How to Fix School for Boys


This year was a Star Wars Christmas for Huck. Not only did he receive the prequel trilogy above, he also got two Lego Star Wars ships (which thankfully I did not have to assemble since Knute {aka: Card Carrying Member of the Star Wars Nerd Society} was happy to "help" Huck), the Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary book, and a very cool spinning light saber:
Oh yeah, that thing is just as loud and annoying as you think it is. 

It's also twice as long as a regular light saber meaning the chance that Huck will break something while fighting the Siths increases by a factor of ten. I'll send you the bill, Uncle Meatball. ;-)

But I can't complain too much. Huck loves Star Wars in that borderline-obsessive-encyclopedic-memory-of-all-things-Star-Wars kind of way (kind of like his father and his godfather).  He reads his Star Wars books constantly, builds his own Star Wars ships from his vast collection of assorted Lego and K'Nex pieces, and watches the movies whenever he can.  He already knows more about Star Wars than I ever have (or ever will).

All of this Jedi training got me to thinking about just how differently boys are wired than girls.  Just about every boy I know in Huck's second grade class is equally obsessed with Star Wars. 

The girls? Not so much. 

And while I am happy with Huck and Becky's school (shout out, SFDS) and while Huck's grades are just fine except for his handwriting (which doesn't really matter; that whole "goes-on-your-permanent-record" thing didn't really come back to haunt me for my own less-than-stellar handwriting grades in elementary school), I have come to see how different the elementary school experience is for boys than for girls.

It's not just that most little boys are wired to move, to be physical, to tell unending fart and burp jokes; it's the way the material is presented, the reading they're tested on for comprehension, the whole "cooperative learning/social learning" small groups thing that is so prevalent in education today. 

It works well for girls. 

The boys?  Not so much.

But I'm not here to complain.  This post isn't a rant against schools or the educational systems in our country or a lament about why boys are failing in greater numbers than ever seen before.  I could write about all those things, sure, but I'd only end up starting some kind of flaming war in the comment section of this post. I just don't have the time or patience to deal with that. 

This post is for all the little boys like Huck, boys who are the future of the Star Wars Nerd Society, and for you, their moms, who crack up laughing when you find them in the bathroom with the lights off, wearing nothing but their tighty-whiteys, swinging their light sabers at invisible Storm Troopers and making faces at themselves in the mirror.

**A Star Wars Curriculum**

Math

If the Imperial Star Destroyer chasing Princess Leia's Freighter is traveling at 3 Light Years and Princess Leia's Freighter is traveling only 2.5 Light Years, how many seconds will it take for the Imperial Star Destroyer to get close enough to attack her?

English

Read the Star Wars Episodes I-VI this weekend.  Then read them again. And again. Commit them to your long-term memory.   Please come to class on Monday prepared to recite passages from each book verbatim.

Science

Create a biosphere replica of Tatooine.

Foreign Language

Translate Chewbacca's speech to the Wookies to English, then write a paragraph about how his speech would have inspired you to defeat the Galactic Empire. Extra Credit: Translate your paragraph back to Wookie.

Ethics

Episode III ends with Obi-Wan Kanobi and Anakin Skywalker in a duel to the death despite the fact that they were once as close as brothers.  Discuss how the impact of the Dark Side of The Force changed Anakin and when and if violence is a necessary tool to defeat evil.

Social Studies

C-3P0 and R2-D2 are both Droids who serve and live with their human masters.  Write a brief description of Droid Culture including Droid functions, Droid humor; include a list of Good Droids as well as Bad Droids.

Art

Using newspaper, chicken wire, and flour paste, create a detailed paper mache model of The Death Star. Extra Credit: Include working moveable parts.

Physical Education

Recreate the epic battle between Yoda and Darth Sidious at the end of Episode III.

Music

Recreate the Imperial March as heard when Darth Vader enters the scene by humming.  Extra Credit: using your hands, speak in Darth Vader's voice and/or recreate the sound of him breathing.

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I might be crazy, but I just might be on to something here.

Educational experts, I am available for consulting.  I'll email you my fees.