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Students say they work hard when parents show interest

August 31, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

Logan Hine spent a good bit of the summer spinning a wheel. Not the “Wheel of Fortune,” though this wheel could affect his future.

To keep his 7-year-old mind sharp and his learning progressing during the summer, his mom had him spin a wheel to decide what subject he would study on a given day.

“And I’ve got like spelling, science, free — that means you can choose which one — math,” explained Logan.

“Then my mom will pick out a ... what thing I have to do, like maybe I have to work in a book for like math or spelling. And in reading, I just, usually just read and then ... I tell her what I read about.”

The Maugansville Elementary third-grader recently was reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” sometimes on his own and sometimes with his parents.

Logan devours educational things so he’s always liked to do workbooks, said his mom, Kim Hine, 39, of Hagerstown. He also is partial to the card game Uno, which has numbers and colors.

Hine said she also tries to make learning fun for Zander, 3, who is starting preschool at John Wesley. He likes to color and is identifying and counting animals in a book.

“Things like colors, I mean you just innately work on them with them. You don’t even realize. ‘Go find your blue shoes.’ You don’t even realize that you’re working on them, but you are. I think, at his age, it’s more about making it fun.”

Several young people interviewed recently said they work harder at school because their parents ask how they are doing and seem to be interested in their education.

“It makes me want to work harder,” said Ezra White, 8, a third-grader at Potomac Heights Elementary.

“I do my schoolwork and then they check it and then they find my planner,” Ezra said.

His mom routinely signs the planner, which includes his behavior rating for each school day.

If his mom didn’t check his homework every day, like she does, she wouldn’t know whether he’d done his work, Ezra said.

“(Mom) helps with our homework if we need help,” said Ezra’s sister, Jayden, 9. “If our school has a fundraiser, she does what she can.”

Her mother’s involvement in her education and school makes her work harder, Jayden said.

And if mom didn’t get involved?

“I wouldn’t want to do anything for school anymore,” Jayden said.

Erin White, 29, of Hagerstown, said she and her children read together every day, either assigned reading for school or a book to read just for fun.

She also talks to them about their school day, asking about things such as who they sat with during lunch.

Ezra helps his little brothers, Toby, 2, and Asher, 4, learn. Ezra said Toby can count to 13, and then demonstrated.

Nancy Arnold, 46, of the Robinwood area, said her husband’s family has a tradition of talking about what happened at school during dinner.

Arnold’s sons, Ernst, 13, and his younger brother, Bryce, said they usually answer “the usual.”

“We’re just good kids,” said Ernst, who was getting Bryce ready to join him at Smithsburg Middle School by telling him about the teachers.

Bryce said he was “more excited than nervous” about starting middle school.

They were eager to get out of school for the summer, but now they were ready to return and see their friends, Ernst said.

Fourth-grader Maddy Hahn, 9, said her parents chaperone field trips and help her with her homework.

School is important to them, she said, “Because it’s important to learn stuff for when you get bigger.”

If her parents didn’t care about school, Maddy said, she would “get really bad grades because they wouldn’t be encouraging me to be better.”

“My parents have always stressed the importance of school and getting a good education,” said Williamsport resident Eric Hahn, Maddy’s dad.

Chelsea Parra, 10, said her parents ask her every day after school how her day was and help her with homework when she needs it.

“If I didn’t have help, I would try to work harder,” Chelsea said.

Willy Espiritu, 12, of Hagerstown, said his parents tell him all the time how important school is and that makes him work harder.

“One of my dreams is to be a basketball player and they said I had to work in school in order to play basketball,” Willy said.

Willy’s brother, Christopher Davis, is attending kindergarten at Lincolnshire Elementary in Halfway.

“I can count to 100,” said Christopher, who counts Honey Nut Cheerios.

“That’s true. I’ve been working with him. He counted to 100 last night,” Willy said recently.

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