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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Links Between Home and School Among Low-Income Mexican-American and European-American Families


The goal of this report is to show how low-income Mexican-American and European-American children's and adolescents' everyday learning activities in the home and parents' aspirations for their children's future are key elements in home-school linkages. After reviewing two models of home-school linkages, we apply the ecocultural approach to analyzing third-,fifth-, and seventh-grade students' participation in chore and homework activities and their parents' aspirations for their personal/moral, educational, and vocational future. Drawing on interviews with these students' parents, we illustrate personnel (parents, siblings, relatives, friends) available to guide children's and adolescents' mastery of homework and chores, parents' direct and indirect instructional scripts, and how parents' future goals and aspirations might shape their present goals and guidance. In reporting our findings, we pay special attention to 1) similarities and differences between the ecology of learning, resources, and vulnerabilities of Mexican-American and European-American families, 2) within-cultural-group variation in families' resources and vulnerabilities, and 3) how families' resources and vulnerabilities, guidance scripts, and aspirations change as children enter adolescence. We conclude with suggestions for how to apply our findings to the design of parent-school partnerships.

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