Raising a child is not a solitary experience. It involves all the adults that interact with that child on a regular basis. Education is the same, do not leave it up to the teachers alone to provide an education.
A parent should get involved with every aspect of the child’s homework including reviewing it with them before and after it is turned in (once it has been returned to the child, review it with them and discover why things are wrong and what the correct answer is). Parent’s need to know what is going on their child’s education so that they can help them at home. Learning problems need to be taken care of immediately before it affects the child negatively. And no parent wants to hear 3 weeks before graduation that their child will not be wearing that cap and gown.
However, not all parents are going to take this initiative to get involved in their child’s education. A teacher who creates homework assignments that involve the parent will allow a teacher know that the parent is paying attention. Some parents may never unzip a child’s backpack or crack open a textbook. But if the homework becomes homework for the parent, more people will take notice.
Reading logs can be sent home weekly in which parents must fill in what book they read, or what book the child read to them, and what the child’s response to it was. This will ensure that a parent takes the time to read to or listen to their child. Reading is a very important part of learning and further education cannot be obtained if reading is not mastered. Children learn to read by being read to and it also creates a bonding experience.
Long-term projects such as term papers and science fair projects will encourage parents to set deadlines and organization. A teacher can tell a child how to organize or set deadlines for certain phases of the project, but they cannot enact it at home; they can only reprimand when things are not done on the due dates. A parent is at home and can actively work with their child on deadlines and organization skills. Children learn by experience and example.
Parents signing off on the homework will let teachers know that they are reviewing it, or are at least aware of the homework that is being issued. Parents will be required to look at what they are signing and since no one likes to sign something they have not read, they will read through the assignment or homework. Parents can also sign off on a description and due dates of a long-term project to show teachers that they understand what is expected.
Children also cannot learn alone, they need to be tested and practice. To practice something such as a vocabulary list, it is easier if a child is quizzed by someone else. Again, this provides interaction and this requires the child to think and figure out the answer rather than trying to quiz themselves when they can just flip the paper and check the answer anytime.
Lastly, projects and homework that actually require the parent to do part of the homework will let a teacher know that the parent is spending that time with the child. It will help the child to learn if they get to teach the parent and it provides a bonding experience with the parent and child. One way to involve a parent in the homework is something I have experienced: writing sentences. I dictate 5 sentences to my daughter using her vocabulary words and then she dictates 5 sentences to me and I have to write. She enjoys this interaction and feels like she gets to be the “teacher” or parent for a little while.