A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Helping Your Students With Homework: A Guide for Teachers - February 1998

Tips for Getting Homework Done

17. Communicate with parents

Student learning improves when teachers communicate on a broad range of issues. Among the most vital of these is homework.

Parents are not expected to know or teach specific information to their children, particularly as their children get older. Parents can be an enormous help, however, in creating an environment at home that allows learning to take place. Teachers can also help create situations that allow parents and educators to work together to strengthen all learning, including what takes place at home.

Connecting with some parents can be a challenge. Many parents lead exceptionally busy lives. Some don't place as high a priority on homework as do teachers. The parents themselves may be in turmoil. Not all parents can help with homework to the extent that many teachers might hope.

Still, Ms. McNally explains, "When parents send us their child, they are sending us the very best they have, the very best child they could produce. They really care." The vast majority, she believes, "really want to help."

Teachers can do many things to improve communication:

Below are ways you might suggest parents be involved. For example, they can:

Provide parents with a list of questions to ask their child:

Encourage parents to monitor television-viewing and select with their children the programs they may watch. Inform parents that more then two to three hours of television-viewing on school nights is related to lower student achievement. Moderate television viewing, especially when supervised by parents, can help children learn.

If problems with homework arise, work out a solution together with the parent(s) and the child. The strategy will depend on what the problem is, how severe it is, and the needs of the student. For example:

In resolving homework problems, make sure communication is clear. End a meeting with a parent only after you are sure that everyone understands the strategy planned to ease the problem. Follow up to make sure that the approach you agreed to is working.
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