Building a Strong Home-School Connection: 3 Simple Steps for Co-Parents

September 7th

2023

kids bonding at school

Home and school: they’re two (often very) distinct spheres, but should they be kept separate? When you’re juggling all the responsibilities that come with co-parenting, you may feel like compartmentalizing is the way to go. What happens at school stays at school, and what happens at home stays at home, right? But research shows that home-school connections are integral to student success. In this post, we’ll share practical, doable strategies for today’s busy co-parent that will help your family to be more engaged and involved in the school experience. It’s never too early to start, so read on and get going!

The Gist

  • Home-school connections are intentional partnerships formed by caregivers and school personnel based on mutual respect, with the students’ best interests in mind.
  • Research shows that strong home-school partnerships can create more welcoming environments, improve attendance and homework completion rates, decrease behavioral issues, support academic achievement, and encourage a lifelong love of learning.
  • Co-parents can reap many benefits from a strong partnership with their child’s school; they can get connected with resources, other families, or professional services to support their child through their separation/divorce.
  • To foster a home-school connection, share important information with your child’s school, get curious and ask questions of your child and the teacher about what’s going on, and find ways to get involved in school affairs.

The Home-School Connection: A Purposeful Partnership

The term “home-school connection” refers to the positive working relationship between a child’s caregivers and their teachers or school personnel. It is an intentional, purposeful partnership that recognizes that both parties have valuable insight into the child and can influence learning, engagement, behavior, and achievement. All efforts to nurture this home-school connection are for the wellbeing of the child. Read more here.

Dad and daughter connection

Strong home-school partnerships change the tone of the educational experience for children, caregivers, and teachers. They create a more welcoming, inclusive environment. Students and their families typically feel happier and more satisfied at school when they have a positive relationship with school personnel, and this in turn helps school personnel to do their jobs more effectively. But besides the “feel good” factor, there are many other concrete benefits to home-school connections, backed by research. These include:

By Koh-Parenting Services LLC


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Building a Strong Home-School Connection: 3 Simple Steps for Co-Parents

September 6th

2023

kids bonding at school

Home and school: they’re two (often very) distinct spheres, but should they be kept separate? When you’re juggling all the responsibilities that come with co-parenting, you may feel like compartmentalizing is the way to go. What happens at school stays at school, and what happens at home stays at home, right? But research shows that home-school connections are integral to student success. In this post, we’ll share practical, doable strategies for today’s busy co-parent that will help your family to be more engaged and involved in the school experience. It’s never too early to start, so read on and get going!

The Gist

  • Home-school connections are intentional partnerships formed by caregivers and school personnel based on mutual respect, with the students’ best interests in mind.
  • Research shows that strong home-school partnerships can create more welcoming environments, improve attendance and homework completion rates, decrease behavioral issues, support academic achievement, and encourage a lifelong love of learning.
  • Co-parents can reap many benefits from a strong partnership with their child’s school; they can get connected with resources, other families, or professional services to support their child through their separation/divorce.
  • To foster a home-school connection, share important information with your child’s school, get curious and ask questions of your child and the teacher about what’s going on, and find ways to get involved in school affairs.

The Home-School Connection: A Purposeful Partnership

The term “home-school connection” refers to the positive working relationship between a child’s caregivers and their teachers or school personnel. It is an intentional, purposeful partnership that recognizes that both parties have valuable insight into the child and can influence learning, engagement, behavior, and achievement. All efforts to nurture this home-school connection are for the wellbeing of the child. Read more here.

Dad and daughter connection

Strong home-school partnerships change the tone of the educational experience for children, caregivers, and teachers. They create a more welcoming, inclusive environment. Students and their families typically feel happier and more satisfied at school when they have a positive relationship with school personnel, and this in turn helps school personnel to do their jobs more effectively. But besides the “feel good” factor, there are many other concrete benefits to home-school connections, backed by research. These include:

  • Improved attendance and homework completion rates (which improves learning)
  • Fewer behavioral issues or disciplinary action
  • Greater feelings of competence amongst students, which encourages them to challenge themselves in the educational environment and persist through any obstacles
  • More positive attitude and appreciation of school and learning and its importance in future success Increased likelihood of enrollment in higher education
  • Equality in the playing field: Partnerships between parents and schools can improve outcomes for anyone, regardless of their race, ethnic background, religion, economic status, geographic location, or the particular approach or philosophy of the teacher or school. Some determinants of academic achievement may not be accessible to everyone (like tutors, equipment, or other expensive resources, to name just a few), but strong home-school connections are within our control; they will happen if we choose to exert the effort.(Source)

  • Home-School Partnerships and Co-Parentings

    Partnering with your child’s school can also benefit your co-parenting. The school environment, with its structure and predictable routines, can provide a sense of safety and stability as your child deals with the many life changes that come along with parental separation/divorce. You can also access various forms of support to assist you, your parenting partner, and your child. Examples include:

    • Professional resources: school may be able to connect your family to services (either in-house or in the community) such as counseling, group programs, etc. to cope with the ups and downs of co-parenting
    • Socializaton: School can be a great social outlet for kids and parents alike! Friendships often develop through interactions in the classroom, on the playground, or at school events or extracurricular activities. You may even be able to get to know other co-parenting families as well.
    • Positive adult role models: You and your parenting partner are the most important people in your child’s world, but it never hurts to have other adult role models, especially during the teen years. Teachers, coaches, school administrators, etc. can serve as mentors, trusted confidantes, and positive examples to guide your child on the right path.
    • Adult education: Your child’s school may also have adult education programs to enrich your life and enhance your career prospects.

    Maintaining open, respectful communication and forming a positive relationship with your child’s school can make it easier for you to access all the amazing assets that your school has to offer.


    Building the home-School Bond:

    Now that we’ve discussed the many advantages of home-school connections, let’s explore how to build this partnership! First, we need to lay out a few important guidelines:

    Home-School Partnerships: General Practices

    Put aside your past.
    Does the idea of school conjure nightmares from years ago? You’re not alone; many people have school-related trauma that can be triggered anew as the parent of a school-aged child. But it’s crucial to find ways to make peace with your past so that you don’t project it onto your child and skew his experience. Seek professional help if needed. The opposite is also true; if you were a stellar student, or idealize your days in the classroom, resist the urge to compare or expect the same from your child or his school.
    Stay in your lane.
    You and your parenting partner are the experts on your child; let your child’s teacher be the expert on her classroom. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to question anything; it just means that you should ask your child’s teacher and gather information from her perspective before making any snap judgments, to ensure that you’re on the same page.
    Strike a balance.
    You’ll want to be engaged and involved, but not in a “helicopter parent” kind of way. Check in with yourself, your child, and school staff (if needed) to ensure that you are offering an appropriate level of support.
    Teamwork makes the dream work.
    Get on the same page with your parenting partner and collaborate on school-related matters, whenever possible, even if one of you lives farther away. Today’s technology provides ample options for remote involvement!
    Comments? Concerns? Compliments? Questions? Suggestions? Don’t wait until issues escalate; reach out to your child’s teacher or school staff whenever possible.

    Home-School Partnerships: 3 Simple Steps

    Share.
    Many co-parents wonder how much information to give their child’s teacher up-front. The protocol for this may vary from school to school and teacher to teacher; however, generally most would prefer knowing as much as they can about your child. You may feel uncomfortable divulging certain details, and that’s okay; you have the right to choose, but remember to consider what’s most helpful for your child. It will be in her best interest to share that you and your parenting partner live apart, and give some details about your custody arrangement/schedule, how your child is coping, etc. Most schools will also wish to know about your child’s personality, strengths and challenges, your family culture and parenting style, etc.
    Ask.
    To feel more in tune with what’s going on at your child’s school, ask! Some information may be handed to you- through fliers, emails, website or app updates, etc.- but you can always reach out if you wish to know more. Ask your child’s teacher about what topics or skills they’re learning, or how the school handles behavior, or whatever else you’d like to know that you could reinforce at home. At the same time, ask your child! Kids don’t often respond well to questions like, “How was school today?,” or “What did you do?,” but you can engage them better with more specific questions (“What was the highlight of your day?,” “Tell me something new you learned today,” “Did anything frustrate you today?,” etc.).
    Do.
    Take action by getting involved in school happenings. This could be done in a very hands-on manner- by volunteering, joining committees, attending meetings or events, etc.- or in a less direct way. If adding anything else to your busy schedule seems stressful, find other ways to build your partnership. Perhaps there are small, one-time projects your teacher could use help with- like gathering supplies for a learning activity, or reading to the class. You could also make a point to spend more time in the school environment when you’re able; for example, if your school allows, you could let your child stay after to play on the playground, or visit during lunchtime, to observe or introduce yourself to staff and other families. At home, you could try incorporating what they’re doing in the classroom into your child’s life at home; for example, if they’re learning about the ocean, go visit an aquarium or get library books on the topic. You can also encourage your child to share aspects of your home life with the teacher and class (i.e., your culture, or special things you’ve done like trips or projects). You can do this whether it’s related to what they’e studying or not; just make sure to run it by the teacher first.
    As you can see, all of these tips are relatively simple. You don’t need tons of time or money or special talents in order to cultivate this home-school connection; all it takes, really, is mutual respect between all parties, and a willingess to work together.
    If you’d like more ideas, check out our learning guide:

    Shaping a Bright Future for Your Child:

    Children spend a huge chunk of their childhood in the educational environment, from the time they first step foot into a classroom all the way through to their high school graduation. Partnering with your child’s school can make it feel more like home. Together, both you, your parenting partner, and your child’s school can shape a bright future for your child.

    Stay tuned for next week; we’ll be tackling one of the most common co-parenting conundrums, loyalty conflicts. Our post will get you through this challenging and often emotional situation.

    Where you can stay informed on what's happening in the world of co-parenting and learn more about what we do.


    By Sana Paul


    Leave a Reply


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