9. How can I help support my child in doing homework in the second language, particularly if I donít know that language? What kind of homework support can the program provide?

Parents can support students at home by making sure that they have the right environment and tools to get homework done (e.g., a quiet space and enough time, paper, dictionaries in both languages, writing utensils, and art supplies such as construction paper, paste, tape, and colored makers). Parents can also ask questions about the homework in the language spoken at home, thus giving the students opportunities to explain the assignment in their first language.

The program can also provide homework support. One of the best supports is ongoing communication between the teacher and the parents through a weekly newsletter in both languages. In the newsletter, the teacher can describe the topics that are being taught and provide an overview of homework assignments for the week, along with written guidance for complicated assignments (and perhaps some models of completed assignments). Teachers can also set up a class buddy system, matching an English-speaking student with a student speaking the other program language to help one another with homework. Yet another way that the program can provide homework support is by running an after-school homework club where students can receive support on long-term projects or on a daily basis.

Finally, the program can organize a homework hotline or a group of parent volunteers to provide homework support in one language or another, by telephone or email. Alternately, the teacher or parent volunteers could tape-record the homework each day along with helpful suggestions for completing it.