The more I read about black children, black child school failure rates, and parenting methods, the more I appreciate my forward thinking and exceptionally bright parents. Though my father only went through the 9th grade in formal schooling, he was hands down one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life with a vision for human growth and personal development on a par with Anthony Robbins and Deepak Chopra.
As a matter of fact, many of the things I’ve read in books published by those two in the 1990s and 2000s were things I grew up hearing my Dad say as far back as the 1970s. Dad was a man ahead of his time in many ways.
Though he didn’t continue his schooling due to a need for all the boys to go to work, education for his children was extremely important. My brothers and I were pushed to succeed in school, and no excuse for less than a B plus grade was acceptable. We all read well and did well in math and science.
We also never had a fear of tests or fear of exams of any kind. I mention that because failure to test well is often given as the reason for failure of many African American teens and adults, though they may know the material very well.
This is when parents come in. You can prepare your children for school exams by giving them as many as possible. You want to build your child’s tolerance and eliminate their fear of exams by getting them used to taking tests.
At any point in the day or night my parents would take out a piece of paper, write down some math problems and tell us “POP QUIZ!” with glee.
“You have 10 minutes to do these and you better get them all right!” they would warn.
Or they would sit us down before dinner and give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil. They’d then rattle off three words (appropriate for our age group) and tell us to write them down, spelling them properly. We’d then have to provide the definition of the word (using the conveniently placed dictionary if necessary), and use each word in a sentence before dinner would be served.
Or my Dad would read a story from the newspaper and tell us to paraphrase it to explain the subject and point. He’d want to make sure we could COMPREHEND the story, even if the words and subject matter were beyond our reading or grade level in school.
By the time we could read the paper ourselves, we’d have to read a story he’d choose, then explain it to him using our own words. By the time we were in middle and high school, he’d choose a story or editorial and ask us to provide a counter argument. On the spot. No preparation whatsoever. No opportunity to research or think about what we were going to say.
My father would frequently call me in from playing outside and rattle off a series of 6-12 numbers single and two digit numbers. As I got older, the numbers got more complex. He’d make me add them up in my head. On the spot. Very often in front of guests that would stare at me in astonishment.
As a child I hated it, because I always felt put on the spot and somewhat afraid of messing up. But, as the adults in the room added up the numbers using pencil and paper to verify my accuracy, I rarely did.
Now I can do math in my head like nobody’s business. I also think fast. I analyze problems and situations, providing viable solutions just as quickly. I take written and oral exams without the least bit of anxiety because, thanks to my parents, I’d literally taken thousands of them by the time I was 15.
If you want your child to succeed in school and in life, a key step is to assist them in mastering tests and examinations. Eliminate fear of exams and test taking and build your child’s confidence in their ability to successfully complete exams by giving them several “pop quizzes” and tests every week at home.
Category: Society and Culture