Why home visits?
More than one third of all children entering kindergarten are unprepared for school. Furthermore, children who start behind often remain academically behind, resulting in increased rates of remedial attention, school failure, and incarceration. (Education Yearbook 2011: The State of America’s Children, Children’s Defense Fund)
Missouri students spend slightly less than 14% of their year in school. (174 school days times seven hours per day = 1218 school hours, 365 days times 24 hours = 8760 hours, 1218/8760 = 13.9%.) That’s all. If they sleep between eight and nine hours a night, they spend 33% of each year sleeping, which leaves 53% of their year spent out of school, at home, with family and friends. That’s more than four times the amount they spend in the classroom each year! It is critical that during this 53% of the year, parents are reading to their children and talking to them every day, making sure they go to school every day, and stressing the importance of education every day. If nothing educational goes on when children are out of school, it is impossible for them to succeed in school.
Home visits promote parent engagement by building a relationship between parents and teachers, school and home, and supporting parents in creating and maintaining academically-rich homes. Schools can’t do 100% of the work in 14% of the time; they must have support from home. There are many barriers to some parents coming to schools, so teachers must go to them.
What is HOME WORKS!?
HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit Program is a nonprofit organization that trains, supports, and helps pay teachers to make visits to the homes of their students. The goal is to change parent behavior by equipping them with the tools, skills, knowledge, and materials they need to support their child’s learning and create academic-rich homes. In addition, we aim to establish a relationship between home and school that engages parents/guardians in their child’s academic success.
Are home visits effective?
Yes! Our annual evaluations show that:
- Elementary students who have home visits are more likely to agree that:
- teachers care about them
- they feel safe at school, and
- they like going to their school.
- Middle- and high-school students who have home visits are more likely to agree or strongly agree that:
- teachers expect very good work from them, and
- teachers think that they can learn.
- Parents who have home visits overwhelmingly find the visits valuable, and report:
- talking to the child’s teacher more often
- always feeling welcome and comfortable at school
- improving their relationship and communication with the teacher over the school year
- feeling connected to their child’s school, and
- feeling more comfortable contacting the child’s teacher.
How does HOME WORKS! define “parent engagement”?
HOME WORKS! defines parent engagement as a set of behaviors that parents intentionally and continuously practice that positively impact a child’s learning. Parent engagement acknowledges and focuses on the connection between a child’s learning at home and academic success at school. HOME WORKS! believes parent engagement includes:
Practicing two-way communication with their child to:
- Make sure their child reads or is read to daily, including weekends, holidays, and vacations
- Make sure homework is completed daily
- Communicate high expectations to their child (e.g. doing their best, appropriate classroom behavior)
- Talk about the value of education
- Communicate future aspirations (e.g. post-secondary education, career goals)
Maintaining a home environment that encourages learning by:
- Providing a space where their child can focus on and complete homework
- Making sure their child attends school on time, all day, every day
- Having on-level reading material for their child
- Showing love and support for their child
Practicing two-way communication with the school to:
- Advocate for their child’s educational needs and success
- Stay current on their child’s academic progress/level
What is the difference between HOME WORKS! and other home visiting programs?
HOME WORKS! is unique in several ways:
Duration: Teachers and other school personnel make home visits from the first day of school to the last, from early childhood through high school.
Depth: HOME WORKS! aims for a fundamental culture change in homes, schools, and communities.
Philosophy: Parents are partners, and HOME WORKS! realizes the critical role they play in the education of their children and that schools cannot educate their students without the parents.
Quality: HOME WORKS! provides comprehensive professional development for teachers and other school personnel making home visits.
Breadth: HOME WORKS! serves early childhood, elementary, middle, and high schools in urban, suburban, and rural populations.
Why do teachers only visit some of the students in a school or classroom rather then trying to help ALL the students?
HOME WORKS! is committed to bringing all children performing below grade level up to grade level and beyond.
Does HOME WORKS! accept volunteers?
Unfortunately not. Because HOME WORKS! is about building relationships between parents and their child’s teachers, between school and home, only teachers and other school personnel make home visits and are paid to make each visit. Making home visits is above and beyond the call of duty so they must be paid for their time.
What is the best way to stay current on what HOME WORKS! is doing?