I’m no expert, but having homeschooled four boys for the last 10 years, I have learned a thing or two about the biology and behavior of boys. When it comes to teaching your children, there is definitely an art to homeschooling boys.
Boys and girls are wired differently. Studies have shown that even before birth, boy’s brains are developing differently from girls. Boys are born with more testosterone, which shapes the development of the brain. Most boys are active — they would rather be jumping, climbing or running. Boys are naturally curious, and they are constantly exploring and investigating the world around them. All of these wonderful characteristics that make up boys can be used to our advantage in the homeschool environment.
Let them build
Building blocks are the perfect learning tool for boys. Lego has a site dedicated to educating children called Lego Education, and the site also includes resources for homeschool families. We use Lego for creative play, computer science, science, technology, engineering and math. The hands-on robotics are amazing! Of course, good old-fashioned wooden building blocks are always helpful when teaching little boys, especially toddlers. Building blocks can also teach our sons lessons in responsibility, patience, concentration and perseverance.
Let them move
Research shows that boys need to move — it’s not natural for little boys to have to sit still for long periods of time. Free play helps children reduce stress, enhance creativity and increase concentration. Boys are built to be active, and the more active children are, the better they do in school. If your son is looking sleepy, staring into space or slowing down, make him run, do jumping jacks or swing outside for 10 minutes.
One of our favorite school activities includes ball throwing. Question and Answer Ball Throw is throwing a ball to each other while answering math, history or Bible facts.
You can also do Math Ball Review, by adding numbers 1 through 12 to the white sections of a black and white soccer ball, let your children take turns tossing the ball to each other and either add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers their thumbs land on when catching the ball.
Allowing boys to move like this not only gets the wiggles out but also makes learning fun.
Let them explore
Boys have an amazing sense of wonder. If we can find projects and activities that foster their natural sense of wonder, we will hit a home run.
When we let our boys use their imaginations, there is no limit to where learning and exploring can take them. Think of the many lessons or adventures that can come from an afternoon in the yard or on a nature trail. The kitchen is another great spot for hands-on learning with science and math.
KISS: Keep it short and simple
If you can keep lessons short and simple, you will have a much better chance of keeping your son’s attention. Keep lessons fresh, short and simple to avoid boredom. Repetitive busy work will surely bore your son and have him staring blankly in no time. Charlotte Mason’s approach to short lessons is 15 to 20 minutes in length for elementary grades, 30 minutes per subject in junior high and up to 45 minutes in high school.
Kissing your boy throughout the day is a bonus to the awesomeness of being able to homeschool him. Enjoy your kisses — and your curious, sometimes stinky, active bundle of boy!
Resources for homeschooling boys
- Homeschool Your Boys
- Lego Education Homeschool
- Homeschool Ideas for Boys on Pinterest
- The M.O.B. Society (Moms of Boys)
Do you incorporate any of the above into your homeschool? What has worked best for you and your son?