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+ A Parent Story… By: Amy Rathbun. + The Importance of Developing a Parent Story… “ “By using stories as a way to express the nature of the home environment,

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Presentation on theme: "+ A Parent Story… By: Amy Rathbun. + The Importance of Developing a Parent Story… “ “By using stories as a way to express the nature of the home environment,"— Presentation transcript:

1 + A Parent Story… By: Amy Rathbun

2 + The Importance of Developing a Parent Story… “ “By using stories as a way to express the nature of the home environment, parents can select anecdotes and personal observations from their own individual consciousnesses to give teachers access to complicated social, emotional, and educational issues that can help to unravel for teachers the mystery around their students’ literacy beginnings.” (Edwards, 62) “Parent stories can provide teachers with the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of the ‘human side’ of families and children.” (Edwards, 64) “By using stories as a way to express the nature of the home environment, parents can select anecdotes and personal observations from their own individual consciousnesses to give teachers access to complicated social, emotional, and educational issues that can help to unravel for teachers the mystery around their students’ literacy beginnings.” (Edwards, 62) “Parent stories can provide teachers with the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of the ‘human side’ of families and children.” (Edwards, 64)

3 + A special story… By: Amy Rathbun The Sampsons

4 + Why I chose… They home-school their children and were interested in gaining insight from my perspective as a teacher. I was interested in looking at how this child experiences literacy in both the natural family life and in the educational context, in light of being home-schooled. They have an fascinating family story, which is why I am interested in learning about the implications of their background in terms of the children’s literacy development. This family will perhaps help to answer questions about how a child’s environment can enable them to thrive or be a hindrance in their development. The Sampsons

5 + About the family… David- (the father) works full- time, but is very intentional about being involved and supportive in the children’s lives in all areas, including their education. Maria (focus child)-is an 8 year old who was adopted by the Sampson’s from a Russian orphanage just before she turned 3. She was already fluent in the Russian language, even being so young. She’s very bright and energetic and is thriving in her life and education! Mary- (the mother/teacher)- is a very loving and committed wife and mother. She is organized and willing to support her children in their education by being as involved as possible! Jon- (younger brother)- is Maria’s 5 year old natural brother, who was also adopted from Russia by the Sampson’s (when he was 19 months old). He went to an early developmental pre-K program at the public school district last year, but is now being home- schooled as well. He is now a growing and very active young boy!

6 + Their story… Prior to being adopted, Maria had a hard life. She was in and out of orphanages for the first two years of her life as a result of abuse and neglect of her birth parents. Jon was taken from his birth parents when he was only a few months old and lived in an orphanage. He was separated from his sister, Maria, until they were both adopted by the Sampson’s in December of He was very small and malnourished until he came to live with the Sampson’s. Maria had a hard time opening up and receiving love from the Sampson’s for the first few months she came here. Once she began trusting them, she began to thrive and she even picked up the English language very quickly and acquired many other literacy-related skills as well. Both children are now flourishing physically, emotionally, socially and educationally as a result of consistent love, care and support from the Sampson’s.

7 + A Quick Confession… “Many times it’s easiest for us to identify negative parts of what parents tell us. However, if we are to begin identifying andutilizing the strengths of parents and families, we have to work just as hard at finding the positive…” (Edwards, 47) I realized last week during the other presentations, that I have a tendency to focus more on the negative aspects that arise inthese stories than the positive. I believe this is because I amtrying to have a critical eye to find ways to support this family. Ialso think that this can happen frequently with middle-classfamilies who are doing so many good things to “marinate theirchildren in literate experiences”. I learned that it is crucial to first point out the positive aspects of families and then address things that could be improved.Ironically, when making the list of positive and negative aspectsof this family’s story, I had an overwhelming majority of positiveelements than negative, though I tended to focus on thenegative.

8 + Positive & Negative POSITIVE: Very caring, supportive parents who are invested in their child’s education They regularly expose their children to educational opportunities, such as museums, library etc. Literacy is very much a regular part of their family life: Dad reads stories (does voices), children are always engaging in real life uses of literacy (writing letters, reading Bible together, reading recipes) etc. There’s a definite family value system and they each have special roles in their family. NEGATIVE: Very high expectations of Maria, which seems to perpetuate her perfectionist attitude when it comes to school. The Mother’s lack of training and experience in teaching/home- schooling seems to be a factor in dealing with academic struggles. Most of the praise Maria receives focuses on what she’s good at… spelling, history, getting straight A’s… Accomplishments are the basis of accolades instead of character or efforts being praised.

9 + Interesting Quotes “We do talk about her natural ability and desire to lead” “What she wants to do, she'll do. What she doesn't, she won’t. “ “I told her recently, she'll be a good leader, and she will find something she's good at and loves, but she'll have to overcome some of the downsides of it, I think. “ “I don't even grade her papers in front of her anymore, because if she didn't get any A's, she'd bust out crying. “ “She had all of Psalm 19 memorized within a few days. She's the only one in the whole children's ministry to do it and now she recites it for the other kids.” “Most of the time, if she doesn't get the questions right, I'll just say, "Well, what was it about?" After a few minutes, she'll rattle off the whole thing. She gets the big picture. “ (On home-schooling) “I just think the 1 on 1 attention... Especially when we started seeing her craving for knowledge and information, the 1 on 1 can give so much more than a classroom. “ “I feel it's a huge privilege to shape the lives of these kids. “ “We love to involve our kids in doing the same kinds of things we do as a couple. Family time is very important to us”.

10 + Instructional Ideas: I will help give suggestions on how to set motivators that are more intrinsic than extrinsic (less focused on grade outcome and more on the process and value of learning processes themselves). I would encourage the family to get Maria involved in community activities so she can meet other children. Perhaps I’ll look up groups and activities that are occurring at their local library. I’ll give Mom a list of quality reading suggestions that are age and reading level appropriate and give them suggestions of activities she can do with these texts to be sure to teach Maria to slow down while reading and think about what the author is trying to say. (Ex.: Sarah, Plain & Tall- diary) I will lend the Mother a copy of an instructional text by Stephanie Harvey & Anne Goudis, called Strategies the Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding & Engagement. This is a great text with lots of practical ideas and informative reasoning for using such methods with students.

11 + Further Questions -I am interested in learning more about the goals that they have for Maria this school year and what helps them determine those goals. (Encourage them to focus on intrinsic motivation and the process of learning as opposed to just the result.) -I am interested in doing a follow up interview that focuses on the son, Jon, in order to see how they are determining if home-school is the right option for him as well, in light of the developmental delays they mentioned in the interview. -I would like to ask the mother if she thinks that her personal discipline in being a straight-A student might have an influence on how she expects Maria to achieve academically. -Any advice for parents who have adopted children and are struggling to help their children to thrive in their new home?

12 + What I’ve learned… -Parent Stories are a wonderful outlet not only for a teacher trying to better understand students and their families, but it is also very beneficial for the family to be able to articulate their home literacy experiences in order to learn from themselves and the teacher as well. -Regardless of the background of the student, it is imperative to first focus on the things the family is doing positively and then address a couple suggestions for them to work on. -Children can thrive in all aspects of life with love and support, even if they have struggles in their lives. -Home-schooling enables children to constantly and regularly be exposed to not only literacy experiences, but other educational experiences in the context of their family life, which helped this particular student to thrive in her academics.


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