I have an almost-9-year-old boy. I've raised three of these creatures prior to the current one, and as he pulls his typical 9-year-old antics, I remind his disgusted/annoyed/frustrated older sisters that this is perfectly normal. 9-year-old boys are disgusting/annoying/frustrating.
Case in point:
Big sister said, "Take those out of your ears or you'll ruin them."
He replied, "That's the point."
I am confident that his goal was not to actually ruin the pencil or his ears, but as soon as sister made a comment, he felt the need to put her in her place and communicate that he is above the need to worry about a mere pencil/eraser/ear drum.
Also, get aload of these fingernails:
But most of us moms-of-9-year-old boys can look past the smell and the muddy shoes and the constant activity. Most of us see a future right around the corner that all too soon includes careful clothing selections and Axe Body Spray. No hurry.
What we struggle with as homeschooling moms of 9-year-old boys is some variation of this:
Hiding under the bean bag because, math. Poor kid. I asked him to do his two pages of math and it was surely a sign to him of the coming apocalypse.
I'm sure the big question here for those of you moms who are currently homeschooling a 9-year-old boy is, "So what do I do when he collapses on the floor because I dared to present him with school work?"
A few tricks that have worked for me:
- Turn on some motivating music. The day of the pencil-in-the-ear, we listened to the Star Wars playlist from Apple Music.
- Give work in short bursts, followed by activity or "brain breaks". Favorites here are jumping jacks, sprinting up and down the stairs, running laps around the yard, and getting to use the bathroom. Just kidding. But no, really.
- Liberally use the stop watch on your phone. My boys in those middle ages love to be timed, whether it's a math workbook page or emptying the dryer.
- Allow food. A bowl of peanuts, a handful of carrot sticks, and yes, even that gum you and I were never allowed in school. I get it - they wanted to preserve their flooring - but in our home, gum often allows a student to focus on the task, much like doodling or knitting or coloring helps us adults to focus on a speaker or podcast.
- Remind them that you are their teacher, and as such, they do need to get their school work done. But when they've finished, let 'em go! Give them the freedom to play/exercise/read/whatever.
Need more good resources all about boys?
Did you know that other parents struggle with the 9-12-year-old boy group, too? Our friends Hal and Melanie Young over at Raising Real Men have a whole "boot camp" (encouragement/major cryfest/boost) just for parents tackling this stage of life.
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