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#1 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 02:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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in all the unschooling groups i have dealt with over the years there is something i have noticed and it is sort of bugging me.
it seems to me (and this can very well be a gross generalization, i can only go on what i have been told and what i see about what has gone on in the three groups i have been associated with), that at a certain age boys seem to be left to their own devices and girls are encouraged to learn more.
an example might be... a boy wants to learn about weapons so they get a book and then let them beat the tar out of each other as their learning from weapons. while a girl might be taking to a SCA meeting, shown movies, gotten books, and even make a weapon and learn to use it.
i don't see many girls at ten being left at home to play Halo all day while the family goes to the park, but alot of the boys at around ten seem to do that.
i do have personal issues with those sorts of games, BUT if a family doesn't see a problem with it i have no issue with that family.
it just seems like the girls get more focus and the boys are left alone to watch TV and play video games.
again i have no issue with tv watching or video game playing/ computer use. i just think that the boys do it more and are not encouraged to explore more.

h

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#2 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 03:07 AM
 
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Your stereotype is borne out in my family. My 16yo dd is busy pursuing AP English courses, writing classes and heading for a future professional music career. My 11yo dd is into aikido, cross-country running, farming, and formal study of biology. My 7yo dd is into everything. My 13yo ds prefers to stay home and play Left 4 Dead and do scripting using Garry's Mod. (I also have my own personal issues about gaming, but watching him, well, I can't judge. It is his passion. It is what he loves. It's important to him. So I support him in it.)

But you know, if anything I encourage / strew / offer / support / facilitate with my son more vigorously than his sisters. But he just isn't interested. Nothing I offer is accepted. I offer lots that is related to his gaming too -- and that's often declined as well. Even getting him to the community gaming club (a LAN and video-game night at the community hall, with tons of gaming teens and adults) took huge amounts of persuasion. I've bought him books on programming, game theory, computer logic, tried to set up mentorships and volunteer opportunities. And I've done a lot to try to encourage other related or unrelated interests in him, especially those that are social or physical. Nothing takes. Instead his sisters start bouncing around saying "can I do that?"

It's not quite as bleak this makes it seem. He is a good kid. He has a couple of other interests that he's deeply committed to, and a bit of a social life with some really awesome friends. But when it comes to novel experiences and new opportunities, 99 percent of the time he says "no thanks."

I don't get it. All I can do is offer, and it doesn't do any good.

Anyway, to an outsider it looks like his sisters get all the active parental facilitation and he is simply left to his own devices as a mouse potato. But I've tried at least as much with him, I really have. The allure of gaming is just so strong for many boys.

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#3 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 09:17 AM
 
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The allure of gaming is just so strong for many boys.

Miranda
So curious as to why this is. I'm seeing the same thing in my 6.5 yr old ds, but not my almost 4 yr old ds... so far. I was really hoping he would outgrow it, but by the looks of it from yours and the OP, all I have to look forward to is more of the same. Sigh.

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#4 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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What is the allure with video games? My sons and husband all love them and there is no way I'll ever be able to reverse the trend. In fact, I couldn't even prevent it. Not that I tried terribly hard. On the other hand, most of the unschooled teenage girls I know are much more into social media than the boys. Or so it seems.

I think that the girls demand the investment. They want the connection. Or at least they respond well to structured activites. The boy sseem to be disinterested in doing things that are not of their creation or invention, prefer to be left alone in a world they control (perhaps?) and most certainly when they are exploring something of interest, a physical component becomes pretty essential.

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#5 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 12:30 PM
 
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Forgive me if this sounds really old fashioned, or over-generalized, or politically incorrect or whatever... This is just abstracts off the top of my head... Try to see my larger point and not only the examples I list...

Don't boys and girls learn differently than each other? Have different levels of skill/desire based on wiring? I guess I am saying that females are cut out for different stuff than males. I'm thinking bows and arrows versus bead looming or something along those lines. Honestly, I think that boys are hardwired to want to learn fighting and hunting logistics/strategy. Sadly, I think that "gaming" is the modern stand-in for what used to be a very valid, much needed skill. They just don't need to know how to track deer, or protect the farmstead anymore. Girls, on the other hand, I think are hardwired to be detail oriented and social. Take care of babies, mend clothes, gather fruit, whatever.

Looking at most cultures throughout history, there are marked differences between what females and males are expected to do. I don't think it is only outdated sexist themes that have made it that way. I absolutely appreciate that it in our modern society girls are encouraged to learn archery and it is okay for boys to design dresses... I am a big proponent of not trapping anyone into a gender role. BUT I do think that, for the most part(not true for absolutely everyone), boys and girls have different methods of learning different things and very different strong points. I hope that makes sense.

I know that from observing my 6yo DS and my 3yo DD, they have very different learning styles. He wants to be shown how to do something and left alone with it. My DD will sit with you for hours doing variations of the same few things over and over with you.

A side story that is of some note... My little brother, about 14 or 15 at the time(public schooled), watched a TV show on PBS about the use of the trebuchet(spelling?) as a war weapon. Then he went and built one out of paper. THEN he went outside and built a huge functional one out of junk in the yard. Before and after that he'd spend months playing video games. And then he'd go out and make his own forced-air forge and mess around with making his own weapons. And then he'd spend another few months playing video games. The games provided the interest and the context for weapon making and a "place" to use them... He would then go out in the real world and apply that. While I get nothing out of video games, I can't knock the people who see their boys finding something of merit in them.
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#6 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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SB: that is true, they do learn differently.

moonin: you're right. it is really hard to say what exactly is going on on the inside.

i will have to mull this over some more.

h

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#7 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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My son is absolutely the gamer in the family, but funnily enough it's my daughter (5yo) who wants to stay home all the time and my son (9yo) is the one who wants to be out at all the happenings with our group of friends, classes, activities etc.

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#8 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 08:22 PM
 
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Oh and in our group there are a couple families with boys who tend to stay home but there are more boys who come out to participate than stay home and the parents are just as attentive either way.

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#9 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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Maybe it has its roots in our evolution?

Women/girls had to learn a variety of tasks by rote memorization and specific handiwork to keep hearth and home intact. Men/boys get to sit around between hunts, plowing and harvest. Their work was more intense but sporadic.


That's all I've got.
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#10 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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Regardless of how evolution and biology may have hardwired us, male children being allowed to under perform is not doing them any favors. Most boys are not going to grow up to be hunters or soldiers. Failing to prepare them for the reality of a global economy, increasing competition, and the "real world" is irresponsible. I have noticed a huge achievement gap in my own generation (people who are in the mid twenties to early thirties) between men and women.

This article is long but interesting and definitely worth the read. I'm not sure what the solution is the but the problem seems to be growing across the board and certainly does not seem limited to homeschooling groups or even school aged children.

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#11 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 10:24 PM
 
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Regardless of how evolution and biology may have hardwired us, male children being allowed to under perform is not doing them any favors. Most boys are not going to grow up to be hunters or soldiers. Failing to prepare them for the reality of a global economy, increasing competition, and the "real world" is irresponsible.
I think it's important to point out that while they may not be out there on homeschool field trips or volunteering at the SPCA, there is plenty that can occur on the computer that is simply excellent preparation for the "real world." My ds is a gamer and computer geek, and as a result of his interests there he has far more knowledge of business, entrepreneurship, logic, physics, marketing, computers and economics than his sisters do. He's already being paid for providing tech support and has age 13 has already earned Grade 10 and 11 credits in Information Technology and Digital Media.

Compared to his older sister, whose most refined skills are violin performance and creative writing, he's the one who will likely end up with the higher-paying job and good hours and benefits.

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#12 of 41 Old 09-23-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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I think it's important to point out that while they may not be out there on homeschool field trips or volunteering at the SPCA, there is plenty that can occur on the computer that is simply excellent preparation for the "real world." My ds is a gamer and computer geek, and as a result of his interests there he has far more knowledge of business, entrepreneurship, logic, physics, marketing, computers and economics than his sisters do. He's already being paid for providing tech support and has age 13 has already earned Grade 10 and 11 credits in Information Technology and Digital Media.

Miranda
This is an excellent point. My husband is a video game lover (although he does NOT play all the time or even everyday) and he works for Google. His interests in computers and technology on a recreational basis have helped him quite a bit professionally. However, the trend to which I was referring among my peers is an increasing unwillingness among men to do things that they don't want to do. All the tech experience in the world wouldn't have gotten my husband his job if he had been unwilling or unable to work with people (face to face), follow directions, manage time, prioritize, and suck up his own needs and wants when it was really time to get things done.

In the article that I cited above the author bemoans the fact that men are now less likely to graduate from college, to hold down decent jobs, to move out of their parents homes in a timely fashion etc... So much additional pressure has been placed on females for such a long time that many women and girls cultivate drive and motivation from a young age. Historically, women had to be far superior to men to earn similar professional respect and opportunities. Things are changing and NO ONE, man or woman, can simply rest on their laurels anymore. Job competition is fierce and for every kid in America who has a penchant for technology there are 10 in developing countries that not only understand tech but also have a strong, focused work ethic.

I was homeschooled for a portion of my childhood and I feel strongly that children should be allowed to cultivate interests and follow passions. The issue I take is with the assumption that all children require equal guidance and structure. Unless children are being raised in a bomb shelter, they are going to be effected by the culture in which they live. Girls have had to do more to prove themselves historically and as a result may be more likely to push themselves when given free reign. I don't think that allowing boy children to sit around and play video games all day (whether they are in public school, private school, homeschool, or are unschooling) is beneficial long term.

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#13 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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My ds is not into games much at all. He's actually pretty outgoing like his mama. My dd loves computer games and watching her daddy play his games. I have noticed that my dh is not nearly using the potential he has because of games and I will not allow that for either child. It damages the ability to have a true relationship with partners (I'm a holistic psych and this is a problem across the board)

I let them have their games, however, I have them wake up each morning and read three sentences I keep on our dry erase board.

1) I am happy today.
2) I will strive to be a good friend and partner.
3) I will strive to be a good person.

The kids love reading it and it's our mantra. It has worked well in keeping them balanced between the importance of when they are drowning themselves out of interpersonal relationships.

DeShanna mommy to at home learnin' dd10/03dust.gif, ds 04/05jammin.gif and new baby ds 12/10boc.gif lovin' dh C )O( You can't find peace, until you find all of your pieces.
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#14 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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Regardless of how evolution and biology may have hardwired us, male children being allowed to under perform is not doing them any favors. Most boys are not going to grow up to be hunters or soldiers. Failing to prepare them for the reality of a global economy, increasing competition, and the "real world" is irresponsible. I have noticed a huge achievement gap in my own generation (people who are in the mid twenties to early thirties) between men and women.
I never said we should allow them to under perform. Though, when I homeschooled my kid one year... I noticed the thing the OP did. Time and time again the girls did real work.. the boys mostly played.... and much of that play was solitary and indoors with the game cubes and such. So sad.
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#15 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 12:46 AM
 
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I never said we should allow them to under perform.
I didn't mean to imply that as your meaning. I was just interested in providing my perspective (as a member of the first generation to grow up with gaming AND a huge achievement gap between the sexes). There is a lot of room for variation and I certainly don't think that all men are lazy or that all women are motivated and hardworking.

I don't have a son but when and if I am ever raising a boy I'm sure I will struggle with these same issues.

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#16 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 12:51 AM
 
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The issue I take is with the assumption that all children require equal guidance and structure.
I don't think I've met anyone with more than one kid who has ever made that assumption once a second child enters a family the fact that each has different operating instructions becomes pretty darn apparent in a hurry

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#17 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 04:49 AM
 
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I didn't mean to imply that as your meaning. I was just interested in providing my perspective (as a member of the first generation to grow up with gaming AND a huge achievement gap between the sexes). There is a lot of room for variation and I certainly don't think that all men are lazy or that all women are motivated and hardworking.

I don't have a son but when and if I am ever raising a boy I'm sure I will struggle with these same issues.
My husband loves video games and is finishing his PhD whilst I stay at home and have no degrees and loathe video games but cannot seem to stop them. Whatever the hell am I supposed to do? I don't have a TV, but the computer is how we exist. This is the water we swim in. I suppose we'll just have to adapt.

But what is the solution really? Do we expect tired, over-stretched individuals struggling without a tribe and without jobs or appropriate societal support to just undo culture?

I know folks who live in the woods and have chosen to unplug and live off the land and that's all well and good for them, however, we don't all just choose to own land and live off the grid. It usually takes some sort of foundation of resources, not to mention skill, a certain level of motivation, and a sharp focus on one goal at the expense of others. I don't have that to spare at the moment. Meanwhile, I've got kids. Sons, in fact. Who love video games. I can't control it. But I keep running across five thousand reasons that I should feel guilty about it.

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#18 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i don't think you or anyone should feel guilty about it. i was just noticing a trend. not that i have an issue with computer use or tv or gaming per say, it just seems that, in my experience, the boys seem to gravitate to gaming and then do nothing else, while the girls may enjoy gaming but seem more involved. again this is only in the three groups i have been in. and yes there are exceptions, like boys who don';t game and like to hang out, but i have yet to see a single girl who didn't enjoy gaming and ALSO being out and about.
we have a tv, and a computer and all the kids use both, but i do make sure there is a balance. we all go to the park, they do take lessons (ie piano, or gym, etc ) just to get them out there and around people. we also have days where we sit and watch alot of tv.

my brother i guess could be part of the generation that sort of grew up with computers and gaming. he is 4 years younger then me, but had a computer all thru middle and high school. he even had a chance to go to college for computer programing, yet he was too busy gaming and flunked out. now he has a decent job, but can't really move up in the business due to his horrible personal skills. not saying it is the gaming, maybe because he has such bad personal skills he likes to game? but it does hold him back. he and his wife just moved out of my parents house a year or so ago. he is in his mid 30's. again i am not saying this is the life of a gamer. lol just that this has been something i have wanted to avoid with my own sons. i am sure there are many gamers who have gone on to have great jobs and can balance the two passions.

and although i do allow my kids to do what they want alot of the time, being the mom, i do pay attention to how they spend their time. i have noticed when they sit for HOURS in front of the screen (any screen tv or computer or game system) they get weird. so i do set limits and i do keep track. they less poorly, they tend to crave crappy foods, they get pissy with each other. i will send them outside for awhile, or shut things down for the rest of the day if i notice that things are getting weird. but i feel like that is part of my job as mom, to watch out for their welfare.

h

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#19 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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I read something somewhere (maybe in Raising Cain) about how boys are much more selective than girls about their relationships. It's not that girls aren't selective, just that they don't mind socializing with a wider selection of people. So it's hard for boys to go to school and be with a teacher if they don't really connect with her or him. Girls have an easier time with that.

I've always been impressed by my ds's social skills. He just came that way, needing little guidance on the matter. He's willing to meet new people. But if he doesn't hit it off with them after a couple of times, he'd certainly prefer to stay home and play with the computer, and the people he meets over the computer. But he'll drop that to be with a good friend, as well. He is selective and discriminating. It's not a good or bad thing but if it's a typical boy thing it helps explain what the OP thinks she is observing. And again, I'm not trying to make it sound like its a bad or good thing for girls to be otherwise, or even to claim that all girls are more social. But there does seem to be something different from each other about how the majority of boys and girls socialize.

We sit out of many of the classes and organized events that are available so it may seem like ds is left to his own devices or not encouraged to explore. But that's not the case. We're just selective and prefer exploring out of a group setting so we can go at ds's pace and follow the directions his interests lead. We'll be at the parkday and he'll run around with a sword but we'll skip the co-ops so he can do his own thing.

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#20 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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I let them have their games, however, I have them wake up each morning and read three sentences I keep on our dry erase board.

1) I am happy today.
2) I will strive to be a good friend and partner.
3) I will strive to be a good person.

The kids love reading it and it's our mantra. It has worked well in keeping them balanced between the importance of when they are drowning themselves out of interpersonal relationships.
Love this!! unschoolinmom

I do not have much to add to this discussion other than my son age 7 loves games, especially the wii, for him though it's the competitiveness of it, even against himself he's constantly trying to beat his score, or someone else . alway trying to be: better faster stronger...I'm not too fond of that part. But when he plays he is in it 100 percent giving his all, his best in every way. That can't be a bad thing, right?
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#21 of 41 Old 09-24-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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i don't see many girls at ten being left at home to play Halo all day while the family goes to the park, but alot of the boys at around ten seem to do that.

It could be the girls want to go to the park and the boys want to stay home. It is important to let older kids determine how their time is spent. - which is why the family lets the child/youth stay home. I don't want to drag a 10 yr old to the park if he does not wan to be there.



it just seems like the girls get more focus and the boys are left alone to watch TV and play video games.

I don't think that is necessarily true. I think boys in general probably have as much offered to them as their female siblings - they just might not choose to take their parents up on it. I think in general (sports are the exception) most acitivities are more geared towards the way girls learn - it is easier on the adults that way. Part of the reason we do not see more boys at activities is that we have created environments where certain expectation which might be easier and more fun for girls to meet are the norm. Even when their are activities which are boy friendly - boys have probably learned from past experiences not to bother trying. My DS is in 2 great activities that he loves - but the ratio of boys to girls in both activities is 1:3 or so.


again i have no issue with tv watching or video game playing/ computer use. i just think that the boys do it more and are not encouraged to explore more.

This is not my experience. I do think boys are encouraged to explore - they just do not necessarily take their parents up on it. You can lead a horse to water, etc, etc. I do think gaming is very alluring - and what we can offer may not match the fun of gaming. Oh, well, yk? I have something like 3000 posts on MDC and read about an hour a day. Who am I to judge? To each their own. If he wants to game, so be it.







h
I have more to say on this topic (particularly on the gap between boys and girls) but more later. Off (literally) to play Mario Bros with my kids, lol.
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#22 of 41 Old 09-25-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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My son definitely enjoys computer games more than DD does. But he doesn't spend 8 hours a day on them. He may spend up to 3 hours a day playing them, but that leaves plenty of time in an unschooler's day to do other things.

He is definitely passionate about games (though he doesn't do anything intense - he's only just about 6), his favorites are "old school" arcade games he finds free online. So long as he engages in a variety of activities I'm not concerned about it. So far the "worst" thing about them is that he can get very frustrated, start screaming, etc. But this is actually a good thing because it gives us opportunities to discuss frustration, how to recognize it, and how to handle it appropriately and effectively.

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#23 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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This is an excellent point. My husband is a video game lover (although he does NOT play all the time or even everyday) and he works for Google. His interests in computers and technology on a recreational basis have helped him quite a bit professionally. However, the trend to which I was referring among my peers is an increasing unwillingness among men to do things that they don't want to do. All the tech experience in the world wouldn't have gotten my husband his job if he had been unwilling or unable to work with people (face to face), follow directions, manage time, prioritize, and suck up his own needs and wants when it was really time to get things done.

In the article that I cited above the author bemoans the fact that men are now less likely to graduate from college, to hold down decent jobs, to move out of their parents homes in a timely fashion etc... So much additional pressure has been placed on females for such a long time that many women and girls cultivate drive and motivation from a young age. Historically, women had to be far superior to men to earn similar professional respect and opportunities. Things are changing and NO ONE, man or woman, can simply rest on their laurels anymore. Job competition is fierce and for every kid in America who has a penchant for technology there are 10 in developing countries that not only understand tech but also have a strong, focused work ethic.

I was homeschooled for a portion of my childhood and I feel strongly that children should be allowed to cultivate interests and follow passions. The issue I take is with the assumption that all children require equal guidance and structure. Unless children are being raised in a bomb shelter, they are going to be effected by the culture in which they live. Girls have had to do more to prove themselves historically and as a result may be more likely to push themselves when given free reign. I don't think that allowing boy children to sit around and play video games all day (whether they are in public school, private school, homeschool, or are unschooling) is beneficial long term.
*bolding mine*


I absolutely see the relevance of what you are expressing here. It's not a bad point, and the information may really mean a lot in the context of your life and your ideals. On the other hand... I think that given the huge variety of people and their wants and desires in this world, that this information absolutely DOES NOT APPLY TO EVERYONE. As a firm believer in the part of unschooling philosophy that supports the growth of an individual along their chosen path... I've just got so say that maybe it is a very telling thing that so many males and females are breaking the historical stereotypes. I don't think it is something to bemoan or worry over. These achievements gaps and apparent failures to keep up I think are indicative that maybe the technologically driven culture that seems to be of absolute value doesn't work for or appeal to everyone. If someone is unwilling to do something, then there is probably a good reason why. And if someone else IS willing to do it, then by all means let them. What is the need for the constant manufacture of intense competition when it seems that it's working itself out on its own?

As for the absolute need for EVERYONE TO HAVE A JOB, and people's perception of what is important or appropriate... If times are changing, then that is just what they are doing. Big deal. It's part of human cultural evolution. Rather than fight fight fight to keep our children on some track towards success whether male or female, why not let the dynamic change naturally as it appears to be doing? Obviously all of the fierce competition and pressure to stay ahead of the game isn't working in the way it was suspected to. I don't think anyone can project their idea of what is relevant to life on anyone else.

I suppose what I am saying is that unschooling, to me, is letting my child learn what they are inclined to learn in as organic a way as possible. To let them do what is natural to them. I personally believe that unschooling is the answer to the apathetic, unwilling, and uninspired people who aren't able to "perform" as competitively in the "modern world". I think that as much as we as humans try to fight it, nature still takes it's course and we are part of it.
We follow the chaotic twists and turns and branches of change. If that change is leading away from men being these ultra driven career machines? Well, fine. There must be something that seems more fulfilling to them. If women are poising to flip the script and become the go-getters? Sure, why not?

I'm saying the world takes care of itself the way it will. And I think that mirroring that in the way we raise our children can't be a bad thing. If our boys are progressing to something other than what has always been, then so be it. Maybe sitting on their laurels and getting a feel for what it means to govern themselves rather than comply with expectations of a very important part of male human progression? Who are we to say for sure. All I know is that my child's personal freedom to be who and what they want to be is far more important to me than whether or not they get some fancy job where the rake in the bacon. What is important is that they are doing what fulfills them NOW. Because no one can really say for sure the way things are going to turn out. I'm not afraid to let my children be themselves, whether that does or does not fit in with hardwiring or cultural expectations.
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#24 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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Regardless of how evolution and biology may have hardwired us, male children being allowed to under perform is not doing them any favors. Most boys are not going to grow up to be hunters or soldiers. Failing to prepare them for the reality of a global economy, increasing competition, and the "real world" is irresponsible. I have noticed a huge achievement gap in my own generation (people who are in the mid twenties to early thirties) between men and women.

This article is long but interesting and definitely worth the read. I'm not sure what the solution is the but the problem seems to be growing across the board and certainly does not seem limited to homeschooling groups or even school aged children.
I just wanted to reiterate my opinion... Reality is a very subjective thing and what is perceived as the "real world" is ALWAYS going to be unique to the individual. It is NOT irresponsible for a parent to want their children to create their OWN real world.

Second... Where is the "problem". Why is change always a problem?
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#25 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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I just wanted to reiterate my opinion... Reality is a very subjective thing and what is perceived as the "real world" is ALWAYS going to be unique to the individual. It is NOT irresponsible for a parent to want their children to create their OWN real world.

Second... Where is the "problem". Why is change always a problem?
I really liked what you had to say in both your posts - that's pretty much the way I look at it, but I simply didn't have the words to articulate it. There are few individuals among the grown unschoolers I know who've gone into traditional "jobs," but there's certainly a lot of excitement and passion among them for what they're drawn to.

One of the young women, who has a degree in something having to do with social work, has gone into sustainable agriculture, and is thriving in hard manual labor on inspiring farms where she's learning all she can toward being able to teach and pass it on. One young woman has a masters in music and is working on PhD in ethnomusicology - she's already been to Africa twice to study with drummers - and she'll be teaching on a college level while pursuing her passion for various kinds of music. One young man, who's an exceptionally talented photographer, is also doing beautiful art tatoo work right now, making good money, and fully enjoying his life. Two young men are accomplished free lance lighting designers who got degrees in theater design and production as they went along. My son has been exploring the best paths that will lead up to establishing an effective center for at-risk youth, is currently working at a growth center where lots of different approaches to health are explored, and will be getting an advanced degree for licensing later. One young woman who discovered a love of anthropology has had the amazing opportunity to participate in a dig underneath the currently known streets of Pompeii, to artifacts from an even earlier time. My son and most of his homeschooled friends have done extensive traveling already - and two of them rode their recumbent trikes all through Europe. I could go on and on, but I've lost track of some of the kids who've moved into all sorts of directions while I've been doing the same.

I'm starting to ramble...but the gist is that the unschooled grads I've known have not put a lot of thought into fitting into the system so much as just following their own dreams, and that's been working out well. Lillian

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#26 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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I totally get what everyone is saying about the reasons boys like gaming. For most, sure, it's going to be very attractive and fun.

My question is, what would these same boys be doing all day if the household had no computer gaming system? I'm kind of getting the vibe here that in modern, urban society, in the absence of opportunity for hunting and weapon-making etc, video games are the natural fallback. I wonder if that is really the case. What would be/could be the alternative for these boys?
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#27 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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I'm saying the world takes care of itself the way it will. And I think that mirroring that in the way we raise our children can't be a bad thing. If our boys are progressing to something other than what has always been, then so be it. Maybe sitting on their laurels and getting a feel for what it means to govern themselves rather than comply with expectations of a very important part of male human progression? Who are we to say for sure. All I know is that my child's personal freedom to be who and what they want to be is far more important to me than whether or not they get some fancy job where the rake in the bacon. What is important is that they are doing what fulfills them NOW. Because no one can really say for sure the way things are going to turn out. I'm not afraid to let my children be themselves, whether that does or does not fit in with hardwiring or cultural expectations.
Beautifully put.

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...at a certain age boys seem to be left to their own devices and girls are encouraged to learn more.
I have not noticed this in the groups we've been a part of. Some unschoolers are drawn to academic pursuits within a traditional framework and others are not, or not at the typical age. They boys I know haven't been left to their own devices, but what they're doing sometimes looks different than what their peers are doing. I think the point of raising kids in an unschooling lifestyle is that it allows and encourages them to follow their own paths.

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#28 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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I differentiate between unparenting and unschooling. I do not approve of unparenting, yet, I have seen it a lot amongst the unschoolers. Of course, I also see it a ton amongst the public schoolers, but at least they have a little bit of something at the schools so people blame the schools for the problems with those kids. (my 10 yr old text messages all night long, can't do anything about it, my 9 yr old IMs her friends on facebook all night long and won't stop, can't do anything about it, umm, a 10 yr old doesn't need a cell phone, especially if she cannot handle it, a 9 yr old on facebook is violating federal law, as are her parents who facilitate her being there) etc etc etc. When my son was in public school, he spent half the school day sitting around playing Halo, just like most of the kids in his class. So I can honestly say, this is a parenting issue rather than a school choice issue. (oh, our son is no longer in that public school, he is in a different one, but not one that allows kids to play Halo all day).

Hope that helps!
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#29 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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In the article that I cited above the author bemoans the fact that men are now less likely to graduate from college, to hold down decent jobs, to move out of their parents homes in a timely fashion etc...
Graduation from college no longer is the ticket to a solid career. Maybe it's not a bad thing that people are reconsidering college. For some careers, it's necessary, but certainly not for all. I'm not sure what constitutes a "decent" job--a high paycheck? A good benefits package? Security? None of those things is reliable. I'd rather see people enjoying their work, living within their means and having the ability to adapt when things change. As for moving out of their parents' homes in a timely fashion--a generation or two ago, it was common for several generations of a family to live together. There are many benefits to doing this so I'm not so sure that NOT doing it is a sign of success.


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So much additional pressure has been placed on females for such a long time that many women and girls cultivate drive and motivation from a young age.
Yes, and these are the same women who are stressed out about trying to "have it all" by going to college, starting a family and having a career. (And this is the generation who found that it's sometimes a problem to do the career first and try to begin a family at 40. Maybe all that drive and motivation is not such a good thing.
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#30 of 41 Old 09-26-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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I totally get what everyone is saying about the reasons boys like gaming. For most, sure, it's going to be very attractive and fun.

My question is, what would these same boys be doing all day if the household had no computer gaming system? I'm kind of getting the vibe here that in modern, urban society, in the absence of opportunity for hunting and weapon-making etc, video games are the natural fallback. I wonder if that is really the case. What would be/could be the alternative for these boys?
I think that is a VERY good question. I am not a gaming fan myself. I certainly don't knock anyone else's choice on the matter. Like a PP said, I think that access to video games, cell phones ect. is going to be one of those things that fall under parenting. If you aren't the kind of person to make room for that kind of thing in your life, then your kids aren't going to have that as much as others. While I DO think that gaming is satisfying a need for danger/hunting/fighting/strategy in boys that don't have ready access to activities that would provide that, I know that it's not a universal for ALL boys. I think of what my dad did when he was a kid in the late fifties... He rode his bike around town with the other kids and had a club-house. I'm sure they got all kinds of "boy-stuff" out of their systems without breaking out the club and stalking a deer. I think sports could be a great alternative, but I have issue with the automatic winner/loser dynamic of most team sports. And I'm not sure there are gobs of self-challenging sports available for young kids these days. Like, how many kids are out there learning cross country skiiing or something? *haha* I think it's just an opportunity thing. But I'm sure there are lots of boys being given great opportunities for alternatives to gaming, but choose gaming anyway.
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