Where does success start?

This post was originally published on June 3rd, 2016 on the 10 Books A Home blog.

Written by: Paul Thiebaut III, Founder and CEO of 10 Books A Home

A very popular opinion piece by Paul Tough was recently published in the NYT. "To help kids thrive, coach their parents" is another indicator that this country is continuing to place greater emphasis on the home environment as a place where school success starts. This is common sense to most people, but has taken decades of mounting poverty in the face of billions of dollars spent on school- and center-based reform to bring national attention to the home.

Since 2000, the percentage of children has increased from 12% to 24% who attend schools where more than 75% of the student body comes from low-income and poor homes (10BH's target demographic). On the ground, this translates in to schools being surrounded by impoverished neighborhoods. This is very bad for children, their families, their communities, and our country.

Tough's piece points to "home visitation" as a solution. This type of intervention got started in the 1960s and places most emphasis on teaching the parent prescribed best practices for what and how to teach their young children (most programs work with families of children 0-5). While studies have shown that children from families who participate in home visitation programs fare better than those who do not (as Tough points out in his piece), the evidence for the effectiveness of these programs is mixed.

While it is great news that more and more attention is being placed on the home, 10BH remains the ugly duckling in that it directs its Emergent Intervention Model at the child so that the parent can learn how to support the unique learning needs of his/her child. Furthermore, at the lesson level, 10BH uses its Learner Centric Approach to give the child full control of what s/he learns over the two years in 10BH. And, in between lessons, 10BH uses its Family Centric Approach to support parents and families in accommodating their children's learning desires during and between lessons. This is a fundamental difference from the standard intervention model provided by home visitation programs.

With attention being paid more and more to the home, we are certain that our ugly duckling program model will soon become a major topic of discussion.