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February 18th, 2008

08:53 pm

Does giving sweets to kids produce a "sugar rush?"


Dear Cecil:

Is there really such a condition as a sugar high? Years ago, I read somewhere that medical research never could prove that such a thing happens. Yet parents and teachers continue to believe that kids are hyperactive following birthday parties, Hallowe'en, and other celebrations. Without facts, I can't get anyone to change their mind. — MaryAnn May

I'm always hearing parents talk about the sugar rush their kids get after eating sweets: "Uh-oh, watch out! Little Ignatz just had two M&Ms!" I thought I had read somewhere that this effect is either greatly exaggerated or nonexistent. What's the story? — Leonard, Half Moon Bay, California

Cecil replies:

You probably did read what you think you read, as scientists have been publishing papers to that effect for decades now. What we have here, however, is one of those cases where the conventional wisdom's gotten itself a size-16-EEE foothold, and nothing as iffy as mere science is likely to dislodge it. Nonetheless, we struggle onward.

There was a time, back in the 70s, when one could try and make a case for a correlation between kids' sugar intake and amped-up behavior, but the testing that seemed to support the theory was fairly rudimentary. Researchers took a closer look, though, and in 1995 the Journal of the American Medical Association ran a survey of 23 comparatively rigorous studies conducted between 1982 and 1994. These were your classic controlled double-blind affairs: two groups of kids, one fed a bunch of sugar, the other given a placebo (i.e., artificial sweetener), everyone kept sufficiently in the dark as to who'd gotten what, etc. The results? No discernible relationship between sugar ingested and how the kids acted. It didn't matter how old they were, how much sugar they got, what their diets were like otherwise — nothing. The JAMA authors stopped shy of drawing any definitive conclusions, but if there were a legitimate sugar-high effect out there, you'd like to see it turn up in the lab every so often.
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Current Music: Virgin Radio

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February 15th, 2008

10:33 am - Is five too soon to start school?

Is five too soon to start school?
By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education reporter

Do children start school at too young an age in England? Is childhood freedom being curtailed too soon?

Compared to most other western European countries, English pupils are extremely early starters in the classroom.

Children starting school
Children start school in England up to three years earlier than Sweden

While compulsory education begins in England at the age of five (with many children actually starting at four), in countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Finland, school doesn't begin until the age of seven.

English children are ploughing through a fixed curriculum while their continental counterparts are still ploughing up the kindergarten sandpit or playing at home.

But which system delivers the best results?
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Current Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California (Virgin Radio)

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September 20th, 2007

08:17 pm - Oh hell yes.

About reading and writing, and how school has utterly fucked them up for us. We should all be demanding 'Where is the joy?' when looking at any sort of learning or alleged teaching. Written by Philip Pullman, an Englishman who has taught both kids and adults, and who is probably best known for writing book such as the His Dark Materials trilogy (the first book of which is Northern Lights, called The Golden Compass in the US). Entirely worth reading even if you aren't a fan of his books.
Current Music: Beach Boys - God Only Knows What I'd Be Without You (Virgin Radio)

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September 19th, 2007

10:35 am - Unschooling Conference announcements: join UnschoolingCircuitRiders!
Have you attended a unschooling conference wishing you could go to more during the year? Have you never had a chance to attend a conference and have heard everyone sharing how much they loved the one that just past? Do you belong to unschooling yahoo groups but don't have time to get on and read as much as you would like since you are busy doing other things with your family? Would you like to know about other types of conferences where there will be at least one speaker who will be talking about unschooling?

Here is one place where all statewide and larger unschooling conferences, gatherings, speakers and events can be posted so that those of us who would like to "ride the circuit" can easily find which ones are coming up. This includes anything from statewide to international.

This particular Yahoo group is not covering local unschooling groups. For local get-togethers, please find a list for your local area.


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July 8th, 2007

08:21 am - From motivationquote
'The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.' --Lord Chesterfield
Current Music: Virgin Radio

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June 7th, 2007

09:58 am - Exactly so.
If the image doesn't show up, click the text to see it.

Comic with four panels.  The entire comic says 'SOCIALISATION' AND MAINSTREAM SOCIETY across the top.  The first two also say HOMESCHOOLING across the top; the last two also say PUBLIC SCHOOLING across the top.  First panel: A small fishbowl with a gloomy looking fish inside it, captioned 'The Myth'.  Second panel: The same fish, looking very happy, in a sea with other happy fish, seaweed, happy crabs, etc., captioned 'The Reality'.  Third panel: A load of fish facing the same way, looking hypnotised and mindless - empty circles for eyes instead of solid dots - captioned 'The Desire'.  Fourth panel: A sardine can, half open, with one of the sardines saying 'Help!' with eyes wide open, captioned 'The Result'.

(Click here for the full-size image.)
Current Location: Boston, MA, United States

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07:48 am - Unschooling Voices #9 is out!

Unschooling Voices is a monthly collection of blog posts on the topic of unschooling. For more info, go to Unschooling Voices Information.

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June 5th, 2007

07:05 am - Rearing children in captivity

Analysis: Rearing children in captivity
By Mark Easton
Home editor, BBC News

At the school gates of Birchington Primary School, on the Kent coast, a group of mothers chat about their childhood.

"I used to go to the woods and build a den," said one.

"I would always go to the park on my own, just so long as I was back before dark," said a second.

Child jumping in mud
Some children are now too anxious to play in mud

The other mums nodded.

All remembered the adventures of their youth - long days spent out of sight of their parents. "Happy days," they said.

So do they let their own children enjoy the same freedoms?

"That would be irresponsible," replied one. The rest agreed.

The furthest they would allow their youngsters to roam alone was to the garden gate.
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Current Music: The Zutons - Valerie (Virgin Radio)

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May 24th, 2007

08:50 am - Holy unschooling in unexpected places, Batman.

xkcd.com is brilliant. I highly recommend it. It's available on your LJ friends page as xkcd_rss.
Current Music: Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime (Virgin Radio)

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May 20th, 2007

08:52 am - From motivationquote
'The things that one most wants to do are the things that are probably most worth doing.' --Winifred Holtby
Current Music: Virgin Radio

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