Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Club--Part I: Why we're reading "The Trouble with Boys" by Peg Tyre

Book Club--Part I: Why we're reading "The Trouble With Boys"
Welcome to the first installment of the Mom2MomEd book club! This month we will be reading The Trouble with Boys: ASurprising Report Card on our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parentsand Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre.

Tyre is an investigative journalist who interviewed many parents, children, teachers, and educational experts to conclude that the current educational system used in much of the United States is simply not addressing the needs of boys. In fact, she posits that the system as it is actually hinders boys and is causing many of them to fall further and further behind academically. She discusses the problems identified by parents and teachers, what is and isn’t normal “boy” behavior, and what can be done about the growing challenges faced by many boys in school today.

I first came across the book in graduate school when I was assigned to read and respond to several chapters in a course called “The Art of Teaching”. I enjoyed the book so much that I borrowed it from my professor. At the time, I was also tutoring a 5th grade boy who was having nothing but struggles academically.

His teachers were frustrated with his classroom behaviors.
His parents were frustrated with his inability to perform academically.
The boy was frustrated with all of the pressure being placed on him at home and at school, yet he was not capable of “fixing” the perceived “problems” himself.

I used quotations around “fixing and “problems” because while this boy did have real challenges, it seemed to me that the biggest “problem” was simply that he a was a boy--a very normal boy--facing expectations beyond what most boys his age could realistically achieve.

I remembered the book last week when McKenzie was telling me about some challenges she has faced as a mom of a very smart boy who wasn’t “performing” academically on assessments in pre-school. It seemed like a good time to revisit this book and to introduce it to McKenzie.

Plus, I am the parent of a boy as well! My son’s early academic challenges and “problems” were similar to what McKenzie and her son have experienced and I hope that we’ll be able to share insights from our own experiences and from this book to help you with your own children, whether you have boys or girls, as you navigate their educations.

During one of our Mom2MomEd meetings I had to stop and vent some of my frustrations to Malea in the hopes that she would tell me that I wasn’t crazy!

My son is super smart. He can rattle off details about prehistoric animals, identify the parts of a plant, and tell you all about what you will find in the atmosphere. 

However, if you ask him to sit and write or practice reading he will look at you as if you are trying to poke his eyes out with a hot needle and he'll completely lose it.

It makes me crazy! So crazy that I even went as far as to convince myself that something was wrong with him. Then, I started thinking about how difficult it will be for him in school and how teachers are going to get frustrated and label him as defiant.

Following some pretty frustrating sessions of trying to get him to focus, I gave up. As soon as I had the ear of someone who would listen and get it (Malea) I had to let it all out. That’s when Malea told me about this book and also that my son was normal!

We knew that it was not only timely to read The Trouble with Boys, but also that it likely would be immediately helpful to my situation. We ordered it together right then and there.

Since I have a younger son (5 years old) and Malea’s son is older (17), it’s reassuring to know that she really gets it. Plus, she has raised a pretty awesome son so I can’t help but respect her advice!

(Edited by Malea to add: Awww, thanks! Your kids are truly wonderful! Don't let their spirited natures be forced into boxes they simply don't fit into!)

I’m excited to read this book and learn some new skills that will help me in parenting my son (and my daughter too!). I’m also eager to have the opportunity to reflect and help you by tying the topics and lessons into your situation and life as well!
Check out our other posts in this series:
Please join us for our first book club by joining along as we read and post about The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre here on the blog. Or follow along on Facebook HERE

Be sure to grab a copy at your local library or click HERE to order from Amazon. 

Please note, the Amazon link is an affiliate link.

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