We have mentioned elsewhere the great difference in muscular strength between boys and girls. As far as lessons go, there is but slight difference up to the age of eleven. Boys think rather more independently and are more original, but arrive at conclusions more slowly and more logically; girls jump to conclusions intuitively.
Girls pay more attention to details, and are capable of more patient attention and more painstaking work. They write better than boys, both as regards actual handwriting and the matter they compose, and are neater and tidier; boys, howover, do oral work better and appear to understand more of the meaning of what they say and write.
Boys are better at handwork, though both boys and girls love drawing, handwork, and practical work. Girls shoulder responsibility more than boys, but boys have a greater respect for rules than girls. Girls are much readier than boys to blame or pass judgment on their fellows.
It is on the emotional side that boy3 and girls draw rapidly apart during these years. In boys the hunting, fighting, exploring tendencies develop strongly, in girls the maternal, affectionate, and submissive instincts.
As the onset of puberty is earlier in girls than in boys, at about 11 girls begin to develop more rapidly than boys, and to draw ahead of them in intellectual powers and in emotional maturity.
Sight. There is a gradual improvement in sharpness of sight during these years, but grave defects now show themselves. In particular, it is during these years that myopia (short-sightedness) most frequently develops; the childs sight improves for near objects but becomes limited to those near objects.
Immediate correction by spectacles is imperative. Any signs of eye trouble, such as blinking, squinting, headache, complaint that the blackboard at school is shiny, should be at once inquired into. The child naturally does not realize short sight, and it does not occur to him to say I cant see.
Sleep. Sufficient sleep at regular hours remains as necessary to the child as plenty of nutritious food. There is no substitute. The chief dangers now to be guarded against are the childs desire to stay up later at night, to go on outings which extend beyond the regular bedtime, homework in the case of children preparing for examinations, social duties (e.g. choir practices), late attendance at cinemas, disturbance of sleep by the wireless or loud conversation downstairs. Lack of sleep tends to produce anajmia, languor, and inability to concentrate on mental work; in many respects its effects are exactly similar to those of malnutrition.