School Daze

Are You Ready for "Back to School"?

Wow. Our summer vacation time is officially over. The boys head back to school TOMORROW.


Are we ready?


Well, sort of.


We’ve purchased all of our school supplies and packed them neatly in our backpacks; the bus schedules are posted next to our family calendar on the kitchen wall; and our last-minute dash to replace too-small sneakers was relatively successful.


(How did we manage to buy the only pair of shoes in the store that wasn’t on sale??)


We took care of our annual physicals at the beginning of the summer and our six-month dental appointments were this morning.


The boys’ best friends are coming over for an end-of-summer pool party this afternoon.


So, are we ready to go back to school?


Not really.

Continue reading "Are You Ready for "Back to School"?" »

Does Homework Really Help?

Warning: This is more of a rant, hopefully from a conscious parenting perspective. Sorry, Mom’s having a cranky day.


I just finished reading Artemis Fowl. Why? Because I have a book project to complete and it is due on Thursday.


Notice that I did not say my son has a book project due on Thursday.


True, his teacher did assign it to him and not to me, but who are we kidding?


My son is brilliant and creative and genuinely wants to do well in school; but asking a ten-year-old boy to read a three-hundred-page book, synthesize the 6-10 major plot points into one-sentence summaries, copy said plot points to little 3 inch by 3 inch papers, draw little 3 inch by 3 inch pictures to illustrate each plot point, and then create a giant graph, displaying these plot points and related illustrations in terms of chronological order and relative level of excitement is just too much.


And to what end?


When we are all done with this exercise, what will he have learned?


I hate homework.


Continue reading "Does Homework Really Help?" »

All Things Stinky and Gross: More on the Joys of Reading with Boys


In my last post, Teaching Our Sons to Love Reading, I talked about the link between strong reading skills and a boy’s probable success in school (and life!)


Just one more thought: For moms (or female teachers) in particular, it can be a challenge to adjust ourselves to a boy’s perspective on life.


As we search for beauty and harmony, they exercise the eternal battle of good and evil; as we delight in music and the arts, they perfect farting on cue.


Are these stereotypes? The result of gender conditioning in western society?




My point – as of this moment – is that in order to engage our sons on the reading front, we need to view the world through their eyes, for just a little while.


If we want them to love reading, then we must help them find books to read about things that they love.

Continue reading "All Things Stinky and Gross: More on the Joys of Reading with Boys" »

Teaching Our Sons to Love Reading


Are you raising boys who love to read? Congratulations! For the rest of us, here are some conscious parenting tips to get our boys reading more.


Fifth grade was a tough year for us. We’d been warned about it – how we would be transitioning from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” – but that didn’t make it any easier. My older son’s reading skills were simply not ready. We nearly drowned in homework and test prep and our relationship became increasingly strained.


Sixth grade has been a little different... we are still drowning in homework and test prep, but now we have the added bonus of “hormone poisoning.” Reading a book simply cannot compete with texting the cute girl from the school bus.



Continue reading "Teaching Our Sons to Love Reading" »