Friday, November 9, 2012

Is It Important for Boys to Sit Still for Homeschool?


How has your week been?

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Does it really matter if an eight-year-old boy doesn’t sit prim and proper in the chair for every moment of his book work?


There’s just something about boys. They can’t sit still – at least for long.

But how necessary is that? Most of us think of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I don’t think that stillness means a complete lack of movement, though. That stillness means freedom from distraction. (Please note that I’m not talking about a church service here. Sitting still for a service is a discipline that my husband and I have worked to instill.)

I’m not a church historian and I’ve not been to Bible college, but I doubt that the Apostle Paul spent much time physically still. I picture him as a roamer. Today, he might stalk all over the platform and down into the congregation, even shunning a lapel mic.

So is it worth the struggle to get a boy’s bottom in the chair for hours of book work?

Ultimately, that’s your personal decision. But as long as the grades are good, I’m not taking on that battle. It will happen eventually.


I’m reading…
A one-paragraph biography of me and my husband written by the fifth grader for a language assignment. Be careful what you tell your children. It may be recorded for all posterity!

I’m grateful for…

The freedom to homeschool and take my children with me to vote. The Bigs were quite interested in the process, wanting to read the ballot and see the tally machine work. The Littles loved putting on their stickers. Our polling place was at the library, so, of course, we walked out with bunches of books and a few DVDs.

I’m praying for…

The continued freedom to homeschool. Lord, protect us!



Do your children sit still for all of their bookwork? Or is that a battle you’re fighting? How important do you think that is?






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48 comments:

  1. My kids are spinning tops. Often the master or teacher at school was angry about their turning and wobbling. But ... there are 25-30 children in a classroom. This is different than school at home :-)

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    1. I have great sympathy for school teachers who have to manage a classroom full of wiggle worms. They have more patience than I do. Thanks for visiting.

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  2. I'm not sure I could even get my 7-year-old to sit still for school work! With SPD, he's a wiggly worm! ::wink:: But moving helps him to learn better! It's hard sometimes for me because I have to remind myself that!

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    1. I can't give you a reference, but I have heard that about some children -- that movement really aids in learning. Isn't it amazing how we're all so different? What a creative God we have! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. My boys do not sit perfectly still. I read in the book Bringing up Boys that thats why boys have trouble in public school because they have to sit still all day. Boy's are meant to have lots of energy. God made them that way cause they have to work and provide for the family. It just natural for them to be that way. I also pray that we will still have the freedom to homeschool. I don't like to be down and out about it , but I really don't think people really know what we are in for. Just keep praying.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle, for mentioning Dr. Dobson's excellent book. I thought of it when I was writing this and then neglected to mention it in the post. It has helped me to relax on my expectations of my boys.

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  4. Oh, thank you for this post today! My 5-year-old is a HUGE bundle of energy and mostly just falls off his chair if I try to make him sit there. I get such a good laugh watching him dance around the table as he's doing his worksheets and computer tests. One of things I worry about teacher's not understanding if I sent him to public school.

    It's exactly what prompted this post from me yesterday
    http://wanderingstill.blogspot.com/2012/11/thankful-thirty-9-parenting.html

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    1. I understand your concern, Michelle, and that's one of the reasons why we're so happy to be homeschooling. You might enjoy Dr. Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys. Thanks for commenting!

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  5. I love these photos! Yes, my oldest is now 16, and he began his homeschool adventures digging a Civil War trench up to his chest in our back yard. I was shocked...LOL So, we had to stop that, but he was always building, creating, and in imaginary battle with his foes;-) The Lord's Blessings~Kim

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    1. Wow! Seriously? He really enjoyed his history! So glad you left your comment, Kim, and many blessings to you.

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  6. I've got four girls, and they are the same way. Just sayin'. :)

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    1. I probably should have titled the post differently, but my inspiration was from my boy who appears in all the pictures. I was sitting on the couch working on phonics with his sister one morning and just watching him balance on the dining room chairs. You're definitely right, Kayla, and thanks for mentioning that girls can be just the same way.

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  7. These poses look VERY familiar! We have 2 boys. They often stand to do their work, or read books upside down. The only thing I ask of them is to sit still when I'm doing the read-aloud. Great post! :)

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    1. Yeah, constant movement jiggles the book too much! So glad you commented, Letha.

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  8. I have two boys as well. I also know how much they move around while doing their work. I never know which position they will be in next while they do their work. (It was one of the reasons why they couldn't handle a school setting.) However, they do learn the material, and that is truly what matters most to me. As long as they do decent on their school work then the battle for them to sit still is not an issue.

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    1. The positions constantly amaze me! Thanks, Crystal, for visiting today.

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  9. I actually think that's one of the beauty's of homeschooling...not having to sit in the same chair all day...when we homeschooled, we didn't have a set place for doing work...on the bed, at the table, at the desk. Your post makes a great point! : )

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    1. I have wondered, Gail, if young boys say they don't like school because they have to sit still for so long. So glad you joined in the conversation!

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  10. As a mother of four boys, I can totally relate! This is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Glad you were encouraged today, Elizabeth. Thanks for commenting!

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  11. Hahaha! Boys do not sit still do they? I love the photos you managed to get. When I worked at a preschool, it frustrated me to no end, the child (4-5) was considered hyper if he couldn't sit for 20 minutes and work on his books. Crazy!

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    1. I have a couple more photos, but they didn't fit in the graphic. As I sat there and watched him maneuver into his different positions, the truth of the way God made him really sank in. As you can see, he was quite intent on his work. He just couldn't make his body stay still. Thanks for commenting. Always happy to see your comments!

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  12. Oh, Meghan! I have these same thoughts/concerns! It's so hard to find that balance, because on one hand there is that comparison trap that says "other boys and girls are still and quiet, so maybe I'm doing something wrong." But on the other hand I think, they are boys and they don't need to be sitting still and quiet all the time...I'm still struggling with this one I think.

    My boys are always flopping around, and rarely sitting still.

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    1. I think you got the right word, Crystal -- the trap of comparison. Your boys are quite young. Would it ease your struggle if you knew what would be expected of them in preschool? Maybe your oldest is in kindergarten? I must admit I don't really know in today's schools. I remember a lot -- a lot -- of play-time and time outside. Building with blocks, dress up, painting, coloring, many trips to the bathroom. :) As one comment said above, we sat still for read-aloud time, but I think that was about it. If you think your boys need still time, go for it. Obviously, that's for you and the principal of your school (your husband) to decide. I've just found that it helps me to relax in our school time if I don't fret over nonacademic things when they're so young. I hope you're enjoying your school time, and I'm impressed with your plans and schedules. I wasn't nearly that organized in the beginning!

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  13. Hahahaha! Oh I loved this!!!! I homeschooled for 16 years. My kids did school all over the place. The oldest did some of his schooling while sprawling on the stairs. He graduated from college this spring with a 4.0 (suma cum laude) so I don't think it hurt him any, lol!

    My youngest was the wiggler. He just couldn't sit still. He is in his second year of college and while he is able to sit still now, he still manages to be all over the house when he does his homework.

    Sometimes he lies on the floor of the sunroom, next to the dog. Sometimes he lies on his bed, or sits at his desk, and last night he had his math book on the kitchen counter and STOOD there and did his math.

    So I agree with your heart. Learning will happen now, and sitting still will come later. Isn't that one of the blessings of homeschool?

    I do know a couple families who made their girls wear dresses and their boys wear slacks and white collared shirts, and they sat at desks.

    But my kids wore jammies sometimes (and I did too, does it shock you?) and we just sat wherever we were comfortable. Sometimes it was on the floor in the sunroom, in front of the heater!

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    1. It's just one of the many, many blessings of homeschool. And I'm right there with you in the jammies. My 8yo boy especially loves to stay in his jammies until waaaaay past breakfast! So glad you visited today. You have a great blog!

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  14. Making learning fun is what is most important...sadly in schools they ruin the eagerness of learning most of the time!

    Iris♥

    The Blue Birdhouse

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    1. Fun makes everything more...fun! You know what I mean. :) Thanks for visiting, Iris!

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  15. Oh, goodness. It drives me nuts when my son won't sit still, but does it really matter? At home, doing school work... no, it doesn't. I struggle most with church. Our church is family integrated, so he sits with us. I use the term "sits" loosely, as he doesn't really sit. For that, I keep telling myself as long as he's quiet, so he doesn't distract anyone else, I don't care if he's sitting...standing {he's only three and his head isn't much taller than the chair backs}... kneeling.

    Stopping by from Raising Homemakers.

    http://www.domesticblissdiaries.com

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    1. Our children are also with us in church, and we're working more on getting the almost-four-year-old to sit better. But I think it's just something little boys have to grow into. You're doing a terrific job, Alana! Thanks so much for commenting.

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  16. I am realizing more and more that little boys are just like grown men. My husband rarely sits still (unless he is watching TV of course (smile)). I think that God made men this way and schools need to embrace the fact that they are still listening while moving around.

    Thanks for your great blog!

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    1. Your comment is reminding me of when I was instructing my oldest daughter to listen in church when she had been doodling and coloring with the littlest ones. She told me that she listens better when her hands are doing something. She is a very honest, up-front child, so although that notion is foreign to me (I don't have any problems with stillness, usually), I believed her. When we quizzed her later, she definitely knew what the sermon had been about. All that to say -- good point! So glad you commented today, Delora, and I hope to see you again.

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  17. I totally agree! Some people think better when moving, so it should be allowed, when it's not disrupting anyone else's learning.

    As a developmental psychologist who also worked with Girl Scouts for many years, I have to agree with Kayla that many girls also have trouble sitting still. It may be somewhat more common in boys, but it definitely is something you see in girls too. Personally, I like to pace while thinking, and in school where I couldn't do that I did a lot of leg-jiggling and hair-twisting. In college I did all my reading assignments lying on the floor doing leg-lifts!
    ---'Becca

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    1. Leg-jiggling! Yes, I've seen a lot of people do that and just thought it a nervous habit. But perhaps it's just excess energy to be burned off. Thinking better and listening better while moving. Great points! Thanks for commenting.

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  18. Thanks for linking up with Hammock Tracks. I love those images of your squirming son.

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  19. This post got the most views of all the posts linked up this week. What a great post. Yes - there is something about boys that they have to move, jump, climb..I remember my brother eating at the table - with his legs stuck in the hold at the back of the chair and standing on the back rung. How me managed to do that with his legs is beyond me. My parents tried 9 ways to Sunday to get his bottom in that chair, but his legs always ended up standing on that back rung. LIke you, I think they gave up on that battle. He still has a metabolism that never, ever, ever, ever quits.

    Thanks for linking up this week. Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. What would I give for a metabolism like that? There is something to be said for being wiggly -- burning off calories! Thanks, Rosilind.

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  20. Thank you for this! I'm so glad to know my child isn't the only one that roams around the room, half stands, or lies on the floor during school. It's true, as long as they are learning. Blessings! Visiting from www.toshowthemjesus.com

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    1. I'm reminded of what my pastor said not long ago. He prefers praying while pacing. He's tried all sorts of positions and stillness, but he focuses better while he's on the move. So we can add, it's true, as long as they are praying! :) So glad you visited, and many blessings to you Christina.

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  21. I teach public school choir, and when I made peace with the "boy-ness" of my boys, including their need for a lot of movement, I began to get amazing results. I think a classroom is an unnatural environment for an adolescent- teenaged boy anyway; they were designed to be hunting buffalo and such! So when we adapt to THEIR needs we get a lot more learning.

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    1. Make them dance! Oh wait, that might be too much movement. Great comment, Auntie Em. Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

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  22. So funny! I love how he is reading backwards. I know that boys and girls are different, but I see this in my daughter as well. She will move around A LOT when drawing or making something and sometimes at the dinner table. I think it is good for them and helps them think by circulating the blood better. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library.

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    1. I hadn't thought of that, Janine. You're probably right -- keeps the blood flowing. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

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  23. This is a great post! It is a must for Mom's! Thank you for this and my it be a blessing to many causing them to think about whether it is worth the struggle and possible alienation!

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    1. You make an excellent point about the possible alienation when a mom strives against her children in a matter that isn't really that important for the time being. Relaxing and laughing about it together can grow relationship. Thank you so much for your comment, Jacqueline!

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