Understanding the Home-School Interface in a Culturally Diverse Family

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We present the cases of two families from the same middle-class community and conclude that home and school are more connected for some students and families than for others, even in the middle class where seamlessness is assumed. Home and school are more closely aligned for middle-class European-American students who read at home, engage in writing on the computer, and who have parents whose work schedules allow them to volunteer in their child’s classroom to gain hidden knowledge of school-based practices. In contrast, students from cultural and linguistic backgrounds that differ from the mainstream participate in home literacy activities that do not match school experiences. We suggest that schools and communities support non-mainstream families who lack a high degree of sophisticated parental involvement required for children to be successful in schools today. We delineate some of the challenges that face teachers and schools who lack an understanding of how to create equitable spaces for all students and their families and how to provide educational experiences that are relevant to each student’s culture and class-based patterns of living.