In our experience, we have found that sometimes children make the mistake of seeing the classroom teacher as the educator, and Mom/Dad as a parent (not a teacher). It is important that we help children learning within the UMS model understand that they have multiple teachers, including their parents, and in fact, that Mom and Dad are the primary guides for learning. This partnership is what makes this model work so well. Creating this understanding often takes place with no difficulty. We encourage parents to talk with their children about this unique model and the importance of respect to authority both in the home and on campus classrooms. If however a parent at Commission finds that they are having a difficulty during the home days, especially when there is no evidence of non-compliance on the campus days with the classroom teacher, The Administration may speak with the child to assist them in understanding how important it is that they come to school prepared to learn, with a teachable spirit, every day, whether that is during school on the home day with Mom/Dad, or on campus at Commission with a classroom teacher.
I am struggling with implementing curriculum and/or home assignments because I am not clear on what is being asked of me or if I'm doing it right.
One of the best benefits of being a co-teaching parent in a UMS is that you are a part of a wonderful partnership in educating your child(ren). There are number of ways you can receive confirmation that you are implementing the curriculum and teaching home assignments accurately at Commission:Schedule a meeting with the classroom teacher to see if you are understanding the curriculum and teaching the assignments well.
Schedule a co-teacher observation day, where you are able to observe the classroom teacher implement the curriculum with success.
Meet with another co-teacher who is implementing the curriculum with success. Several of our families have chosen to do “joint home classroom days,” where children of the same level learn together from one co-teacher. This is an excellent opportunity for a parent who is feeling insecure about the curriculum to observe a parent who is more confident with the curriculum.
Meet with your Connection Team Coach and share your concerns. She may be able to assist you directly, or can point you in the direction of someone who can.
Meet with Diane Hineline, our Administrator whose focus is on curriculum and curriculum training. She will be able to answer your questions about the curriculum.
Every now and then there are home assignments that are too easy for my child. I would rather move on and do something else with that time. Is that ok?
The co-teacher has the autonomy to make this choice for their child as long as they have taken the time to explore, research and understand the objectives and purpose of the assignment(s) and provide an appropriate alternative way for their child to achieve the desired objective. Once an alternative assignment is planned, please communicate that to the classroom teacher.
My child needs to focus more on an area where he is struggling. How can I work in extra time during our home day to give the attention needed to bring him up to speed?
The parent co-teacher should collaborate with the classroom teacher, and together work out a plan where he/she creates room during their home days to focus on area in need.
There are items in the lesson-plan that are not clear. What is the best way to get clarification quickly?
All of our classroom teachers have office hours on their home days where they check email or can receive phone calls from parents with questions. The details for contact information and office hours can be found on the current parent webpage. Reach out to the classroom teacher during their office hours, and they will get back to you with the information you need. If it is information you need sooner than a classroom teacher will get back to you, you can also reach out to other co-teachers teaching at the same level, who may be able to help you.
My child is sick. He has missed school and home assignments. How much time is reasonable to get caught up?
Our late policy states that “all missed assignments are due within 2 on-campus school days from the day the student returns to class after an excused absence unless other arrangements have been made with The Administration/teacher. Depending on the child’s illness, it may be necessary to have more than two days to get caught up. This is something that the classroom teacher and parent can work together to determine.
I have students at multiple levels. I am only one person and I am struggling to teach/complete the assignments in the time allowed. What are some strategies to help me multi-task my time and attention?
It helps to be organized, set expectations in advance, to communicate with the classroom teacher. One of our teachers, who is also a parent of multiple students at multiple levels at Commission, says “Everything needs a designated home. Show your children where everything goes. Also, post a schedule that includes times when Mom is available to help each individual. It can even have times posted when the big kids take turns with the littles. The day won't always go as planned, but at least the children have an expectation of when mom is available to help (when it is his/her turn). And grace, give yourself grace. Reach out to the classroom teacher and be completely honest on those days with a quick email, text, or even a phone call.
How long should our home assignments take to complete on home days?
A rule of thumb at university-model schools is that for every hour spent in the classroom, the equivalent time on each core subject is required in the “satellite classroom” at home. This rule, of course, varies according to the needs and age of a student. If a student is academically strong in a particular area, perhaps less time will be needed. If a student has limitations in a subject or the subject is particularly challenging, then more time will be needed. Parents need to be alert to each of their children’s individual needs and lead them accordingly in the structuring of their time.