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Home Scool Connection

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For many students, the majority of their studying takes place in the classroom with very little effort being made at home to reinforce learning. Regrettably, for the students affected by this educational trend the reason that learning stays primarily at school is due to the ethnic, social, economic, and educational condition that exists in the home. But regardless of the specific reason that this situation occurs, the underlying cause in almost every case is a lack of family involvement in a child’s education. In order to combat this trend and improve student learning, current research indicates that if schools can actively involve parents, other family members, and/or guardians in the education of a student, they can take an important step towards facilitating learning both at home and in school. As a result of these circumstances, it is no longer acceptable for a teacher’s responsibilities in a student’s education to begin and end within the confines of the school and has created the necessity for the teachers influence to extend beyond the classroom and into the living room.

Although the individual reasons that a child’s family isn’t actively involved in their education is very difficult for a teacher to determine from the classroom and many teachers experience great difficulty in bridging the gap between home and school; the fact that the educational benefits to children whose families are involved in their education include higher grades and test scores, better school attendance, higher graduation rates, greater enrollment in postsecondary education, and more positive attitudes about school, make it imperative for schools to find ways to bridge this gap and include parents in the education process. (Henderson & Mapp, 2002)

In order successfully recruit parent as active participants and allow children to succeed academically, there are six types of parental involvement programs that can be put into place in a school to facilitate this goal. The first program that needs to be established to make parents comfortable communicating with the school is an open system of two-way communication from school to home and from home to school that allows families to keep in touch with teachers, administrators, counselors and other families; about school programs, student progress, and other concerns in a way that allows families to feel like an empowered part of the educational process. Another program that needs to be established to help close the home school gap will allow families to participate in school decisions, governance, and advocacy activities; by having them to take part in school councils, improvement teams, committees, and the parent organizations that create school policies and influence the curriculum that impacts student learning. Along with allowing parents to take part in guiding the school, the school needs to actively promote programs that recruit and train faculty and staff to take part in the school activities that are designed to encourage families to become active volunteers. This will include programs and activities like the PTA or PTSA, fund raising programs, chaperoning school trips and events, and participating as audiences at school or in other locations; when necessary, which allows these volunteers to be seen by the students as active participants in the school and its programs. The next program a school needs to establish is designed to help educate the parents that need or want assistance in effective parenting. This can be done through a series of parenting workshops that are designed to assist families with parenting skills, indentify any family support groups that are available, helping families understand child and adolescent development and behavior, and encouraging families to create home conditions that support learning at each age and grade level. Along with workshops that promote effective parenting, a school also needs to provide families with information and programs that will allow them to become involved with their child’s education and academic learning at home. This includes workshops designed to help with areas like homework, goal setting, and other curriculum-related activities; which can be promoted by teachers that design homework and projects that require students to share and discuss interesting tasks with their families and other members of the community. The final program that needs to be established by the school is a community collaboration that allows the available community resources to take part in educating children. This will include programs that are designed to promote the of information from home to community, community to school, and school to home in an attempt to coordinate the resources and services for families, students, and the school with community groups, businesses, government and private agencies, cultural and civic organizations, and colleges or universities. (Epstein, 2004)

By implementing any or all of these parental involvement programs in a school, the schools administration will actively begin the process of involving families in their child’s education by allowing them a means to question, comment on, and become aware of the different teaching practices and learning objectives that are being used in the school. In turn, this will help to provide families with the ability to assist their child when they require assistance with their schoolwork and help to make them a critical part of the learning process; as it creates opportunities for parents to become more involved in the development and review of their child's learning environment.

Once these types of programs have been put into place and parents have been taught what their responsibilities are as part of the teaching team and how to meet these expectations; the school needs encourage the teachers and staff to take advantage of the opportunities that have been created through these programs. To do this, there are a few different methods that can be effectively integrated; by any teacher, into almost any classroom in an attempt to keep the lines of communication open. The first method that can be taken involves the reason that the classroom teacher is contacting parents. Most of the time, this contact will be made only when a student misbehaves or a problem arises that is goes beyond the boundaries of the schools responsibilities. But by having teachers make an effort to communicate with parents when a child is doing well; teachers will find that both parents and students will become more responsive when extra effort is required or a modification needs to be made to a child’s educational program. Another method that can be used to help keep the lines of communication open is for the classroom teacher to be aware of different resources that are available to help parents understand the curriculum and better support



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