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In this episode of “Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool,” Pam Barnhill welcomes Durenda Wilson, a seasoned homeschooler and author of the book, Raising Boys to Men. The conversation revolves around the unique aspects of homeschooling boys, advice for moms navigating the challenges, and the importance of an unhurried approach to learning. Durenda shares insights into the differences between educating boys and girls, emphasizing the need for more hands-on and active learning experiences for boys. She also highlights the significance of understanding and respecting the natural inclinations and developmental pace of boys, emphasizing an open and flexible approach.

The episode delves into the cultural messages surrounding masculinity and the challenges moms may encounter in setting boundaries and maintaining authority over their teen boys. Durenda’s advice on maintaining respect and honor while allowing boys to take on responsibilities provides valuable insights for parents.

Listeners will find practical tips and strategies for homeschooling boys, addressing the societal influences impacting masculinity and the benefits of an unhurried approach to learning. Pam and Durenda’s discussion offers an enlightening and informative resource for parents navigating the homeschooling journey of raising boys.

Listen to the Podcast

Pam Barnhill [00:00:02]:
Feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling? Wondering how you can streamline your day and boost your family’s success. Welcome to Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool. I’m Pam Barnhill, fellow homeschooler and your guide to quick, effective solutions. In each episode, we dive into practical, actionable tips that fit your busy life. Whether it’s curriculum choices, time management, or creative teaching methods, we’ve got you covered. And the best part? It’s all in bite sized ten minute segments perfect for a busy parent schedule. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and join me in transforming your homeschool experience one tip at a time. Let’s make every minute count.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:44]:
Hey there, and welcome to this episode of the Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool Podcast. I am so excited today to welcome my guest, Durenda Wilson. She is absolutely delightful, the author of a number of different homeschooling books and the host of the Durenda Wilson podcast. And she’s on today to talk about her new book, Raising Boys to Men. I think this is such an important topic these days. Sometimes I’m really concerned about my boys and the world that they are growing up in. And I know that so many of my listeners do too. So I wanted Durenda to come on, tell us a little bit about her book and how it can help us as parents homeschooling boys.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:27]:
And now on with the interview. With more than thirty years of home education experience, Durenda Wilson is a trusted voice and resource at homeschooling conventions and on the Durenda Wilson podcast. She and her husband, Daryl, have been married for 34 years, and they have 8 kids, 7 graduated so far, and 11 grandchildren. As an author, speaker, and podcaster, her greatest joy is reminding parents how doable and effective homeschooling is and that they are qualified for the job. Her books include The Four Hour School Day, The Unhurried Homeschooler, Unhurried Grace for a Mom’s Heart, and her new book, Raising Boys to Men. Durenda, welcome to the podcast.

Durenda Wilson [00:02:10]:
Thank you for having me, Pam. I’ve been looking forward to this.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:13]:
It is awesome to have you. Okay. So I wanna get right into this idea of boys and girls being different. It’s kind of a shocking concept these days. Yeah. You homeschooled all your sons from kindergarten to graduation. In what ways was their education different from your daughter’s education?

Durenda Wilson [00:02:32]:
Well, it involved a lot more hands on, especially initially. I think, also, it involved a lot of physical activity, so they needed more breaks between subjects. So we had things set up. We had a plan. So they’d finish math. Okay. You can go jump on the trampoline for ten minutes, and I’d set a timer. They also we we took an underrate approach with all of our kids, but it was especially helpful with our boys because boys tend to be developmentally up to two years behind girls at that age.

Durenda Wilson [00:03:00]:
That’s very normal. They will catch up, but I think a lot of moms kinda freak out over that. And so taking our time and letting them do things as they were ready was super helpful.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:11]:
Okay. So extra time to move and also kind of having different expectations for boys and girls at the same ages. Right. Right. Exactly. Okay. So what are some other things that moms should expect when homeschooling boys? What are some challenges they might face?

Durenda Wilson [00:03:30]:
Oh goodness. Well, I would say that the majority of boys don’t really enjoy writing. They can eventually come to love that, but they tend to think a little more on the logic part of their brain, especially early on. And so it can be super helpful to have them, I know you talk about this, narrate things back to you rather than making them write things down because then it doesn’t stop the creative flow. They don’t get stressed about writing, but instead they can just be creatively communicating to you, which is still like a a it’s a precursor to writing. And so allowing them to do that maybe longer than the girls, I think that they would like I said, sometimes they wanted to read upside down, read in a tree. Just being flexible, I think, was a was a huge part of of homeschooling boys and listening to them. Like, what what do they need? You know? Some of them needed music.

Durenda Wilson [00:04:20]:
Some needed noise. Some needed things going on, which I couldn’t relate to. As a as a woman, I like things quiet, and, they liked noise. They liked, you know, to move. They like to hear music, those kinds of things. So just being willing to listen and compromise.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:36]:
Yeah. I think I think one of the biggest thing it’s is just acknowledging that there are indeed differences between boys and girls. And as moms, we were girls growing up, and so we remember what what school was like for us, whether that was in a homeschool or a traditional classroom setting. And we remember how things were set up for us and how it was comfortable for us. And I think sometimes, boys or girls, we try to project that onto our kids. It’s been kind of a a long repentance for me to come to the understanding that my children are very different from me and learn in different ways than I did and even enjoy learning in different ways than I did.

Durenda Wilson [00:05:20]:
Right. And I think it’s so important to respect and honor that. Like, we can acknowledge that there’s a difference, but we could sort of have a little bit of a bitter sort of dragging our feet kind of attitude towards it. But if we are positive about it and just saying, hey. I get it. Like, I don’t do it that way, but you do, so let’s make this work for you. I think that’s really important too because, we wanna convey to them that there are differences. Yes.

Durenda Wilson [00:05:44]:
There are differences, but that’s okay. That that’s that’s a good thing, and we can embrace that and work with them, be on their team. You know?

Pam Barnhill [00:05:52]:
Yeah. Yeah. I like that. So this raising boys to men, why is now the time for that book? Why is it so important right now?

Durenda Wilson [00:06:01]:
Well, I think we’re we’re definitely being lied to in all kinds of ways about gender, about masculinity. It’s become trendy to hate men, and, like you mentioned, so much of what we do in the way systems are set up in our culture are really they lean heavily towards a more, feminine or girly woman sort of just lean that direction. You know, we talked about the educational system. It’s it’s more set up for a girl than it is for a boy. And so I think that moms know that there are differences, but they’re struggling to reconcile. They love their sons, and they know that there’s there’s uniquenesses and wonderful things about them, but they’re struggling between that and what the church well, what the culture and then a lot of the church because the church has been influenced by the culture are also telling them, and those seem to be very different messages. And so a lot of that message is that being male is bad and that being masculine is even worse. But I think it’s just time for us as moms to go back to God’s word, to go back to God’s plan, and embrace that.

Durenda Wilson [00:07:01]:
So, that means understanding what does it look like to be, you know, a real godly man, and then we work with our boys to move that direction, based on their just their uniquenesses and and their, their differences.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:16]:
Yeah. So I think sometimes moms struggle with boys because of kind of boundaries. There’s there’s this pushback, especially when boys get to those preteen and teen years. So what advice do you have for moms with dealing with this being in this position of authority over boys, you know, pretty much 247. Right?

Durenda Wilson [00:07:35]:
Right. Right.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:36]:
And and dealing with that in your homeschool.

Durenda Wilson [00:07:39]:
Well, I think that the older our boys get, the more we need to dial our husbands in. And we can start start out doing that for sure, but especially when they’re hitting the teen years. I needed to lean into my husband and ask him a lot of questions about how to navigate my relationship with the boys. One of the things he suggested was that I use less words, and I tell that story in the book and and what a difference it made in our relationship because what it did was it sent a message to my boys that I understood what season they were in. They were in a very hormonal season where they got overwhelmed easily. We know what that’s like as women, right, with our perimenopause and PMS and all that. Well, they feel the same thing often when they’re going through, you know, becoming men during those teen years, and so we need to, leave margin and have grace for that. And so in just changing that simple thing of using less words with them and talking to them about it, being open about it and making that effort, I showed them that I respected them as men, that I respected what they needed.

Durenda Wilson [00:08:36]:
I honored what they needed. And even in that process, I was teaching them, what does it look like to have a relationship, a healthy relationship with a woman. So we talk a lot about, you know, how do we wanna teach our girls to understand how a man should treat them, but do we talk about are we teaching our boys how a woman should treat them? So as moms, we are exampling that to them. So if we can go through those teen years with as much respect and honor intact while still maintaining our position, which is going to become looser and looser the older they get, we’re gonna go into their adulthood with a lot healthier relationship, and they’re gonna go into adulthood with a lot healthier view of how to choose a good wife. So there’s a lot going on there, and I think we we need to be aware of that.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:23]:
Yeah. And, you know, it’s this constant, even with boys. Like, there’s this constant coming back and pulling away and coming back and pulling away in the teen years. And I think, you know, I’m honoring that pulling away as it happens as just a natural, normal part of things. Yes. Yeah. And some, you know, sometimes that expresses itself in a little bit of defiance or something like that. And so just being aware that that’s going to happen.

Pam Barnhill [00:09:54]:
Now, you know, you deal with it, but it is gonna happen as part of that pulling away.

Durenda Wilson [00:09:59]:
And you can exactly. And you can even have that conversation. Like, I understand that you kinda wanna start to take the reins, and and, yes, we want you to start doing that. And maybe it’s an area that, you know, we can’t let them do that yet, and we can explain that. You we can’t do that now in this situation, but we can do that in the this situation over here. And just so that they can see that you’re working with them and you understand their desires and you’re you’re wanting to work with them, but only for their good. And I think that’s important for them to know.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:29]:
Yeah. I think one of the hardest things for me as my boys got older and probably I mean, this this probably was around age 8 or 9 or something like that was just stepping in to take over to do it for them. You know? Mhmm. Mhmm. I caught myself. I was doing that. And even today, sometimes I’ll catch myself doing that and knowing, oh, wait. You need to step back and let them do it however imperfectly, you know, and let them be And what are some ways that I maybe need to step back and take another look at what I’m doing?

Durenda Wilson [00:11:14]:
Right. Right. That’s absolutely right. Because we want to shoulder them with responsibilities. We wanna make sure that they are learning to man up, and, that’s something that, you know, we just have to, like you said, be aware of. I and and personally very prayerful over.

Pam Barnhill [00:11:28]:

Durenda Wilson [00:11:28]:
And and that’s, you know, tuned into that particular son and and what that looks like for him.

Pam Barnhill [00:11:34]:
Okay. So I wanna touch on something. You also have a book. You have The Unhurried So why is it important to take an unhurried approach with with boys, especially. And if you do that, don’t you worry about them falling behind.

Durenda Wilson [00:11:51]:
Yeah. That’s a common misconception. I think that, you know, we mentioned earlier that they tend to be behind girls their own age, so I think that’s one really good reason to take an unhurried approach. But if we follow their natural love for learning and start reading and writing when they seem ready, they’ll respond so much better. And studies have actually proven that there’s no advantage in starting early. In fact, the opposite is is true. When boys are pressured with too much book work too soon, they give up and they might show up physically, but they’re they’re not they’re they’re not fully present, and we and they aren’t being encouraged to love learning. So we want them to equate good emotions and experiences with learning.

Durenda Wilson [00:12:28]:
So if we start out gentle and move forward slowly as they are ready here’s the thing with boys, they like to be in charge. So if we can sort of walk with them and and and adapt their learning to the things that are interesting to them, they will feel like they’re in charge, and they will still be learning. So I think it’s important to to recognize how important that is.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:50]:
Yeah. And there’s so much learning that can go on outside of just your standard, let’s sit down and learn to read, let’s sit down and learn to write. I mean, reading aloud to them, having them narrate back to you, playing games with them, just really diving into the topics that they love with audiobooks and podcasts and things like that. Right. They can learn a ton.

Durenda Wilson [00:13:12]:
Yes. Absolutely. There’s so many there’s so many ways to learn. There is what is, John Taylor Gatto said there, there is as many ways to learn as there are fingerprints. And if we can keep that in mind as homeschooling parents, boy, it just it brings a lot of freedom.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:26]:
Yeah. It sure does for boys or for girls. So Mhmm. Love it. Well, do go and check out Raising Boys to Men and Durenda’s other books. And, Durenda, where can people find you online?

Durenda Wilson [00:13:37]:
You can find me at, and you can also find me at the Durenda Wilson podcast from any of your favorite platforms. And then you can find my book on Amazon or at my website, but currently, I am out of stock. So I’m gonna shoot you over to Amazon.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:54]:
Alright. That sounds great. Well, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

Durenda Wilson [00:13:58]:
Thank you for having me.

Pam Barnhill [00:14:02]:
Do you want fewer arguments, Do you want fewer arguments, less tension, and true excitement during language arts learning? Night Zookeeper is the answer. Night Zookeeper is a game changing language arts program that takes the stress out of teaching by making it fantastically fun and engaging for your child. The program teaches spelling, grammar and punctuation, vocabulary, reading and writing through a pre planned language arts curriculum that your child can use independently, freeing you up to focus on other tasks. Night Zookeeper has hundreds of word games, interactive video lessons, and inspiring writing prompts to keep your child engaged all year and boost their confidence. Your child will also get written feedback on their writing from real tutors, so you don’t have to be the bad guy. Thousands of homeschool parents have found success using Night ZooKeeper to transform their children’s attitudes towards language arts learning. Parents like Ally Midday, one of the member liaisons Pam. Ally’s 3 oldest kids have been using Night Zookeeper, and they absolutely love the feedback that they get from the writing tutors and the ability to create their own characters.

Pam Barnhill [00:15:14]:
They are having so much fun. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to the stress of teaching language arts, give Night ZooKeeper a try. Click on the link in the description to this podcast for a 7 day free trial and 50% off of an annual subscription. Thank you for tuning in to 10 minutes to a better homeschool. Remember, small changes can make a big impact in your home schooling journey. If you want more tips and resources to enhance your experience, check out our free homeschool better together community. You’ll find additional tools, guides, and a community of supportive homeschoolers just like you. Visit to learn more and join us.

Pam Barnhill [00:16:00]:
Until next time, keep on homeschooling.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Raising Boys to Men: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on Raising and Homeschooling BoysRaising Boys to Men: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on Raising and Homeschooling BoysRaising Boys to Men: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on Raising and Homeschooling BoysThe Four-Hour School Day: How You and Your Kids Can Thrive in the Homeschool LifeThe Four-Hour School Day: How You and Your Kids Can Thrive in the Homeschool LifeThe Four-Hour School Day: How You and Your Kids Can Thrive in the Homeschool LifeThe Unhurried Homeschooler: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on HomeschoolingThe Unhurried Homeschooler: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on HomeschoolingThe Unhurried Homeschooler: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on HomeschoolingUnhurried Grace for a Mom's Heart: 31 Days in God's WordUnhurried Grace for a Mom’s Heart: 31 Days in God’s WordUnhurried Grace for a Mom's Heart: 31 Days in God's Word


Key Takeaways About Homeschooling Boys

  • Boys and girls have different learning styles and needs when it comes to education; understanding and accommodating these differences is crucial for effective homeschooling.
  • Homeschooling boys often involves a more hands-on and physical approach, with the need for frequent breaks and an unhurried pace to accommodate their development.
  • Boys tend to be more logic-oriented and may struggle with writing, requiring alternative methods such as narration and creative communication to cultivate their skills without causing stress.
  • The societal narrative around gender and masculinity presents challenges for homeschooling moms, requiring a return to foundational principles and a biblical perspective to guide boys into healthy manhood.
  • Dealing with boys in their preteen and teen years involves understanding their need for autonomy and providing them with responsibilities while maintaining authority and respect, with guidance and input from fathers being crucial.
  • Taking an unhurried approach to homeschooling boys allows them to respond better to learning, fosters a love for learning, and dispels the misconception that starting early gives an advantage, as studies have shown the opposite to be true.
  • The importance of recognizing and leveraging alternative methods of learning outside traditional approaches, including reading aloud, games, audiobooks, and podcasts, to engage boys effectively.

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