At Eduscope we have had a half term of rest and gathering our ideas. You will hopefully see some of the benefits of us pausing for thought over the next few weeks.
For those of you that need to revisit the reasons that parental engagement is so important, please read this piece of work that was done by a good friend of ours Alwyn Morgan.
Many thanks to Alwyn for his kind permission to use this on our site...
12 benefits of parents/carers helping their children at home
In recent years increasing acknowledgement has been given to the role of parents as co-educators of their children. The vast majority of parents want their children to do well at school and have tried to help at home, but all too frequently have been frustrated by either not knowing what to do, or how to help.
Schools, across the phases, have become aware of this base of goodwill amongst many homes, and have sought, through a range of practices (some of which are illustrated in the case studies), to enable parents to help their children at home.
Some of the benefits of parental involvement with homework are as follows:
1. Home school communication is improved considerably
Traditionally, messages home have relied heavily upon ‘pupil post’ – a frequent source of frustration for teachers and parents alike!
However, as in most cases, homework is completed at home, this can contribute to a productive two-way channel of home school communication.
2. Communication of a very positive nature is encouraged
Communicating on matters relating to homework and helping children do well, can also generate positive relationships between home and school.
It also helps to overcome the traditional negative image of schools only communicating with parents/carers following a son or daughter’s misdemeanour.
3. Contact can be established with all parents, irrespective of the nature of catchment areas.
The geographical, socio-economic, cultural or historical challenges of catchment areas can be overcome with the communication that is facilitated through children’s homework. There is no reliance on parents coming into school, but simply upon pupils becoming the messengers between home and school.
4. Fathers become more involved in their children’s education.
Many schools have found that the traditional gender issue associated with parental involvement is overcome, as many fathers are frequently quite willing to assist with homework tasks. The base of support for the children’s education within the home is therefore extended.
5. Parents give a significant amount of quality time to their children.
Parents and children talk, work and spend time together as homework activities are discussed and completed.
In some cases, the benefits of this collaborative practice are considerably more than of an educational nature.
6. Parents become more knowledgeable about the school curriculum
Over a period of time, parents get a clearer insight into what is being taught at school and the requirements of the National Curriculum. This often becomes evident at parents’ evenings when many develop the confidence to discuss curricular issues with teachers. This is a major step forward.
7. Parents become more involved in the assessment of children’s progress
Parents also develop a clearer appreciation of their children’s true strengths and weaknesses. This helps to overcome the mis-match of perceptions between home and school over a child’s ability. Additionally, parents’ frustration at not being told at an early stage that their children might be experiencing difficulties and falling behind, should be eliminated.
The formality of reporting to parents/carers, can also become a more positive experience for both parties.
8. Equality of educational opportunity is addressed
When all parents are encouraged to help their children, the support and assistance traditionally given to children from advantaged backgrounds, is extended to all pupils.
Teachers are frequently pleasantly surprised by the nature and quality of some of the responses that come from less advantaged pupils and their parents/carers.
9. Esteem between, parents, pupils and teachers is enhanced
The quality of responses generated by some homework activities frequently enable teachers to see a different perspective on many pupils and their families, particularly those where previously, communication may have been limited.
Similarly, many parents, because of the sense of fulfilment that often comes from these homework activities, demonstrate a refreshing appreciation of the teachers’ commitment.
10. Promoting Family Learning activities
The research and discussion work generated by the homework activities promote a Family Learning ethos within the pupils’ homes. Consequently all parents have the opportunity to become involved, as compared with the small minority of parents that may want or choose to attend a school based Family Learning activity.
11. Underpinning Home School Agreements
Agreements aim to generate more effective partnerships between home and school. However, simply as a signed document, without any enhanced working relationships, their potential contribution can be limited. If the Agreement actively encourages parents to help their children at home, it is seen to be effective.
12. Raising standards of attainment
When parents are provided with the opportunity to reinforce the work of the school at home, this must make a contribution to the challenge of raising standards of attainment.