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ParentMap Learning, 2014

Published on: September 25, 2014

At ParentMap, we know that no topic is closer to your heart than education. How our children learn — the resources they have, the obstacles they face, the teachers who help them — is something we'll never tire hearing about or working on.

In This Issue:

The State of Play: Redefining Recess

The Case for Debate: Technology and TED are Helping to Reinvigorate Speech in School

Dyslexia 101: Decoding this Disorder and Making a Plan for a Dyslexic Child

How to Have a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference

Whose Homework Is It, Anyway?

What's at Stake When Parents Push, Nag and Help With Homework

The Brain-Language Connection: Neuroscience Peeks in on Beginnings of Speech and Vocabulary

Success is in Our Hands

I recently read a story in the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business about a boy who grew up poor, in a housing project in New York. Though they were of few means, the boy’s mother encouraged him. She believed he would go to college. “My mom always said . . . you’re going to make us all proud. She would ask these little questions: ‘How are you going to study tonight? What are you going to do tomorrow? How do you know you’re ready for your test?’ It trained me to set goals,” said the boy, whose name is Howard Schultz.

As we dig into another school year, it is easy to get overwhelmed by it all — the schedule wrangling, homework nagging and teacher tussles (check out our tips on how to have a successful parent-teacher conference and ideas for peace in the land of homework). The story of Starbucks CEO Schultz and his mom reminded me how important we, the parents, are. We can battle over school funding and worry about testing, but so much about our kids’ opportunity for success is actually in our hands. Those questions, asked by one mother in a New York public housing project who believed in her kid, struck me. Asking questions that empower kids to develop agency over their own success and also lovingly communicate our expectations for them: brilliant.

In my family, this fall is both a strange and wonderful start to another school year. My daughters are entering second and fourth grades, and I am returning to university for the first time since I was 23, to obtain a University of Washington master’s degree through a night program. When they heard that Mommy is going back to school, my kids were surprised. Then, very quickly, they became excited. My fourth grader told me that we will “study together,” and my second grader wanted to be absolutely sure I got my school supply list. My goal became their goal. The same way I strive to support their learning journey, they embraced mine.

With each passing year, I grow more proud of my children’s accomplishments. Even when they stumble — especially when they do — my faith in them never wavers. Now, as we all work to broaden our horizons, I hope, too, to make them proud of me.

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