Most days when my son gets home from school, his homework is finished. While this is really, really nice, what really makes it great is that his homework is done correctly.
There are different types of after-school programs, and each type will have its own homework philosophy, goals and focus. For some programs, homework will be a priority, but for others, fun and recreation or enrichment activities such as art, music or dance may take center stage.
How do you know if homework is a priority at your after-school program?
- Does the program mention homework in its brochure, website and materials? Do they say it is a priority? If they don't mention homework, it's probably not a priority.
- Does the program have dedicated space and time to complete homework? There should be a homework area (a separate room is ideal) for students to work on their homework. This environment should be quiet and free from distractions (usually those students not doing homework!)
- Does the program have proper homework materials, supplies? Paper, pencils, reference books?
- Does the program have an adult supervising the homework area? An adult staff member should be available to answer questions, to make certain that no copying (cheating) is taking place and to keep students focused on finishing their work.
If the program seems to do only a fair job with homework, consider allowing your child to do his "easy" homework there and save the important homework for home. For example, my daughter often did those (silly) math and spelling worksheets at the after-school program, but saved reading, writing and special projects for home.
If the after school homework program is not up to snuff, please don't insist that your child participate. Wrong, rushed, sloppy, copied homework is a waste of everybody's time. Let your child spend the afternoon playing, relaxing, and eating a snack. He will be in a much better mood to do his homework later.
When trying to decide if your child should do any or all of his homework at the after-school program, please consider his unique personality. Some children need a break right after school, while others have no problem doing their homework immediately. Give your child the Homework Personality Quiz to determine if after your school's homework program is a good match for your child.