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A Word From the Author
Most children are born with the potential to become a top student and eventually successful adults. However, the parents and home environment determine the child’s opportunity to pursue this success. Too many parents are not doing their job. They believe that school is the beginning of the child’s education. In reality, Kindergarten is six years too late. According to scientific research, the critical learning period for children is between the ages of 8 and 18 months, and by the time they are 8 years old they are already set in molds that determine their academic futures. While preschool programs beginning as early as age 3 certainly help, the child’s critical learning period is still missed.
School can be equated to a jungle, where the law is “survival of the fittest.” When we send our children to kindergarten, they automatically fall into the top, middle, or bottom of the class. Those whose parents give them the best foundation for learning during their preschool years are the fittest. They begin school with a head start; they’re confident, have the beginning of a healthy self-esteem, have advanced vocabularies, speak in complete sentences, and learn their ABC’s and numbers with ease. Having done a good job preparing them for school, their parents help and support them by making certain they understand their assignments and do their homework. They provide them with an educationally rich home environment, read to them, restrict their TV and games, and plan activities away from home that will contribute to their educational repertoire. These lucky children become the elite of their class. Year after year they receive the best grades and all the honors, and awards. From high school they go on to college, and from there, they work their way into top paying jobs and the upper echelons of society. At the other end of the spectrum are the children who receive little preparation for school. Rather than bedtime stories, their days usually end in front of the television. When they enter school, they’re already at the bottom of the class; they’re shy and withdrawn, have poor language development and comprehension skills, must learn how to follow simple instructions, and have difficulty learning their ABCs and numbers. They can’t compete, because the top students are learning much more rapidly, becoming further ahead, while these poor kids struggle to learn what the others already know when they enter school. Many of them never catch up, because they don’t do their viii Top Students, Top Parents work, or even understand how to do it. They eventually give up, because no matter how hard they try, they’re always behind, never understand, and most always fail. Dropping out of high school is the easy way out for them, but makes them prime targets for gangs, drugs, and crime, destined to work at menial paying jobs, or to be on welfare the rest of their lives. Why is there such a discrepancy in the manner in which children are prepared for school? The difference is, parents of the top students know how to prepare and support their children, and they are willing to go the extra mile to see that their children receive the best start in life.
For decades, American students have been underperforming compared to other nations. Billions of dollars continue to be thrown away on the same old remedies in hopes of increasing students’ test scores: better teachers, new books, updated curriculum, and expensive studies to determine how to help kids learn. None of these “fix-its” have worked.
It’s time we put our efforts in the right place…the parents and the home environment. There will be some parents who can’t do better for a number of reasons beyond their control, but there would be plenty who would be grateful to learn ways they can help their children get a better start in life. This book is for the parents who are able and willing to go the extra mile in order to help their children become all they can be.