After school programs are becoming more and more popular, and it’s no wonder: these programs can be a true godsend for the millions of American families without a parent or relative available to pick up a child from school in the middle of the afternoon, but are these programs good places for  doing   homework ?

As a parent, your first concern regarding any after-school program is safety.

– Are the students safe and well-supervised?

– Are the staff members fingerprinted, their backgrounds checked and cleared before hiring?

– How  do  students get to the program from their classrooms?

– Is there a procedure for parents picking up their children?  Do  parents sign in, show ID?

– Are all of the site entrances locked and/or guarded?

– What happens if a child gets hurt or sick?

– Is an adult front and center to make certain that safety rules and procedures are followed?

Once those questions have been answered, it’s time to see how the after-school program handles  homework .

Not All After School Programs Are the Same

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 such as paper, pencils, and 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  a fair job with  homework , consider allowing your child to  do  his “easy”  homework  and save the important  homework  for home. For example, my daughter sometimes  did  those (silly)  math  and spelling worksheets at the after-school program, but saved reading and 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, occupied  homework  is really a waste of 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  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 my  Homework  Personality Quiz to determine if  homework  and after school programs are a good match.