Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Minds of Boys – continued…

{parts 1 and 2 can be found here and here}
I have finally finished the book I’ve been reading and blogging about – The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life, by Michael Gurian.  (Seriously, what happened to the days when I could finish a book like this in a week?  This took me over a month!)
More bullet points of things I want to remember from this book…

  • The brain needs the complex interaction of all 5 senses in order to grow its tissue fully.  Because of this, screen time, especially in early childhood, can be detrimental to brain development, even if the child is watching “educational” shows. (p. 112)

  • “for every hour of television watched per day, the incidence of ADD and ADHD increased by 10 percent.” – from research in 2004 by a brain researcher at Children’s Hospital in Seattle – Dr. Dimitri Christakis. (p. 112)

  • Water is important to the brain.  Being thirsty causes problems for learning because it increases cortisol levels, creating stress.  The cortisol can make it difficult for the brain to give attention to learning tasks.  Juice and other drinks are not enough; within 5 minutes of drinking plain water cortisol levels can decrease. (p. 119)

  • A lot of carbohydrates in breakfast can make a brain “groggy”.  Protein helps keep the brain in a state of alertness. (p. 120)

  • The male brain develops  many learning functions later than the female brain.  Therefore more boys experience stress and pressure to mature more quickly, as well as  failure in school at an early age.  This can label them as “difficult”, “learning-disabled”, or “a discipline problem” for their entire school career.  Personal failure as a 3 to 5 year old can lead to an undermotivated boy in later school years. (p. 246)

  • Music and music classes help “wake up the brain” and having a music time prior to lessons may help with learning. (p. 273)
This was a very enlightening and interesting book.  I did find that the author did not seem to encourage homeschooling as much as I had hoped.  He referred to it as more of a last-resort if traditional schooling just isn’t *working* for a particular boy.
I found all the brain research and the differences between the brains of boys and girls fascinating. 
This book definitely helped me come up with some new ideas for how to plan my time at home with M.   We’ll be incorporating more breaks into our “school” time together; I’ll be trying to find more creative and active ways to engage him; at this age self-esteem and a sense of confidence are what I’ll try to instill in him most, as well as a secure attachment to those who are here to support and love him; we’ll also be concentrating on having more FUN and developing a joyful enthusiasm for learning; more music will be coming up too!  In addition, I’ll be more careful about what he’s eating for breakfast and making sure he drinks plenty of water during the day.   This will be hard for my sugar-loving, meat-hating child, but we will take it all in baby-steps. ;)
Have a beautiful day and make sure your kids do too! :)


  1. I love how you've put this review of the book up and the points you got from it.
    Does he like peanut butter? My kids love to eat PBJ sandwiches for breakfast and that gets a nice bit of protien in them. THat or cheese is another great source.

  2. I love the review. Good points about screen time and healthy food for growing brains. I have a sweet eater here myself, so I totally understand your difficulties :)

  3. Think about what we feed our kiddos for breakfast every morn. Cereal, pancakes, toast. All carbs. I am going to start making more eggs. Even if I just have some hard boiled ones in the fridge ready to go!

    Thanks again for reminding me about this book. I will search for it at the lib.

  4. Thanks for the review. I put that book on MY Christmas wish list. I love to learn how to best help our precious little boys. Have you decided to homeschool? We are starting to plan for it financially right now. D still has one more year of preK after this year.

  5. Thanks Nicole I've enjoyed your posts on this book.

  6. I've enjoyed these posts too. I need to get Bear to eat more protein at breakfast - it's all carbs right now - a lot of fruit and cereal.

  7. Another great post! What I liked the most was your comment about sense of confident and secure attachment being the most important. You're so right.

  8. Thank you! I'm really enjoying this book. Crumpet has decided he's a vegetarian right now - all my attempts to create an animal lover have worked a little too well! He never really liked meat anyway... Fortunately, I have some good tofu recipes and he likes beans. I'm looking forward to seeing how you incorporate more music in your day. I've been trying to work on that too.

  9. Thanks for the posts! It has been so interesting to read :) I'm going to have to remember to add more music to our days! My boy LOVES cereal and bread for breakfast. I'm going to have to work on getting something else into him.

  10. Thanks for this post, so many great points!


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