Saturday, December 17, 2005

Apprentice Show as a Parenting Tool

The fourth season of the Apprentice ended with two very impressive individuals, Randal and Rebecca. It is a rare opportunity that we can see leadership and characters so true and clear on TV. Our family has always valued integrity, loyalty, creativity, persistence, courage and kindness. However, these are just words. It is hard to convey the values to children without examples.

I am lucky that my kids are big fans of the Apprentice show. They have seen how candidates got fired because of laziness, sloppiness, lying, losing focus, and evading responsibility, etc. They saw how mistakes led to consequences. I remember Warren Buffett said, "Learning from other people's mistake is better than learning from your own mistake". I think Apprentice show offers the great opportunity for people to do just that.

On the positive side, my kids saw how people rose to leaders by good education, hard work, intelligence and niceness. They saw how the strong faced challenge, dealt with setback, brushed off pressure and charged ahead to accomplish a task. They admired the best and looked up to them. As a parent, I am grateful for the wonderful role models they set. I highly recommend the show to other parents.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Got my own domain www.overparenting.com

Dear Friends,

This is the last posting at blogspot.com. I got my own domain and have moved the blog to www.overparenting.com. Please visit my new site. Thank you very much!

Ambition

The November 14, 2005 edition of Time Magazine has an article on "Ambition". It provides insights on how successful people got their drive and passion. For parents, I quote, "There are no hard rules for the kinds of families that turn out the highest achievers. Most psychologists agree that parents who set tough but realistic challenges, applaud successes and go easy on failures produce kids with the greatest self-confidence."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ambition

The November 14, 2005 edition of Time Magazine has an article on "Ambition". It provides insights on how successful people got their drive and passion. For parents, I quote, "There are no hard rules for the kinds of families that turn out the highest achievers. Most psychologists agree that parents who set tough but realistic challenges, applaud successes and go easy on failures produce kids with the greatest self-confidence."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

New Gifted High School Program at Bellevue, Washington

I am a member of the parent advisory committee at Bellevue school district. The committee recommended the Interlake option as our high school gifted program. Interlake school implements the IB programs. The following links can help parents and students understand IB better.

For parents:
1. IB parents guide at http://www.dp-help.com/.

For students:
1. So you like to get an IB Diploma at Amazon.

There is no doubt that IB is a strong academic and well-rounded program. It is heavily loaded. Each family should do their own research to see if it is a good fit for their student's personality and goal before undertaking this challenge. The Bellevue gifted high school information can be found at website http://www.bsd405.org/Default.aspx?tabid=855.

New Gifted High School Program at Bellevue, Washington

I am a member of the parent advisory committee at Bellevue school district. The committee recommended the Interlake option as our high school gifted program. Interlake school implements the IB programs. The following links can help parents and studnets understand IB better.

For parents:
1. IB parents guide at http://www.dp-help.com/.

For students:
1. So you like to get an IB Diploma at Amazon.

There is no doubt that IB is a strong academic and well-rounded program. It is heavily loaded. Each family should do their own research to see if it is a good fit for their student's personality and goal before undertaking this challenge. The Bellevue gifted high school information can be found at website http://www.bsd405.org/Default.aspx?tabid=855.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

"Perfect Madness" - Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

I love this book by Judith Warner. You can get a glimpse of it at
www.perfectmadness.net/about.html

The book discussed American mother's superwoman role today. In short, we are doing everything possible for our children, but at the same time, we lost the essential qualities like peace and happiness in our life.

While the book does not offer a solution, it does make me feel that I am not alone in mess. More importantly, I should question whether this the right thing to do. Americans are creative problem solvers. We can each find our own solution to this mess. This book gives you the support, direction and courage to find a way out.

Teenage blogging

Please visit my boys' blog at
www.wangsblog.com/jeffrey
www.wangsblog.com/andrew.

I recently encouraged my boys to start their own blogs. I am now able to see a different side of my kids that I was not really aware of. It is a new way of communications helping me understand more about where their passion lies.

"Perfect Madness" - Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

I love this book by Judith Warner. You can get a glimpse of it at
www.perfectmadness.net/about.html

The book discussed American mother's superwoman role today. In short, we are doing everything possible for our children, but at the same time, we lost the essential qualities like peace and happiness in our life.

While the book does not offer a solution, it does make me feel that I am not alone in mess. More importantly, I should question whether this the right thing to do. Americans are creative problem solvers. We can each find our own solution to this mess. This book gives you the support, direction and courage to find a way out.

Teenage blogging

Please visit my boys' blog at
www.wangsblog.com/jeffrey
www.wangsblog.com/andrew.

I recently encouraged my boys to start their own blogs. I am now able to see a different side of my kids that I was not really aware of. It is a new way of communications helping me understand more about where their passion lies.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Writing websites for children

http://www.stonesoup.com/

http://www.kidpub.com/

http://www.mercereducation.com/

Mercer Education is where my kids attended for improving writing and verbal skills.

My older son also took two distance learning classes from Johns Hopkins CTY, http://cty.jhu.edu/writing/courses.html. He thinks both classes are quite helpful.

Writing websites for children

Here are a few websites that you can see writing from other children.

http://www.stonesoup.com/

http://www.kidpub.com/

My older son also took two distance learning classes from Johns Hopkins CTY, http://cty.jhu.edu/writing/courses.html. He thinks both classes are quite helpful.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Who got admitted to Harvard?

Here is an article from Seattle Times Jun 3 2004, featuring a student now in his 2nd year at Harvard.

Jie Tang, Bellevue High School

"Jie Tang could probably teach a class or two at Bellevue High School, no problem at all.

The 18-year-old understands the language of math and science like few young people in the whole country, his teachers say.

As a junior, he was one of just 54 U.S. students chosen to participate in a six-week intensive Research Science Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Another internship took him to Beijing, where he worked with grad students in computer science.

"I'm on the edge of my seat to see what he ends up doing in this world," said school counselor Yvette Cook.

A semifinalist in the national Presidential Scholars competition, Tang graduates with a 4.0 grade-point average and starts at Harvard University in the fall. His intellect is stunning, teachers say. He can easily play with esoteric concepts like "combinatorics" and "Cauchy properties." Yet Tang practices humility. "I'm into the whole math-science thing," he says simply.

Born in China, Tang has spent most of his life in the U.S., first in Ohio and later in Washington state. His plans after college aren't clear, though for him a career as an entrepreneur has a certain ring to it.

As president of Bellevue's Youth Link, a city service that funds activities for youth, Tang has maintained its Web site, dispatched volunteer drivers for Safe Rides, and created and taught an introductory computer class for older residents. He's also raised about $20,000 for cancer research as part of a 10-person Relay for Life team.

School has sometimes been a challenge even for Tang. He credits one teacher in particular, Mary Park Christie, for inspiring him, and said he carries one simple message: "Don't give up. That's the most important thing."

Source (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2001955004_04grad-tang13m.htm)

Who got admitted to Harvard?

Here is an article from Seattle Times Jun 3 2004, featuring a student now in his 2nd year at Harvard.

Jie Tang, Bellevue High School

"Jie Tang could probably teach a class or two at Bellevue High School, no problem at all.

The 18-year-old understands the language of math and science like few young people in the whole country, his teachers say.

As a junior, he was one of just 54 U.S. students chosen to participate in a six-week intensive Research Science Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Another internship took him to Beijing, where he worked with grad students in computer science.

"I'm on the edge of my seat to see what he ends up doing in this world," said school counselor Yvette Cook.

A semifinalist in the national Presidential Scholars competition, Tang graduates with a 4.0 grade-point average and starts at Harvard University in the fall. His intellect is stunning, teachers say. He can easily play with esoteric concepts like "combinatorics" and "Cauchy properties." Yet Tang practices humility. "I'm into the whole math-science thing," he says simply.

Born in China, Tang has spent most of his life in the U.S., first in Ohio and later in Washington state. His plans after college aren't clear, though for him a career as an entrepreneur has a certain ring to it.

As president of Bellevue's Youth Link, a city service that funds activities for youth, Tang has maintained its Web site, dispatched volunteer drivers for Safe Rides, and created and taught an introductory computer class for older residents. He's also raised about $20,000 for cancer research as part of a 10-person Relay for Life team.

School has sometimes been a challenge even for Tang. He credits one teacher in particular, Mary Park Christie, for inspiring him, and said he carries one simple message: "Don't give up. That's the most important thing."

Source (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2001955004_04grad-tang13m.htm)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Take College Tours On DVD

I read about the DVD project from the Chronical of Higher Education website. THE U is a new DVD series featuring high-energy video tours of America's 50 most popular colleges. The DVDs can be ordered from http://www.theu.com/site/index.htm.

There are five of them:
The Ivy League
The Northeast
The South
The Midwest
The West

The DVDs provide a cost-effective way to tour universities. I'd like to review them and report my findings later in the blog.

Take College Tours On DVD

I read about the DVD project from the Chronical of Higher Education website. THE U is a new DVD series featuring high-energy video tours of America's 50 most popular colleges. The DVDs can be ordered from http://www.theu.com/site/index.htm.

There are five of them:
The Ivy League
The Northeast
The South
The Midwest
The West

The DVDs provide a cost-effective way to tour universities. I'd like to review them and report my findings later in the blog.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Baby Name Voyager

Baby Name Voyager is a very interesting tool that shows the trend of baby names. For expecting parents, especially those not growing up in USA, it is very helpful to see which names are popular and which might be outdated. For example, boy's names like Ethan and Owen are getting a lot of popularity, while names like Arthur and William are losing attractions.

For parents with older students, this is an ingenious tool to diaplay large amount of information in a way common people can understand and appreciate. It is simple, elegant and useful. Studying how it is done could be a satisfying math/computer science project.

The author, Martin Wattenberg, holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. This shows how creative and fun mathematians can be.

Baby Name Voyager

Baby Name Voyager is a very interesting tool that shows the trend of baby names. For expecting parents, especially those not growing up in USA, it is very helpful to see which names are popular and which might be outdated. For example, boy's names like Ethan and Owen are getting a lot of popularity, while names like Arthur and William are losing attractions.

For parents with older students, this is an ingenious tool to diaplay large amount of information in a way common people can understand and appreciate. It is simple, elegant and useful. Studying how it is done could be a satisfying math/computer science project.

The author, Martin Wattenberg, holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. This shows how creative and fun mathematians can be.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Good book for parents: "Conversationally Speaking" by Alan Garner

I picked up this book for a job reason and ended up finding many good advices in this book applicable to communication with my two teen boys.

Two chapters are especially worth mentioning -- Chapter two, Delivering Honest Positives and Chapter 10, Requesting Change.

Many parents complaint to me that their children do not listen to them. I found it is largely due to parents tend to nag on the behaviors that they don't like. I also do that from time to time and have learned my lessons repeatedly on how unpleasant and ineffective the experiences can be. Fortunately, asking kids to change is possible if you follow these simple rules.

One of the most important points is the three R's (Reinforced Responses Recurs), i.e.
Behavior -> Rewarded -> Increases
Behavior -> Ignored -> Decreases

I was fortunate to learned this principle when my kids were very young and they have grown up to be well-behaved individuals. In short, this really works!

However, it is still possible to have problems among us. For instance, I dislike my kids doing homework while talking with their friends through instant messaging at the same time. Chapter 10 in the book talks about how to identify who owns the problem. According to this book, a problem is yours whenever you are the person whose needs are not being met. My kids do not listen simply because they have their way of thinking and doing. In this case, I own the problem for I don't like what I see, but it does not mean they ought to change to meet my needs. Telling myself to focus on something else (reading books or watching TV) has been a good way to reduce tension among us.

This is one of those books very practical to parenting but it is not in the parenting books section. I encourage you to read this book and comment on what you think.

Good book for parents: "Conversationally Speaking" by Alan Garner

I picked up this book for a job reason and ended up finding many good advices in this book applicable to communication with my two teen boys.

Two chapters are especially worth mentioning -- Chapter two, Delivering Honest Positives and Chapter 10, Requesting Change.

Many parents complaint to me that their children do not listen to them. I found it is largely due to parents tend to nag on the behaviors that they don't like. I also do that from time to time and have learned my lessons repeatedly on how unpleasant and ineffective the experiences can be. Fortunately, asking kids to change is possible if you follow these simple rules.

One of the most important points is the three R's (Reinforced Responses Recurs), i.e.
Behavior -> Rewarded -> Increases
Behavior -> Ignored -> Decreases

I was fortunate to learned this principle when my kids were very young and they have grown up to be well-behaved individuals. In short, this really works!

However, it is still possible to have problems among us. For instance, I dislike my kids doing homework while talking with their friends through instant messaging at the same time. Chapter 10 in the book talks about how to identify who owns the problem. According to this book, a problem is yours whenever you are the person whose needs are not being met. My kids do not listen simply because they have their way of thinking and doing. In this case, I own the problem for I don't like what I see, but it does not mean they ought to change to meet my needs. Telling myself to focus on something else (reading books or watching TV) has been a good way to reduce tension among us.

This is one of those books very practical to parenting but it is not in the parenting books section. I encourage you to read this book and comment on what you think.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

ParentingYourTeenager.com

I found this quote from a similar blog, ParentingYourTeenager.com.

"Trying to control a teenager is like trying to put pants on a gorilla.
It's just going to frustrate you and make the gorilla really mad."

My frustration with my 15 year old suddenly disappeared after I read this.

Baby Einstein titles at Netflix

I accidentally discovered several educational DVDs at Netflix -- www.netflix.com. Netflix offers the Baby Einstein, Baby Newton, Baby Shakespear series and more. It is a great idea for moms into over-parenting without over spending.

For parents with older children, there are Algebra, Geometry lessons as well. You will be delighted.

ParentingYourTeenager.com

I found this quote from a similar blog, ParentingYourTeenager.com.

"Trying to control a teenager is like trying to put pants on a gorilla.
It's just going to frustrate you and make the gorilla really mad."

My frustration with my 15 year old suddenly disappeared after I read this.

Baby Einstein titles at Netflix

I accidentally discovered several educational DVDs at Netflix -- www.netflix.com. Netflix offers the Baby Einstein, Baby Newton, Baby Shakespear series and more. It is a great idea for moms into over-parenting without over spending.

For parents with older children, there are Algebra, Geometry lessons as well. You will be delighted.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. - Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford

I read about Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford this year but only till today I read the entire content. I was so moved. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about how leaders become leaders. I start to believe that parents cannot plan to have their children to become leaders. The more you do, the less likely they will succeed.

You can find the transcript of Jobs' speech at

http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. - Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford

I read about Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford this year but only till today I read the entire content. I was so moved. Recently, I have been thinking a lot about how leaders become leaders. I start to believe that parents cannot plan to have their children to become leaders. The more you do, the less likely they will succeed.

You can find the transcript of Jobs' speech at

http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

"A planned life is a dead life." by Lauren Bacall

This is quote of the day from http://en.wikiquote.org/. It is a wake-up call. Mothers in this country have been so obsessed with planning a perfect life for their children. As a highly educated mother with a career, I have been arranging my children's school, activities, books, vacations, food, clothing, and lessons. It is constantly in my mind to plan and plan more.

The invention of Internet certainly make this matter worse. I can always google on what other kids are doing, how kids become successful and what it takes to get into top-notch colleges.

A little bit of me knew I was dead wrong. Experiences show that for everything I do for my kids, a learning experience is deprived from them. As they become older, the less time they have to learn in a safe environment. I shall respect their independence and remind myself to leave them alone.

"A planned life is a dead life." by Lauren Bacall

This is quote of the day from http://en.wikiquote.org/. It is a wake-up call. Mothers in this country have been so obsessed with planning a perfect life for their children. As a highly educated mother with a career, I have been arranging my children's school, activities, books, vacations, food, clothing, and lessons. It is constantly in my mind to plan and plan more.

The invention of Internet certainly make this matter worse. I can always google on what other kids are doing, how kids become successful and what it takes to get into top-notch colleges.

A little bit of me knew I was dead wrong. Experiences show that for everything I do for my kids, a learning experience is deprived from them. As they become older, the less time they have to learn in a safe environment. I shall respect their independence and remind myself to leave them alone.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Advices

Recently, I was asked to give advices on how to raise children. This is what comes into my mind.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -- William Butler Yeats

My son's 7th grade humanity teacher gave parents this quote from Yeats on the curriculum night and she asked us one important question, "What do you really want for your child?".

My answer was "to go to a good college" and her suggestion was for the child to become a critical thinker. That short exchange forever changed how I think about my kids' future. College is just 4 years of their life. The journey is much more to it. I need to prepare them to be strong for whatever problems future might throw at them.

In addition to being a critical thinker, I really want my kids to be happy. Recently, I read that there are three things making a person happy, (1) pleasure, (2) engagement and (3) meaning. The latter two contribute to a long-lasting satisfaction.

I have been fortunate to have good kids. I trust that they will choose a right path and lead a happy healthy life.

Advices

Recently, I was asked to give advices on how to raise children. This is what comes into my mind.

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -- William Butler Yeats

My son's 7th grade humanity teacher gave parents this quote from Yeats on the curriculum night and she asked us one important question, "What do you really want for your child?".

My answer was "to go to a good college" and her suggestion was for the child to become a critical thinker. That short exchange forever changed how I think about my kids' future. College is just 4 years of their life. The journey is much more to it. I need to prepare them to be strong for whatever problems future might throw at them.

In addition to being a critical thinker, I really want my kids to be happy. Recently, I read that there are three things making a person happy, (1) pleasure, (2) engagement and (3) meaning. The latter two contribute to a long-lasting satisfaction.

I have been fortunate to have good kids. I trust that they will choose a right path and lead a happy healthy life.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Your child is listened to, understood and supported?

I recently read an article on overparenting from the Reader's digest's current issue (www.rd.com, September 2005). It discussed how today's parents have tried to create a perfect childhood for their children. By doing so, it may acutually hurt the children's ability to face real life in the future.

At the end, it showed an example of a good parent. A good parent makes sure his/her child feel he or she is listened to, understood and supported by the parent. The best gift a parent can give to a child is to teach him or her how to be himself or herself.

Your child is listened to, understood and supported?

I recently read an article on overparenting from the Reader's digest's current issue (www.rd.com, September 2005). It discussed how today's parents have tried to create a perfect childhood for their children. By doing so, it may acutually hurt the children's ability to face real life in the future.

At the end, it showed an example of a good parent. A good parent makes sure his/her child feel he or she is listened to, understood and supported by the parent. The best gift a parent can give to a child is to teach him or her how to be himself or herself.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Free SAT tutoring website

My boys do not have strong vocabulary, largely due to insufficent reading. However, vocabulary is an important skill in the USA. It is used to measure how smart a person is, in tests and in real life. This explains why vocabulary has a significant part in SAT and GRE.

The best way to increase vocabulary is through reading. Books, the Time magazine and the New York Times are good sources. To prepare for tests, I found that the vocabulary builder in the number2.com a wonderful tool. It shows you new words in the form of a multiple-choice question. It keeps track of words that you have answered correctly once, twice and never. It helps you to memorize words that you have difficulties with. My younger son just started the vocabulary builer. He will take SAT in January 2006. We will see how it goes.

Free SAT tutoring website

My boys do not have strong vocabulary, largely due to insufficent reading. However, vocabulary is an important skill in the USA. It is used to measure how smart a person is, in tests and in real life. This explains why vocabulary has a significant part in SAT and GRE.

The best way to increase vocabulary is through reading. Books, the Time magazine and the New York Times are good sources. To prepare for tests, I found that the vocabulary builder in the number2.com a wonderful tool. It shows you new words in the form of a multiple-choice question. It keeps track of words that you have answered correctly once, twice and never. It helps you to memorize words that you have difficulties with. My younger son just started the vocabulary builer. He will take SAT in January 2006. We will see how it goes.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Got a super blender Vita-Mix

Neither of my boys likes vegetables. They eat no more than 2 servings of fruit/vegi everyday. I have been constantly guilty about them not eating healty. To find a solution, I was searching for a duriable/powerful bender to create fruit/vegi juice and treats. To my delight, I finally found one via a friend's recommendation.

I bought the Vita-Mix from www.vitamix.com for $399 + shipping + tax. It was pricy. It comes with a 2 horse power moter and 7 years warranty. I tried it the first time yesterday. It was indeed easy to use and easy to clean. I'll report more results later.

Got a super blender Vita-Mix

Neither of my boys likes vegetables. They eat no more than 2 servings of fruit/vegi everyday. I have been constantly guilty about them not eating healty. To find a solution, I was searching for a duriable/powerful bender to create fruit/vegi juice and treats. To my delight, I finally found one via a friend's recommendation.

I bought the Vita-Mix from www.vitamix.com for $399 + shipping + tax. It was pricy. It comes with a 2 horse power moter and 7 years warranty. I tried it the first time yesterday. It was indeed easy to use and easy to clean. I'll report more results later.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005