At Back-to-School nights all across the country, many K-12 teachers take the opportunity to communicate their classroom and district homework policies to parents. Here are two perplexing issues for your consideration:
Despite our best efforts at clear communication, many teachers receive homework questions from parents in the days and weeks following Back-to-School night. Prepare yourself well this year, to get maximum cooperation from parents and optimal results from your students.
The US Department of Education hosts a site with helpful homework hints for parents:This site explains what teachers already know: homework, when used properly, offers students the chance to
- review and practice what they've covered in class
- get ready for the next day's class
- learn to use resources, such as libraries, reference materials and websites to find information about a subject
- explore subjects more fully than classroom time permits
- extend learning by applying skills they already have to new situations
- integrate their learning by applying many different skills to a single task, such as book reports or science projects.
Homework also can help students develop good study habits and positive attitudes. It can
- teach them to work independently
- encourage self-discipline and responsibility
In addition, homework can help create greater understanding between families and teachers and provide opportunities for increased communication.
Communication Creates Engagement
We encourage you to communicate regularly with parents. Some schools schedule several informational parent events throughout the year, in an effort to narrow the teacher-parent gap. Establishing a good rapport with parents by using routine, clear communication will make all the difference to you, if and when a problem arises.
To help get things off on the right foot, offer a variety of ways for parents to get involved. Not every parent can volunteer on-site during the school day, and not every parent can afford to buy items for the classroom.Think about off-site tasks or projects parents can do to help the class, and offer ways to volunteer that ask for nothing except the value of a parent’s time.
Send notes home and make phone calls on a regular schedule. Elementary teachers who write two notes or make two phone calls each school day will contact every child's parents at least once a month. Secondary teachers with larger class loads can follow the same schedule and stay in contact at least once a quarter. Remember to contact the parents when students are successful - don't call only to report a problem. Positive communication creates an environment of trust which pays dividends when there is a challenge.
Engaging parents plus assigning meaningful homework is a powerful combination that will add up to successful results for your students! We offer a Guide for Teachers with creative ways to extend your classroom for optimal success. We guarantee you’ll find new, time-saving ways to attack old problems!
Photo Credit: Peter Gene