Before I had kids I knew everything about them. I mean, I was a Child Development major for pete’s sake. I studied hard, read a lot of books, took a bunch of tests, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. I had this thing called kids mastered!

Then I had one.

And three more to follow. And I decided that I did not know much at all. As a matter of fact, there are still times 21 years later that I am pretty sure I know nothing.

One of the brilliant things I was taught was that boys are girls are really not that different.

Oh, really?

See, I had two girls and I taught them school. It went fairly well, despite a few bouts of emotional tears centered around math.

Then I started teaching my first son.

I thought he would NEVER learn to read. He did eventually and now has his nose buried in a book often, but for several years I could not decide if he was failing or if I was.

Then I started teaching my second son.

I thought he would never sit still. He… well, let’s just say we are still working on that one. ­čśë

Guess what? Those are two things I never dealt with while teaching my girls. Never. Now, I know that every child is different and some things just can not be put in a male/female box, but after over 17 years of this homeschooling gig, I am convinced that sometimes you just have to school boys differently!

So how do I school my boys?

With excitement. Lots of lots of excitement. Add fire or water to anything and you will have their attention.

With noise.The louder the better. When they can be loud, they are happy.

With movement. There are not many boys who will just sit at a desk for hours and work quietly (see, there is that noise thing again). To help with fidgeting, we change locations every few subjects. Some subjects are at the computer desk, some on the couch, some at the kitchen table.

With interest. My boys are not content to learn something just for the sake of learning it. But, if I can tie the not-as-fun subject, math, for example, into a favorite subject, then I can catch their interest. For one of my sons, all it takes is relating history to what he is learning.

With passion. If I am bored with a subject, you can bet my boys are too. If I get excited about what we are studying, I hear that excitement repeated when they share with dad that night what they learned. I am amazed at how my passion affects theirs.

With fun. Yes, you can make schooling fun. While I do think it gets more challenging as they get older, my boys love games. So we make up games, we have competitions between each other, and we laugh. A lot.

With encouragement. Boys just seem to thrive on the “go team” mentality. Maybe it is their sports gene. ­čśë But when I am their cheer leader, they push on harder than ever to complete a task.

And finally –

With love! OK, so that one goes with all my kids. Cuddles go a long way for any child. When children feel loved, they usually cannot help but love in return.

Let’s don’t get so busy “doing” school that we forget to love our children first and foremost. I want them to know facts and figures, sure, but I want them to know they are loved most of all.