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You Can Strengthen the Home-to-School Connection

Janelle Cox

When you build a connection between home and school, children will benefit tremendously. Research shows that when bridging these two worlds together, students will do better in school, teachers gain high self-esteem, and parents become empowered and invested in their child's life.  What's more, students who have parents that are involved in their education tend to have a high attendance rate, better social skills, and an increased graduation rate. All in all, who wouldn't want that for their child or student?

With the busy lives our parents lead today, teachers may find it difficult to strengthen the bond between home and school. How can we create opportunities to involve our students' parents in their child's education? Here are a few suggestions on how to do just that, along with a few tips on how parents can work together with their child.

The Power of Technology

Technology today offers teachers a variety of ways to build a connection between home and school. Parents can be aware of what is going on in their child's life at school virtually every day. With smartphones, iPads, Facebook and the Internet, teachers have the opportunity to connect with parents instantly, versus sending home a weekly newsletter. With all of these web-based solutions at their fingertips, teachers can give families the opportunity to get an inside look at what is happening in the classroom each day.

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Most schools are moving toward a paperless environment and integrating web-based communication with their families. The use of smartphones to strengthen the home-school connection is a great way for parents to share opinions or implore responses via text message, email, or the web. Research shows that parents spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter. This would be a good place to launch a classroom page where teachers can update parents by posting daily announcements, and expected homework assignments.

Social media is a great tool to create dialogue between home and school. Teachers can create polls and start important discussions, while parents can "like" and have the opportunities to voice their opinions.

Bringing the Connection Home

Here are a few tips for parents to work together with their child for school success. Offer these tips to parents as a way for them to connect with their child and integrate their school life with their home life.

What's in Your Backpack?

When your child gets home from school, start a discussion about their day by asking the simple question "What’s in your backpack?" You'll soon discover that this simple question will lead to a whole discussion about what happened at school.

  • Open your child's backpack and go through each paper, having them explain what they did while it is fresh in their mind.
  • Make specific comments about each paper, which will help your child feel proud about their school work.
  • Have your child walk through each paper and talk about what he/she learned.

Study Smart

Help your child develop studying skills by using these tips:

  • Have your child study every day, regardless if there is a test or homework due. If they have a spelling test every Friday, have them study their words for a few minutes each day. By doing so, your child will develop a good study habit.
  • Use his/her favorite form of technology to help them study. For instance, if they love the iPad have them download an app. There are a lot of great apps to download to help students study their spelling words, such as "Spelling City" or "Super Speller." If there favorite from of technology is using the computer, have them play a game on the internet that correlates with what they are learning in school.

When teachers and parents take the time to build strong relationships, children win. Even with the demand of tight schedules, technology is here to save the day and allows for everyone involved to be able to communicate in an instant. With a little bit of effort on both sides, families and schools alike can connect, and in the process students will do better in school and in life.

How do you create a home-to-school connection in your classroom? Please share in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Guide to Elementary Education for About.com, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers across the United States.