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Book details
  • SubGenre:Parent Participation
  • Language:English
  • Pages:308
  • eBook ISBN:9781632330673

Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning

by Bonnie Lathram , Tom Vander Ark and Carri Schneider

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By parents, for parents. That’s what makes "Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning" different from most parenting books. Drawing on personal parenting stories and expert advice from more than 60 contributors, this guide will leave you with ideas you can put into action immediately. With advice on everything from selecting preschools to accessing educational apps, this is the resource for parents who want to get involved in their children’s learning, stay informed about all the ways kids can learn inside and outside of school, inspire a lifelong love of learning and remain intentional in their decision-making. If you want to better grasp what it means to educate a child in ways that are engaging, empowering and attuned to a child’s unique needs, look no further. This book brightly leads the way to creating and advocating for powerful, student-centered learning experiences.

Paperback edition including a free ebook is available at Eifrig Publishing.


We spend a lot of our time creating and sharing resources for educators and parents (who are often one and the same audience). Time and time again, we observe that families are left out of the equation when it comes to determining the primary audience for education reports, papers and articles—even though they are among the hungriest for informed opinions that can help them. This is why, in partnership with The Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Getting Smart has cultivated a popular parents’ blog series, Smart Parents, to share stories for parents by parents on both GettingSmart.com and on The Huffington Post. The project, hatched around the office kitchen counter in the summer of 2014, grew out of the recognition that parents need help making informed decisions, finding quality resources and providing the best supports for kids. With the 80+ parent stories we’ve gathered, we have authored our newest book: "Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning." As educators and as parents, we have seen profound shifts in the way in which human beings learn—both young and old. Families face unprecedented amounts of information and education-related decisions. This often leaves parents navigating a complex maze of new learning opportunities, new standards, new assessments and new technology. This book is a resource to guide parents in creating, choosing and advocating for powerful, student-centered learning experiences for their children. It is designed to facilitate conversation about important educational decisions parents face today. With advice on everything from picking preschools to accessing educational apps, this is the resource for parents so they can be informed, involved, inspirational and intentional.

PRAISE FOR SMART PARENTS… “I’ve followed the Smart Parents blog series and love having Smart Parents’ stories on The Huffington Post. This book is both an inspirational journey, full of stories from parents who are igniting their children’s passions, and a practical toolkit — complete with advice to help parents at any stage of the journey in advocating for powerful learning.” -Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post

“The Smart Parents blog series and book offer a powerful vision for what education must become. It is a compelling call to action and a practical road map for any parent, guardian or educator. The future of learning will mean that students are increasingly in the driver’s seat. This book inspires and informs and is a must read for anyone who wants to engage young people in the process of their own learning.” -Nicholas Donohue, Executive Director, The Nellie Mae Education Foundation

About the author

Bonnie Lathram, Carri Schneider and Tom Vander Ark

Bonnie Lathram is Getting Smart’s Learner Experience Manager.  Bonnie has taught elementary, middle, and high school students in the United States and Tanzania. Before becoming a school design coach, Bonnie taught at an innovative public high school near Seattle, where she honed her skills working with students, mentors, and families. Bonnie has also designed school-wide college and career programs and recently co-authored the Big Picture Learning’s guide on the metacognitive factors related to student success in college and career.  She holds a BA in Political Science and History and a Master’s Degree in Education from Antioch University.  

Carri Schneider served as an online educator from 2005-2013 in a fully-online Master’s program in Educational Leadership and taught graduate-level courses in School Law and Curriculum.  She has authored several pieces on the future of education including white papers, journal articles, policy reports, blog posts, and book chapters.  She co-edited NCTAF’s “Building a 21st Century U.S. Education System.” Carri has also presented at national conferences including SxSWedu, iNACOL’s Blended Learning Symposium and AERA.  She holds a M.Ed. in Educational Administration and an Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership with emphasis on education policy and social justice.

Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and Smart Cities That Work for Everyone: 7 Keys to Education & Employment. He is CEO of Getting Smart, a learning design firm and a partner in Learn Capital, an education venture capital firm investing in edtech startups. Previously he served as the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom served as a public school superintendent in Washington State and has extensive private sector experience including serving as a senior executive for a national public retail chain. He writes regularly on his Education Week blog, Vander Ark on Innovation, and makes daily contributions to GettingSmart.com.