On two independent occasions at work, my colleagues and I had brief "cubicle" discussions about their 8 year old boys, and how the public school system is failing them. My previous conceptions about our "boy unfriendly" public schools have now been validated with first hand evidence.
I think it's high time that school boards face the facts and make some drastic changes to improve the situation, otherwise, I think parents can do a much better job at teaching their own children (particularly boys) than any elementary school teacher could. Ideally, if families can afford to live within their means on one source of income, it's totally worth it to have a stay-at-home-mom homeschooling her children.
The statistics have already been out for years: boys are falling behind girls in most academic measures of achievement. Some of the reasons listed in Failing Boys are:
- 45% Feminization of education
- 25% Cultural distractions (video games, TV)
- 18% Poor parenting
- 6% Lack of male role models
- 6% Other
Simply put, our school system is designed to cater to girls, and the boys are getting shafted. A recent article has already made the case to acknowledge and respect the learning style differences between boys and girls. Yes, boys and girls are different, and there's nothing wrong with that. Adult educators need to do a better job and adapt their styles to the needs of boys.
Finally, Christina Hoff Sommers discusses the war against boys, feminism, and gender equity in this short video below.
My wife and I have decided not to send our children into the mediocre and potentially harmful public elementary school system. Yes, it has come to the point where we are faced with a choice, a choice that any parent has the right to make: homeschooling or private school. Our three children, ages 2, 3, and 4 won't be attending public elementary school. We have already converted our family room into a classroom; ready with the materials needed to teach our own children. My wonderful stay-at-home wife will be their teacher.
Now before everyone starts to criticize and make an instinctive case that my children won't learn the necessary socialization skills by being deprived of interacting with their peers, do your homework first. My wife and I have done ours, and all the evidence suggests that homeschooled children actually turn out to be better socially adjusted than the rest, not to mention better scores in reading, writing, and arithmetic. We also expect our son in particular to excel in a homeschooling environment, with the freedom to be a boy, and with me as his male role model (yes, homeschooling doesn't end at 3:00 p.m., it goes on all day and evening naturally with lots of fun breaks in between). Some other benefits include the passing on of our moral teachings on a multitude of issues.
All I can say is thank God for the homeschooling resources at the library and on the Internet, as well as the various homeschooling groups that exist in Ottawa. Knowing several families (friends) with homeschooled children has also allowed us to witness how nice the children turn out. It's pretty much a no-brainer for us, and my hope is that more parents will consider homeschooling as a worthy cause to turn the statistics around so that we can attempt to have a society flourish with succeeding, rather than failing, boys.