Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Not What you DO, It's Who You ARE

After a long Memorial weekend where I did much reading and scrapbooking . . I wanted to share an interesting bit of information from a book I read.
Freakonomics Rev Ed: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

In Freakonomics there is a nice chunky section on "What Makes a Perfect Parent?" (Hooray, finally a resource to help me be the perfect parent!!) The authors have identified 8 factors that are directly correlated with school test scores (for good or ill). See if you can figure out which 8 factors really matter in children's test scores:
  1. The child has highly educated parents
  2. The child's parents have high socioeconomic status
  3. The child's mother was thirty or older at the time of her first child's birth
  4. The child had low birthweight
  5. The child's parents speak English in the home
  6. The child is adopted
  7. The child's parents are involved in the PTA
  8. The child has many books in the home
  9. The child's family is intact
  10. The child's parents recently moved into a better neighborhood
  11. The child's mother didn't work between birth and kindergarten
  12. The child attended Head Start
  13. The child's parents regularly take him to museums
  14. The child is regularly spanked
  15. The child frequently watches television
  16. The child's parents read to him nearly every day

According to this economist and the number crunching data . . . only the first 8 items correlate to test scores. (#4 & #6 actually correlate to LOW test scores -- i'm obsessing about this) I have just been so fascinated by this information. Because what our children's performance comes down to is more a statement about who we ARE and not what we DO. There are a dozen different parenting techniques, and following any of them is probably not bad, but they don't really matter. How I feel about my kid's education, what I show my kids that I value and how I feel about myself matter most. And frankly, I'm happy about that! Gone is my guilt that Emma watches a lot of TV, and that my kids have seen more of my laundry room, while sitting in time out, than I have and that I have never been to the dinosaur or children's museum with my kids.

Does this economic data make it ok that I helped Josh bribe his gym teacher to switch his A- to an A with a breakfast sandwich this morning?


Kim said...

It looks like any kids we may have stand a 50% chance... poor things.

Fotoshauna said...

Very interesting! That one is on my "list to be read someday" but I haven't gotten it yet.

You have VERY bright kids and they know they are loved by their parents and other family and friends. They are fantastic and you needn't worry abou them. In fact, Ethan introduced one of the dance festival numbers this morning at the dress rehearsal and he had perfect inflection and energy and enthusiasm! I love your kids and theink they are great! You do a monumentally good job with all of them!

:) Shauna

Jeanette said...

Very interesting. I have heard so much about this book, I guess I really should read it one of these days.

Wendi said...

You had me at reading and scrapbooking! Sounds heavenly!

We speak English in our home. I am so glad we are doing something right!

Seriously, I have heard great things about this book. I had no idea it had a section on "What Makes a Perfect Parent?" I will definitely add it to my list of Books to read! Thanks for sharing.

Mel said...

I would have to agree with Shauna!

And nice work with the breakfast sandwich! ;)

Tammy said...

Wendy--I think your breakfast sandwich probably went pretty good with my box of Hostess cupcakes and king-size Snickers.........

Wendy said...

Tammy - I'm so glad I'm not the only one bribing the teacher!

Also, the breakfast sandwich also got us a scout counselor signature on the Personal Fitness merit badge -- Good Times!

Wendy said...
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