Courtney Dealy - Boys Town National Training
Students perform better, academically and behaviorally, when parents are involved in their child’s education. Yet, it can be difficult to “get parents on board”. Traditional methods of calling home, requiring planner signatures and sending invitations to school events often fail to get parents engaged in their child’s education. Because connecting with parents is vital to student and school success, consider adding home visits to your routine.
Why are schools turning towards home visits?
Hosting family events at school just isn’t enough if people don’t come. Home visits set the foundation to build a healthy parent/teacher/student relationship and increase the lines of communication between home and school.
What are the benefits of a positive parent-school connection?
What’s the purpose of home visits?
Home visits are about being proactive and building a positive relationship. This is not a time for sharing rules, discussing academics or disseminating information. Avoid taking notes when visiting with families in their home. It looks official and may make them feel like you are spying. Keep it relational and casual.
Focus on getting to know the family. Introduce yourself. Find out more about what the student likes to do outside of school. Ask the parents to share their hopes and dreams for their child as well as sharing your goals for the student and the school year. Treat the family members with respect and validate them as knowledgeable.
The goal here is to foster a true partnership and try to understand each other’s perspective. You want parents to see you as an advocate for their child and to get insight into the family dynamic. Valuing another’s perspective stops the blame game and can give you a peak into what your students’ lives are like outside of school.
Educators are the experts on content and learning, family is the expert on the child. Pairing up just makes sense.
How can you make home visits successful?
Home visits can be very powerful in transforming the impact we make on students, families and communities. Parents and families can be one of your greatest allies in positively affecting a student’s behavior and academics, improving classroom culture and your ability to teach. The time and energy put into a home visit is paying it forward to increase student success.
We have more tips on creating connections here.