I remember sitting at the kitchen table completing homework assignments and answering my parentsâ€™ questions about my day at school.Â Not too long ago, my mom and I were just reminiscing about how she would quiz me on multiplication flashcards every night so that I could make sure I received a star on our class tracking chart.Â I even remember the time when she went to Chicago for a few days leaving my dad to make sure that all homework was finished.Â I did the work and he checked every night to see that it was not only done, but correct. Despite the fact that they both had a career, they were never too busy to remember that I had homework.Â I recall them being very aware of what was going on in my classes not by emailing my teachers (it didnâ€™t exist yet) but because they asked me.
Now, letâ€™s fast-forward about twenty years.Â
That same little girl who diligently worked at the kitchen table is now a 5th grade teacher who assigns homework every night.Â Over the years, Iâ€™ve frequently overheard parents ask their kids, â€śWhat did you do today in school?â€ťÂ And the children responded, â€śNothing.â€ťÂ One would hope that the parent would follow up and ask something like, â€śAre you telling me that youâ€™ve been in school for 8 hours and didnâ€™t do anything?Â I donâ€™t believe that.Â What did you do in Reading class today?â€ť And the child would then proceed to tell their parent about their lesson.Â However, much too often, that is not the conversation that follows. Â Â In fact, frequently, that conversation simply ends.
My questions regarding why increasing numbers of parents seem to be unaware of whatâ€™s going on in their childâ€™s class can most likely produce a slew of answers.Â Yet, there must be something that we as educators can do to promote healthy parent-student conversations that focus on academics.Â After all, parents are indeed a childâ€™s first teacher.Â What is happening in our society in general that is fueling what appears to be an ever-widening gap between the home-school connection among some parents and children?Â Improving literacy rates is currently a hot topic in the Education arena and the controversial â€śNo Child Left Behindâ€ť legislation was geared specifically towards students succeeding in school.Â Although all of this is important, much focus seems to be placed on what schools can or should do.Â Yet, I must ask, when are we going to start holding parents accountable for their childâ€™s learning?Â In my opinion, something as simple as checking and discussing homework is a great way to begin.