Saturday, November 24, 2012


This looks pretty neat - reusable plastic rivets for building all kinds of things out of cardboard. I'l look around local shops see if I can find something equivalent. We'll start saving cardboard boxes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

After reading about DragonBox here, I bought and tried it - it's a game that happens to teach you some algebra. It's pretty cute and unlike a lot of "educational" games, it's actually fun and worthwhile by itself. The Geek Data blog has a few more app reviews; to check out later when the kid is old enough.

It won't be too long before it's possible to cover much of what's in a normal education through games like these.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

History Bedtime Stories

For later use, once my kid is old enough to understand stories: some history bedtime stories, from Reddit's AskHistorians.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Forbidden Toy

Aha, a nice trick for manipulating your kid: use threats small enough that he rationalizes his compliance by changing his desires: The Forbidden Toy.
If a person is induced to cease performing a desired action through the threat of punishment, he will experience dissonance. His cognition that he is not performing the action is dissonant with his cognition that the action is desirable. An effective way of reducing dissonance is by derogating the action. The greater the threat of punishment the less the dissonance—since a severe threat is consonant with ceasing to perform the action. Thus, the milder the threat, the greater will be a person's tendency to derogate the action. In a laboratory experiment 22 preschool children stopped playing with a desired toy in the face of either a mild or severe threat of punishment. The mild threat led to more derogation of the toy than the severe threat. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

French Parents vs. American Parents

Ran across this interesting article. Probably an excess of anecdotes, but there's some interesting stuff on different approaches to setting boundaries (some that work, some that don't), about how to teach delayed gratification (have snacks at fixed hours, even if the kid knows you bought the candy before), teaching the kid to play by himself, not having all activities centered around the kid, etc.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Math for Young Kids

I just came accross this maths for young kids post - more nice material worth exploring!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Asian education values: what adoption studies say.

I found this old post on Gene Expression which questions the idea that academic achievement in Asians is due to better child rearing values.
As Stanley Sue and Sumie Okazaki pointed out in their 1991 American Psychologist paper, Asian American Educational Achievements: A Phenomenon in Search of an Explanation, the parenting styles and values found in East Asian-American homes tend to correlate with lower test scores when they are found in white homes.
The Results showing higher grades for the Asian adoptees is particularly interesting, becuase of the control of white adoptees unique to this study. If Asian academic success was really due to some special set of academic values inculcated by Asian parents (something not demonstrated by the data to begin with), then why do Asians do better academically than whites even when they are raised by white parents?
The gap between whites and Asians fluctuated from 19 to .09 in the NAEP data while the gap in the adoption data is from 1/3 to 3 times larger. This is consistent with the Sue and Okazaki paper above which showed that contrary to popular anecdotes, the values that lead to higher academic grades are actually found more often in white homes. In other words Asian-Americans perform highly despite their Asian home cultural environment not because of it.
Seems like a good case for taking Amy Chua's advice with a grain of salt, or at least for trying to get a better understanding of what impact (if any) parental styles can have, and why.