Category Archives: Single Parents

Important Research on the Role Parents Play in Children’s STEM Success

Important Research on the Role Parents Play in Children’s STEM Success

Proficiency in STEM skills is seen as a key component for success in the 21st century workplace. Yet observers note an achievement gap in STEM education and careers, with white males leading the way and members of other groups falling behind. This issue is so troubling that the US Department of Education has set achieving equality in STEM education as a main priority.

One way to encourage more diversity in STEM fields is to involve parents in their child’s STEM education. In fact, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) feels so strongly about parents playing an active role in STEM education that they issued a position statement on the topic. This statement suggests that even simple actions from parents, such as encouraging children to ask questions or playing with children outdoors, can go a long way toward a child’s success in STEM education.

Several research studies have investigated the relationship between parent involvement, student learning in STEM, and career paths in STEM. Read on to learn about some key findings.

 

Student Motivation

learning

In 2017, the National Academy of Sciences published a paper investigating parental involvement in student motivation to study STEM disciplines and later pursue a STEM career. In the study, a group of parents were given two brochures and access to a website that discussed the importance of STEM education. The parents also learned strategies for talking about these materials with their children.

The researchers found that students whose parents read the brochures and website and discussed the material with them were likely to be motivated to take one more semester of a STEM course than students whose parents did not receive access to the brochures and website. The researchers also found that math and science ACT scores of students whose parents discussed the brochures and website with them were approximately 12 points higher.

Additionally, the researchers found that the positive effects lingered beyond high school. Students whose parents had discussed the brochures and websites with them were more likely to take STEM courses in college and be motivated to pursue a STEM career afterwards. The researchers concluded that one successful method for increasing the number of people pursuing STEM careers is to focus on parental involvement in children’s STEM education.

 

Women in STEM

In 2017, researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Arkansas released a working paper that investigates causes for the gender gap in college-level STEM education. These researchers studied data from national surveys to determine whether girls’ perceived abilities in math, tested abilities in math, and decisions about pursuing a STEM major in college were related to their parents’ careers.

When they analyzed the data, the researchers found that girls believed their abilities in math were lower, tested lower in math, and chose to pursue a STEM major in college less often. However, the researchers found different results for girls with at least one parent working in a STEM field.

Although girls with a parent working in a STEM field did not appear to think differently about their math abilities, they had higher math test scores and were more likely to choose a STEM major. The researchers concluded that having a parent who works in a STEM field could benefit girls by providing them with a role model for success.

 

Math Anxiety

kids

A 2015 publication from the Association for Psychological Science reveals the negative effects parents can have on their children’s performance in math. Although studies often mention the positive effects parents can have on children’s STEM education, this study points out that the opposite can also occur.

In this study, the researchers surveyed parents about their math anxiety and how often they help their children with math homework. The researchers also collected information about the first- and second-grade children of these parents, focusing on their levels of math anxiety and math performance.

The researchers found that when parents reported high levels of math anxiety and also helped their children with math homework frequently, the children developed high levels of math anxiety over the school year. Additionally, the researchers found these children also had lower scores in math performance over the school year.

Interestingly, the researchers found that when parents reported high levels of math anxiety but didn’t help their children with math homework frequently, the children did not develop math anxiety and did not have lower math scores. The researchers concluded that math anxiety and performance are not related to genetic factors, but rather are learned behaviors.

Rather than suggest that parents with math anxiety not help their children with math homework, the researchers cite educational research that suggests involved parents are beneficial to student success. They recommend parents receive tools and other support so they can more confidently help their children with math homework.

Working Mom of Three Gets Helping Hand from Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable

Working Mom of Three Gets Helping Hand from Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable

Brandy Stadel is a single mom living in Illinois. She works hard at her job, but she’s had a difficult time making ends meet, especially since her hours are cut back during the winter. Ms. Stadel recently gave birth to her third child, and her bills keep growing. She rents a small one-bedroom trailer, but… Continue Reading

Single Mother of Three and Full Time Student Receives Grant From Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable

Single Mother of Three and Full Time Student Receives Grant From Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable

Kenisha Murray is single the mother of three young children and works full time and is going to school full-time and managing tuition.    There aren’t enough hours in the day or much room for financial emergencies. Ms. Murray received a grant from PCO to recover from multiple financial setbacks, stay in school, and support… Continue Reading

Single Mother and Flood Victim Receives Grant From Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable

Single Mother and Flood Victim Receives Grant From Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable

Brandy Arnold is a single mother of two children residing in Hutchison, KS.  Due to heavy storm two weeks ago, Hutchison, Kansas, her home was severely flooded.  The flooding ruined her washer, dryer, children’s toys, and the majority of their clothing that was in the laundry area. The laundry area for the town house is… Continue Reading

Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable Help Single Mother In Colorado Springs

Sadie LaVercombe  is currently attending school at National American University for Health Information Technology and supporting two toddlers.  Her partner left unexpectedly and several legal problems with the Army.  The abrupt change in household income left the family exposed and the rent became a struggle despite second jobs. Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable provided a grant… Continue Reading

Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable Provides Grant To Single Mother and Nursing Student

Lena Acker is a determined single mother with a plan and also served in the Navy. She is currently employed as a Certified Nursing Assistant who just started working. Lena is the proud mother of a 3 year old son and is enrolled in Brown Mackie College in their two year Associate Nursing Degree program.… Continue Reading

Karen and Charles Phillips Charitable Aids Single Mother of Four in Tennessee

Charlotte Pittman is a single mother of four employed at historic Meharry medical College in Tennessee.  Ms. Pittman leaves home daily at 6am to support her children and returns at 6pm. A change in income caused her landlord to assume she was ineligible for housing assistance so she received an eviction notice and had 10 days to… Continue Reading