January 12, 2006

"Raising Cain"

I happened to catch part of the PBS documentary called "Raising Cain" tonight. This special attempted to explore the educational challenges facing boys in our society today. The creator of the documentary attempted to expose the problems with our educational system when it comes to teaching boys. It was quite interesting (although I didn't agree with the entire program) especially when it was noted that boys generally require significant 'recess' time to be able to help them learn and focus in the classroom. The program also exposed the extent of the ADHD disorder, citing that nearly 60 percent of all cases involve boys and that most are medicated from the time they enter the public school system.

As a parent of a boy (my only) I sympathized with both parents trying to raise boys and the teachers who are faced with the challenge of teaching them. My own child was labeled as "hyperactive" and I was encouraged to medicate him early on. My child was hyperactive -- there is no doubt in my mind about that one. He was a non-stop bundle of movement, always curious, and always on the go. However, he was not 'attention deficit' and could play on his own for hours or put together puzzles, legos, or other toys without becoming distracted.

My DH and I decided not to pursue medication -- and this post really isn't about whether or not to medicate a child. I found the program interesting in it's portrayal of how boys are educated in the US public school system. It was sad to see little boys sitting in desks, heads down, or disrupting class, when really what they needed most was plenty of time out of doors.

God created boys to be active. He made them to be powerful and strong warriors. He gave them unique abilities to lead and care and plan and organize. Boys have a special place in His world. They are not like girls. They need to be taught how to learn -- but need to be taught using methods that work for them.

We chose to homeschool our boy and it was the very best decision we could have made. Our active boy has grown into a studious and thoughtful young man. He is special. He is very bright. He is all boy. We believe that God has a plan for his life and that his particular gifts are his for a reason. Our goal is to teach him in a way that suits his personality and unique giftedness.

My heart goes out to the many young boys that suffer in the public school system and are forced to learn in a way that benefits the teacher and not the child. I think we are doing a huge disservice to our boys and in a not too distant future, we are going to reap the harvest we have sown.

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