14 June 2021

How to Engage Parents in the Math Classroom


I'm a fifth grade math teacher. 

I'm also a mom of two girls that are currently in third and fifth grade. 

I thought that helping my own children with homework and studying would be a breeze. Boy, was I wrong! 🤯


  • As a mom, I often had a hard time figuring out exactly what my children needed to study. If they were taking a test on fractions...what exactly did they need to know?
  • We as teachers need to honestly do a better job of giving parents the resources that they need to help their children study or complete homework. I KNOW that we have a million things on our plate already, but trust me, THIS WILL HELP YOU!
  • Most parents want to help their children but they honestly don't know how (cue all the social media posts about their hatred of Common Core Math).


1. Send home a parent math guide at the beginning of the year.
  • Parents should know what their child will be learning during the current school year even if they don't understand all of the strategies that will be used. 
  • At the beginning of the school year, I send home a 5th Grade Math Parent Guide that lists all of our learning standards for the year AND gives them sample problems. 

  • This is also the best way to help the parents who ask for MORE ways to help their child at home.
2. Simplify your math homework.
  • I've made the honest mistake of sending math problems on homework that were way too tough. The child struggled, the parent was frustrated, and I've received a few too many frustrated emails along the way. 
  • I strongly believe in spiral review math homework, but I keep it simple. I stick to 6-8 math problems focusing on algorithms only. I leave the higher level word problems for math practice in class. It's as simple as something like this daily decimal practice sheet:
  • This way, students are still practicing math at home, but they are problems that the students should be able to complete independently. 
  • This ALSO gives parents a snapshot of what their child is learning in math. 

3. Send home a math study guide before the test.
  • When my child's teacher sends home a math study guide, I am able to see the problems that she needs to know and use those to practice with her. I can also see what she is struggling with and create "new" problems to help her study further. 
  • A study guide does not have to be complicated. Simply create a document that lists concepts that students will need to know for the test. 
    • Quick Tip: if you are using these types of problems on homework already, simply keep the same homework format and change the numbers around. 
  • I often attach our math standards to the top of the study guide and tell parents when the test will be. I include a parent signature to make sure that parents will see it?
  • I wrote about it on this Instagram post, and it really resonated with a lot of teachers:

  • By the way, you should NOT be doing this all on your own. You work with a team for a reason. Split the workload! You can do the study guide this month, and your coworker can take your template and do the study guide next month. I have a hard time saying this because I am someone that has a hard time asking for help, but it will save your sanity. We cannot do it all. 
4. Parents should know when your math tests will be! 

  • I can't tell you how many times my daughters have told me "I have a test tomorrow!" the day.before.the.test. 😩 ALL kids do this.
  • This tip has been a game changer in my classroom!
  • Every month, I send home a calendar that lists all of our upcoming events, test dates, and due dates. 
    • Actually, I send home a printable copy, an email copy, AND I give each child a copy for the binder. Just to be sure! 
  • Parents have told me countless times how much the appreciate these! I encourage them to place the calendar on their refrigerator at home. 

I hope that I was able to inspire you today!

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Happy Teaching!

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