Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas - Back to School Home Visits

Today I want to share with you one of the BEST back to school activities I have ever been a part of - - - home visits.  I know for many this can be a scary or frightening idea, but it has been such a great way to begin building relationships and trust with my students and their families.  The following is a list of quick tips you can use to help the home visit process go smoothly and be a success for all!

1. Invite the parents to schedule a time to meet.  This way families do not feel like it is mandated that they invite you into their home.  Also, offer an alternative meeting place (like a public restaurant or park) for families to have an option to meet with you somewhere else.

2. Make sure that you schedule the home visits for short bursts of time (15-20 minutes each) so that families feel like they can share with you, but also realize you have a schedule to keep.

3. Make sure you ALWAYS have a partner that visits with you.  Also make sure the school and/or other officials know your schedule.  It is a great idea to check in every so often with the school.

4. Be prepared with a few questions that can lead families to discuss information that you would like to know - but the most important thing during this visit is to just LISTEN.  Take time to really hear what the families are sharing with you.  This is not a time to tell the families what you and your classroom is all about.  It is a time for the family to let you know about them and share their child with you. It may also be a good idea to take paperwork that you would like to have them complete and leave it with them to return to you on the first day of school.

5. Be an advocate within your school.  Invite other teachers to join in the process.  It may take a while, but soon others will see the benefits and how well you have established relationships with students and parents. Hopefully it will become a tradition for your school and then the whole community benefits!

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  1. Great tips and guidelines for home visits! We used to do these and it was always fun to meet the families!
    Conversations in Literacy

  2. We do home visits in our district and I love them! Our principal pairs us up with a support staff or special area teacher (who doesn't have a home room) and we do the entire school on one day. In an urban, high-poverty district, this really makes the difference between uninvolved or against-school parents vs. involved and on-your-side parents! One things I would like to add - we take important school info and those beginning of the year papers along with things like magnets with our contact info. I also usually bring something cute for my kids that makes my kids excited about coming back (this year, it's a glow stick necklace). We put them in 6 for $1 gift bags from Dollar Tree.

  3. I have always wanted to do home visits and after reading your post it is my goal to do them this school year! Thanks for the tips and guidelines. =)

  4. I have always wanted to do home visits and after reading your post it is my goal to do them this year! Thanks for the tips and guidelines. =)

  5. Thanks so much for all the great tips here.

  6. I think this is such a wonderful idea and I would love to do this this year!