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Category Archives: Parental Engagement Series

Tocqueville on Civic Life


Learn what Tocqueville means by the "spirit of liberty" in civic life.

“Municipal institutions constitute the strength of free nations. Town meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people’s reach, they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it. A nation may establish a free government, but without municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty.”…
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Books and Academic Achievement


If your children don’t see you valuing books, they won’t learn that books are valuable. If your children don’t see you reading, they’ll assume that reading is not important. Buying lots of books – and taking the time to read them – is an incredibly important way to invest in your child’s education. The bottom line …. books matter.

Buy lots of books. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, this advice might seem rather obvious, but what is not as obvious is the strong correlation between book ownership and academic achievement. It turns out that parental ownership of books is “even more important than whether the parents went to college or hold white-collar…
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Why We Need to Read Together: The Magic of Reading Aloud


Reading aloud to our children, especially when they are title, is an integral part of human bonding and the cultivation of relationship.

When I was 7 years old, my older brother Isaac read JRR Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of The Ring” aloud to me. I remember being enthralled by the exciting adventure of Frodo and his friends. Oh, I should probably mention that my brother Isaac was only 9 when he read it to me. My brother’s behavior…
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Facebook: The New Reader’s Digest


There is a time for Facebook, a time for books, a time for video, and a time to sit and just talk to each other. It is the role of the parent to guide the next generation in making good choices.

“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.” – Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death) Neil Postman’s book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, was written in 1985. To put that in…
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Fiction and Training the Imagination


It is important to introduce children to fiction because fiction and story are fantastic training grounds for the imagination. Children are moldable and easily influenced which means training their imagination from an early age is important. Stories allow them to engage with imagery and humanity in a way that can then be translated into their everyday experience.

Since college, I have read very little fiction. I’m motivated to learn and digest ideas so I read a lot of nonfiction books. I read about business, education, politics, theology, and the life stories of people I admire. In my younger years, I had read a lot of fiction; from classics like Jane Eyre and…
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Why Generational Learning Is Important


It is true that grandparents can teach their grandkids but it is equally true that those grandkids can teach their grandparents; intergenerational learning is a two-way street.

Grandpa Joe is one of the most beloved fictional grandparents in all of pop culture. His relationship with Charlie in the book and movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory perfectly captures that special bond between grandparent and grandchild. The story is also a wonderful illustration of how grandparents can impart wisdom to their grandchildren. In…
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Williamsburg with My Grandmother


"My grandmother’s engagement in my learning has had a significant effect on my life and helped create a love of history and learning."

My grandmother was a school teacher who possessed a passion for learning and loved history. Growing up, my family would go on trips with my grandparents to Colonial Williamsburg. My grandmother wanted to see and experience everything and would make sure we all experienced and learned as much as possible on each trip. We would…
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Intergenerational Learning: Insight from Research Studies


"Increased grandparent involvement may bring with it certain challenges but it also presents great opportunities for personal enrichment and the growth of each individual family member as well as the extended family as a whole."

In March, 2014, I attended a forum hosted in Lancaster by the Sesame Workshop that addressed a number of themes, including the importance of grandparents in childhood education. Intergenerational learning is a topic that is drawing the attention of educators as grandparents are becoming more and more active and engaged in the lives of their…
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Tips for Intergenerational Learning


Spending time with grandparents is an important part of a child’s life. The grandparent-grandchild bond is generally very strong and can often provide opportunities for learning to occur. Here are some tips for encouraging intergenerational learning.

“Over the river, and through the wood, To Grandfather’s house we go; the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow.” (“Thanksgiving Day” by Lydia Maria Child) Spending time with grandparents is an important part of a child’s life. The grandparent-grandchild bond is generally very strong and can often…
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The Importance of Family History


Family history is an important part of our identity; the more we understand our heritage, the more we understand ourselves.

The witty humorist Mark Twain is believed to have said, “Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.” While there is certainly a good deal of truth to this amusing statement, it is also true that looking up one’s family tree is…
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