The Family Education Influence on American Teenagers
Being the most influential and critical period of human’s life, youth impacts an individual’s position in society, peer relations, and the formation of world perception. Personal characteristics as well as societal orientation of the adolescents remain relatively stable within the rest of their lives. The environment in which a teenager grows plays an important role for his or her future development as an individual. Young people have a lasting impact on their development, their values and priorities, their behavior in society and politics (Spring).
As for the US, a considerable attention is currently paid to such problems as the increase of offenders among young people, drug and alcohol abuse, high level of pregnancy among teenage girls who do not attend school, and suicides. It turned out that, despite the relatively high standard of living, American teenagers do not know what to do and spend a lot of time on useless and harmful activities (watching TV, playing video games) (Spring). Nowadays, young urban people with higher education are called “yuppie” in the United States. It is believed that they are interested only in money and career, being indifferent to the problems of society and having no desire to engage in any public affairs or to help someone else.
To what extent should family education approach the American teenagers in order to provide them with the best opportunities for growth within the society? The notion of family education is becoming more and more important nowadays because of the increasing amount of population and the desire of parents to have their children succeed in life, have better career prospects and life conditions.
Being deeply inclined into family education, the American teenagers are likely to obtain more knowledge and skills necessary for their future; however, they lose an opportunity for appropriate socialization along with this.
The Background of the Problem
The history of the education system in the USA began in the early decades of the 17th century, when the British began to colonize North America. The countries like the USA, United Kingdom, and Canada have highly decentralized education systems, although the degree of their decentralization is different (Jennings and Niemi). The US decision to establish training plans and programs are made at the state and school districts, carrying the fact that there is the ministry (department) of the country’s education.
In the middle of the 20th century, the system of higher education in the USA received several fundamentally important and powerful impulses in its development and improvement. The first of these stimuli refers to 1944, when the educational benefits were established (Jennings and Niemi). In order to ensure their adaptation to civilian life as well as to economic situation, the US federal government provided educational loans, which allowed a significant number of relatively young people to join the higher education system.
Taking into account the influence of family education on teenagers in the USA, it is necessary to say that homeschooling is officially allowed throughout many countries. According to government regulations, homeschooling means that pupils and students carry out the majority of their studies at home while spending no more than 25 hours per week in public or private schools (four out of five homeschooled children do not attend traditional schools) (Jennings and Niemi). In order to draw a child into a family form of training, the parents must contact the school office.
Parents who decided to try home education have to fill a special form – assurance of consent. By signing the document, the parent agrees to follow the school curriculum adopted in the state. Usually, once or twice a year, parents should report on the performance of their children in the district’s school education department. Moreover, the parents do not necessarily have to wait until the end of the half and start homeschooling at any time.
Despite the fact that home education has gained extreme popularity not so long ago, the number of children enrolled at home comprises approximately 1.1 million (Jennings and Niemi). Moreover, this figure is increased by 15% each year (Jennings and Niemi). Some experts estimate that the number of homeschoolers reaches 2 million as the official data gives a lower estimate for the reason that not all the states allow to officially declare home education (Covey).
Nevertheless, the issue is very relevant nowadays, there are specific peculiarities common to homeschooling which every interested person needs to know. These peculiarities show that homeschooling changes not only the life of the child, but it also radically changes the lives of the child’s parents. First, home education presupposes extreme responsibility on behalf of parents who acquire the role of teachers. Turning to homeschooling, the parents will be fully responsible for the education of their children. If something goes wrong, they cannot blame uneducated and bad teachers or the ossified system. However, the parents of children who visit traditional schools also bear the responsibility, but they have less opportunity to influence the outcome. Second, parents supporting home education should be ready to spend all their time with their children (except rare evenings or weekends when their children are with grandparents). On the other hand, it can be regarded in a positive way as a factor enhancing closer family relationships. Parents get acquainted with their children’s interests, they both get really closer and get to know each other better.
One of the most significant changes a person will encounter when choosing homeschooling is the lack of freedom. The parents whose children go to traditional schools are free to send their children to school and do their own business. Nevertheless, homeschooling can serve as a perfect tool to learn how to manage time better and be more creative. Parents can use the accompanying home study, contact the experts that offer an optimal training program for their children, and work remotely, therefore finding time for themselves. Many parents are not sure that they have enough knowledge and patience to teach their children. Homeschooling has taught so many parents to keep calm when children make noise, be flexible if they are tired, and become magicians when they are bored. There exist no perfect parents and no perfect teachers, but people are developing and learning from their personal experience. Even if parents do not know something, their main task is to provide their children with the necessary tool for information search. Such a learning process allows parents not only to teach their children but also learn with them.
It is obvious that children will have to eventually become independent and responsible for their actions. The dramatic push into an independent life at school makes children rely on each other, but the child’s peers had too little experience. As a result, the blind is leading the blind. Family education gives parents the opportunity to be the authority for their children and keep them under their influence while giving them as much freedom and independence as they need.
Some people believe that children learning at home spend all day in four walls and, as a result, are not able to communicate with their peers. Undoubtedly, the transition to family learning puts the responsibility for child’s socialization on parents’ shoulders. However, there are lots of places where a child can communicate with his/her peers and not feel isolated from society. The school experience is not always positive, and homeschooling will protect children from negative effects and enable them to develop fully. Nevertheless, it is a fact that children are developing and learning better in a group where they can feel the rivalry with their peers.
Berge, Jerica M., et al. “Family Functioning: Associations with Weight Status, Eating Behaviors, and Physical Activity in Adolescents.” Journal of Adolescent Health. Print.
The authors of the article have a conviction that the results of the study are produced in terms of the relationship of American students with the school, and claim that it is ridiculous to believe that the majority of adolescents do not like school. According to the results of the national survey, 75% of schoolchildren aged 8-17 years said that they loved school, 84% were satisfied with it, and 77% of them assessed the level of the school with a high mark. Those who did not like their school complained on poor nutrition in the school cafeteria. Only 10% of the surveyed students said they did not like school, and 8% said they were not satisfied with the school that they attended. Although the number of dissatisfied was small, the opinion of this group of young people is of great concern. While 23% of all the students do not attend schools on average; the number of black teenagers reaches 35%, and the number of Hispanics not attending school is 45%. Furthermore, the authors have a conviction that polls conducted by the American Council on Education and Cooperative Institutional Research Program among the freshmen college students noted a sharp decline that intends getting a broad education and a significant increase in the number of those who wish to do business. They noticed a greatly increased desire for financial success and career over the past two decades. At the same time, the results showed that the number of students who want to study philosophy, environmental protection, social activities, or politics has significantly decreased.
Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Print.
The book states that educational standards emphasize the importance of further study and development of analytical skills necessary for young people to become successful in life. Instead of simply memorizing facts, students should be able to apply the basic knowledge and skills to solve real-life problems. The emphasis is placed on creativity, teamwork, critical thinking, entrepreneurial skills, presentation skills, ability to solve problem tasks, and explore and search for information as well as readiness for a professional career. Educational standards stimulate change in teaching methods used by American teachers in the same way as the assimilation of knowledge is tested. The standard requires more precise evaluation of the system, expansion of inter-subject relations, and the development of project-based learning in which students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in real-life situations. New digital methods for testing the performance of students, which is fundamentally different from traditional tests on paper, have been developed. Moreover, it has been indicated that the conditions of the basic educational program realization should provide students with the opportunity to participate in the processes of transformation of the social environment within the village. The development and implementation of social projects and programs is realized as well. Also, it is mentioned that the participation of students, parents, teaching staff, and the public in the design of the school curriculum is a significant precondition for the creation and development of a successful educational environment and school structure. Moreover, the participants of the educational process should be provided with the opportunity to experience social activities, moral dilemmas, and solutions of the moral choice.
Jennings, M. Kent, and Richard G. Niemi. Political Character of Adolescence: The Influence of Families and Schools. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Print.
The authors of the book believe that for high school, it is more relevant to have a slightly different format of “interaction” with modern science and high technology. This requires a functioning equipment – research and production. Moreover, it is important to include children in the real process (or a very accurate simulation of such processes), which requires the revision of the rules of safety, involvement of highly qualified specialists, and an organization of educational programs, particularly less “in-line” than usually in museums . This means that such programs are significantly more expensive. However, it seems that they are important, relevant from the point of view of high school students’ orientation in the modern technological world. They are, as the authors mention, our near future, and most importantly, some examples of these programs are already beginning to appear. For the most part, science museums operate precisely as leisure centers, knowing that their main visitors are families with children. In this sense, their main “mandate” are the extracurricular activities complementary to school education programs.
Leonhardt, David. “Why Teenagers Today May Grow Up Conservative.” New York Times.
When regarding the teenagers in the USA, the authors believe that education quality problems of justice are associated with the development of the information society, in which an advanced development of public intelligence and education system is becoming the decisive factor in the progress of mankind. In these circumstances, the information becomes the greatest value and is a strategic product. Therefore, in the high technology information society, the quality of education is the key argument in providing this level of life and the professional competence of the person, which would satisfy the needs of society and the state needs of socially active citizens and qualified specialists. Realizing the importance of owning high-quality education, most countries declared the problem a national priority and a prerequisite for state security. Education and science affect all forms of organization of macro systems without any exceptions, for all its structural elements are universal factors of the country’s modernization and its technological, military, and environmental safety.
Lubienski, Chris. “Whither the Common Good? A Critique of Homeschooling.” Peabody Journal of Education. Print.
The article analyzes the notion of homeschooling as a part of raising private issues over the public ones. The investigation of homeschooling concentrates rather on individual rights and individual beneficial issues than on the public good. Yet, the general population has an interest in education because there is an unavoidable area of schooling and learning that makes it an open and decent process. Nevertheless, home learning contradicts this public interest. It undermines the benefit of everyone in two ways. To start with, it pulls back children as well as social capital from state funded schools and introduces weaknesses to the pupils and students staying behind. Second, as a way out technique, self-education undermines the capacity of state funded instruction to enhance and turn out to be more responsive as a democratic foundation. Subsequently, self-learning is a response to, as well as a reason for, declining governmentally funded schools. As a result, it lessens the capability of public education to serve the benefit of all within trembling democracy. The article shows the negative consequences of homeschooling that influence not only particular individuals but the system of the country’s regulation and its economy.
Noble, Kimberly G., et al. “Family Income, Parental Education and Brain Structure in Children and Adolescents.” Nature Neuroscience. Print.
Noble et al. have a strong conviction that the qualitative level of education is provided by means of appropriate mechanisms which have been called for monitoring. This is understood as gathering, processing, and disseminating information about the activities of the educational system that provides continual monitoring of its status and the development forecast. The objects of monitoring are individual subsystems of education (secondary and higher education) as well as different aspects and processes that occur in the system (learning achievements of pupils and students). In the context of contemporary migration not only within individual countries but also within their regions, there is an urgent problem to adapt quickly in order to obtain training and work. Hence, this encourages society to radical changes in education. Most countries in the modern world are unhappy with their own education system. Focusing on the modern work market, higher education should relate to the priorities of the ability to operate such technology and knowledge that would satisfy the needs of the information society. An important thing for people today is not only the ability to handle their knowledge but also to be prepared to change and adapt to new market needs in order to work, operate, and manage the information, to be active, to make decisions with lightning speed, and to learn throughout their lives. A special attention has been paid to the problem of family education in the USA. The author believes that the development of education standards has to be performed in five core subjects: English, mathematics, science, history, and geography. In addition to this, it is necessary to exercise development of a national system of testing, the results of which should be used when accepting students in universities and colleges as well as used by employers while hiring them later.
Porter, Eduardo. “A Simple Equation: More Education = More Income.” New York Times.
Regarding the matter of education in light of the current conditions in the USA, the author of the newspaper article supposes that the process of creating a priority in the country of education and scientific and technological spheres makes it possible to generate a critical mass of the support for educational innovations and reforms in society. Innovative approaches, culture, and incentives will be the keys in the development of the national ideology. The new development of society can be achieved on the basis of qualitatively new knowledge embodying cutting-edge technological developments in the competitive economy and providing higher standard of living. We need, the author means, a reform of education – a systematic, transparent, and evidence-based one. Reform of the family education is not a reform for the sake of movement in the Bologna process and the reforms to improve the quality of education, which would ensure the success in life of a man and society in general. It provides a large-scale inventory of the education system, its objective monitoring of the possible structural reorganization, and the completion of its individual units.
Spring, Joel. American Education. Abington: Routledge. Print.
Regarding the quality of the American teenagers’ education and family impact on it, the author states that it is important to reform education at any cost, often without having to worry about its quality and focusing on the accelerated movement in the European educational space. Hence, the lack of system and transparency, scientific invalidity of reforms, and ignoring historical tradition in the development of national education are seriously experienced. The result is that the desire to escape from the rigid embrace of the old coordinate system by “private” educational initiatives built on hastily invented or borrowed from the world of pedagogical authority programs and teaching methods led to anarchy at all levels of the education system without any justification and public debate. Therefore, the complex has made education reform in its likeness. The main claim the author singles out towards the matter of the family education consists in the necessity of ensuring access to higher education and promoting education levels on the basis of education received in school. Furthermore, it is necessary to provide all-round financial support for those who are good students and those who study basic subjects of natural science areas.
Tolley, Kim. The Science Education of American Girls: A Historical Perspective. Abington: Routledge. Print.
As rightly noted by the author of this book, in the midst of all educational transformation, there must be the content of education enshrined in the state standards, training programs, textbooks, and other teaching resources. It must be constantly updated according to the needs of each particular period. In addition to this, the author of the book believe that the school tries to transform the world around, and both the society and business are quite passive about this. In some cases, schools manage their own initiatives for the transformation of the local communities in order to enter into an educational program. Entrepreneurial initiatives of students and teachers are an important part of school life. Among the examples that illustrate this area of cooperation, the author presents the following one. The school organized its own production, it allows children to gain experience of productive activity and benefit from the school and the people around. Such examples are especially numerous in rural schools, where self is a necessity of life. The author believes that encouraging businesses in supporting non-profit organizations that conduct research on the family education and development of innovative approaches in education (such as family education) is very important. Along with this, the federal funding for communities to create new American schools is also paramount. Finally, the author proposes creating conditions for partnerships between education establishments and employers.
Turner, Rebecca A., Charles E. Irwin Jr, and Susan G. Millstein. “Family Structure, Family Processes, and Experimenting with Substances during Adolescence.” Risks and Problem Behaviors in Adolescence. Print.
The analysis of the experience in partnership with the public schools (business and other organizations) shows that in some of them there are projects of cooperation. However, in many schools, there are no such projects. One reason for this situation is the lack of commitment to the partnership in the complexity of its implementation. Schools are hard to “open”, become partners with other organizations, interact with them, and influence the life around. First of all, it is difficult to overcome stereotypes about the meaning and method of formation of the organization, which dominate the pedagogical and parent community. Moreover, it is technically difficult to overcome the problems encountered in the path disclosure framework for the most class-lesson system and the corresponding restrictions embodied in the financial regulatory system.
Thus, we have discussed the basic features of family education in the United States. Certainly, this system has disadvantages such as not always clearly organized educational process, an arbitrary increase in the proportion of one subject to the detriment of others, the absence of quality control of family education. However, it is the national US legal system deficiencies in the field of education, and homeschooling is a different thing.
Home education is a great ability to protect the children from the harmful influence of peers and to instill proper moral qualities in them. This argument is especially emphasized by the faithful parents with the fact that the situation in public schools seems (and not without reasons) to be immoral and unethical.
Many investigators believe that family education promotes family unity. Parents have an opportunity to watch the development of their children, communicate with them, recognize their strengths and weaknesses in the process of learning activities within a natural setting. Supporters of family education believe that this form of training gives their children the benefits not only academically but also socially. After socialization, the ability to behave in society goes on how to be a good citizen. Classroom system, being oddly enough, does not provide such skills.