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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


JACOBS, Carmelita  and  DANIELS, Doria. Their capital has value, too: Exploring parental educational support in low-socioeconomic single-mother families. Journal of Education [online]. 2020, n.80, pp.160-175. ISSN 2520-9868.

Parental educational support is a key contributing factor to the educational success of children (Epstein, 2018; Hill & Tyson, 2009; Seginer, 2006). However, educational research has shown that schools tend to engage with single-mother families from a deficit perspective, labelling such parents "uninvolved" and "uncaring" (Hampden-Thompson, 2009; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2001; Robinson & Werblow, 2012). Often not considered, are the embedded forms of capital present in single-parent families and the ways in which single parents invest in their children's education. In this article, we report on the findings of a qualitative multiple-case study of single-mother families from a South African community. Six single-mother family units were researched for the contributions they made to their children's educational success. Our theoretical framework was informed by Yosso's (2005) model of community cultural wealth. Our findings show that, despite severe societal adversity, these participating mothers invested in their children's educational and emotional well-being by accumulating alternative forms of embedded community cultural wealth. Our findings have relevance for the ways in which schools engage with, and collaborate with, such parent communities to advance positive school-family relationships.

Keywords : parental educational support; parental engagement; single-mother families; community cultural wealth.

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