Blog #2 Family School Connection
I believe that a family’s involvement in their children’s education is a key and vital part of the success of the child. However, I do not think that parents need to be a whole lot involved in the school or classroom for this to happen. According to Reyes and Torres (2007), “Traditionally non-mainstream families have been ‘colonized’ by measuring them against the European-American middle-class family literacy practices” (Reyes & Torres, 2007). What this means to me, is that parent involvement will differ between families according to their culture, beliefs, availability, etc. We cannot expect all parents to be involved in school activities at the same rate. I believe the bottom line is that students need to feel and know that their family cares about what they are doing in school as children will then believe that education is important. Weather a parent volunteers every day at school or simply is present when students do their homework it’s a form of involvement.
I want to keep ongoing communication between parents and me. I want them to feel comfortable to communicate with me whenever they need to. “Awareness may be impeded by traditional school-communication strategies such as sending papers home with children, which may not be effective means of communication between school and home” (Baquenado-Lopez, Alexander, & Hernandez, 2013). Although sending flyers home will probably still happen, I would like to have other means of communication with parents to ensure they are aware of things that are going on. At the beginning of the school year, I would like to send home a welcome letter that includes my cellphone number and my email so that parents have a variety of ways to communicate with me according with what they feel comfortable. I will also ask them to provide me with a number and email address if available where I can reach them to communicate to them anything important that might be going on. I would also like to designate one day a week when parents can come during lunch time to my classroom if they need to communicate on a more face-to-face personal basis.
My homework policy will be sensitive to the home environment in that, I will not expect parents to teach their children how to do their homework and I will not expect students and parents to spend much time on homework. According to Torres and Hurtado-Vivas, Bennett and Kalish argued “that homework converts parents into schoolteachers, hence putting more burden onto children who become students at home too. Homework then becomes an overload for both parents and children and consequently a source of family conflicts” (Torres & Hurtado, 2011). I intend to only assign homework that is crucial for the students to deepen their understanding of something already learned. I do not want to bombard them with homework because they already spend so much time in school; they need time to be engaged in other activities. Additionally, If a student is not able to complete something in their homework, I do not expect their parents to have to teach it to them, instead I want to know what it was that the children was not able to do, so that I can inform my next steps in instruction. I would like however for parents to be present while their child does homework as much as they can, so that the child feels that school work matters to their families. For this reason, I would like to have homework due on Mondays so that parents have ample time between the week and the weekend to be present when students complete their homework.
One way I would incorporate parents in the literacy process is that I would like to have some designated dates during the school year where parents come in the classroom and read with their child. The way I envision this, is that students and parents would be all over the classroom seating in the desks, or on the floor, while eating cookies and drinking milk; Something very casual and comfortable. Families and children could read together or just listen to their child read their own choice of books or texts they have composed. I think this would really help build a connection between home and school, because if students see that their parents care about them being able to read and write, it can encourage them to work harder to do so.
Baquedano-Lopez, P., Alexander, R. A., & Hernandez, S. J. (2013). Equity Issues in Parental and Community Involvement in Schools: What Teacher Educators Need to Know. Review of Research in Education, 37(1), 149–182.
Reyes, L. V., & Torres, M. N. (2007). Decolonizing family literacy in a culture circle: Reinventing the family literacy educator’s role. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 7(1), 73–94.
Torres, M. N., & Hurtado-Vivas, R. (2011). Playing Fair With Latino Parents as Parents, Not Teachers: Beyond Family Literacy as Assisting Homework. Journal of Latinos and Education, 10(3), 223–244.