Q: Our two sons are in the fifth and sixth grades at a private school that just held a father-daughter dance. Now the school has announced that its putting on a mother-son dance so as not to leave out the boys. I really dont want to attend this. Its just not my thing. One of our boys says he doesnt really want to go. The other one says hed like to go but doesnt mind if I dont want to. What are your thoughts?
This sounds like so much politically correct silliness to me. Boys, generally speaking, dont want to be equal to girls. Theyre perfectly content with girls receiving certain privileges they dont receive and enjoying certain girls-only activities. This continues into adulthood, where one finds that men dont mind women having social clubs and business organizations that are gender-exclusive.
I think a mother-son dance is benign (albeit the schools reason for putting it on is), but if you dont want to participate, then dont. If your boys had strong feelings about attending, and most of their friends were going to be there, Id recommend that you grin and bear it. Be prepared, however, for the boys to all want to get together on one side of the room and talk about boy stuff.
As an alternative, consider creating your own mother-son experience. Take your boys out to a nice restaurant and teach them proper etiquette, for example. Im sure youve noticed that the world is sorely lacking in young men who know to pull out chairs and open doors for women.
Q: Our 9-year-old (only child) is home-schooled. He starts out well for about one hour, but then the wheels start falling off. He has to constantly be told what to do, but if you dont stand over him, it doesnt get done. My wife is tired of trying to teach a child that seems unwilling to be taught. We can take all of his things away from him and it doesnt bother him. Suggestions?
I am a home-school proponent, but Im also a realist. Home-schooling is not a one-size-fits-all educational option. Some children accept the responsibility well; others, like your son, do not.
Ive said many times in this column that parents should not home-school a child with whom they are having significant discipline issues. Needless to say, oppositional behavior in the home-school context is highly counterproductive. Behavior problems need to be resolved before home-schooling is undertaken.
The other problem here may be that your wife is using a curriculum that requires too much involvement on her part. Micro-management works no better in a home-school than in any other situation. That quicksand can be avoided by getting plugged into a home-school cooperative where teaching responsibilities are shared among several moms and the children are taught in a small group.
Your local or state home-school coordinator can help you find a suitable home-school group as well as, if need be, a more functional set of educational materials.