Archive for the 'Parents Of Students' Category

Kids Learn To Code – For Free!

I just heard about this… Check it out!

Kids Code Jeunesse is a Canadian bilingual non-profit organization that aims to provide every child in Canada with the opportunity to learn to code. They provide schools with trained volunteers who teach kids and their teachers computer programming in the classroom.

What a great idea!

Don’t get a degree!

Last week I blogged about the value of getting a degree, this week, have a look at the counter-argument… Don’t bother to get a degree!

Make sure you scroll all the way down to the end of the page for the “WARNING” if you choose not to get a degree!

You might not like school, but…

You don’t really have a choice… please keep reading what the statistics reveal about staying in school…

High school graduation rates reached a record high of 80% in 2012!

That would be great news, if it wasn’t for the fact that this “record-high” rate meant a full 20%, or one in five kids, didn’t finish the most basic level of education.

It’s possible that those who didn’t graduate got a General Education Development (GED) certificate instead, or will at a later point, but people with a GED tend to fare as well economically as those who got neither a diploma nor a GED.

So while reaching the 80% mark might be a move in the right direction, this is not a number that brings a lot of cheer.

And then there’s college… The percentage of the population with a college degree has continued to grow, albeit slowly, for decades. This trend is coming to an end because the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in college has rolled over.

After reaching a high point of 70% in 2009, only 66% of these kids enrolled in college in 2013. There’s an argument to be made that in years past, too many kids were entering college.

They simply went to college because everyone else did, but lacked direction, preparation, or both. Given the cost of college, the recent economic downturn caused many families to re-evaluate if pursuing higher education was the right choice.

This is a great development, but it was brought on by a tough situation.

Now there are a few more kids (in the United States) that are getting all the way through high school, but fewer young people entering college, so there are more people getting off the education train in the middle.

Unfortunately, this isn’t translating into more employment. While recent US college graduates work to find jobs in their field, recent high school graduates struggle to find any employment. Those without high school diplomas are being left behind in record numbers.

In the late 1990s, over 80% of those with just a high school diploma were participating in the labor force (either employed or looking for work) the year after graduation, and roughly 70% had jobs.

By the early 2000s, participation in the labor force — the year after graduation — had dropped to around 78%, while employment had fallen to 60%. Over the decade, participation dropped well below 70%.

Now, with a slight upturn after the massive drop in employment during the financial crisis, labor force participation is back up to 74% while employment is at 51%.

The net effect is that unemployment the year after high school — among those with just a high school diploma — was running at 10% in the 1990s, and is currently at 23%.

As noted above, for those who didn’t graduate high school, it’s worse. That group had a roughly 65% labor force participation rate the year after high school in the late 1990s, while their employment rate was near 50%.

But the numbers have fallen dramatically since then, and have not staged much of a recovery. At the end of 2013, only 43% of this group was either employed or actively seeking employment, with 31% holding down a job.

Oddly, this makes the unemployment rate of this group — around 12% — look better than that of high school graduates, but that’s misleading. The key is that only 43% are participating in the labor force.

Where are the rest of them?

In the year after high school, where are the 26% of graduates not participating in the labor force, and where are the 57% of those who didn’t receive a diploma who aren’t participating in the labor force?

These kids get lumped in with others who don’t count toward labor force participation rates, like retirees and homemakers, but the differences are obvious. These young people are not on a path to a productive life.

It doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t get there; it simply means that they’re not on that path today.

This is part of where the sluggish employment situation shows up. Employees have a tough time getting raises.

Those with skills and experience can get jobs, but the inexperienced college graduates are taking positions outside of their fields of study, and often in jobs that don’t require college degrees.

This pushes high school graduates out of the running for such jobs, and kicks those without a high school diploma out of the equation.

With one in five young people not achieving a high school diploma, we can expect a very large social issue to erupt in the years ahead because this group will have little work experience, and little ability to establish and grow their own household.

Stimulation = Better Grades

A University Of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) study revealed that “well-off” parents talk to their school-age children for three more hours each week than low-income parents.

They also put their toddlers and babies in stimulating places such as parks and churches for hour and a half more hours. A University of Chicago study echoed this with a simple statement. Well-off parents play with their toddlers more and organise their teenagers better.

Most studies agree that the two most important parenting factors that affect grades are:

  1. Intellectual stimulation: Talking, reading, answering “why?” questions and
  2. Emotional support: Bonding with infants so they grow up confident and secure.

Hmmm… Food for thought.

What can you do if you’re not an infant or toddler? Stimulate and motivate yourself! It helps if you can speed read and use colourful mindmaps

Student extra-curricular activities

Today’s post is edited from The Economist Magazine, it deals with a hot topic of conversation amongst parents and students.

In 1693 the philosopher John Locke warned that children should not be given too much “unwholesome fruit” to eat. Three centuries later, misguided ideas about child-rearing are still rife. Many parents fret that their offspring will die unless ceaselessly watched.

In America, the law can be equally paranoid. In South Carolina, Debra Harrell was jailed for letting her nine-year-old daughter play in a park unsupervised. The child, who had a mobile phone and had not been harmed in any way, was briefly taken into custody of the social services.

Ms Harrell’s draconian punishment reflects the (rich) developed world’s angst about parenting. By most objective measures, modern parents are far more conscientious than previous generations. Since 1965 labour-saving devices such as washing machines and ready-made meals have freed eight hours a week for the average American couple, but slightly more than all of that time has been swallowed up by childcare.

Dads today are far more hands-on than their fathers were and working mothers spend more time nurturing their children than the housewives of the 1960s did. This works for both sides: children need love and stimulation; and for the parents, reading to a child or playing ball games in the garden is more fulfilling than washing dishes.

All is not rosy in the land of opportunity

There are two very different perspectives to this phenomenon, related to wealth. One is at the lower end of the spectrum. Even if poor parents spend more time with their children than they once did, they spend less than rich parents do—and they struggle to provide enough support, especially in the crucial early years.

America is a laggard here; its government spends abundantly on school-age kids but much less than other rich countries on the first two or three years of life. If America did more to help poor parents with young children, it would yield huge returns.

The second problem, less easy to prove, occurs at the other end of the income scale: well-educated, rich parents try to do too much. Safety is part of it: they fear that if they are not constantly vigilant their children may break their necks or eat a cupcake that has fallen on the floor. Over-coaching is another symptom. Parents fear that unless they drive their offspring to Mandarin classes, violin lessons and fencing practice six times a week, they will not get into the right university. The streets of Palo Alto and Chelsea are clogged with people-carriers hauling children from one educational event to another.

The fear about safety is the least rational. Despite the impression you get from watching crime dramas, children in rich countries are mind-bogglingly safe, so long as they look both ways before crossing the road. Kids in the 1950s—that golden era so often evoked by conservative politicians—were in fact five times likelier to die before the age of five. Yet their parents thought nothing of letting them roam free. In those days, most American children walked or biked to school; now barely 10% do, prevented by jittery parents. Children learn how to handle risks by taking a few, such as climbing trees or taking the train, even if that means scraped knees and seeing the occasional weirdo. Freedom is exhilarating. It also fosters self-reliance.

The other popular parental fear—that your children might not get into an Ivy League college—is more rational. Academic success matters more than ever before. But beyond a certain point, parenting makes less difference than many parents imagine. Studies in Minnesota and Sweden, for example, found that identical twins grew up equally intelligent whether they were raised together or apart. A study in Colorado found that children adopted and raised by brainy parents ended up no brainier than those adopted by average parents. Genes appear to matter more than upbringing in the jobs market, too. In a big study of Korean children adopted in America, those raised by the richest families grew up to earn no more than those adopted by the poorest families.

This does not mean that parenting is irrelevant. The families who adopt children are carefully screened, so they tend to be warm, capable and middle-class. But the twin and adoption studies indicate that any child given a loving home and adequate stimulation is likely to fulfil her potential. Put another way, better-off parents can afford to relax a bit. Your kids will be fine if you hover over them less and let them frolic in the sun from time to time. You may be happier, too, if you spend the extra time indulging your own hobbies—or sleeping. And if you are less stressed, your children will appreciate it, even if you still make them eat their fruit and vegetables.

NOT staying in school is not a (financial) option

As college graduates take to the street, searching for the first jobs of their careers, many are unsure if it was worth it.

Recent statistics reveal college grads made 98% more an hour on average than people without a degree in 2013, which is up from 89% in 2008 and 64% in the early ’80s.

But since the numbers are based on averages, we need to look at the details to see there are big differences in experience among individuals within groups of both graduates and non-graduates.

There is no question the pay gap between the college educated and everyone else is getting bigger.

It’s also true that the unemployment rate for college graduates right now, is remarkably low. For college grads between ages 25 and 34, the unemployment rate is currently around 3%!

Here is the paradox:

College grads are not making headway;
instead non-graduates are losing ground.

The income paid to college grads, on average, has remained flat,
but the wages of non-graduates have fallen.

To look at it a different way, college graduates are now taking jobs away from non-graduates. This reality is reflected in several recent studies and in U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. According to The Center for College Affordability and Productivity, in 2008 roughly 38% of working college graduates were in positions that didn’t require a degree. By 2013, that number had increased to 48%.

Not every Starbucks barista is a college graduate, but many of them are.

So what happens to you if you are a non-graduate who didn’t get that job?

It’s unlikely you will be moving up in the corporate world, skipping over all those college graduates to take higher-paying positions above them.

Don’t blame employers for this. If an open position doesn’t require a college degree, but 50 out of 200 applicants have a degree, why wouldn’t they choose a college graduate?

That’s why you need to STAY IN SCHOOL and graduate, your financial future depends on it.

No one said it was fair, it’s just the way it is.

Of course if you have a college degree – YOU WANT THIS ADVANTAGE over non-graduates – don’t you?!?!

Tweets – they might prevent you from getting into college

If you read my other blogs, you know I am not a fan of social media, including Twitter and Facebook. It isn’t just because I think they are an incredible waste of time, but primarily because of the privacy violation aspects. You can about that on my Internet Marketing Blog and search for Privacy Pirates to learn more

Since this blog is focused on students, you should read this New York Times article on the cost of students tweeting indiscriminately. It could prevent you from getting into the college you want.

I always tell people – if you don’t want your tweet on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper – don’t do it!

 

 

 

Why you are “in school” is not the reason you might think…

Recently, George, an engineering student in Egypt, was sharing with me his challenges with school. He is making the mistake many students make, thinking they are in school to learn calculus, chemistry or any other “subject” matter.

The reality is that you are a student in high school and/or university for one reason only – to learn HOW to learn…

Depending on what you are studying, you will acquire and develop different learning (cognitive skills).

Engineers learn problem solving skills.
Lawyers learn interpretive skills.
Doctors learn diagnostic skills.

Once you realise this, your life as a student changes.

If you are in high school or university, you may INTEND to practice engineering, medicine or law, but the reality is that most students do something ELSE with the education following graduation. Once they launch their careers, they leverage their acquired skills to the extent they developed them WHILE they were students. The paradox is that unless you study like an engineer, doctor or lawyer, you simply cannot (as easily) acquire THOSE particular skills. You need to develop those skills WHILE you are a student…

When you study across disciplines as I have, social science, engineering, business and law, you realise that each skill set has its place in society.

The BIG question for you to ask yourself as a student is – “what skill(s) do you want to have once you graduate?”

MOTIVATION: Two types of students

There are two types of students:

Moving towards students – who want to get the top grades, look good, win a medal, make more money.

Moving away from students – who don’t want to fail, look fat, don’t want to lose a game and don’t want to lose the money they have.

Which one are you?

The reason I ask is because what works to MOTIVATE a MOVING TOWARDS student won’t work for a MOVING AWAY FROM student.

I don’t know you, but ask yourself: Are you focused more on NOT flunking an exam than acing it?

This is important to know because the ONLY thing that motivates a MOVING AWAY FROM student is FEAR OF LOSS, FAILING a course or exam.

They only pick up their books when they know they have to otherwise they will fail. They don’t exercise until their pants are too tight… They NEVER invest their money – they let it sit there in a bank account SAFE, not earning much interest.

Unfortunately, these students are rarely successful in the general sense of the word.

They can have a very “good” life, but the ultimate rewards escape them because they are not willing to do what it takes, they lack the HUNGER and DRIVE.

Fear overtakes them – all the time.

Reduction of RISK is different than achieving an ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Without the FEAR OF LOSS, there is no hunger, motivation.

With school, these students must FEAR that their lives will be DRAMATICALLY different without good grades or the right degree. Unfortunately they usually do the degree for the wrong reason (fear instead of desire) but if it’s the right degree, then it is still a good thing to get.

Getting a generic bachelor’s degree is no longer worth anything these days. It’s a necessity, but no longer a worthwhile investment – just like a high school diploma is worthless – UNLESS you don’t have one. It has become a necessity, but there is a HUGE cost to getting one if it’s not a valuable degree.

Kids today are mostly spoiled. They get driven to and from school, have iPhones, iPads, all the sports equipment they need, etc.. The ONLY problem with all that is they have NO HUNGER, NO DESIRE.

That being said, it’s a hard thing for young students to deal with. The real question is:

Are you happy to FOLLOW or
will you TAKE THE LEAD in your own life?

That is the question.

If you are female, once you read the book Lean In, you’ll have a better appreciation for the forces at play – not that you don’t already know this, it’s just a great way of seeing the situation.

All I know is that anyone, anytime can alter their destiny – IF THEY WANT IT ENOUGH.

Easier said than done, which is why most (80%) of the population don’t do it.

It is VERY COMPLEX and each person has his/her own story / baggage / history to deal with.

It requires:

  • A LOT of drive, determination and discipline.
  • A LOT of heart, desire and passion.
  • A LOT of trials, testing and realignment.
  • A LOT of self-belief, confidence and courage.
  • A LOT of patience, understanding and acceptance.
  • A LOT of many things most people lack.

They only lack them because they haven’t practiced these skills, abilities and “values”.

The more courageous you are, the more courageous you become.

20 Ideas To Help Students Get Organized 3 of 3

Maria Gracia Web Photo

Maria Gracia

Today’s blog post is the third of a series of three, provided by the “Queen Of Organizing”, Maria Gracia.

You can click on the hyperlinks to access the first 7 organization tips for students and for the next 8 decluttering tips for students.

I am a big fan of this concept that I call Voluntary Simplexity, it’s key element of my Personal Productivity Principles I teach students and business people. So let’s get to Maria’s suggestions…
Now is the perfect time for you to start off on the right foot and get organized. Here are the remaining tips to help you manage your time, avoid clutter, set goals and stay on an organized path to success.

15. SCHEDULE CONSISTENT STUDY TIMES.
Set aside time every day for study, and make it consistent. For example, set your study time for each afternoon from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Whatever you do, avoid last minute studying and cramming.

16. BREAK IT UP.
Break up big tasks, into smaller, bite-sized jobs. For instance, if you have to study three chapters in your history book, study one chapter at a time each day. If you have to work on a project, break it down into three or four stages.

17. EAT YOUR BROCCOLI FIRST.
Imagine eating your broccoli before your dessert. What would be left for you to look forward to? Just the same, do your homework for your most difficult subjects first. Then, everything else will be a breeze, and therefore, more enjoyable.

18. GET ASSISTANCE.
If you don’t understand a lesson, immediately ask for help. Don’t let it get to the point that you’re totally confused. A sibling, friend, parent or teacher can be a lifesaver.

19. DON’T GIVE UP.
If you find yourself getting off track, simply take a deep breath and get back on track. It is better to get slightly off the path, rather than giving up.

20. REWARD YOURSELF.
Designate enticing rewards for each goal you set, such as a night at the movies, or a quiet, relaxing walk in the park. As you achieve each of your goals, reap your rewards. This will keep you motivated throughout the year.

Want even more tips to help you get organized and on track? Watch expert organizer, Maria Gracia’s, 21-day Organizing Boot Camp today! Its FREE and it’s fun. Just click on the hyperlink.

20 Ideas To Help Students Get Organized 2 of 3

Maria Gracia Web Photo

Maria Gracia

Today’s blog post is the second of a series of three, provided by the “Queen Of Organizing”, Maria Gracia.For the first instalment that has the first seven ideas to help students get organized, click on the hyperlink.

I am a big fan of this concept that I call Voluntary Simplexity, it’s key element of my Personal Productivity Principles I teach students and business people. So let’s get to Maria’s suggestions…
Now is the perfect time for you to start off on the right foot and get organized. Here are a few tips to help you manage your time, avoid clutter, set goals and stay on an organized path to success.

8. EAT AN APPLE A DAY.
Eat three healthy meals each day, along with fruit for snacks. Don’t overload on sweets, which cause many people
to feel tired.

9. AVOID OVERLOAD.
While you may sign up for extra school activities, such as basketball or cheerleading, don’t take on too much. First
determine how much study time you need. Then, choose one or two recreational activities that you enjoy.

10. USE A STUDENT PLANNER.
Use a good student planner or organizer. The ones that have pocket folders, dividers and planning calendars are ideal.

11. USE ONE CALENDAR.
Use one calendar to plan all of your school and personal activities, rather than two or more. When you use more than
one, you run the risk of scheduling conflicts and missed appointments. This is very important. Heed the old proverb ‘A man who wears two watches, never knows the correct time.’

12. COLOR-CODE.
You may consider color-coding similar activities on your calendar. For example, highlight all upcoming tests in yellow, study time in green and recreational activities in pink.

13. WRITE IT DOWN.
When you learn of an upcoming test, event, or anything you must prepare for or attend, immediately jot it in your planner. Don’t wait for later, or you may forget about it.

14. BREAK UP YOUR STUDY TIME.
Determine how many study hours you need, and schedule study time in your planner. For example, if you need six hours of time to study for a test, you may break that time up into six sessions, of one hour each. Choose the six days and make a ‘study time’ notation in your calendar.

Want even more tips to help you get organized and on track? Watch expert organizer, Maria Gracia’s, 21-day Organizing Boot Camp today! Its FREE and it’s fun. Just click on the hyperlink.

 

20 Ideas To Help Students Get Organized 1 of 3

Maria Gracia Web Photo

Maria Gracia

Today’s blog post is the first of a series of three, provided by the “Queen Of Organizing”, Maria Gracia. I am a big fan of this concept that I call Voluntary Simplexity, it’s key element of my Personal Productivity Principles I teach students and business people. So let’s get to Maria’s suggestions…
Now is the perfect time for you to start off on the right foot and get organized. Here are a few tips to help you manage your time, avoid clutter, set goals and stay on an organized path to success.

  1. SET GOALS.
    Set realistic goals at the beginning of the school year and break those large goals into mini-goals. Write these goals down on index cards and keep them in a highly visible place where you can see them every day. Writing down your goals makes them more concrete, and motivates you to keep working towards them. Psst! You can do this even mid-semester!
  2. DON’T RUSH.
    Wake up early enough for school to arrive well ahead of time. If you need 30 minutes to get up, shower and dress, pad that time by waking up at least 45 minutes prior to your departure. To ensure you don’t turn off your alarm clock and go back to sleep, place your clock at the far end of your room. This way, you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off and you’re most likely to stay up.
  3. PREPARE YOUR WARDROBE.
    Before you go to bed each night, choose, iron and lay out your clothes for the next day. This way, you’ll be all set to dress and go in the morning.
  4. AVOID CLUTTER.
    At the beginning of the school year, you have no clutter. Be careful not to build clutter as the year progresses. Create separate folders for school announcements, tests that have been graded, papers you must give to your parents and so on. As papers become outdated, such as an event that has passed, toss them immediately.
  5. MAKE TO DO LISTS.
    Always spend a minimum of 15 minutes per day, preparing your To Do list for tomorrow. In doing so, you will know exactly what tasks you have to accomplish the next day.
  6. USE AN EFFECTIVE STUDY AREA.
    Designate a quiet, well-lit area for studying. Don’t study in front of the television, or in an area of your home where you’re bound to be distracted. Hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your door. If you can’t find a quiet spot at home, go to the library. In addition, you should study while sitting at a table or desk. Avoid studying in a very comfortable chair or a bed, which may cause you to feel drowsy.
  7. GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP.
    Get a good night’s rest. This will ensure you are alert and ready to learn the following day.

Want even more tips to help you get organized and on track? Watch expert organizer, Maria Gracia’s, 21-day Organizing Boot Camp today! Its FREE and it’s fun. Just click on the hyperlink.

 

Students: Don’t read this, you can’t handle it!

I say that only jokingly, but also seriously. Someone sent me an outstanding blog post that both parents and students should read – very carefully. I, for one, totally agree. I see it in today’s society at the level of business people. It is a sad consequence of trying to do the right thing and producing the opposite result. Kind of like Japan with it’s intense focus on cleanliness and hygiene that now produces the highest incidence of asthma in the world – without the necessary antibodies, the body cannot create its defenses accordingly.

This is one of the most honest, straight-to-the-heart-of-the-matter article I have seen in a long, long time. Please take 5 minutes to read it. Your and/or your child’s future depends on it. Click on the link to learn 3 mistakes we making leading kids.

 

Barak Obama tweets on the value of an education

Barak Obama Tweet on Cost Of Education

Students Save $100 On Apple Products!

Back To School, Apple Products, Student Savings, Mac Sale

Reading Cartoon

Speed Reading, Reading, Fast Reading, Reading Cartoon

Man’s best reading buddy

The public library in Sudbury, Ontario, has teamed up with a therapy dog group to give some kids a chance to read to a furry friend.

Monique Roy, the Greater Sudbury Public Library‘s children’s librarian, is a dog lover herself and has owned a therapy dog. She had been looking for a way to combine that part of her life with her passion for youth literacy. Thus began Reading Tails, a program to help kids aged 6 to 12 improve their reading skills by reading aloud to canine companions from Magical Paws Pet Therapy.

“Kids seem to react to the dogs a little bit better,” Roy told the CBC. “The dogs listen, they don’t comment, they don’t critique, and the kids feel like they’re gaining something. And also, they feel a connection with the dog — that they’re reading to the dog, they’re doing a service to the dog. So they just feel better.”

Margaret Julian has recently started bringing her seven-year-old smooth-haired Daschund named Liesl (named after the character in The Sound of Music) to the program. She believes reading to dogs relaxes children and is an enjoyable way to improve literacy.

“They can concentrate, and they can have fun at the same time. I have as much [fun] as they do, I think. I always have a laugh when I come here.”

David, a young boy who is taking part in Reading Tails, loves petting and cuddling with Liesl during reading sessions. A reporter asked him whether reading to a dog was different than reading to his mother.

“Yes, because mom doesn’t bark,” he said.

What makes a great teacher?

“The mediocre teacher tells.

The good teacher explains.

The superior teacher demonstrates.

The great teacher inspires”

– William A. Ward

Share with us an inspiring teacher story by placing a comment below.

Teenage Brains

Every once in a while, someone sends me something absolutely incredible that defies description.

Today’s blog post is about an article on teenage brains. It is so erudite and engaging I am not even going to attempt to summarise it. If you are a teenager or the parent of a teenager, I promise you it’s going to be a great 10 minute investment. Click on the hyperlink to access the original article.

The education system and kids

The educational system today has less and less influence on students than ever before. The infiltration of technology (Google) and communication modalities (Smartphones and Facebook) are destroying the traditional boundaries of school (discipline) and the ‘outside world’. When I was in school I studied and ‘focused’.

I am not advocating that all technological progress is bad, just that students are incapable of dealing with it (as are their parents) and until an optimal ‘balance’ is re-established, students will continue to sub-optimise their outcomes.

This is one of the most troubled generations and will unfortunately suffer the consequences for the remainder of their lifetimes – I know it’s a sad prognosis, but just as the war and great depression generations before them, they will take this to their graves.

Of course it’s not all bad – it’s just not as good as recent previous generations.

The good thing is that once this ‘passes’ and it will – things will get better, a lot better. Just not soon enough for ‘this generation’.

A more ‘visual’ analogy is the increase in obesity – those effects are (permanent) lifelong for this generational cohort – even though a small few within the group can become healthy and fit – most won’t.

Governments have the group/cohort/generation to deal with – not single individuals. That’s why their problems are so complicated and in the case of obesity, expensive (healthcare).

The great news is that there is ALWAYS HOPE for that special child who has the nurturing environment to ‘buck the trend’ and learns the skills to achieve – in spite of the odds.

I help try to help counteract these forces as much as I can with my student accelerated learning and speed reading programs – teaching a holistic approach that is founded on traditional foundational “how to study” principles that work for students of all ages.