Homeschooling boys can be difficult. Sometimes moms have a hard time relating to our sons. Sometimes their behavior is confusing to us. We don’t understand why burping is so funny or why it’s so hard to sit still and listen for longer periods of time. We have lots of questions about our sons and how best to educate and parent them.
I’m no expert – but I have lived in a mostly male household for almost 18 years and this is my 14th year of homeschooling my boys so I have picked up some sanity-saving tips along the way. I’m always happy to try to pass on what I’m learning. I hope it helps some of you not to have to learn these lessons the hard way as I have! 🙂
Earlier this year, I attempted to answer some tough questions that readers had asked me. Now, I will attempt to answer a few more.
Here are 3 MORE Tough Questions I’ve Been Asked About Homeschooling Boys:
1. I dislike using the “s“ word but…. I am horrible at socializing my kids because they are different learners and Co-OPs just seem like school to me. How do you manage this?
Ahhhh, socialization. Homeschoolers are often accused of not socializing their kids. We know that this isn’t usually the case. Kids who are educated at home have just as many opportunities to socialize as do their publicly-schooled peers. Maybe even more! But what if you are struggling to socialize your kids? What then?
My husband and I have always tried very hard to protect our family time from being destroyed by too many extracurricular activities. We did a really good job of saying “no” to lots of various activities that our boys could have been involved in. Being introverts, we were very happy with how things had turned out.
But at some point, I started to get a nagging feeling that I should get my boys involved in more stuff so that they’d have more opportunities to make additional friends. Here are some ideas for helping your kids to socialize:
- Play dates – No matter how old your kids are, they will still enjoy getting together with friends. Go to the park, get together with your friends and take the kids with you, participate in various church functions with your kids present, etc.
- Take them with you – Whether you’re running errands, getting groceries, or going to the bank, be sure to take one of your kids with you. Strike up a conversation with the teller and encourage your child to participate.
- Get involved – There are all sorts of opportunities for your kids to socialize with their peers. Co-ops are great for some families but there are many other options as well. Consider signing your child up for a sports team, an art class, boy scouts, a community education class, a community college class, etc.
2. How do you help motivate your boys to read something other than Hardy Boys mysteries and help them enjoy it! He loves read alouds but is not interested in reading the hard books. (My son just turned 12 yesterday.)
Sometimes we need to change our approach if we want our boys to enjoy reading books. Some of these things involve letting them choose their own reading material. When they aren’t choosing to read harder books, such as the classics, there are ways that we can encourage that as well. Here are some ideas:
- Choose wisely – Some classics will have a much higher appeal for boys than others. Try having him read Call of the Wild or Treasure Island rather than Little Women or The Portrait of a Lady.
- What’s your intent? – Is your goal to have your son actually read the words of the book? Or is it for him to be exposed to the content and themes within the book? You might have better success by reading the book aloud, choosing an audio version, or choosing an abridged version.
- Is there a movie? – After we’ve struggled through a classic book, it’s always fun to watch the movie as well. The trick here is to choose the oldest movie available – even if it’s in black and white. I’ve found that the older movies are more apt to closely follow the book than do the remakes.
3. What’s the best way to support pre-teen/teen boys while maintaining discipline?
- Respect him – Remember that our sons are men in training. And the number one need of most men is to have our respect. When our sons become tweens/teens, it’s time to stop treating them like little boys. Appreciate his efforts rather than taking them for granted. Ask him to help you out with reaching things or carrying heavy objects so that he feels needed. Ask him for his opinion on various things. The more we model showing our boys respect, the more we will receive respectful behavior back from them.
- Listen to him – When our sons are trying to talk to us, be sure to give them our full attention. Stop whatever we’re doing and give them eye contact. If your friend were talking to you, you wouldn’t try to continue scanning your email or texting someone else at the same time. We need to give our sons this same consideration. Also, we need to really listen when our boys are talking. Try to understand what they are saying rather than thinking ahead to formulate a response. When our boys feel listened to, they are much less likely to act out in various ways.
- Use positive parenting techniques – Once our boys get to about age 10, they enter a new phase of life where they desire to start becoming more independent from us. They don’t always let us know about this in the most appropriate ways – however, when they lash out, have mood swings, and get frustrated with us, this is often at least part of what is going on. Try to remain calm and not take anything they say personally. Be sure dad is involved heavily at this age. It’s time for mom to back off somewhat and for dad to step forward. And work on building a strong relationship with him.
I hope my answers are helpful to many of you. Raising boys can be a tricky business – but when we do it well, we will be amazed at the awesome young men that will emerge someday. It’s definitely worth the effort.
If you have any questions you’d like me to answer, I’m always happy to give it a shot. You can reach me here or leave a comment below.
Do you have any other advice you could share in answer to the above questions? I’d love to hear any tips that you have learned along the way. Please leave a comment below.