I have about twenty minutes to kill before my next home visit, so here’s a little insight about what to take.
First, do all your research ahead of time. I used to to Home Visits in November for our first Parent-Teacher Conference and it was awful. It was dark by 4:30 and everybody lived out in the country. Cell phones had not been invented yet. I’d be out on some gravel road looking for ‘the white house just past the big red fuel tank in the field’ and trying not to hit a deer. Cell phones, Google Maps and Google Earth are your friends.
I have about 5 scheduled for each day, with about 20 – 25 minutes at each house with 5 – 10 minutes saved for travel time. Bring a watch along and tell the parents ahead of time if you have a visit following theirs. It will help you stay on track.
I take along (in the car): a basket/box with all the folders, a map with the evening’s visits marked, a pen and pad of paper to leave a note in canse someone forgot I was coming, my cell phone, the class list of numbers and addresses, and a digital camera. (Bring extra batteries if you can. I’ve had mine die before I took the child’s picture.)
I’ll try to figure out how to put up photos of the papers inside the folders, but until then, here’s what’s in there:
- Welcome letters from our Pastor and Principal
- Family Devotional ideas
- A copy of our handbook
- An Events Calendar for the year
- Release/permission forms
- a Parent/Teacher Assessment form – this is new. It asks the parents to list some goals they have for their child. On the back side is a list of the 50 objectives from Creative Curriculum to help them with ideas. They are to return this form the first week of school.
- A ‘Handling Separation’ form
- My classroom procedures/schedule/policies
- a stick-figure schedule for the child
- a ‘Welcome to the CDC’ video
And as long as I don’t think too hard about everything that has to be done, I’ll be fine.
I’ve really let this website fall by the wayside, and I think I’m just going to turn it into a memory archive like the other one. It will help me in the long run, I’m sure. Here goes: Prepping for home visits 2008
- 26 days before first day – Asked Lloyd to retake my picture, printed and cut new postcards (4 x 6).
- 25 days before fist day – Addressed and stamped postcards. I would have mailed them right away but I had a problem with one child’s address.
- 24 days before first day – printed other teacher’s cards and cut them out. (Thank you, Lloyd, for the paper cutter!)
- 23 days before first day – dropped them in the mailbox.
- 22 days before first day – drew up home visit schedule and printed it on cardstock. It will stay in my purse ALWAYS, since I included my phone number on the card. One copy, no missed appointments (ha). Also made new version of stick-figure daily schedule.
- 21 days before first day – started to make phone calls, realized this is going to be a small nightmare. Made up a one-day sign-up sheet to leave at school tomorrow.
I was pleased with how I put together this version of the schedule. It’s on 8 1/2 x 14 paper, and I bent a little glue margin and marked it before making the copies. They fold nice and flat this time ’round.
My husband teaches video editing at a Lutheran High School, and he brought home an iMac for the summer. I made a little five-minute welcome video to take along on home visits. I’ll set up a link to see it here. Next time I make it I’ll change some of the details. (Not as much time on the clocks!)
It’s a prototype.
I usually wait until about three weeks before school to do home visits. That is probably too late for many teachers, but I usually don’t have a completed list of students until around then, and I’m also a bit of a procrastinator. Something I have found very useful is to send out postcards telling children & families that I will be calling to schedule a time to meet. I address the postcard to the child (they love that) and print a little photo of myself on it as well. That way they’ve seen me, and are excited to meet their teacher.
If you have had any introduction to the Reggio Emilia approach, you will know that documenting children’s learning with photos is a valuable tool. The beauty of having a digital camera is that you can instantly see the photo, you can store the images on a computer to retrieve at a later date, and you have many options for printing. (Fine, medium, or ‘draft’ – to save on ink/toner.)
Find one that is easy to use, and sturdy. They make a great ice-breaker for the child at home visits! “Would you like to see your picture after I take it?”
We use a Sony FDMavica at school – the kind that can hold floppy disks. It is nice when we share it between classrooms because teachers have their own supply of disks.