If only back to school meant a break for parents!
The reality is these days schools demand a lot of time and energy from the whole family. Here are two books recommended to me by my older and wiser sister to set up a great year. The first is a must for all parents with school-aged children battling homework. The second is a highly recommended book for parents of boys, which should be required reading for all teachers. They are both breezy, easy reads that offer insights and practical solutions.
Ending the Homework Hassle is a classic by John Rosemond, a no-nonsense child psychologist who has decades of experience. I appreciate Rosemond’s practical approach and positive attitude towards parenting.
Who should read it:
any parent already caught in the homework hassle, as well as parents of first graders who want to start out on the right foot
Rosemond argues that parents shouldn’t have to repeat the fourth grade just because their child has a lot of homework. He offers practical advice on placing the responsibility for homework squarely on the child’s shoulders. He is also sympathetic to the child’s needs for more play time, so even though his advice pushes them toward responsibility, it also loosens the grip homework can have over an entire evening.
The idea that blew away most was setting an end time, not a beginning time for homework. Review the homework, determine a reasonable amount of time to complete it, and then set a timer. When the bell rings, homework is put away for the night, whether or not it is complete. A child either has to wake up early to finish or suffer consequences at school. Surprisingly, most kids don’t want to risk their teacher’s punishment. This helps children learn the importance of time management and responsibility, as well as safe-guarding precious family time. School takes over the day, not the night.
I have two children, one is a perfectionist that will spend too much time on simple assignments, the other is a complainer who will waste an hour moaning about a worksheet that he could complete in 5 minutes. Setting an end time curbs both of these tendencies, and gives them back more free time to spend playing.
Wild Things: the Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephan James and David Thomas. This wonderful book offers valuable insights into the development of boys, from ages 2-22 from two therapists, specializing in boys’ development.
Who Should Read It:
parents and caregivers of boys, and all teachers and school administrators
This is a book to keep on your bookself for 20 years as a reference point. Boys’ development is divided up into years, such as the Explorer (2-4), the Lover (4-8). The authors explain what is happening inside a boy’s brain at each step, and then they offer advice and practical tips to nurture his mind, heart, and spirit. They also explain how our current educational system is designed to favor girls’ development, but offer great suggestions to help make it a more appropriate environment for boys to learn and thrive.
If you are curious as to why boys’ development needs such critical attention, here’s a fact from page 157.
According to statistics, boys make up 73% of learning disabled students in special education classes. This is significant and more arbitrary than you might think. When learning disabled students are identified via diagnostic criteria, there is no significant gender difference between boys and girls. But if the learning disabilities were identified by teachers (either general ed or special ed), Dr. Nathlie A. Badian, a Harvard researcher, discovered, twice as many boys were identified, as compared to girls.
Wow! We are really missing some key pieces when it comes to understanding boys, but this book offers a treasure trove of insight and advice that enables us to create an environment where boys can flourish and develop naturally. I know what it is like to be a little girl, but I often wonder what is going on in my sons’ minds. This book offers the closest thing I’ve seen to a blueprint on how to raise a boy.
As always, my book recommendations are unsolicited and come from my heart. If you choose to purchase a book based on my review, please follow the link provided in the title, so I can receive a nominal referral fee. Thanks.