Grandparents raising grandchildren
Shoemaker, Jaqueline Ho Hock Neo
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Using Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory as an overarching frame, this study explored social and cultural factors that influenced how grandparents raising grandchildren engaged in their grandchild’s learning and schooling. Narrative case studies and cross-case analysis with six families illustrated the ways in which grandparents’ life experiences affected the way they parented their grandchildren and investigated grandparents’ role construction, funds of knowledge, and social networks. Just like other parents, grandparents have high aspirations for their grandchildren. The grandparents’ eloquent voices captured in this study demonstrated the ways in which they were assertive in their endeavors to be involved participants in their grandchildren’s education. Grandparents authored and positioned themselves as advocates for their grandchildren and articulated a desire to partner and work together with teachers and school personnel for the benefit of their grandchildren. They were proactive in using the resources available in schools and in the community to help their grandchildren. Based on the results of this study, I argue that teachers and school personnel would benefit from professional learning opportunities to understand the needs of grandparents raising grandchildren and develop practices for actively supporting and engaging them in their grandchild’s education. Recommendations are provided for future research incorporating the voices of grandparents who are raising grandchildren, and the educators who serve them.