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School: Sitting Is Optional

Ever since reading Leonard Sax’s book Why Gender Matters, it impressed upon me to apply some of the principles Dr. Sax outlined in his book, specifically the point about making seating optional in school.  Whether you have a boy or not, most of us concede that boys in general are more active than girls.  The way schools are set up are tailored to girls because they are not as active and can readily sit.  This is the reason why Dr. Sax is a proponent of the same-sex schools where teachers can better serve the students of gender differences.

In our homeschool, it is without question that our firstborn is all boy, and sitting still isn’t a gift he possesses.  Naturally doing school with this particular child is quite challenging.  What is surprising to me is that even our second born boy — who is more mellow and more able to sit still than the first — also struggles with sitting still during school.  These two boys seem to have an inherent opposition to sitting still.  Of course I shouldn’t be surprised but when I’m faced with the difficult task of teaching two active boys, I want to force them to do what I think is best for them.  However, I have to remember that I need to do what is best for them and modify the ways I school them according to their preferences.

I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy and sitting permanently in a chair seems to be my gift for the time being.  Moving about is quite challenging at this stage so I’m pretty much permanently parked in front of my computer.  Instead of doing school with the kids at the school table, I have the kids, one at a time, come to where I am so I can teach each one from my desk. I have the boys stand, not sit, next to me and I teach the lesson for the day.  They’re allowed to move about, but not move away from me during school time.  I have found this method to be quite suitable for both the boys and me.  I wish I could say that school time is all fine and dandy now, but this isn’t the truth.  From time to time I’d much prefer that they sit and do their work as I had hoped.  I think I’ll save this wish for my girls.  Despite letting go of my personal preference, I am glad I can accommodate my two active boys and that they are not hampered by a requirement to be seated for learning.

As much as I agree with Dr. Sax’s suggestion of making seating optional, I believe there should be a balance.  There are times where sitting should be required as sitting still is a good practice for self-control as well as participating in events that require sitting still, i.e., church, weddings, meetings, funerals, etc.  I trained the children early on to sit still so we could worship together as a family during church.  Even though they are not perfect and still need reminders from time to time, they are doing quite well sitting still and quiet during church services and Bible studies.

Posted in Homeschooling.

3 Responses

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  1. Mary Beth says

    When we first started home educating our eldest he rolled around on the floor or jumped up and down while he learned his spelling words. 🙂 And he actually learned better this way.

    You may find that your girlies will need some modifications in seating assignments as well, since not all girls can handle sitting still either.

    I agree that sitting still is an important skill to learn.

    It is such a gift that you can educate your kids in the way that best suits them. I mean think about it . . . sitting still takes a lot of work and then learning a lesson takes a lot of work. Sometimes trying to work on both is an overload! As you already know. 🙂

  2. Teri (from Iowa) says

    I an a speech/language pathologist working with 0-5 year old children, who are both typically developing and challenged. We sometimes have our wiggly ones sit at the table, not on a chair, but on a small yoga-type ball. There are even circular rings with high sides to place the ball in, so it cannot roll off. Might be worth a try.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Musings of the Dings » Boys Don’t Need Chairs to Learn linked to this post on 3 September, 2009

    […] my previous School: Sitting is Optional post, I talked about making sitting during school as optional due to my boys’ active […]

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