If you have not done a home visit before, this is your sign to do one!
Here’s why :)
As educators, we know that building positive relationships is critical for student success. We also know that family systems directly impact students and their growth & development. It is our job to build a bridge between home and school and connect with families on a personal level to build positive relationships. It is best for everyone (families, teachers, and students!) when there is a positive connection between home and school.
Home visits can be extremely beneficial for building home-school connections. They also provide teachers with insight about students' home lives and the overall dynamics in the home. When teachers know about students’ home lives, they have a better understanding of the whole child.
As an educator, I have done many home visits with students and families. Even though they take a little bit of extra effort and planning, they are so worth it! Every time I finish a home visit, I walk away understanding so much more about my student and their family.
One time, I did a home visit with a Somali family along with other staff members from my school. The family surprised us with a traditional Somali meal! Their generosity blew me away! We all sat on the ground (which is common in Somali culture) and ate a delicious dinner together. We talked about the student’s accomplishments in the classroom and areas of growth. We told stories, laughed, and connected on a much deeper level than we would have at a traditional conference at school. It also gave me the opportunity to see my student in a different environment outside of school, which taught me so much more about her.
I have also done home visits with another sweet family for multiple years! Our first home visit went so well that we have continued to do them even though I am not a teacher for the kids anymore! We have gotten together a few times a year because we have so much fun when we are together! At the end of each home visit when we have to leave, I get a lump in my throat because these kids truly have my heart. We give hugs and say “I love you” and “I will miss you” every time! Those connections are priceless.
Home visits have helped me discover more equitable ways to meet my students’ needs because I have had the chance to learn details about each child. This helps me be a more effective educator because I know how to meet each student’s individual needs and use their culture as a valuable asset in the learning process.
Clearly home visits require more thought and effort than a typical school conference, but they are well worth the investment! Some schools provide teachers with allotted time to conduct home visits, but not every school sets aside the time.
If you are not provided with time by your school, then you could consider doing home visits during your conferences, especially if your students live close together! You could also choose to do home visits with just a few families, rather than doing home visits with every child in your class.
Home visits are especially great if...
you want to build a stronger home-school connection
a family does not have transportation
you have been struggling to get ahold of a particular family
you have concerns about a student’s behaviors
a student comes from a culture that you want to understand better
a student is in foster care or a temporary living situation
a student is in Special Education--bring your colleagues that also work with the child and you can all go to the home together!
a student is new to the school
a student is new to the country--bring an interpreter with you if needed! :)
I wish I had more time to do home visits with every student in my classroom, multiple times throughout the school year! Gathering together is a great way to unite everyone for the child.
Have you done home visits before? What have your experiences been like? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or message me over on Instagram @always.upper.elementary :) I would love to hear about your experiences!
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