Most parents want to be involved in their kids’ education, but everyone is feeling the pressure of busy, over-scheduled lives these days. It’s crucial to find ways to keep parents involved without making them feel like they have extra homework. Try these simple tips to keep parents in the loop, and you’ll foster stronger community spirit and collaboration.
1. Stay in Touch With Both Parents When Possible
Do you find yourself defaulting to emailing only Mom when something comes up? Change your contact information requests to have two or three lines to get all parents and guardians involved. Leave a note explaining what you’re up to — you want to share all the great learning with everyone! — but don’t push if issues of contentious custodial arrangements come up.
2. Try Email Newsletters
If you aim for a once-per-week note home detailing what your class is up to, you’ll give parents something to talk about with their kids. Try this quick template for a short newsletter that fosters home-school connections:
- Include lots of photos or a short video of something your students worked on — it doesn’t have to be a polished presentation! Regular schoolwork is fine.
- Add a brief description of the activity and what you hope students got out of it. This could be curriculum goals, study skills, social skills or a combination of all three.
- Include a list of suggested questions to ask at the dinner table or in the car. Giving parents a way to talk about school with their kids that’s more specific than “What did you learn today?” will keep them informed and help strengthen home-school connections in a meaningful way that can also help strengthen the parent-child bond.
If your families don’t have access to email, a printed newsletter will work just as well!
3. Avoid Giving Parents Homework
You may feel strongly about having parents sign off on that daily reading log, but it can feel intrusive to families who have limited time to spend together in the evenings. Try to keep your home-school connections fun and low-key by giving families choices in how they’d like to participate. For example, you could offer a menu of ideas for literacy activities that lets families choose to write a poem together, see a play or choose a library book for a whole-class read-aloud instead of the standard reading log. Aim for a variety of activities that will allow families flexibility in the amount of time and/or money they invest, and ask for suggestions and feedback to adjust throughout the year.
Looking for more great ideas to get families involved? Check out our Parent Connection Pinterest Board for inspiration!