Wednesday Morning Open Thread

April 16, 2014

What’s up?

A co-worker passed around this awesome Mother’s Day video the other day titled #WorldsToughtestJob. It’s a series of interviews for an all-encompassing, 365-day position called “Director of Operations.” Warning: have the hankies nearby!

Speaking of videos…MomsRising is holding a short video contest for Mother’s Day! Five winners will receive a swag bag of goodies. If you are an avid video-taker, submit your piece here.

And this is a must-read: the New York Times ran an op-ed by two university researchers (Duke and UT-Austin) on how parents volunteering in the classroom or helping with homework does not increase test scores or academic performance.

As it turns out, the list of what generally works is short: expecting your child to go to college, discussing activities children engage in at school (despite the complications we mentioned above), and requesting a particular teacher for your child.

Do our findings suggest that parents are not important for children’s academic success? Our answer is no. We believe that parents are critical for how well children perform in school, just not in the conventional ways that our society has been promoting. The essential ingredient is for parents to communicate the value of schooling, a message that parents should be sending early in their children’s lives and that needs to be reinforced over time. But this message does not need to be communicated through conventional behavior, like attending PTA meetings or checking in with teachers.

I found myself nodding throughout this piece. Our school actually told us not to help out with homework because then the teachers wouldn’t know what the kids needed to work on. In fact, my kids’ projects always look like they were made by…kids.

And when I think of the learning that happens in our home, it isn’t the conventional ways mentioned in the article. We’re the type to discuss whatever piques our interest and then google things as a family. I’m lucky as I’ve never taken music lessons of any kind, but my husband will work with the kids on the piano and even write music with them. I could see how this would instill a love of learning.

How do you instill a love of learning in your home? What else is in the news? What’s up with you?