Two questions re special ed homework consequences and uninvolved parents.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ZoomZoomZOOM, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Jul 4, 2009

    I'm thinking about requiring weekly homework from my life skills kiddos in the fall. But I'm thinking that some of them will not be good at returning it. I'm really good with reward systems - - but not so much with consequences. (In fact, I try to avoid them with my multiple reward systems! :D) What consequences do you guys give for un-returned items sent home?

    Last year I had two kiddos that didn't return their parent/teacher notebooks. After unsuccessful second tries, I gave up and just didn't sent notes home. :unsure: Both students had uninvolved parents - very difficult to pin down. Which brings me to my second question. How do you work with uninvolved parents? Do you call them? How long do you have to get the cold shoulder before you give up? Is giving up wrong?

    Okay I guess that was more than two questions. :blush:
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 4, 2009

    I solved my homework issues by sending home learning centers. The children think they are games, parents are more involved with helping their child because, again, of the game feature. Nothing is graded, if the children participate, great. They will be getting extra skill practice. If there is no participation at home, I'm not stressed over unfinished work. The reward for the children who do the learning center is that they get to take a different one home. I stopped sending actual written work home because inevitably the child would either complete it alone incorrectly, or the parents would do it. That does not equate to learning in my book. And I don't need the stress of trying to grade homework on top of planning and teaching 8-10 grade levels.

    As far as working with uninvolved parents, if notes don't work, I call. And keep on calling until I reach someone. When I finally reach a working phone number, I stress to the parent how much I value their input regarding their child. And then I try to stress how important it is for us to work together to help their child become successful. That usually helps for a while, and then things go back the way they were, so I start in with the phone calls again. Sometimes, parents won't answer the phone because all they are used to getting is bad news. I only report positive things to those parents. I take care of the negative things at school. Ditto for the parents who will react negatively to their child if I call with bad news (think beating).

    Once every couple of years I run across a family that simply will not communicate...AT ALL! In those instance, I turn it over to administration and they send a Visiting Teacher, or the police, if need be.

    Zoom, I think you are in the same position as me, in that you keep your students for more than one year so it is easier to build a rapport with the families. Communication is certainly improved when we have a longer relationship.

    I think I am rambling now. Zoom...when you ask questions, it always makes me think how I do things and how I can improve as a teacher! I'm looking forward to lots of collaboration with you this year about the unique little individuals we teach!
     
  4. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jul 4, 2009

    I guess with the uninvolved parents, send post cards ever so often with positive things. The reason I say postcards and not letters: they don't have to OPEN the postcard, just flip it over and they MIGHT read it, where and envelope might get tossed before it is open.

    If you want them to know about something, send a postcard. But if they are like me and my husband, they may not check the mail everyday... lol.
     
  5. spedtchr

    spedtchr Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2009

    I try to make a calling schedule for all of my parents and call about once every 2 weeks... If I have the phone run around, that makes it hard. I had one family who had given me all fake phone numbers (doctor's offices, etc). It was really ridiculous. For that, I turned it over to the social worker, and she found the correct phone numbers for me by going over to their home.

    I've never really done homework before with my life skills kids. Sometimes I would give them a math page or something that I knew they were able to do independently. I only gave homework on Fridays if I gave it.

    Maybe there would be a way to reward all of the kids who bring the homework back with an extra few minutes of free time? Then the kids who didn't do their homework might start to feel left out.

    Good luck, I am sure you can come up with a unique system that will work!
     
  6. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Jul 5, 2009

    Me too! :)

    Spedtchr - I liked what you said about extra free time for those that bring back homework. Good idea!!

    The school I was at last year had a postcard program. Each teacher was encouraged to send home at least two positive notes home each week - and the school provided the cards and postage. I hope my new school has a program like that. If not, maybe I can bring up the idea in a committee - - or heck, I could even offer to make the postcards myself and maybe my kids could stamp and take them to the post office each week! VOCATIONAL PROJECT, ANYONE??? :)
     
  7. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Jul 11, 2009

    I have a small caseload, so I try and give parents a call about every two weeks or so. I usually ask for email addresses from parents and use that if they have one. Email is just an easier way for me to communicate because I can type faster than I can make a call and my time in the classroom alone is limited so email is easier. Otherwise phone calls work. I have had a few unresponsive parents and I would just call and leave a nice message about how their child was doing. As far as homework, unless a parent has requested it specifically, I don't give it out.
     

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