12 X 12 Prison
by: Martin Forte
Prison: a place or state of confinement (Webster Dictionary)
As we all know, the life in a prison is not exactly ideal and yet we impose these sentences on our boys almost everyday. I am not referring to the traditional “go to your room” punishment frequently used when behavior is not to our expectation.
The real prison is when we subjugate our boys (and girls too) to an unbearable sentence of sitting on a 12” X 12” piece of real estate called a “chair” while listening to your lecture on a particular subject. During this time of confinement we have fallen to the ritual and belief that learning can only take place when the child is sitting at a table and looking you in the eye. How terribly wrong we are while we force this school at home option on our boys resulting in a negative attitude toward learning and in some cases causing the unintended consequence of a decline in the parent – child relationship.
The reality is that boys, especially young boys, are not designed to be confined to a small space for more than 5 – 10 minutes. Think about it! Have you ever seen a puppy, kitten, bear cub or any other young maturing animal be still. They all learn while in motion, the boy is no different. Our modern concepts of education, designed originally to produce factory workers, have totally missed the mark on this one.
Instead of prison, why not substitute play and other activities to cover the same subject matter. The activity portion of play is responsible for the development of fine motor skills, resulting in increased reading comprehension and manuscript success. If you do have sit-down sessions it is highly recommended to have an activity box consisting of craft type of materials that allow your child to keep his hands busy. The result will be an increased success in your boy not only enjoying the lesson more, but also retaining more of the information. For the younger boy, allow for the opportunity to have a break after 5 – 10 minutes or walk around the room while listening to you.
Pay attention to this blog page for more ideas.