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I read the article about boys and school in Newsweek. I was relieved to discover that my boys (ages 12 and 14) were not the only ones who forget to bring home homework, forget to do it or do it and forget to turn it in (I could never understand that). My older son is doing D work in school. It is very frustrating when the teacher tells me at conferences that he participates in class so the teacher knows he understands the material. But he still receives very poor grades because the grades are largely based on homework. I know he is smart. He has a huge vocabulary, is artistic, plays viola extremely well. He plays World of Warcraft on-line and his "guild" has a side game of Dungeons and Dragons going on while they're playing the main game of World of Warcraft. A much higher level of brain functioning than I could manage. I agree, though, that kids do need to learn the concept of responsibility and deadlines. I just wish that a higher percentage of their grades in school were based on what they know rather than what they do. It's scary, too, because whether or not they get into a good college (or any college) is partly based on their high school grades. I'm glad the conversation about boys has been started. I fear, though, that by the time anything happens, my boys will already be out of school.


Oh my goodness, I am so completely excited to see so many views of my own communicated on this site. Jane P & Gemi Powell have duplicated my argument almost identically. I discovered this site in attempt to locate literature on the behavior of boys versus girls etc. I for one am dissappointed that our educators don't identify with the need for children period...on top of boys in particular, to learn and absorb things at different pastes, on different levels and more importantly, different styles. In a society where adults clearly have options on how they prefer learning, whether it's via the web, by book, or by instructor, we limit our growing leaders so severly. My nine year old son, is so bright that it's frightening. That's not my opinion solely, every teacher that he comes in contact with says the same thing. Yet, none of them seem to understand what it takes to keep him focused, motivated and behaved. In particular, his Language Arts teacher, who is also his Math teacher, says that she can explain something to the entire class, while my son seems to find verbal communication more attractive at the time, she will ask him a question, almost certain that he won't have the answer, and he slams it. Now obvioulsy my job is to coach him and not at all condone his lack of respect during class. I'm pretty firm about those things. Another issue that I son can swing "B" easily without studying and putting in effort. Most things come easy to him. I'm challenged with making things more appealing to him, and encouraging him to push for an "A". However, he's bored. My children are in the public school system, and why should I have to pay more to get teachers to do their jobs. I am of the opinion that these public school teachers are mainly trained in education, and not at all in child behavior. I think the two go hand and hand. I also have a 12-year old daughther, who at the age of nine was nothing like my son. My daughter had to study...period. No, she was not as busy as he is, but they are totally different individuals. Which means I have to communicate differently with them, work (homework) differently with them, punish them differently, reward them differently, etc. You know our society is quite hypocritical, in one breath we pretend that we really want to raise leaders, but when these children demonstrate anything outside of what we consider "normal" behavior, we penalize them. What the heck is "normal". Someone should review the lives of our most popular past geniuses. Girls and boys are genetically made up different. Boys don't necessarily sit quiet and tamed at all times. When we think that boys are being destructive or tearing up their toys, they are really exploring the toy, figuring out how it works, or how it's put together. That's why are mechanics, men fix things. At any rate, it's just time to revisit the old way of educating all of our children. It's time to wash out that old saying that boys are bad, boys are different...not bad. Last but not least, I'd like to share my opinion of Kathy's response. I agree completely that these findings should not be used as an excuse to allow bad, poor behavior and progress. Just glad to know that someone is taking a look at all of this.

gemi powell

In my house not turning in homework is not a sign of irresponsibility or bad behavior but rather a sign of boredom and tedium.

The question should not be “why didn't you turn in your homework” but more “why do children have to continue producing work on materials already mastered.”

If a child can read the book or hear the lecture and prove mastery what is the purpose of six weeks of assignments on that topic.

The grades go down because the projects are not turned in and homework not completed not because the subject matter is not mastered. They know the material but the way the system is set up the grades say they do not know the material. Grades are supposed to be reflective of knowledge not behavior.

Jane P

Well, I have one of son who cannot seem to remember his homework, let along turn it in on time and another son who is extremely responsible with deadlines. Maybe it's not that boys won't turns things in...maybe it's more about our schools inability to change and accomodate the many different learning styles. Our lessons in school are outdated...and our 'independent thinking' children don't have a lot of patience for schoolwork that doesn't have meaning.

Kathy Bystrom

I agree with Tiffany. While many gender differences are brain based, we can't lose site of the need to teach about personal responsibility and life expectations. This research needs to be used responsibly and not as an excuse for bad or irresponsible behavior. Will these young men enter the work force thinking they don't need to pay attention to work related deadlines? Will they not file taxes on time because their brain works differently? I work with adolescents and observe many adolescent boys who are able to manage their time and take care of their responsibilities. I also have three wonderful, successful and responsible brothers - how did my parents do it?

Genny Iplenski

My son is a spitting image of the characteristics described here. And as a result he failed last school year. This article describes what not to do, so what are we supposed to do?

Tiffany Torlakson

I can agree with the fidgeting and needing more physical activity-- but letting them turn in homework late, or not at all??? What about learning about deadlines and responsibility?

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