Homework Letter to Parents | Email Templates

As a teacher, communicating with parents about the homework expectations for their children is crucial for fostering a successful learning environment. Crafting a homework letter that is both informative and engaging can be a challenging task. That’s why we’ve created a list of homework letter-to-parents templates that you can use to effectively communicate with parents about the assignments, expectations, and goals for their child’s homework. In this article, we’ll go over the key elements of a successful homework letter, and provide you with a customizable template that you can use for your classroom.

The key elements of an effective homework letter to parents include

  • A clear introduction that establishes your purpose and goals for the homework,
  • A detailed explanation of the assignments, expectations, and grading policies,
  • A schedule outlining when homework is due, and a section dedicated to answering frequently asked questions or addressing concerns.
  • Additionally, adding information or resources about how parents can support their child’s learning at home and providing resources for additional support can also be helpful.

These elements will help ensure that parents are well-informed about their child’s homework and can effectively support their child’s academic success.

Example of detailed Homework letter to parents

I hope this email finds you, your child, and in good health. I wanted to take the time to talk about the value of homework and how it may aid in your child’s development as we begin the new school year. I’ve designed a template for a homework letter to parents that I’ll be using this year to assist keep you informed about your child’s homework requirements.

The homework template was created to give you succinct, clear information about the homework assignments, goals, and expectations for your child. It will also include a schedule explaining when homework is due, as well as a part devoted to addressing any worries you might have or frequently asked questions.

I’ll explain how the assignment helps your child learn in the introduction, as well as its purpose and goals. You can have a clear grasp of what is expected of your child by reading the thorough explanation section. This section defines the assignments, expectations, and grading guidelines. You may assist your child manage their time by giving them the due dates as per the timetable area.

I have also included some resources to help your child’s learning at home. You can learn how to support your child’s academic success.

I am aware that parents and students alike may find the topic of homework to be difficult, which is why I am providing this homework letter. I hope that this template will make it easier for you to support your child’s learning by having a clear understanding of the homework expectations.

If you have any questions or concerns about the homework letter to parents template, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am always available to discuss your child’s academic progress and answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for your continued support in your child’s education.

Homework letter to parents templates

  • Dear parent, This is a reminder that it is your child’s responsibility to bring their homework assignments home. We encourage you to make sure your child has their work ready with them each day so we all spend less time on this task and more time on teaching. Missing homework assignments may result in a lower grade for the assignment or even being taken out points from the report card altogether. Please see attached a list of missing homework assignments from your child’s class.
  • Dear Parent, We are writing to inform you that we have not received homework from your child for the following subjects [list]. If we do not receive this assignment by 2024, your child will receive a zero grade on all assignments until the missing homework is submitted. We thank you in advance and appreciate your help with this matter.
  • Dear parent, we noticed that your child did not hand in his/her homework. We will do our best to ensure your child does not miss out on learning from this lesson. Please ensure that your child brings home their homework next week. Thank you for your time and cooperation.
  • Dear Parent, It is important that your child complete their homework on time each night. Please help them by discussing the importance of homework completion and encouraging it to be done every night. Thank you.
  • Dear Parent, It has been brought to our attention that your child has been missing homework. We are asking that you remind your child of the importance of homework. Please ensure it is being completed daily, as this greatly helps your child in the classroom. Thank you for your time and cooperation.
  • Dear parents, Please see below a list of your child’s missing homework assignments. Please check if there are any questions you may have and then sign the form at the end. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank You,
  • Dear Parent, Your student has not turned in the homework assignment. Please see that they bring it with them tomorrow. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me at [number]. Thank you for your time. Sincerely,
  • Dear parent, this is our weekly homework reminder. We would appreciate it if you could check and make sure that your children have their homework completed. That way, they will be capable of focusing on school work instead of struggling to complete missing assignments in class. Thank you for your help.
  • Dear Parent, your child has been marked absent for missing homework. Please see the attached document for more information.
  • Dear Parent, I am sending this email to notify parents that the assignment [name] was not turned in. I hope that the assignment will be returned soon.
  • Dear Parent, We noticed that you missed the lesson titled [name] on Monday. This lesson was designed to help your child develop a better understanding of grammar and sentence structure, which are crucial skills to learn as they grow into successful adults. To access this lesson again and complete the homework assignment please visit the link. If you have any questions or concerns during this process please do not hesitate to contact me. 

More Simplestic Templates: 

  • Email to parents about academic concerns
  • Positive Email to Parents from Teacher: 15 Example Emails

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  • Tech Skills

12 Tips For Teachers Communicating With Parents Via Email (With Poster)

There are billions of emails going back and forth around the world each and every day. Email is a favourite form of communication for many people regardless of their location, age, or confidence with technology.

Email is accessible, quick, easy, and familiar. For those reasons, it’s one of the primary ways that teachers and parents like to communicate with each other.

Want to learn about 8 different ways teachers and schools can communicate with parents? Check out this comprehensive post!

Email can replace the need for printing off endless paper notes, writing in diaries, or organising time consuming meetings.

Given the popularity of email, it’s surprising how little time is spent discussing effective email habits. This post shares my top tips with teachers who are communicating with parents via email.

Click to visit a comprehensive post with 8 ways schools and teachers can communicate with parents

Should I Communicate With Parents Via Email?

Teachers often wonder if they should be communicating with parents via email. Is it allowed? Is it safe? Is it effective?

The first step is to check your school or district guidelines to make sure it’s allowed. Your school might even have its own email policy.

If there are no objections, go ahead! There are lots of benefits to be enjoyed. I recommend you put some thought into your approach to emailing. Hopefully the tips in this post will help!

The Benefits Of Email Communication

Compared to the old paper methods, email allows our correspondence to be:

  • more  personalised  (you can share news that relates to the class, a group of students, or an individual student)
  • more  instantaneous  (why wait until a paper note is written to hear about a sports report, learning goal, or event information?)
  • more  reliable  (no need to worry about lost notes as long as parents are checking their email)
  • more  private  (there may be some information you don’t want students reading)
  • two way  (parents can reply much more easily using digital communication)

What Email Account Should I Use To Communicate With Parents?

I definitely recommend you use a professional email address rather than a personal email address.

Not only would an address of [email protected] raise eyebrows, but you need to protect your privacy.

You probably already have a work email address, or you can set up a new Google account if you need to (e.g. [email protected] )

💡 Tip : Toggling between two Google accounts in Chrome is easy . You just need to click on your profile image or initials in the top right hand corner of your screen (when you’re in Gmail or other Google applications). A menu will appear and you click on the account you want to use.

Consider an email service provider

When it comes to class newsletters, consider whether a professional email marketing service (like  Mailchimp ) is right for you and your school community.

The benefits of using a tool like Mailchimp for class newsletters include:

  • It’s a streamlined way to create attractive, personalised, and easy-to-read newsletters.
  • Managing your subscriber lists is easy. You can send emails to your whole list or a select audience. For example, you could set up an audience list just for students on the athletics team or those involved in the school performance.
  • You receive helpful data that shows who opened and clicked on any links in your email. If parents aren’t opening your emails you can ask if they’re receiving them or if there’s a better email address you can use.
  • Emails can still appear personal. You can use “merge tags” to insert names automatically in an email (don’t worry, it’s very easy to do!).
  • Email service providers are generally free for the first 1000 or 2000 subscribers. Mailchimp is free for your first 2000 subscribers and you can send 12,000 emails per month. Hopefully you don’t have that many students! 🙂

Of course, check with your school or district if you’re allowed to use an email service provider before giving it a go.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliations with Mailchimp although I’m quite familiar with the software, having been a customer for nearly a decade. I’ve also recently started using Mailerlite and am finding it to be an excellent product too. 

12 Tips For Communicating With Parents Via Email: Summary Poster

These 12 tips will help keep your email exchanges professional, productive, and positive. Scroll down for a summary poster. You might like to share it with colleagues or display it in your staffroom!

1) Establish guidelines

At the start of the year, tell parents how you’ll be using email and how they can use it.

Explain how long parents may need to wait to receive a response to their email (e.g. “I check my emails on school days and will reply within 24/48 hours”).

If you need time to gather information or come up with a response, send a quick email to let the parent know when you’ll get back to them with a more detailed response.

Let parents know how to contact you for urgent issues (e.g. phone).

Some schools have schoolwide guidelines in place. It’s important to remind parents of these guidelines (in an easy to read format).

2) Don’t get into the habit of replying instantly

Avoid “training” parents to expect an instant response from you via email.

Some professionals find it helpful to “batch” the times they check and reply to emails rather than dealing with them all day.

3) Use a professional email address

Avoid handing out your personal email. Make sure the signature of your work email is short and professional.

4) Make your email easy to read

Don’t waffle or make the email longer than it needs to be. Break up text into short paragraphs. Use bold for important words or action items. Use bullet points or lists if appropriate.

5) Customise your subject line

Use a specific subject line that will attract the attention of parents. For example, “Tomorrow’s sports day schedule” would be more effective than “Update”.

6) Keep a record of communication you might need to come back to

Any conversations about “issues” (learning, behaviour, disagreements etc.) should be saved just in case.

7) Use CC and BCC professionally

  • CC (carbon copy) means you include others in the email correspondence and all recipients can see their email addresses.
  • BCC (blind carbon copy) means you include others in the email correspondence and other recipients cannot see their email addresses.

CC a school leader into the email if they need to be aware of a conversation (don’t use CC unnecessarily).

Always use BCC if you email more than one parent so you keep their email addresses private.

BCC shouldn’t be used to let people “eavesdrop” on conversations. This is poor email etiquette.

8) Avoid unnecessary links and attachments

Try to summarise all the information in the body of your email.

Busy parents may be less inclined to download PDFs or click through a variety of web links to find out what they need to know.

9) Send unexpected positive notes

Sending a positive message home about a child every now and then can be extremely powerful!

10) Be a little more friendly and polite than you need to be

Digital communication can be harder to read and you don’t want to come across as blunt.

It’s also best to avoid things like humour or sarcasm. See more tips for email word choice below.

11) Use a phone call or face-to-face conversation when necessary

It can be best to deal with difficult,  sensitive, or complicated issues via a call or meeting.

Likewise, if the email exchange is going back and forth for too long, consider a phone call or meeting.

12) Think before sending

If you’re feeling emotional or unsure, wait before sending.

Always think whether your words could be misconstrued. Ensure the tone of all emails is calm.

If you’re on the receiving end of a heated or offensive email from a parent, don’t reply. Consult with a school leader.

>> Download a free PDF version of the poster

12 tips for teachers communicating with parents via email -- free PDF Kathleen Morris

Canned Email Responses?

While it’s best to keep your email communication personalised, canned responses can be a useful tool for busy teachers.

Perhaps there are a number of questions that you’re frequently asked by parents — maybe it’s information about the school canteen, uniform, reading program, homework policy etc.

You can write out a response addressing these questions and save it. That’s called a canned response.

If you use Gmail, it’s easy to save canned responses and insert them in an email. Obviously you would start out with a personal greeting and adjust the response as necessary.

These instructions explain how to set up a canned response in Gmail.

Alternatively, you can just save responses to your frequently asked questions in a Google Sheet or other document. Then you can copy and paste them into emails as needed.

💡 Tip: Paste the copied text into an email as plain text . It will look a bit odd if the font or style of your pasted information looks different to the rest of your email:

  • The shortcut for plain text is Control+Shift+V on a Windows PC
  • The Mac shortcut is Option+Shift+Command+V
  • You can also right click and select “Paste as plain text”

More Advice About Email And Word Choice

To many readers, this information will be obvious, however, what’s obvious to some is enlightening to others!

Tips for choosing your words and style when writing an email to a parent:

  • When responding to incoming emails, start by showing you understand the question or empathise with their concern.
  • Keep your emails professional but friendly; you don’t need to be too stiff or formal.
  • Use correct spelling, grammar, spacing, and punctuation.
  • Avoid using text speak, slang, or abbreviations.
  • Don’t overuse emojis or exclamation marks.
  • Be a little more friendly and polite than you think you need to be. You don’t want to come across as blunt.
  • Always ensure your tone is calm.
  • Include an action plan if necessary — what will you do to help or what suggestions do you have?
  • Make sure you address the parent by their name in a personal email.
  • End on a positive note and invite further communication.

Example email from a teacher to a parent

This simple example email is professional yet friendly, brief but addresses the issue at hand, and hopefully leaves the parent satisfied that their concerns are being addressed.

Sample email example from a teacher to a parent Kathleen Morris

Conclusion: What Can You Add?

When there are strong lines of communication between home and school, everyone wins! Email is a great way for teachers and parents to communicate.

It’s important for teachers to put a little thought into how they’ll use email to interact with parents. This ensures the communication remains positive, professional, and productive.

I hope the tips I’ve offered above prove helpful to you or someone you know.

5 Replies to “12 Tips For Teachers Communicating With Parents Via Email (With Poster)”

[…] 12 Tips For Teachers Communicating With Parents Via Email […]

Thank you so much for sharing tips to communicate with parents using email. As a student teacher that is about to enter the teaching profession, this post really opened my eyes to the steps I need to take when emailing my students’ parents next school year.

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Hi Aubrey, I’m so glad the tips helped. Good luck with the rest of your studies. I’m sure you can’t wait to have your own class. There’s nothing like finally having a class of your own! 🙂

Thank you for sharing these tips. This will help me with my assignments.

Wow! so helpful and will make my teaching so much better!

Comments are closed.

10 Top Homework Tips for Parents

In this empowering article, we present a comprehensive guide to help parents become active partners in their child's academic journey. Homework plays a vital role in reinforcing learning, promoting responsibility, and building valuable study habits. However, it can also be a source of stress and frustration for both children and parents.

Discover a wealth of practical homework tips, strategies, and best practices that will transform homework time into a positive and productive experience. From fostering a conducive study environment to establishing a consistent routine, we explore how parents can create a supportive atmosphere that encourages their child's academic growth.

Explore effective communication techniques that bridge the gap between parents and teachers, ensuring that parents are well-informed about assignments and can offer timely assistance when needed. Uncover the importance of setting realistic expectations, acknowledging the uniqueness of each child's learning style, and avoiding undue pressure.

We'll also delve into the art of motivation and encouragement, understanding the delicate balance between supporting independence and providing guidance. Learn how to turn homework into a collaborative effort, where parents act as mentors, helping their children navigate challenges and celebrate achievements.

Incorporating insights from education experts and experienced parents, this article serves as a valuable resource for parents seeking to be proactive advocates for their child's academic success. Whether you have a kindergartener or a high schooler, these homework tips will empower you to create a positive learning environment at home and foster a lifelong love for learning in your child. Embrace this opportunity to strengthen the parent-child bond through shared educational experiences, paving the way for a brighter and more rewarding academic future.

Whether your child is in elementary, middle, or high school, every child will eventually need clear and consistent help with their homework. As homework can directly impact a child’s success in the classroom and his or her overall educational development, a parent’s involvement provides a child with encouragement, support, and direction. By using positive steps proven to boost student performance, parents can intervene before a child’s struggles with homework begin to surface.

The Importance of Homework in Cognitive Development

While children often perceive homework as a form of punishment from their teacher, practicing classroom skills at home is an integral part of the developmental process. As Nucleus Learning explains, homework serves a myriad of essential purposes for both instruction and reinforcement. Most fundamentally, homework allows students to practice skills learned in school with autonomous engagement outside the classroom. As there is a limited amount of time in each school day, children are forced to accept the educational contract that they must put in the effort both in and outside of school to master all of the required material.

Adding to this, homework allows students to “Investigate on their own, learn how to find answers to questions, show that the teacher does not have an answer to everything.” Homework allows a student to more thoroughly learn and understand the material instructed; furthermore, actively engaging in homework teaches students how to become advocates for their own learning, as they can engage in an inquiry-based process of asking questions and seeking out more answers and discoveries.

Further expounding on the importance of homework, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, the educational author of Kids, Parents and Power Struggles , asserts that parents play an immense role in a child’s successful engagement and completion of homework assignments. As she explains, “What most people don't realize is how much support their kids need with homework… It isn't something where you can just say, 'He's 10 or 12 or 15, he should just do it.’’”

Instead, a parent’s foundational support in helping their children understand and practice homework sets the child up for the scaffold of evolving responsibilities. If a child fails to acknowledge his or her responsibilities with completing mandated assignments from their teacher, the child may be heading down a dangerous path of irresponsibility, which can later impact a child’s ability to thrive in their first job or professional realms of life.

The Top Ten Homework Tips for Parents

1. Establish a Routine

The first step in creating a positive homework pathway for your child is primarily creating a routine. This may mean that parents may have to compromise with their children on the working conditions for homework time. As The Seattle Times further explicates, “That means helping students designate a set time and place where they can comfortably — and routinely — hit the books without being disturbed. Some families keep the TV off on weeknights and tape favorite shows for weekend watching. Following such a rule consistently, Kurcinka says, may avoid parent-child power struggles.” Adding to this, if a child is comfortable independently working in his or her bedroom, then parents may need to allow this freedom and choice of the child; however, if a child’s homework is incomplete or if their grades drop, then parents should immediately step in and enforce a different homework strategy and routine.

2. Create Boundaries

As the homework routine is clearly outlined and consistently enforced, parents should simultaneously create clear boundaries for their children as well. This may entail that a teenager’s cell phone must be turned off during homework time or a child’s television or radio must be off until assignments are complete.

3. Get Organized

For younger children, a parent may need to create a homework calendar that both the parent and the child can clearly access and see. This may help a child learn how to plan ahead and create a schedule for long-term elementary and middle school projects. For high school kids, this may mean a parent talks with their teen about setting progress goals for assignments daily.

4. Accountability and Responsibility

Regardless of a child’s age or school grade, a parent must immediately require their child’s personal accountability for homework and assignments. Parents should have clear rules about writing down assignments in a notebook or remembering to bring all necessary homework materials, such as books or calculators, home each night. If a child fails to hold up their end of the bargain, then the established consequences should be enforced.

5. Create a “Learning Space”

For many children, a “learning space” specifically set aside for homework can allow them to mentally enter into a “school mode” at home. This may mean that a small office is stocked with pens, paper, and necessary tools for assignments; however, on the other hand, this also may mean that a child may need to access the library each day for homework (if they are too distracted at home). Regardless of a child’s needs, a parent must create a free space for a child to complete assignments without disruptions or distractions.

6. Teach Prioritization

Children are gradually assigned more homework tasks as they progress through the school grades, and parents can intervene and teach children how to prioritize their homework assignments. If a project is due in a week, a parent can help their child set up a timeline for small daily tasks. Or, if a child is feeling overwhelmed, a parent can help them make a list of everything that must be done and then number each task to prioritize the academic responsibilities.

7. Check Your Child’s Progress

While public schools send report cards and progress reports, many schools post grades and homework assignments online. Parents can speak with their child’s teacher(s) about the best ways to check in on the student’s progress throughout the semester and school year so that students are able to consistently perform to their potential without falling behind or struggling.

8. Allow Freedoms When Earned

If a child successfully meets all of the outlined homework rules and expectations, parents can allow certain appropriate freedoms if their child seems to be excelling in their tasks and schoolwork. For example, if a child asks to change their homework time or “learning space,” parents should experiment with new freedoms as the child gradually excels with their academic responsibility. Parents can consider new privileges and rewards for their child's achievements as long as the child seems to be successfully comprehending and excelling in academic pursuits and assignments.

9. Be a Study Buddy

Many times, especially when a child feels overwhelmed with a task or assignment, parents can offer support by simply helping their child study. This involves quizzing a child, teaching a child study strategies, or also just helping a child get organized. Sometimes, giving a child attention during difficult tasks can boost a child’s morale and effort.

10. Encourage and Support

Most importantly, a parent should serve as a motivational academic cheerleader. Homework should not be a punishment or a time that’s dreaded. Approach homework with a positive attitude and consistently reward the child with positive verbal feedback. Children do not require material treats or presents for success; moreover, they thrive on verbal support and encouragement. For example, if a child consistently does their homework without complaining, remind them each day, “I love how you always do your assignments with such a great attitude. I admire your ability to do what’s assigned with such an adult work ethic!” When compliments are specific and meaningful, a child will feel more confident and motivated to continually follow through with his or her responsibilities and performance.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @publicschoolreview

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Khan Academy Blog

Making Homework Easier: Tips and Tools for Parents 

posted on September 20, 2023

By Stephanie Yamkovenko , group manager of Khan Academy’s Digital Marketing Team.

Homework Helper Hand

Homework can present challenges for parents and children alike. You naturally want to provide support for your child’s learning journey and ensure they are reaching their full potential. In this blog post, we will delve into practical strategies to assist your child with their homework. From fostering understanding and offering encouragement to breaking down tasks and implementing rewards, we will explore a variety of effective approaches to help your child achieve academic success.

Step 1: Set Up Your Child for Success

Your child’s study environment can have a significant impact on their homework performance. Create a space that is free from distractions like the television, smartphones, or noisy siblings. The study space should be comfortable, well lit, and have all the necessary materials your child might need, such as pens, papers, and textbooks. If your child’s workspace is noisy or uncomfortable, they may have difficulty focusing on their homework, resulting in lower productivity. 

For example, if you live in a small apartment, consider setting up a designated corner with a small desk or table where your child can focus on their work. You can use dividers or screens to create a sense of privacy and minimize distractions.

If the only place to do homework is in the dining room or kitchen, try to establish a routine where the area is cleared and organized before study time. This can help signal to your child that it’s time to concentrate and be productive.

Remember, it’s important to adapt to your specific circumstances and make the best of the available space. The key is to create a dedicated study area that promotes focus and minimizes interruptions regardless of the size or location of your home.

Try Confidence Boosters for Your Child Here!

Step 2: make it fun.

It’s important to make homework fun and engaging for your child. Here are some examples of how you can do it:

  • Use games : Incorporate educational games like card games, board games, or puzzles that align with the subject your child is learning. For instance, use Scrabble to practice spelling or Sudoku to enhance problem-solving skills.
  • Turn it into a challenge : Create a friendly competition between siblings or friends by setting goals or time limits for completing assignments. Offer small rewards or incentives for accomplishing tasks.
  • Make it interactive : Use hands-on activities or experiments to reinforce concepts learned in class. For science or math, conduct simple experiments at home or use manipulatives like blocks or counters to visualize abstract concepts.
  • Use technology : Explore online educational platforms or apps that offer interactive learning experiences. There are various educational games, virtual simulations, and videos available that can make homework more enjoyable.
  • Incorporate creativity : Encourage your child to express their understanding through art, storytelling, or multimedia presentations. For example, they can create a comic strip to summarize a story or make a short video to explain a concept.

Remember, by making homework enjoyable, you can help your child develop a positive attitude towards learning.

Step 3: Use Rewards

Rewards can be a powerful motivational tool for children. Offering positive reinforcement can encourage them to complete their homework on time and to the best of their ability. 

Here are some examples of rewards our team has used with their children:

  • Extra screen time: “I use Apple parental controls to add screen time on their iPad.”
  • Access to a favorite toy: “My eight year old has a drum kit, which drives us all up the wall. (Thanks, Grandma!) But when they’ve been doing a lot of school work, we put on headphones and let him go nuts.”
  • Praise for a job well done: “Specific, measurable praise is what works best.” 
  • Trip to the park: “A trip to the park is good for everyone, especially for the kids to run around with the doggos.”
  • Movie night: “I know every word and song lyric in Moana ; we now reserve showings for good behavior.” 
  • Stickers or stamps: “Gold stars were such a thing growing up in the 80s; turns out they still work.”
  • Stay up a little later: “An extra 30 minutes feels like a whole day for my young ones; use this reward with caution as it can become the expectation!”

So, celebrate your child’s efforts and encourage them to continue doing their best.

Step 4: Break Down Difficult Tasks

When facing daunting homework assignments, follow these step-by-step instructions to break down the tasks into smaller, manageable chunks:

  • Understand the requirements and scope of the task.
  • Break down the assignment into individual tasks or sub-tasks.  
  • Splitting the middle term
  • Using formula
  • Using Quadratic formula
  • Using algebraic identities
  • Determine the order in which tasks should be completed based on importance or difficulty. 
  • Start with the easiest task. Begin with the task that seems the least challenging or time-consuming.
  • Progress to more challenging tasks: Once the easier tasks are completed, move on to more difficult ones.
  • Take breaks: Schedule short breaks between tasks to avoid burnout and maintain focus.
  • Check completed tasks for accuracy and make any necessary revisions.
  • Finish the remaining task(s) with the same approach.
  • Celebrate small achievements to boost confidence and keep motivation high.

By following these steps, you can make daunting homework assignments more manageable and less overwhelming for your child.

Step 5: Get Targeted Help

If your child is struggling with homework, it might be worth considering seeking personalized assistance. You have the option to search for professional tutors or explore online tutoring platforms, such as Khan Academy’s AI tutor, Khanmigo .

This AI tutor can offer personalized guidance and support tailored to your child’s specific needs, helping them grasp complex concepts and practice essential skills. Incorporating this approach can effectively complement your child’s learning and enhance their homework performance.

Enhance your child’s learning and boost homework performance!

Homework can be a challenge for both parents and children. But with the right approach, you can help your child overcome difficulties and support their learning. Encourage and understand your child, create a comfortable environment, break down difficult tasks, use rewards, get professional help when needed, and make it fun. With these tips and techniques, you can help your child achieve success, develop a love for learning, and achieve academic excellence. Remember that each child learns differently, so it’s essential to adjust your approach to meet their unique needs.

Get Khanmigo

The best way to learn and teach with AI is here. Ace the school year with our AI-powered guide, Khanmigo. 

For learners     For teachers     For parents

Kenneth Barish Ph.D.

Battles Over Homework: Advice For Parents

Guidelines for helping children develop self-discipline with their homework..

Posted September 5, 2012 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

I would like to offer some advice about one of the most frequent problems presented to me in over 30 years of clinical practice: battles over homework. I have half-jokingly told many parents that if the schools of New York State no longer required homework, our children’s education would suffer (slightly). But, as a child psychologist, I would be out of business.

Many parents accept this conflict with their children as an unavoidable consequence of responsible parenting . These battles, however, rarely result in improved learning or performance in school. More often than not, battles over homework lead to vicious cycles of nagging by parents and avoidance or refusal by children, with no improvement in a child’s school performance. And certainly no progress toward what should be our ultimate goals : helping children enjoy learning and develop age-appropriate discipline and independence with respect to their schoolwork.

Before I present a plan for reducing battles over homework, it is important to begin with this essential reminder:

The solution to the problem of homework always begins with an accurate diagnosis and a recognition of the demands placed on your child. Parents should never assume that a child who resists doing homework is “lazy.”

Every child whose parents or teachers report ongoing resistance to completing schoolwork or homework; every child whose performance in school is below expectations based on his parents’ or teachers’ intuitive assessment of his intellectual potential; and every child who, over an extended period of time, complains that he “hates school” or “hates reading,” should be evaluated for the presence of an attention or learning disorder.

These children are not lazy. Your child may be anxious, frustrated, discouraged, distracted, or angry—but this is not laziness. I frequently explain to parents that, as a psychologist, the word lazy is not in my dictionary. Lazy, at best, is a description, not an explanation.

For children with learning difficulties, doing their homework is like running with a sprained ankle: It is possible, although painful, and he will look for ways to avoid or postpone this painful and discouraging task.

A Homework Plan

Homework, like any constructive activity, involves moments of frustration, discouragement, and anxiety . If you begin with some appreciation of your child’s frustration and discouragement, you will be better able to put in place a structure that helps him learn to work through his frustration—to develop increments of frustration tolerance and self-discipline.

I offer families who struggle with this problem a Homework Plan:

  • Set aside a specified, and limited, time for homework. Establish, early in the evening, a homework hour.
  • For most children, immediately after school is not the best time for homework. This is a time for sports, for music and drama, and free play.
  • During the homework hour, all electronics are turned off—for the entire family.
  • Work is done in a communal place, at the kitchen or dining room table. Contrary to older conventional wisdom , most elementary school children are able to work more much effectively in a common area, with an adult and even other children present, than in the “quiet” of their rooms.
  • Parents may do their own ”homework” during this time, but they are present and continually available to help, to offer encouragement, and to answer children’s questions. Your goal is to create, to the extent possible, a library atmosphere in your home, again, for a specified and limited period of time. Ideally, therefore, parents should not make or receive telephone calls during this hour. And when homework is done, there is time for play.
  • Begin with a reasonable, a doable, amount of time set aside for homework. If your child is unable to work for 20 minutes, begin with 10 minutes. Then try 15 minutes in the next week. Acknowledge every increment of effort, however small.
  • Be positive and give frequent encouragement. Make note of every improvement, not every mistake.
  • Be generous with your praise. Praise their effort, not their innate ability. But do not be afraid of praise.
  • Anticipate setbacks. After a difficult day, reset for the following day.
  • Give them time. A child’s difficulty completing homework begins as a problem of frustration and discouragement, but it is then complicated by defiant attitudes and feelings of unfairness. A homework plan will begin to reduce these defiant attitudes, but this will not happen overnight.

Most families have found these suggestions helpful, especially for elementary school children. Establishing a homework hour allows parents to move away from a language of threats (“If you don’t__ you won’t be able to__”) to a language of opportunities (“When” or “As soon as” you have finished__ we’ll have a chance to__”).

Of course, for many hurried families, there are complications and potential glitches in implementing any homework plan. It is often difficult, with children’s many activities, to find a consistent time for homework. Some flexibility, some amendments to the plan, may be required. But we should not use the complications of scheduling or other competing demands as an excuse, a reason not to establish the structure of a reasonable homework routine.

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Kenneth Barish, Ph.D. , is a clinical associate professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University.

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40 Top Parenting Tips for Navigating Homework Challenges

Top Parenting Tips for Navigating Homework Challenges

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

  • October 6, 2023

Navigating the intricacies of homework assignments can often feel like a maze for both parents and children alike. As someone deeply involved in child development and having worked closely with many educators, I've gathered a wealth of insights into establishing a solid homework routine. 

This article is a compilation of those tried-and-tested homework tips, aimed to ease challenges and enhance productivity. Whether you're looking to foster a deeper connection with your child's teacher or seeking effective strategies to prioritize tasks, I'm here to guide you.

Homework Tips for Parents: Break the Stress and Boost Learning Hacks from a Children’s Psychologist

Homework tip: setting up the environment.

  • Establish a Routine: Set a specific time and place for homework to create consistency and predictability.
  • Routine Consistency: Keep the routine consistent, even on weekends, so the child knows what to expect.
  • Provide a Quiet Space: Ensure your child has a quiet, well-lit, and comfortable place to work, free from distractions. 
  • Limit Distractions: Keep TVs, mobile phones, and other distracting electronics off during homework time.
  • Limit Overall Stimuli: A clutter-free workspace can reduce distractions. Try to minimize items on their workspace that they might fidget with or get distracted by.
  • Stay Organized: Use planners, calendars, or apps to keep track of assignment due dates.
  • Equip the Space: Stock the homework area with essential supplies such as pencils, paper, erasers, and rulers

Homework Tip: Instruction Support

  • Clear and Concise Instructions: Ensure instructions are short and to the point. Use visuals and watch for body language signals that show understanding.

Homework Tip - Give Clear and Concise Instructions

  • Break Tasks Into Manageable Chunks : If an assignment is extensive, break it down into smaller steps to make it more manageable.
  • Chunking Information: Divide information into smaller, more digestible chunks. This can make the work seem more manageable.
  • Set Time Limits: Use a timer to allocate specific amounts of time for each task, helping children stay on track.
  • Timers: Use a visual timer, so they can see how much time they have left to work. This can make the passage of time more tangible.
  • Teach Time Management: Help them prioritize their tasks, tackling more challenging or urgent assignments first.
  • Stay Involved: Regularly check in with your child about their assignments and progress, offering guidance when needed.
  • Interactive Tools: Consider using interactive educational tools or apps that can make learning more engaging for them.
  • Ask Them To Explain What The Task Is: Gage what your child understands before they start the task. This will help set them in the right direction and give you a sense of what they know.

Homework Tip: Brain Hacks

  • Physical Activity: Encourage short bursts of physical activity during breaks, like jumping jacks or a quick walk around the block. Physical activity can help increase attention span.
  • Encourage Breaks: For longer homework sessions, ensure kids take short breaks to rest their minds and bodies.
  • Offer Healthy Snacks : Brain-boosting snacks can help maintain energy and focus during study time. Fizzy drinks such as a seltzer-magnesium drink can stimulate and calm the brain.
  • Shorter Work Periods: Divide homework time into shorter, more frequent sessions. For instance, instead of a continuous 30-minute session, try three 10-minute sessions with short breaks in between.
  • Visual Schedules: Use visual aids like charts or diagrams to outline the tasks that need completion. This can help them understand what's expected and track their progress.
  • Tactile Tools: For some children, using tactile tools like stress balls or fidget toys can help them channel their extra energy and maintain focus.

Homework Tip - Brain Hacks

  • Background Music: Some children focus better with low-volume, non-distracting background music or white noise. But others are stressed by it , so play around and do what works best for them (not you!). 
  • Color Coding: Use colors to categorize and prioritize tasks. This can help visually differentiate and organize their work.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, visualization, or even short meditation sessions can help center their attention.

Homework Tip: Monitoring, Communication and Positive Reinforcement

  • Stay Positive : In your own mindset. Focus on the effort and improvements, not just the end result. Praise hard work and resilience.
  • Encourage Independence Over Time: While it's essential to offer support, allow kids to complete assignments on their own as they build skills before you check the work. This fosters responsibility and self-reliance.
  • Be Available for Questions: Make sure your child knows they can come to you if they have questions or need clarification on a topic.
  • Connect Learning to Real Life: Help your child see the real-world applications of what they're learning to make it more engaging.
  • Review Completed Assignments: Go over finished homework to ensure understanding and check for errors, but avoid doing the work for them.
  • Explain Consequences and Establish Rewards: Positive reinforcement can motivate your child. Consider rewards for consistent homework completion.
  • Encourage a Growth Mindset: Teach your child to see challenges as opportunities for growth. Emphasize the value of persistence and learning from mistakes. Talk to kids about how regular practice builds skills even when the learning is hard!
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reinforce positive behavior immediately. If they've focused well for a short span, reward that effort to encourage repetition of the desired behavior.
  • Active Participation: Encourage them to engage actively with their work, such as reading aloud or teaching the content back to you. This can reinforce their understanding and attention.
  • Regular Check-ins: Check in more frequently during their homework sessions, offering guidance, encouraging movement to support brain alertness.
  • Immediate Feedback: Give immediate feedback on their work. This keeps them engaged and lets them know they're on the right track.
  • Open Communication: Ensure your child feels comfortable discussing their challenges with you. Sometimes, they might have insights into what might help them focus better.

Long Game Parent Homework Tips

  • Stay Informed: If your child has a diagnosed attention disorder, like ADHD, stay updated with the latest strategies and recommendations specific to their needs. You can join our CALM Brain Parenting Community for science-backed solutions to support attention and learning. 
  • Stay in Touch with Teachers: Regular communication with educators can give insights into how your child is doing and where they might need additional help. They may benefit from school accommodations or more formal IEP support .
  • Seek External Support: If focus issues persist, consider seeking help from a tutor, educational therapist, or counselor familiar with attention challenges.

Reflecting on these pivotal parent homework tips, it becomes evident that with the right strategies, we can turn potential struggles into stepping stones for success. By instilling a consistent homework routine and maintaining open communication with your child, we're setting the stage for academic achievements. 

Each child is a unique individual, and it's crucial to discover what resonates best with them during homework time. It is also important to look for root causes better and better understand why your child is struggling . 

With these tools at your disposal, I'm confident in your ability to lead your child through the myriad tasks and challenges that lie ahead. Together, let's make every homework session a journey of growth and discovery and tamp down frustration!

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

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20+ Homework Strategies for Parents

December 13, 2022 by pathway2success Leave a Comment

20+ Homework Strategies for Parents

Homework can be a big source of frustration for kids and parents at home. Even more, it can be a challenge that carries over from home to school when the child doesn’t complete the work and is behind in class.

If your child is struggling with homework, read through these strategies and give some a try. As a note, not every single strategy is going to work for every child. To start, pick a few and give them a try. See what works and what doesn’t. Then, move forward together.

If you are an educator looking for strategies for kids, these can help you too. You might even want to pass them along to families to give strategies and support along the way.

Homework Strategies for Home:

Set up a binder organization system. First and foremost, it’s helpful to set your child up with a binder organization system that works for them. This might look different for different learners. One option is having one binder for every class/subject plus a dedicated homework binder. This is ideal for kids who are switching classes and have a good ability to keep track of different binders. In each binder, add a pocket folder and extra paper. In the homework binder, have your child add their homework agenda (read more about that below), a pencil pouch, and a pocket folder just for homework. If this system is too much, consider having one larger binder that contains a homework folder and all classes. You can separate the classes with dividers. While setting up a system most definitely takes time and planning, it helps keep things more orderly in the future.

Parent homework tip: Help kids set up a binder organization system that works for them.

Use a homework folder. A dedicated homework folder is key to making sure pages get brought home to finish and find their way back to the classroom to be turned in. Using a pocket folder, label one side of the folder “to do” and one side “done.” Explain that assignments that need to be completed, will go on the “to do” side, while pages that are finished will stay in “done.” It’s advisable to purchase a name brand folder to help make sure it lasts a bit longer and stays in the binder. Another tip is to go to the store with your child and let them choose the folder design. There are many different folders with everything from kittens to race cars. Letting the child choose the folder helps them be part of the organization process and might encourage a bit more buy-in. You can use this free homework binder template to get yourself started, or you can make your own!

Teach organization skills on an ongoing basis. Since a big part of completing homework is about organization, it’s important to teach and practice these skills often. Talk about where things should go in the house, take a 5-minute organization break when you need it, and model what organizing materials looks like. If your child struggles significantly with organization, consider reading up more on interventions for organization challenges .

Use executive functioning task cards to build skills  for organization, planning, and self-control

Set up a homework spot. Choose one spot in the house where your child can productively accomplish work on a regular basis. This might be a downstairs office or just the kitchen table. Most importantly, aim to make it consistent and distraction-free.

Have kids use a homework log or agenda. A homework log or agenda is a dedicated place to write homework every day. Often, schools provide homework logs with spots for kids to write work down. If this works, great! Sometimes, though, one isn’t provided or the space might be too small for a child to write in. If that’s the case, you can make your own or use a journal. The key is to set it up so that your child has one spot to write homework down every single day.

Parent homework tip: teach kids to use a daily homework log and make it a habit.

Keep the homework area stocked and organized. Keep extra pencils, coloring utensils, and paper ready to go when your child needs it. Having materials organized and stocked will reduce time your child goes looking for it when they need it for an assignment.

Check over the homework log together. Before starting homework, spend a few minutes going over the homework log with your child. Ask them to show you and tell you what assignments they have to do tonight. This is also a great time for positive reinforcement when all homework assignments are clearly outlined, or constructive criticism when they are not. For example, you might say, “I noticed you wrote down ‘study’ under math. What do you think might be more helpful than that for next time?” Then, talk about how you could write down the chapters or topics to study. This homework log check also helps build accountability for your child.

Parent homework tip: check over the homework log together before starting to discuss plans and expectations.

Find alternative ways to check homework. Kids and teens aren’t always perfect about writing their assignments down. Check to see if your child’s teacher has a website where homework is listed. Bookmark the site and have your child use it when they forget to write assignments down. It’s important that it becomes their responsibility to check. If a teacher website isn’t an option, have a homework buddy from class that your child can touch base with. Again, this should be your child’s responsibility when possible. The idea is to teach your child that it is actually easier just to write it down correctly in class the first time!

Be a motivator. It’s no secret that homework isn’t often a favorite activity for kids and teens. Help make it easier by providing encouragement and support in a positive way. You can even start with practicing some positive self-talk and positive affirmations .

positive affirmations list to boost student confidence during homework sessions

Use a timer. A timer can be a valuable tool to help set boundaries and allow breaks. Choose an amount of time that your child should be working, such as 20 minutes. Set the timer and make this a working time. Once the timer goes off, allow a 5 or 10 minute break before heading back to work. A visual timer can be especially helpful in this case because it shows kids and teens just how long they have left until they get their next break. Of course, a simple timer on the oven works, too.

Keep distractions away. We all know that kids and teens love their cell phones. The truth is that these devices are extremely distracting during working times. Make it an expectation that electronics stay away during homework time. Of course, it’s important to mention that this might be incredibly difficult for some kids at first. Work at it to make it a habit for the long-term.

Parent homework tip: Keep cell phones and other distractions away during working time.

Schedule breaks. It’s healthy to take breaks during long working sessions. Plan to take a break after each course assignment, or after a period of time. Of course, the number of breaks is going to vary greatly depending on your child.

Plan homework times. When it comes to homework, routine is a big part of the puzzle. Plan and schedule daily homework times when possible. Aim for shortly after your child gets home from school if that’s an option. This can allow a short break but still the time to finish the work they need to before dinner and night-time routines. Again, this is going to vary depending on every family situation, since parent work schedules and sports might interfere. If that’s the case, choose any time that works for you. It’s most important to stick with it so that it becomes a routine.

Model focused work. When it’s homework time, model what focused work looks like. While your child is working on assignments, read a book, do crossword puzzles, write in a journal, or complete some work of your own!

Parent homework tip: model focused work by reading or working during homework time.

Build in choice. Give kids some say when it comes to homework! This will help them feel more empowered and independent. You can let them choose which assignment to start first or how they’d like to start a project. A little bit of choice can go a long way.

Create a homework checklist. Help your child create a daily checklist for homework each day. Encourage them to list out everything they need to accomplish on a piece of paper. Then, prioritize what is most important and start there. Have them check off each assignment on the checklist as they go. This can be done on paper or on a mini whiteboard.

Find a homework buddy. Make sure your child has a friend or classmate they can reach out to when they need homework support. This can be beneficial if they don’t know the assignment or have a question on a specific problem.

Be flexible. If your child wants to do homework a little bit differently than you would recommend, let them try. For example, maybe your child needs to spread out and work on the floor. Perhaps they might really do better while listening to music. These are all recommendations, strategies, and ideas, but remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Be open-minded and find what works for your child.

Parent homework tip: be flexible! Be willing to try different strategies to see what works.

Recognize when something is taking too long. You know your child best. If he or she spending two hours on a homework assignment, consider taking a look at it together. Provide support and encourage strategies to help them move along. When nothing seems to work, you can also consider adding a note to the back of the page and sending an email to the teacher letting them know the challenges you encountered.

Check homework when finished. Depending on the needs of the child, it may be important to check over and review homework together. Not only it is important to check for completion, but for quality of work. If work isn’t done well, it is worth going back and having your child add or fix what they need to. Eventually, the goal is that they will learn that it’s just easier to do it right the first time!

Plan fun activities after homework. Family game time, watching a favorite show, or heading out for ice cream are all great ways to naturally reward being finished with work.

Develop a home incentive plan. If completing homework is continually a struggle and you suspect motivation is the culprit, consider an incentive or reward plan. Talk with your child about what they would like to earn, such as a movie night with friends or a weekend sleepover. Come up with the terms (such as homework completed every night for a week) and make it happen. The goal with an incentive plan is to develop positive habits and create independence.

Keep in touch with teachers. Remember to stay in contact with your child’s teachers. They are often a source of helpful tips and strategies, but they can’t provide that information if they don’t know your child is struggling. When talking to your child’s teacher about homework challenges, be specific about the difficulties you are seeing an open-minded to trying some strategies. Avoid the blame game. It’s always best when families work with schools on homework issues. If issues continue, do your best to document them and request a face-to-face meeting to discuss further and come up with ideas. Using actual homework samples might also be helpful.

Parent homework tip: keep in touch with your child's teachers to discuss struggles, strategies, and wins.

Be a united front with teachers. Even if homework becomes a source of frustration, it’s helpful to remember to act as a united front with your child’s teachers. Certainly, it’s helpful to voice your concerns (and even frustrations) with your child’s teacher privately, but doing it in front of the child can send the wrong message. Again, working together always works best.

Remember to start with just a few strategies, give them a fair shot, and see where they take you. The goal is always that your child can complete the homework independently and feel successful. This may take time, practice, and changing up the strategies along the way, but homework success is possible!

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The Daily Homework Email

A summary of homework, due dates, and upcoming tests emailed home daily.

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  • The Daily Homework Email is an email sent home each evening with a summary of each child's homework, due dates, upcoming tests and quizzes, and any classroom news.
  • After teachers post the night's homework and other upcoming work, parents get the email with all the information relevant to their children.
  • In addition to the website and the ParentLocker App, the email is another way parents keep up-to-date with their child's progress at school.

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  • The email only includes information relevant to the children in the family. Parents see just what they are looking for.
  • The number of emails parents receive is reduced: instead of receiving an email from each teacher separately, the Daily Homework Email includes all the updates in one message.
  • If no homework was posted for that night, or if there is no upcoming dues dates or tests, the parent won't receive the email update.

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9 Templates for Responding to Tricky Parent Emails

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Photo of teacher's hands typing tricky parent email

One day, we’ll repair the education system. Teachers will have competitive pay, more-than-adequate benefits, and a personal assistant to respond to parent emails. I’ll be able to tell my grandchild, “You know, when I was a teacher, I had to spend a big part of my day emailing parents.”

Hopping off of his hoverboard, he’ll frown and call out, “Mom! Grandma’s talking nonsense again.”

Until then, we’ve created some email templates you can use to save time and the all-too-precious mental energy it takes to email parents beyond the quick “Thanks for letting me know!” or “Ezra said the funniest thing in class today!”

But before we get to the templates, here are some good rules of thumb for emailing parents:

  • Be brief but polite. I always start by thanking them for reaching out and try to validate their concerns .
  • Assume the best intentions. Acknowledge the possibility of miscommunication, misperception, and mistakes when possible instead of blame. The value of trustworthy relationships far outweighs the temporary satisfaction of being able to write, “Per my last email …”
  • Have a default greeting and closing ready to go. If you always use “Dear ____” and “Thanks, ____,” that’s one less thing you have to think about. Even better if you set up an automatic email signature!
  • Be careful with your response time. It’s tempting to want to fire off a reply right away. But this can actually increase the number of emails by creating a text/chat-type environment (“Oh! One more thing!” “Oh, I forgot to attach the form.”) Plus, if you email parents right away, they’ll expect instant communication from you every time. Waiting—especially on more contentious emails—gives everyone a chance to cool down before sending a response.
  • Don’t agree or commit to anything you feel weird about over email. Take the time to talk it over with other teachers or a supervisor before responding. Sometimes parents will request special accommodations that should be part of a more formal IEP or 504 meeting.
  • Don’t put anything in email you would feel sheepish about defending to your superintendent. 

1. The “I didn’t know about test/quiz/field trip/event” email

Dear _____,

Thanks so much for reaching out. I’m sorry to hear that you were caught off-guard with last week’s [TEST/QUIZ/EVENT]. I just checked to verify that it was listed in [NEWSLETTER/WEBSITE/SCHOOL INFORMATIONAL SYSTEM]. Let me know if you had access issues—I know that can happen sometimes.

I’m happy to allow [STUDENT] to make up the test per our grading policy. [OR: While our grading policy does not allow students to retake quizzes, here are some other ways he can show his learning and recoup those points …]

2. The “I want to know why my child got this grade” email

Thanks so much for your email. I’m happy to share more feedback with you on [STUDENT]’s areas for improvement. Let me know whether [SPECIFIC START/END TIME] or [SPECIFIC START/END TIME] works better for me to call.

*Note: While it may seem like this approach adds more to your workload, it actually takes less time to hop on a phone call than it would to scan the relevant materials, transcribe or copy-paste all the feedback you gave the student, and copy and paste relevant sections of the rubric, etc.

3. The “I want to opt my child out of this lesson/book because I find it offensive” email

If your district does not allow opting out for this unit of study and does not provide the language for your response:

Thank you for sharing this concern. [UNIT OF STUDY] is listed as a state learning standard: [COPY AND PASTE STANDARD]. [UNIT OF STUDY] meets these requirements for learning. If you have any questions, please contact our district lead for [CONTENT AREA], [NAME], at [EMAIL].

If your district allows opting out for this unit of study:

Thanks so much for communicating this with me. Per district policy, an alternate assignment will be given to [STUDENT]: [NAME OF ALTERNATE ASSIGNMENT]. If you have any questions, please contact our district lead for [CONTENT AREA], [NAME], at [EMAIL].

Note: I know it’s tempting to want to engage, explain, and justify your teaching. But this just opens you up for more work that ultimately boils down to families’ values and beliefs about humanity, which are not our job to change. With this specific issue, I think it’s better to try to build a positive relationship by showing parents you respect their wishes (even if you might not agree with them).

4. The “Your class is too hard for my child” email

I’m so glad you reached out. I’m so sorry that [STUDENT] has been feeling confused or lost in class.

Let’s start with tutorials on [DAY and TIME], where I can chat with [STUDENT] and figure out where the disconnect is happening. From there we can develop a plan to either continue tutorials, address any relevant classroom issues, or recommend resources to give them some extra practice.

5. The “Please give my child an extra day on the project because we had a commitment last night” email

If the answer is yes:

Thanks for reaching out about this. I understand how hectic this time of year can get.

Can you ask [STUDENT] to [TALK WITH/EMAIL] me about this today? I know asking things of a teacher can feel intimidating, but I’d love to give them a low-risk opportunity to practice self-advocacy.

If the answer is no:

Per our grade-level policy, late [TESTS/PROJECTS] are [NUMBER] points off per day. However, I’m happy to work with [STUDENT] on other ways they can show their learning to recoup those points.

6. The “I don’t think my child is getting enough homework. Can you send more?” email

Dear ______,

Thanks so much for reaching out about this. It’s important to me that homework is meaningful, but also that each of my students is challenged appropriately.

Here are some online resources and links to good workbooks I’ve gathered for you to extend learning at home: …

Note: I think it’s important to set boundaries with families, including their ability to give you more work. Providing them links to workbooks and online resources connects with them opportunities to extend their child’s learning without giving you extra copying, grading, and feedback to do.

7. The “My child is getting too much homework/homework takes too long” email

Thanks for reaching out about this. It’s so important to me that homework is meaningful, not stressful. I’m glad you let me know.

I’d love to chat with you about some ideas I have for reducing the overwhelm [STUDENT] is feeling. Let me know whether [SPECIFIC TIME] or [SPECIFIC TIME] works better for me to call. 

8. The “My child told me about a negative interaction with you/classmate” email

Thank you for letting me know about this. I’m so sorry to hear that [STUDENT] was feeling [UPSET/FRUSTRATED] about what happened yesterday.

I’d like to make sure we’re on the same page as soon as possible. Let me know whether [SPECIFIC TIME] or [SPECIFIC TIME] works better for me to call.

Note: Like the “I want to know why my child got this grade” email, this approach actually saves you work (and the risk of tone being misinterpreted). But more important, this approach also protects student privacy if the parent wants to discuss an incident involving a classmate.

9. The “We’re going on vacation, can we get the work/test early?” email

How exciting! That will be such a great learning experience for [STUDENT].


Wishing you safe travels and a wonderful vacation!

Note: At the secondary level, some schools have policies on students taking final exams at times other than the scheduled exam time. Some even have forms for parents to fill out to request vacations. Be sure to verify with your school that you’re following protocol. If you’re at a new school, I would also run your reply by teachers who have been there a while to make sure you’re in-step with others’ responses.

Every situation, child, and school is different, so you’ll have to adjust your responses accordingly. But with these email templates, you have a framework of how to respond professionally, kindly, and in a way that protects everyone involved.

For more tips on parent management, check out this great roundup .

For more tips, tricks, and ideas like this, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters !

Having trouble figuring out how to respond to parent emails? Take a look at our nine email templates for common parent concerns.

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Responding Professionally to Unreasonable Requests From Parents

See sample responses teachers can use to be polite but firm when presented with irrational demands from parents or caregivers.

Teacher talking to parents

During my college years, I worked at the counter at a hamburger café. One day, an irritated customer presented me with his mostly eaten hamburger and demanded a refund because the meat was undercooked. Despite the fact that he had eaten about 90 percent of his burger, I offered him excellent customer service as I was trained to do; I cheerfully gave him a refund along with an apology.

As a teacher with two decades of experience, I think back to this “the customer is always right” scenario when a parent or caregiver makes an unreasonable request of me as their child’s teacher. Of course, I want to provide excellent customer service in terms of active listening, empathy, and professionalism; however, my classroom is not a hamburger café.

Instructional coach Julie Mason describes the teacher-parent “customer service” relationship in the We Are Teachers article “ Teaching Is Not Customer Service ”: “Parents are not customers, and public schools aren’t a business. Taxpayers may fund teacher salaries, but at the end of the day, if there are any ‘customers,’ those customers are the kids we teach.”

If you’ve been teaching for more than a few years, you’ve probably encountered preposterous or annoying requests from parents that put you in an awkward situation. Do you pander to a parent’s request, or do you stand up for what’s best for the student?

The next time you’re presented with an unreasonable request from a parent, try the following suggested responses—all taken from my actual experience as a teacher—to give you the confidence to stand firm while also maintaining empathy and professionalism.

8 Ways to Respond to Unreasonable Demands

1. A parent asks for an assignment to be redone or a grade increase.

Sample response: “Based on the criteria of the rubric that was shared, the final project was evaluated as 7/10. I am happy to meet with Chris to review what he can improve for the next project . ”

2. A parent heard that “all the students failed” the recent assessment and wants you to offer a retake to the entire class.

Sample response: “Unfortunately, that rumor reflects the perception of the class; however, it is far from accurate. A few students did not perform as well as they predicted, and, conversely, a few students performed strongly. This assessment serves as feedback for the students and for me on what topics we need to review more.”

3. A parent wants to meet with you tomorrow morning (or right now).

Sample response: “I am happy to schedule a meeting or a phone call with you. My availability is Wednesday after 3 or Thursday before 8. Do any of those times work for your schedule?”

4. “Is there anything my child can do to earn extra credit or bring up his/her average for the term?”

Sample response: “All of the planned assessments have been completed for the term; however, I’d like to talk with you about how Jessie can get a strong start in the upcoming new term.”

5. “My child was up late for a soccer game last night. Can she take the test scheduled for today another time?”

Sample response: “Because the students had five days of notice for the test and a review day, they had ample time to prepare for the assessment. I am available before school for 15 minutes if she would like to come in for last-minute questions.”

Note: If this request comes as an email, you could also reply to it after their child has taken the test, making it a moot point. You do not have to respond to parent emails immediately.

6. “My child is unable to attend any of the tutorial sessions you offer. Are you available another time to help her with her homework? ”

Sample response: “My tutorial times are before school Tuesdays and during lunch Thursdays. Is there a possibility that Rachel could rearrange her schedule to attend one of these times? I can also meet with her for 15 minutes after school Monday, but only next week, not on a regular basis.”

7. “My child should be placed in advanced-level math; can she switch classes?”

Sample response: “Please refer to the placement criteria that are published on our department website [provide link if it is published]. If Larkin’s [grades or test scores or prerequisites] meet the placement criteria, I would be glad to meet with you to discuss which class would be the best learning environment for him at this time.”

8. “My child does not get along with Cara. Can you make sure they do not play together during the school day?”

Sample response: “In my experience as an educator, I often observe that children move in and out of friendships—this is quite normal for their developmental stage. I will closely observe both of them at recess today. If they need to give each other space, I will step in.”

Note: If a parent is worried about their child being bullied or physically harmed (even if it seems to be an unjustified concern), stay in frequent communication with the concerned parent so they can feel confident that their child is safe at school.

Keep in mind that these are generic suggestions. Trust your professional intuition to make adjustments for extenuating circumstances. Sometimes rules need to be broken.

Additionally, even if you use the preceding sample responses, some parents will keep pushing to get what they want. However, many parents make these requests only to see if their request is a possibility and quickly back off when you professionally say no. When you’re deciding how to respond to a parent request, remember to stay true to a solution that is best for the student. As professionals, we can partner with parents toward this goal.

Free books for students as part of a new Black Hills Literacy program launch

“porter the hoarder” and the “hospital hijinks” are some of the featured books along with a special homework section for parents.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - For the first time, 4,000 first and second graders across the Black Hills will participate in The Porter Project by receiving free books and “Parent Homework” the week of May 13.

Monument Health will expand the project this year by providing copies of Porter the Hoarder and the Hospital Hijinks to second-grade students. Additionally, first grade students will receive copies of a new book, Porter the Hoarder, Nature Explorer, provided by Black Hills Reads. The Porter Project is a family engagement project initially created by Black Hills Reads, an initiative under the umbrella of United Way of the Black Hills and expanded across the state by the South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center for the past five years.

This year, the project is returning to Black Hills Reads with several new and exciting changes to help support positive early reading habits.

Porter the Hoarder is a series of look-and-find books written by Sean Covel (producer of movies including the iconic independent film, Napoleon Dynamite) and illustrated by Rebecca Swift (artist and singer/songwriter who has appeared on American Idol).

The series follows the emotional rollercoaster of a snappy little girl named Porter. In book two of the series, Porter the Hoarder, Nature Explorer, Porter must complete a nature hike by collecting only one wagon full of finds. Readers decide if she should keep things such as rainbow river rocks or flatulent flying fish. Does she keep them or throw them away? She has very strong opinions about both outcomes. In book 6 of the series, Porter the Hoarder and the Hospital Hijinks, Porter must choose between things such as shiny stethoscopes or beat-up bedpans to win an ambulance full of robots.

Both Covel and Swift are proud South Dakotans. “It’s so exciting to release a new book for first-grade families and now expand the project to include second graders as well!” said writer and Edgemont native, Sean Covel.

“As a mom of three I’ve read every kid’s book under the sun,” said illustrator Rebecca Swift who currently lives in Bridgewater, SD. “With Porter, we set out to create something fun for both parents and kids. So that’s what we did! We never imagined it would be part of a massive reading project in our home state. I’m blown away.”

“United Way of the Black Hills started the Black Hills Reads initiative to promote early literacy and get kids excited about reading,” said Hanna Glissendorf, Director of Black Hills Reads. “Porter the Hoarder does this better than anything else, which is why we are so excited to once again be offering The Porter Project to students throughout the Black Hills.”

The launch will include classroom readings led by Monument Health doctors, nurses, and providers across the region. These schools extend as far north as Belle Fourche, as far south as Edgemont and cover two dozen more schools in between.

“Partnering with Porter the Hoarder is such a great opportunity for Children’s Monument Health,” said Kyle Lemley, M.D., Pediatric Hospitalist, at Monument Health. “This story not only helps our young patients see health care in a less-scary way, but it helps us positively impact our communities.”

Questions and interview requests with any of the parties mentioned in this release can be addressed to:

Hanna Glissendorf, Director of Black Hills Reads at [email protected] .

Stephany Chalberg, Monument Health Manager of Public Relations at [email protected] .

More information on the history of the project can be found on this website .

Porter the Hoarder books are currently available on Amazon .

About Black Hills Reads: Black Hills Reads is the United Way of the Black Hills’s early education initiative, which helps ensure children are proficient readers by the end of third grade. Black Hills Reads promotes early learning and literacy opportunities for more than 24,000 early learners under nine and their families throughout the Black Hills and Western South Dakota.

About Monument Health: Headquartered in Rapid City, S.D., Monument Health is a community-based healthcare system with a mission to make a difference, every day. The system offers care in 31 medical specialties and serves 14 communities across western South Dakota and in eastern Wyoming. With over 5,000 physicians and caregivers, Monument Health is composed of 5 hospitals and 38 medical clinics and specialty centers. Monument Health is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

About South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center: The South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC) is passionate about supporting communities and families. When families and communities are strong, we create nurturing environments where children learn, grow, and thrive. Our team works to provide meaningful resources, grow skills, and create partnerships that ultimately build the capacity that schools, families, and communities need to reach their goals.

Copyright 2024 KEVN. All rights reserved.

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