Ive gone to bat for you with the teacher – no summer camp and no going to Grandmas this summer.” Whoa!

All the while chanting to myself: Please don’t lie, please don’t lie, please don’t lie – mommy needs some down time this summer to study.

So, I asked his brother, Archie, who has done this sort of thing before when he couldn’t get his pants down fast enough. When it gets stuck straight up, he can’t control it and he pees everywhere. (At least that is what I HOPE happened. Something about buttons on pants.) Well, I made the same promise/threat to Archie. “Tell me truth and you will still go to Grandmas even if you have consequences for today’s actions.” Then, I laid down the guilt pretty thick with the “Whats your favorite thing to do at Grandmas? etc.”

Lo and behold, Archie – not Sean – peed all over the bathroom! He watched his brother take the rap for it and didn’t even speak up! When I found this out I was flabbergasted. Where was that ‘Twin Love’ Id always heard about? More like road kill after your brother throws you under the bus!

Had I done this as a child, my mom would have spanked my butt pretty hard, and grounded me FOREVER. I was MUCH more diabolical (I hope). I put the offender in his room, in bed for time-out. Which isn’t really that drastic, except I took out every stuffed animal, including his precious, his Baby Bear. Baby Bear has been around since the boys were almost 2 and has been a constant companion. After the meltdown calmed down, I used the feeling of loneliness Archie felt to compare with the loneliness Sean must have felt when he was abandoned by his brother not speaking up. We also role-played about what to say to the teacher if this happens again.

I only hope I got through and he actually remembers. Baby Bear was returned after lights out when he was mostly asleep. I only hope he has learned a valuable lesson: Honor means speaking up when you are afraid to. Honor means standing up for what is right, even when it is uncomfortable. Honor is doing the right thing. Because if I am growing my boys into great men, this is definitely a lesson they need to learn!