Perspectives of African American Grandmothers as Primary Caregivers: Informally Educating Their Grandchildren to Promote School Success
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of African American primary caregiver grandmothers about informally educating their grandchildren to promote school success. Attention was focused on the role the African American primary caregiver grandmother plays in promoting the school success of her grandchild at home. The study also identifies what support systems and or resources the African American grandmother caregiver utilizes to promote the school success of her grandchildren at home and what support systems or resources may be needed to support school success at home. The sample consisted of 10 African American grandmothers who were the primary caregivers of their grandchildren between the ages of 4 and 8. The researcher conducted an open-ended interview with the participants to elicit their experiences and perceptions about informally educating their grandchild at home to promote school success. The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire before the one-on-one interview and two post interview questions following the interview. The analysis of the data revealed six themes: 1) Provide Structure; 2) Role Model; 3) Provide Educational Opportunities; 4) Assistance with Homework; 5) Utilized Services; 6) Needed Services. This study found that the African American grandmother played a role in the lives of the grandchildren in their care by providing a consistent and safe home environment in which their grandchildren had opportunities to reinforce the skills they learned at school and by modeling morals and values. The participants utilized services provided by the school and the community, but felt there were additional services that could be provided to assist in educating their grandchildren at home. The findings of the study supported that learning occurs through observation, experiences can structure the decisions made in life, and environment can aid in positive life experiences.