Parents and teachers have a duty to assist their children to learn and achieve educational goals, according to the notion of parent participation. Parental involvement and engagement in school are on the wane, it is more important than ever. In 2016, a study revealed a decrease in the number of parents who feel that close parent-teacher communication is beneficial.  Parents are less likely to attend parent-teacher conferences or school activities since they prefer distant ways of contact, such as online student portals. A very informative article posted by Edutopia, written by Cristina Santamaria Graff.
Cristina Santamaria Graff, PhD, is an Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis assistant professor of special education (IUPUI). Her area of expertise is bilingual special education, and she enjoys interacting with parents and families of disabled children. Her research focuses on parents’ knowledge as stakeholders in their children’s educational decision-making processes.
The article is all about home visits 101, and how it is related to more parents’ involvement in students’ studies.
Teachers are frequently perplexed as to why their efforts to provide chances for parents to get more involved in school activities fail. They send printed reminders home with their students, as well as make phone calls, send emails, and send text messages. Many instructors feel disheartened and begin to make unfavorable assumptions about parents’ engagement when their frequent attempts to interact with them go unanswered.
Home visits can help families develop good contact and conversation. They are not intended to be a replacement for parent-teacher conferences, but rather a way for teachers to show their support for students’ families by visiting their homes or another venue where the family feels at ease. Home visits should stem from a genuine desire to help and collaborate with families.
Here’s how to get started if you’re a teacher who wants to do home visits.
Because of the time and effort required, teachers may be hesitant to undertake home visits. There are numerous testimonies from teachers and families regarding effective home visits, but a teacher’s capacity to carve out time during the school day to undertake home visits is restricted without comprehensive school and district support.
Being well-informed on the benefits and rewards of home visits, as well as the obstacles, is critical for those who are committed. Once instructors have decided to do house visits, they may begin researching, planning, implementing, and documenting the process.
GET TO KNOW YOUR FAMILY
Learning about kids’ families, communities, and surroundings is one factor to consider.
Language and/or cultural issues, as well as work hours, are all factors to consider. When making house visits, being culturally sensitive shows respect while exhibiting genuine interest in the families’ rich histories.
If you want to design a procedure that is achievable, realistic, and useful to kids and their families, you should look at how others have performed home visits.
Teachers who make home visits on a regular basis recommend making contact with parents before the school year begins. Some home visit models highlight the benefits of instructors teaming up, visiting students’ homes together, and seeing parents throughout the summer. The initial visit should be focused on establishing a connection, providing support, and actively listening to the concerns and insights of the parents. The home visit schedule (including location, time, and date) is published for openness and safety.
It is not always possible for parents to meet in the comfort of their own homes. Alternative sites for family-centered visits may include a neighborhood library, a quiet café, or even a fast-food restaurant. Meeting on weekends, before school starts, or at the conclusion of the school day may all be part of being flexible. Teachers can partner up strategically to coordinate visits when they have kids who are siblings or live in the same area when they organize home visits in advance.
FOCUS ON YOUR SUCCESSES
A teacher who enters a house with an open mind sees the home from the perspective of the family who lives there and recognizes the family’s strengths. If the instructor has worries about the student, they can utilize the sandwich feedback strategy to express those issues between tangible and real strengths-based compliments.
FORM AN ACTION PLAN.
Genuine attention and respect are demonstrated by actively listening to parents’ observations, worries, and suggestions for their kids. Teachers should not take notes during a first home visit since the act of gathering information may trigger parents’ skepticism or suspicion. Rather, the instructor can ask parents if they have any questions and take mental notes, then record a voice memo or write down what was said afterward.
Teachers might warn parents ahead of time that they will take notes on any issues or suggestions that arise during subsequent home visits. These notes may be used to supplement existing school-based sessions and give a plan of action for teachers and parents to implement.
SEND YOUR REPORT
Maintaining, revisiting, and keeping current the plan of action developed jointly by the teacher and the family is one approach to staying accountable to the kids’ families. Finding out whatever way of communication is most successful from parents and then checking in with them on a frequent basis regarding mutually agreed-upon goals for the kid offers both teachers and parents an open, ongoing platform to communicate and connect.
Home visits are an excellent way for instructors and their students’ families to establish meaningful communication and connections. Building a strong foundation through house visits is merely the first step; the next step is to nurture these connections through constant contact.