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Boys. Think. Differently.

>8 December 2011
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Titus. He’s such a precious four year old little boy. Honestly, I can’t think of one thing I’d change about him. He adores his siblings, he’s thoughtful, and generous, and loves to help you do anything at all. He’s especially eager to help his daddy working on various projects outside.

He’s my little man. And I would kneel and be squeezed in his bear-hug embrace forever if I could.

I haven’t been as ambitious with his education as I was with Jada at four. Simply, he’s lacked interest up until recently. And I definitely didn’t want to force him to sit and do “lesson time” for long periods of time every day. That’s a sure-fire way to encourage a loathing for education.

Instead, I did short little three to five minute mini-lessons with him, covering the most basic subjects such as the alphabet, counting to 20, colors and shapes. I’d make them as fun and exciting as possible, and then he was free to learn through playing and exploring the rest of the day in his own way.

But just over the past six months or so, Ty has really developed a strong interest in learning. He watches his big sister do her lessons every day, and now he wants to sit at the table and do a workbook, too.

And I’m all about teaching him whatever he is eager to learn!!

It’s been funny, though, observing how very different he thinks from Jada. She is very precise and exact in her answers. Titus… well, he’s an out-of-the-box thinker!

What seems to be the very clear and logical answer to me is totally not the answer I get from him. No, he thinks much deeper than just the surface of a problem. And I love that.

For example…

Yesterday, I gave him some matching/go-together worksheets. One of them had a picture of a large banana on it, with smaller pictures of food below. He was supposed to draw a line from the banana to the foods that would “go-together”. There was a picture of a steak, an apple, and a watermelon. He immediately completed the page correctly by drawing lines from the banana to the apple and watermelon.

I checked his work and praised him, “Good job, buddy! You got them all right!” And then, in order to make sure he understood why he was right, I asked him, “Why did you match the banana to these pictures and not the steak?”

In my mind, the obvious answer was, “Because they are all fruit”. But Ty, very matter-of-factly said, “Because they all have seeds!”

His response caught me a little off guard. That was so not what I was expecting… but still totally right!

I loved that!!

On another worksheet I gave him he was to match certain things with their “homes”. There was a picture of a pig, a turkey, a tractor, and various pieces of furniture. The object was to draw a line from these items to either a house or a barn.

Ty did them all right… except the tractor. I noticed that he hadn’t drawn a line matching it anywhere, so I said, “Oh, buddy, you forgot to do the tractor.”

But he said, “No. That one just stays outside.”

I laughed and said, “Baby, it’s supposed to either go in the house, or the barn. Where do you think it should go?”

He said, again, in a sweet, matter-of-fact way, “It just stays outside.”

And I had to smile. Every time he’s seen a tractor, it’s been sitting outside. And in his little mind, that’s where it belonged.

And you know what? His answer was just as right as the “correct” answer I was expecting.

You see, I love his creativity. I love that he analyzes his response. And I love that he has the freedom to THINK for himself, and will never be told what his answer ought to be, as long as his answer is plausible.

And something else that I truly appreciate is seeing how he is applying his observations from everyday life to his rationale. Like this- another worksheet I gave him yesterday was on sequencing. He was supposed to put the pictures in order of how they happened. One in particular showed a chick hatching and a mother hen sitting. I’m sure what they were looking for was that Titus would say the hen sat on the egg, and then it hatched. But Titus said it backwards. He said the chick hatched, and then the mother sat on it. Which… if you’ve ever hatched chicks, you know, is completely true! After chicks hatch they do snuggle under the mama hen, out of sight, warm and safe under her wings. So, once again, his answer was a completely logical alternative!

You just don’t know how much I love that.

It is my prayer that I never hinder his ingenuity, but that I encourage him to become a man who is able to think for himself and stand for what he believes to be true. Because those who can think for themselves, and break away from the herd mentality, are the ones who will truly be free.

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10 Comments »

  • Sarah Jean said:

    That is so true! My son and daughter are so very different in their learning and thinking…sometimes it’s hard to switch up the way we communicate with them but it’s SO important! It makes me so sad to see parents struggling with one child or the other because they expect them to learn, behave and respond to things in the same way their sibling does/did! Each child, even siblings, are so unique! That’s why home-school or even private school can be very beneficial, instead if “everyone is taught the same” public school!

    Blessings to you!
    -=Sarah

  • daisy said:

    You are so right about this, Kendra! I love that you are open to his creative way of thinking. There is usually more than one “right” answer! Go Titus!

  • Leah said:

    Kendra,
    I just love your posts! I am not a mommy yet, but if that is God’s plan for me someday, I will be leaps and bounds ahead, just for having read your posts! Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life! What a wonderful mommy you are, and a huge inspiration!

  • Upcycled said:

    Honestly, and I do NOT mean to patronize you as being “too young” to be such and intuitive Mommy, but you are SO YOUNG TO BE SO SMART!! Your children are so blessed.

    You are the envy of many a frustrated homeschooler who hasn’t unlocked the “BIG SECRET” that boys are indeed different.

    ***Duh.***

    And congratulations on such a sweeeet and wonderful child.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Thank you, Upcycled. Your kind words today have brought a smile to my face, and encouragement to my heart!! :)

  • Amy said:

    2 of my children are the exact opposite of what’s “typical”. My son thinks like your daughter and my daughter thinks like your son. :) Hahaha! As a former teacher that was most surprising discovery. Isn’t G-d AMAZING???

  • Sally said:

    I agree wholeheartedly that boys and girls are very different. I also believe that first-born children and second-born children are very different, whether boy or girl. My first-born son is very analytical and studious, precise and exact in his thinking. He has always loved to read (and talk) and is now reading on his own as a 5 year old at about a second-grade level (mostly his doing, not to my credit). My second-born son is very different and more of a creative thinker and quiet. But, not all first borns and second borns are the same either … each child is unique, and it’s an adventure to get to know them. Thank you for the thought-provoking post!

  • Rhen @Yes, they are all mine said:

    Amen! I didn’t push Young Man (now 13) to sit and do his schoolwork.
    Yes, his older sister was all about writing, workbooks, and worksheets, but he was way too hands-on and energetic.
    I went with the flow and allowed him to do his learning by doing, experiencing, and figuring things out. When he was ready to join me at the table, that is when we jumped in with both feet.
    My sons are not the same as my daughters. I don’t expect them to do things the same way the girls do. And do you know what has happened? It has helped my oldest son and I discover his learning style and make the most of it. Ahhhhh, the blessings of being able to educate my children in our home. :)
    Great post!

  • Nikki said:

    I “failed” getting into the more advanced class in elementary school, because they asked me “what does ice turn into when it melts?”

    They wanted “water”.
    I said “a puddle!”

    :)
    but they thought I got it wrong…I’m not so sure :)

  • Elisabeth said:

    I just found this post while looking around your blog. I love it! As a mommy of 4 girls and 2 boys, I have to totally agree with you that boys indeed think differently than girls…imagine that. My boys are 16 and 3, I often say “God spaced them out so I could enjoy having a boy around my house for a long time”…I just love the things my little guy says.

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