Numerous studies point to a beneficial connection between parental involvement in their children’s educational experiences and increased levels of academic students, social and emotional development, engagement, and motivation by home-to-school communication Actually Work. As a result of the fact that my children frequently inform me that they accomplished “nothing” at school each day, I depend greatly on home-to-school communication from their instructors in order to enjoy the benefits of engagement.
Sending updates home takes valuable time away from instructors, who already have a million other things on their to-do lists. At home, it’s equally hectic! How can teachers make it simple for students to share information about their classroom learning while at the same time cutting through the complexity of family life? In an attempt to assist you in making the most of your efforts to home-to-school communication to educate your children’s schools at home, I have compiled the following list of suggestions:
Explore the Contents
Embrace bite-sized updates
When I was a new teacher, I used to spend a lot of time every Friday compiling a lengthy newsletter that highlighted important learning moments from the previous week. My priorities have shifted in light of the fact that I now understand what it is like to be the one on the receiving end of classroom updates. If you are a parent, it is in your best interest to obtain a summary of the future curricular units or areas of concentration. However, once in a while is plenty. (In an ideal world, your school system will already have the majority of this material permanently posted, and all you will need to do is point families in the correct direction.)
What I truly want is to have something to discuss with my children when we are eating supper together. Due to the fact that my children’s memories appear to be nearly fully erased virtually every few days, waiting until the end of the week or month for a recap of the events that took place in the classroom just doesn’t work very well for us. It is remarkable how much more fruitful the talks that ensue become when a teacher sends a clear and concise message home with the following instruction: “Ask your child about [insert something that occurred within the previous twenty-four hours, described in language that is familiar to my kid].” Bonus points if there’s a picture I can show my kid to get further information from them about what happened.
Let parents know what Home-to-School Communication to expect
The same way that routines help children succeed in school, they also help families succeed in their daily lives. If you let me know when to anticipate hearing from you, I can make it a habit to check my email on Sundays for your “Sunday Reminders” prompt or the “Ask Me!” prompt that appears after school. I’m going to hold off on bothering you with my inquiry until I see whether you address it in your upcoming update as well. If I need it in the future, I will have an easier time searching for the Pajama Day date or a link to sign up for it.
It is extremely beneficial for schools to make decisions on their means of home-to-school communication as a collective. I now have 27 applications on my phone that are linked to children. The attendance portal, the school lunch menus, the monitoring of baseball scores, the scheduling of soccer games, and more all contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed; therefore, everything new adds to this feeling. It functions more effectively when I am able to master a home-school communication platform and put it into regular usage. (In addition to that, I waste a lot less time attempting to remember both my login name and my password.)
Use paper for home-to-school communication strategically
Paper forms of home-to-school communication are becoming less common in many parts of the world for what is most likely a good cause. Take a look at how my five children’s hair is all over the place and how their clothes managed to become muddy before breakfast. Now, picture how the food and dishes on my kitchen counter must appear by the time the day is over. Paper notifications have little hope of survival in this digital age.
The only time that paper is useful in our household is when the kids’ assignments require them to talk about what they have learned in class. If you want my child to inform me about their scientific experiment or show me the most recent multiplication facts that they have mastered, sending a slip for an adult at home to sign makes it obvious that it is necessary. (But please print it on colorful paper so that it shines out against the background of all the white!)
Anticipate barriers for families
Your efforts will be for naught if families are unable to view the home-to-school communication you have created. The instructors of my son’s class constructed a stunning website for their classroom one year ago, and they kept it regularly updated. The issue was that there was no option to be notified whenever they made new postings. This was a problem. I just couldn’t bring myself to look at it. Make sure that each family is able to access whatever it is that you are using, whether it be a private Instagram page, blog, home-school communication tool, or something entirely else. Provide them with all the information they need to know about how to turn on alerts so that they can view your changes.
Verify that the families in question have in fact received your communication before jumping to the conclusion that they are ignoring it. After I was marked earlier this year for not returning a permission slip, I found out there was a technical fault connected to a new mass-emailing platform the district started utilizing. This information came to my attention after I was flagged for not returning the permission slip. Because of that, I was unable to keep up with all of the fourth-grade newsletters.
It’s possible that a solution that works for one family in the class won’t work for another. It is of the utmost importance to check in with families consisting of members who speak more than one language on their preferences and requirements. If necessary, use translation tools and ask for their opinion on home-to-school communication. Paper might have to stand in for the internet at times if you can’t get online for any reason. If you always create on a computer, but your family members access information on their phones, you should be sure to examine the content in mobile mode to ensure that the formatting is legible on mobile devices.
Copy editing is appreciated
You are human, which means that errors are inevitable. But keep in mind that families are putting their faith in you to teach their children how to write. If your written communication is full of mistakes, slang, and other things that are taught to be avoided in professional writing, then it will be difficult to build confidence in your audience. Before you press “send” or “post” on any of your interactions, make sure to give them a last proofread.
Let parents know you’re a real person
When I was a new teacher, I often struggled to find a way to connect with the parents and other adults who were responsible for my students. Finding anything that we had in common was challenging, and I wanted them to take what I said seriously. When the instructors of my children offer anecdotes from their own lives, I find it much simpler to connect with them as a parent. You should feel free to include the fact that you went on a wonderful walk over the last weekend in your home-school correspondence, that you hosted your high schooler’s track team for a pasta supper, or that you blotted your eyes during your daughter’s dancing recital. A simple act like this may have a significant bearing on the way you get along with members of your family. Also, those misspellings don’t upset me nearly as much as they used to. You were so preoccupied with the teeny-tiny tutus that you were weeping!