As I wrote in Part #2, the reason my daughter will not be attending the same school as her older brothers is because they attend an all-boy school.
Initially, I was not sold on the concept. The world has both men and women in it - why shouldn't kids get used to that as soon as possible?
My husband, on the other hand, is a big fan of single-sex education (he's a teacher who's worked in all-boy schools, all-girl schools, and co-eds).
He told me that all-boy schools really understand the needs of, well, boys (one would hope, no?). They understand that boys need to move while learning, that they have trouble sitting still, and that they need a LOT of run-around time if you expect their brains to absorb anything. (One of the reasons we decided against our local public school for the boys was because there was no recess, and gym was only three times a week - the day we visited, the kids were playing Duck, Duck, Goose. "That's not Physical Education!" my husband protested. "That's sitting!")
"In a co-ed environment," my husband summarized. "Teachers want boys to act like girls. And when they don't, they send them off to be medicated." (Let the record show that this is his opinion only. I am certainly not making great, sweeping observations about every school, every teacher, every boy and every girl. He is.)
So I agreed to look at boys' schools. And we absolutely fell in love with one, where my sons now attend.
Going into Kindergarten, I adored the school's rigorous academics and their plentiful sports program. But, after several years there, I've actually come to most appreciate an element I never expected: Boys' schools are great for boys who aren't particularly... boyish.
You would think so much testosterone (even on the Lower School Level) would breed an uber-macho environment. (Can anyone say Lord of the Flies?)
It actually turned out to be the opposite.
With no girls around, there are no "girly" activities. All of the boys do painting, all of the boys do music and drama and even knitting (it's great for their small-motor skills)! If a boy happens to particularly enjoy art or singing there is no stigma attached to it being "something only girls do." Instead of confining them into masculine stereotypes, an all-boys' school has proven most liberating!
That said, my husband now really wants us to look at girls' schools for our daughter.
I've read a lot of the research.
And, still, I ain't feeling it....
My husband is a boy. So he got to make the final decision about our boys. But, I am a girl. And, frankly, the idea of an all-female environment scares the #$%^ out of me.
Nevertheless, I vowed to go into the process with an open mind, same as I did the first time. We will be visiting several girls' schools, and I will promptly report my observations back to you.
In the meantime, if you're interested in single-sex education for your child, below is a list of schools you might want to explore:
Girls (public): Girls Preparatory Charter School, Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women (grades 6-12), The Young Women's Leadership School (grades 6-12)
Boys (private): Allen-Stevenson, Browning, Buckley, Collegiate, St. Bernard's, St. David's, Regis (grades 9-12) (independent schools only; does not include parochial schools)
Boys (public): Excellence Boys Charter School
Follow along as we navigate our way through Kindergarten Admissions 2012. Subscribe to the NY Gifted Education Examiner. Your e-mail will not be shared with anyone.