Roundup XXXVII: signs that your child is smarter than average, things I don’t miss about parenting little kids, great new apps and podcast, and more…

Women who graduate from a four-year college are much less likely to get divorced than women with less education, according to a study by Pew Research. The study found that 78 percent of college-educated women who married for the first time between 2006 and 2010 could expect their marriages to last at least 20 years. For women who have a high school education or less, the share is only 40 percent. The data was culled from the National Center for Health Statistics. tinyurl.com/qcow2zj

★★★

Currently, one in 10 kids in the U.S. has an ADHD diagnosis. Time magazine recently ran an article about the pressure that students who are on ADD medicine face to share and sell their pills. It also says the most fraught year is freshman year of high school when students are sometimes bullied for access to their pills. If your child is medicated for ADD or ADHD, it might be important to have a conversation about what to do if they are approached in a joking or serious manner about letting other students try their pills. http://tinyurl.com/oxwevma

★★★

Self-learning is probably the best way to get and stay smart as a grown up. The website Despreneur has compiled 25 web sites to make you smarter. My favorites on the list that are free are: Coursera (online classes from 120 top universities), Duolingo (foreign language instruction), Luminosity (try these brain games with your whole family over school break), Spreeder (online speed reading instruction), Quora (a Q&A website run by a community of experts, HighBrow (bite-sized courses emailed to you daily) and Dorm Room Tycoon (interviews with thought leaders in business, design and technology). http://tinyurl.com/nzq5p22

★★★

There is an adorable online post on “The 12 Things I Don’t Miss About Parenting Little Kids” that is making the rounds at grownandflown.com:

1. Packing up four people for a trip.

2. Finding a babysitter

3. The stomach bug.

4. Time out! Or reward and bribes.

5. Packing lunches

6. Tiny pets in the house

7. Temper tantrums

8. Lice

9. Watching good shows alone

10. Applying and reapplying sunscreen

11. Pretending everything’s ok all the time

12. The feeling of constant peril. Learn the specifics at grownandflown.com

★★★

Every 16-year-old in Sweden is going to be given a copy of the book, “We Should All be Feminists” as part of a national campaign to “open up conversations about gender.” The campaign is sponsored by the Swedish Women’s Lobby and publisher Albert Bonniers. The book was written by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie. http://tinyurl.com/jmmv7dj

★★★

There is a new petition going around asking for a change in how computer science is categorized so that it counts as a math or science in California. Right now, AP computer science doesn’t count toward California graduation or college admission requirements, it is just an elective. This discourages kids from taking it and schools from offering it (though SVHS does!). Most of the other states in the country have made this change. You can sign the petition or learn more at http://tinyurl.com/zt7ol3v.

★★★

Has your student ever needed/wanted to print a poster but been stymied only being able to print on 8.5”x11” sheets? The Block Posters app lets you print posters, segment by segment, on normal-sized paper. You upload an image, print on normal paper and assemble the pieces to form a poster as large as you want. blockposters.com

★★★

I love a good book that causes me to change my mind about something. Each year, Fortune magazine’s staff asks CEOs for the books that “really made them think.”

• The CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooy, chose, “The Road to Character” by David Brooks.

• The CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff, chose “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck.

• The CEO of SoulCycle, Melanie Whelan, chose “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Anchor.

• The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, chose “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander.

There are a dozen more suggestions at fortune.com/2015/11/15/best-books-ceo-picks/

★★★

The Wall Street Journal recently recommended three very cool books for the “geek” in your house. “Plotted: A Literary Atlas” contains highly detailed maps of the settings of key literary works. “The Maker’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” teaches you how to MacGyver your way around a zombie invasion. Finally, “The Puzzle Universe” contains brain teasers, puzzles and games from the near and distant past.

★★★

BusinessInsider.com combed through decades of research to compile 13 ways to know if someone is smarter than average. Some you will likely agree with, some may make you mad. You really need to read the entire story to learn the (pretty interesting) explanations behind these (science and research-backed) assertions that there is a correlation between intelligence and these traits. tinyurl.com/q83avl2

1. You took music lessons.

2. You are the oldest child.

3. You’re thin.

4. You have a cat.

5. You were breastfed.

6. You’ve used recreational drugs.

7. You are left-handed.

8. You’re tall.

9. You drink alcohol regularly.

10. You’re politically liberal.

11. You learned to read early.

12. You worry a lot.

13. You’re funny.

★★★

The Hamlin School, an all-girls K-8 school in San Francisco, has added a “No-Rescue” policy to its parent-teacher handbook. What do you think? Do you bring your children forgotten lunches, homework, calculators?

“In an effort to promote independence and responsibility, the school encourages a policy based on the premise that choices have natural consequences – both positive and negative. Students often learn best when they learn from their mistakes. If a student forgets an item at home or fails to complete an assignment, parents are asked not to bring items to school. If a parent does bring an item for the student, it will be the teacher’s discretion whether or not to allow the student to have it. Allowing girls to work out solutions to their challenges on their own or with a caring adult at school builds confidence and resilience.” – Hamlin handbook.

★★★

I love my kids but if they are living in my house well into their 20s and 30s I think that I will be really disappointed. The percentage of young adults, age 18 to 34, living with their parents is higher now that it was during the recession according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. It is estimated that 31.5 percent of young adults were living with their parents in March 2015 – up slightly from the previous year and up from 27 percent in 2005. While some people blame the economy, another explanation is that people are marrying and having children later in life. tinyurl.com/q2zyr69

★★★

In the category of ideas that I love – a Silicon Valley school district has built teacher housing on district-owned property. The 70 apartments are managed by a foundation and the housing is offered to teachers at about half of market value. Teachers said that they would have been unable to accept a job in the district without the housing opportunity, and that living with other teachers is a great perk. Teachers also report feeling more connected to their class because they live in the same town as their students. There is a long wait list at the Santa Clara School District apartment complex. tinyurl.com/z9j9gwu

★★★

Meanwhile, there is a growing teacher shortage in the U.S., largely because fewer college students are interested in becoming teachers. Recent research found that voters ages 18 to 29 are the most pessimistic about the teaching profession of all age groups. Less than a quarter are “very likely” to encourage a friend or family member to become a K-12 teacher today. Ideas being suggested to attract more teachers include better teacher training, more scholarships, loan forgiveness, higher salaries, professional mentorship and more time for collaborative work. tinyurl.com/o8e7kk8

★★★

I’m not ever sure how to get my mind around the campus protests cropping up around the country (at press time students at at least 51 colleges had “demands” concerning campus racism). Some protests seem to be led by thoughtful students with reasonable complaints about how their campus administrations handle racial issues on campus, while others seem to be led by small groups of outspoken students eager to jump on the bandwagon to get attention. Should buildings and colleges be renamed if they honor historical figures who didn’t stand up against slavery? The most common student “demands” are: increased diversity of professors, required diversity training, funded cultural centers, required diversity classes for students, increased diversity of the student body and tracking of race-related offenses. thedemands.org.

★★★

Thanks to the FERPA privacy act, colleges can’t share any information with parents about students grades or mental health issues in college, despite the fact that in the vast majority of cases, the parents are the ones footing or responsible for the student tuition (to the tune of $100,000 to $250,000). It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. If your child gets into serious trouble or stops going to class and drops out, you won’t be informed unless your child tells you. I understand that kids need increased responsibility and privacy in college but it seems like some tweaking of the law should be considered. What do you think?

★★★

In a sweet letter to his new daughter, Max, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, pledged to give away 99 percent of their Facebook shares – currently worth about $45 billion. Of greatest interest to Zuckerberg in the realm of education is personalized (or differentiated) learning technologies, so it will be interesting to see where his charitable dollars are directed.

★★★

Chinese toddlers are being taught how to code at the same time that they are learning early math skills. Preschool coding classes are even now popular. The Chinese are considering coding a crucial third language for their young students, after Mandarin and English. A lot of a focus is on Scratch and Scratch Jr. – the free, introductory computer programming site that seems the easiest way to introduce the concept of programming to children. scratch.com

★★★

Speaking of computer science and coding – it is so baffling to me that in the 1980s, women held 38 percent of computer science jobs and today that number is down to 20 percent. What is it about the college major/career that is less appealing to young women now?

★★★

For the first time, more high-school seniors smoke marijuana daily than cigarettes, mainly because of the rapid decline in cigarette smoking among high schoolers over the past five years. Teens these days are actually doing less of almost every drug other than marijuana. The use of tobacco replacements is high, however, with 20 percent of high-school seniors using hookahs and 16 percent using e-cigarettes. Most concerning to researchers is the growing acceptance of pot among teens. Research indicates that pot can disrupt the wiring process of the teenage brain. theatln.tc/1T2o7rV

★★★

Chronas is an app that lets students play around with interactive historical maps. If you click on Rome in 14 AD, you can watch data on societies and nations—major religions, empires, population—fluctuate throughout history thanks to cool data visualizations. chronas.org

★★★

Brilliant.org is a free enrichment website which emails students math and science challenge problems each week that they complete and then compare against their peers around the world. They can see where they match up against others based on country and age and share strategies with others students. The site also hosts competitions involving game theory and writing algorithms.

★★★

Girls Who Code has partnered with Pixelberry Studios to create a free “High School Story” mobile app game about girls in a hack-a-thon competition. “We want to broaden the perception about who is a coder,” said Girls Who Code CEO Reshma Saujani. highschoolstory.com

★★★

I am always looking for fun podcasts to listen to when driving. The latest one I like is “Stuff You Missed in History Class” about historical people and events. It is a good listen for the whole family, with lots of categories to choose from. Maybe try it out on your next long car ride. www.missedinhistory.com

★★★

Current research suggests that when children learn a second language they may be developing cognitive advantages that will help them with attention and self-control. This year, more than 100 schools across Utah are testing this idea out with dual-immersion programs in Mandarin, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German. Some people support the program because learning a second language will prepare kids for the global economy, others because they are excited to see what this early language learning can do for their children’s brains. ow.ly/W6l7w

★★★

A new article in the Atlantic by a preschool educator lambasts the trend of more academic and less play-based preschools, brought on by new Common Core state standards’ expectations of kindergartners. Today’s American preschools are “print rich” with surfaces covered with alphabet charts, bar graphs and word walls, with more “seat work” and tightly scripted teaching, and less time spent on music, art and play. One study, titled “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?,” found that the number of teachers expecting children to be reading by the end of the year is rising, and already exceeds 80 percent today. The article is excerpted from, “The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups.” http://tinyurl.com/zevycz7

★★★

Scientists believe they are close to inventing a patch that will lessen the severity of an allergic reaction for the 1.5 million plus children in the U.S. who have a severe reaction to peanuts. It is almost at the stage of human trials. http://tinyurl.com/o9acbv4

★★★

Applications were up 5 percent to the California State University system for this fall – with 830,000 prospective students applying for a spot. The number of African-American and Latino students applying to CSU colleges rose about 25 percent each, which suggests that applications from white students were actually down. CSU enrolls about 460,000 students across 23 campuses and is the nation’s largest public university system. Cal State Long Beach received the most applications in the system.

★★★

I guess it was only a matter of time, but I gather some college students are making extra cash by renting out their dorm rooms on Airbnb. As the “Fast Company” article sarcastically put it, “What could go wrong?” The housing office at U.C. Berkeley took action against a student when they found out about one listing. Even fraternity houses are getting in on the action.

★★★

EPIC is a free site for students that offers a vast library of books to read online. Many are “accelerated reader books,” which is great for those students who also use that program in their classroom. The app has a Netflix-like interface: colorful and engaging. Kids create a reading profile by selecting preferred genres and they receive incentives for reading. EPIC is able to provide the service free at school by charging a monthly subscription fee ($4.99) if the site is used at home.

★★★

A new study has found that Millennial moms are more confident of their parenting than older generations of parents. They also rate themselves as more loving but also more strict than their parents. While only about half of American moms give high marks to their child-rearing skills, the majority of Millennial moms think they are doing a great job. What do you think? Are they doing a better job, or just more confident? http://tinyurl.com/gnca9bk.

★★★

It was only a matter of time… The media has named the generation that follows the Millenials “The Founders.” At least that’s the name that MTV will be using for anyone born after 2000. More than 1,000 viewers – all under 15 — participated in an MTV survey and after rejecting “Builders,” “Navigators,” and “the Bridge Generation,” they settled on “The Founders.” Some people refer to this generation as Gen Z. We’ll see who or what, prevails.

★★★

A new app called Infant Cries Translator claims that it can determine the type of cry that matches a particular need (hungry, sleepy, in pain or dirty diaper). I would love it if one of my readers would try this out and report back to me. Researchers at the National Taiwan University Hospital helped create the app by recording 200,000 crying sounds from 100 newborns. You upload a recording of your baby’s cry, and ten seconds later, are told which option is causing your baby to cry. The developers claim it is 92 percent accurate for babies one month and under, 85 percent accurate for babies two months and under, and 77 percent accurate for babies four months and under. The team does not recommend using the $4.99 app for babies over six months, as at that age the cries tend to become more varied. http://tinyurl.com/h8e2fuf

★★★

Less than 70 percent of full-time, first-year students who start at public colleges return for their sophomore year, according to US News & World Report. That is a scary statistic. When your high school student is researching colleges, make sure to check the return rate at the schools on their list. And when you drop them off, make sure they know all the resource available to them to help them feel connected and to get help during the challenging transition of freshman year.

★★★

Your local Staples likely now offers a service in which it can save an iPhone that has been dropped in water. They guarantee to revive your phone or you don’t pay the $70 repair fee. It worked for us, worth a try!

★★★

Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on “How your body language shapes who you are” is one of the most-watched Ted Talks in history (30 million views). Her insight and approach to the topic are relevant to every one of us. If you have ever worried about your posture or felt physically awkward in business or social settings, or if you want your teen to better understand how strangers judge you by your body language, it is worth a watch. Ted.com

★★★

If your child is having trouble visualizing the benefit of practicing his or her musical instrument, you might watch a You Tube video posted by a young Swedish woman. She filmed herself learning the violin and practicing each day and the resulting 4-minute film is inspirational. youtube.com/watch?v=DaugRxMz7tw

★★★

Everyone seems to be talking about the new documentary “Making of a Murderer” on Netflix. I held off for a while, not thinking it was not for me, but once I started watching, I was hooked. It is definitely not a show for anyone under 16 but the themes it explores, and the world it provides a peek into, makes for compelling conversations with older children. The title is a little misleading as the show is more an examination of bias than the mind of a criminal. It is not gory. If you loved the podcast Serial, I can almost guarantee you will find it riveting. But watch it quick before someone spoils it by telling you what happens.

★★★

I was surprised to learn that the typical adult lives only 18 miles from his or her mother, according to recent data. Americans are currently less mobile than they were in the past and more adults – particularly those with less education and lower incomes – live in or near their hometown, according to a recent New York Times article. Only 20 percent of Americans live more than a couple hours drive from their parents. “Those with college and professional degrees are much more likely to live farther from their parents than those with a high school education, in part because they have more job opportunities in big cities, and especially if spouses are juggling the career aspirations of two professionals,” said the report. Families live closest in the Northeast and the South, and farthest apart on the West Coast and in the Mountain States. http://tinyurl.com/zthvtsd

★★★

Because I can’t resist, I must share the top 10 baby names of 2015, according to US News & World Report. This list, however, is not based on birth certificate data, but instead research by BabyCenter. I doubled checked after noticing how incredibly “white” these names sounded. The top 10 girl names are (1-10): Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Mia, Isabella, Zoe, Lily, Emily and Madison. The top 10 boy names are (1-10): Jackson, Aiden, Liam, Luca, Noah, Mason, Ethan, Caden, Logan and Jacob. http://tinyurl.com/jt8nesc

★★★

The U.S. government has launched a career exploration, training and jobs website called Career One Stop that is worth a look. Students can answer a series of quick questions to get a sense of their interests and skills then learn about careers and find job training. careeronestop.org

★★★

The Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which eliminates, or forgives, federal student loans for borrowers who are now employed full time in an eligible public service or nonprofit job. This applies to teachers, social workers and almost anyone who works full time at public or nonprofit institutions. The handy guide at http://tinyurl.com/pquunao has more details.

★★★

Hawaii has just become the first state to raise the smoking age to 21. There is now a $10 fine the first time anyone under 21 is caught smoking and a $50 fine for every offense after that. Storeowners will face a $500 penalty if caught selling to teens. The rising popularity of e-cigs drove lawmakers to pass the new legislation, as usage among Hawaiian teens is triple the national average. It will be interesting to see if other states follow suit.

★★★

Getting better organized is definitely on my to-do list this year. If it is on yours also, try the new, free Cozi calendar app for families. The app promises to keep track of every family member’s activities all in one place. You can share grocery lists, to do lists and appointments in real time, and access it from any mobile device or computer. It gets great ratings from users. cozi.com

★★★

The free Smithsonian Learning Lab has some pretty amazing art, science and history resources. The site contains more than a million images from the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo. The search function works great – my kids are fascinated by sloths, and a quick search uncovered no less than143 resources about sloths, including a dozen videos. learninglab.si.edu.

★★★

If your child struggles with math and math vocabulary, a popular site named mathisfun.com may be a big help. The all-ages site is a dictionary of math terms with visual explanations of the concepts behind them, as well as sample problems, games and guides to different areas of math. mathisfun.com

★★★

A mindset, according to Stanford researcher Carol Dweck, is a self-perception or “self-theory” we hold about ourselves. Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is a simple example of a mindset, as is “I’m a good friend” or “I’m a bad parent.” Your mindset can have a profound effect on your ability to learn, on your relationships and on your professional success. There are some great free resources available for parents and students at the Mindset Kit website. There are online courses, lessons, and practices for anyone who wants to foster adaptive learning mindsets, all developed by educators at Stanford. Mindsetkit.org.

★★★

If you enjoyed the content in this blog, please forward it to any friends who might enjoy it as well.

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3 responses

  1. lynnleybrowning@yahoo.com | Reply

    dude! this is so. good! somebody you’re gonna rich off of this. seriously! xo/LB

    >

    1. That means a LOT coming from you 🙂 xoxo

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