Note: this entry is part of a series called "The Making of College Bound". Click here to read the series-to-date.
We all think our kids are smart. That's one of the not-so-startling discoveries we made when we shared our new College Bound content with kindergarten parents who agreed to tell us their thoughts about online lessons on how to help kids succeed in school.
After viewing the lesson that encourages parents to praise their kids' effort and hard work rather than label them as "smart," many of our testers told us that working around certain labels was going to be pretty tough. But they'd give it a try.
That may be what was most encouraging about the testing experience, which we kicked off in August and will be continuing into the middle of the year: the parents we heard from were very open to expert suggestions.
Before taking College Bound into a small sampling of kindergartens in Miami, Milwaukee, and Oakland (with Denver and San Diego to come), we were a little nervous. We liked the quick animated segments we'd produced around key parenting messages — but would anyone else?
It turns out, parents do.
We've had close to 100 parents participate in our feedback sessions thus far, and the great majority are hungry for tips on what they can do to support their kids in school. They also want to talk about it.
After watching each lesson, they've shared comments and then asked one another for additional examples of what worked — to help a child follow directions, or learn to enjoy reading, or get comfortable with numbers. They've shared concerns that went beyond lessons, like the way spouses or grandparents treat their children and how to get them to do the right thing. They've sought out other parents whose kids also have learning disabilities to find out how they deal.
We've just begun, of course, and the program has a lot more growing up to do. But the best news so far is a result we hadn't expected: parents report that after watching College Bound lessons, they're more patient with their kids. Imagine the possibilities once our program is distributed to families across the country! Suffice it to say, we've learned that there’s much to be excited about.