Involving parents in their children’s homework is a great way to build parent participation in both their children’s lives, but also in the school, especially when they are unable to come during scheduled events. However, there are some serious considerations you need to think about before assigning homework that involves family members. In this post I jump into some of the problems, and solutions I have seen work for those problems, that may arise with giving homework to ELL’s as well as students who are low SES.
Disclaimer – I am firmly against homework, so my honest solution to all of these problems is not to assign any. However, there are times when even I find it necessary to have the students study and practice at home.
Problem: Parents Schedules
- Make it fun!
- Ask the student to play a game with a friend and write about it.
- Have the student make up a game that involves math
- Have the student have a competition with friends using whatever material you are using.
- Assign differentiated homework that is easily accomplished by the student.
Problem: No electronics at home (bigger than a phone)
- Print materials like ebooks and pdfs for the student to read
- Allow for handwritten assignments
- Give the student time during class to type a paper (Don’t make them stay late or come early; don’t punish them for not having access)
Problem: Language barrier
- Translate. There are many dual language materials out there. Epic has books in many languages as well as various other sites.
- Google Translate works okay for minor translations of instructions and word problems
- Use the school’s resource translator or translator services
- If you have access to dual language copies of books, give the home language copy to parents with the English edition to the students.
Problem: Transient students
- Ensure you know where the student will be for that particular timeframe. Give a location appropriate assignment. (that is, don’t tell a student to do a mothers day project while they are at the opposites home.)
- Make sure both parents are aware of the weekly assignments and that they both are informed when something is late.
Problem: Space and privacy
- Like earlier, make it fun! Competitions, games, and even videos are great ways to engage students.
- Give students time to complete during class. (again don’t punish them for their circumstances)