Many after school programs offer a Homework Club or hour. Some are required to do so and some do it to add to their beneficial daily programming. Whatever the reasons it can be quite a challenge to have a successful homework program in an after school setting. Here are some tips to hosting a successful homework time
1) Construct a Parent/Staff/Student Homework Agreement: Expectations should be clearly outlined on this agreement. Be sure to have the Parent/Child sign it and keep it in a safe place. Important questions/points to consider and include on this agreement are:
- Are children who are signed up required to attend Homework time?
- Discipline Policy and Procedures are clearly outlined and parents are aware of it. (see #4 sub-heading below for more on this)
- How long will Homework time last?
- How many Staff will be supervising Homework time?
- Center responsibilities – are they responsible for making sure homework is completed or corrected? Will the center be providing materials such as pencils, rulers, lined paper, dictionaries, etc. If so, list what will be provided
2) Provide a Daily Sign In/Out Log: Keep track of student attendance in HW Time and place it in the Parent area at the end of the day for their review
3) Post Homework Time Rules: Make it clear what is expected of the children while they are in HW Club
4) Provide a suitable Homework environment: Ideally a room with tables and dedicated only to Homework time. If you have a large number of students or mixed ages you may want to make a seating chart. Try to minimize distractions as much as possible. Set up a corner where children can sign in and out and check out pencils, paper, dictionaries, rulers, erasers, and calculators (optional.) It is best not to have an electronic sharpener in the room as it can become quite a distraction. Try to have Staff make sure pencils are sharpened beforehand and if necessary hand out handheld sharpeners, which are much more budget friendly anyway.
5) Instill a Discipline Policy: The goal is to provide an atmosphere that is conducive for everyone to complete their Homework. Set up Homework Club Discipline Guidelines and be consistent about enforcing them. Example~ 3 Step policy if children are being disruptive 1) Verbal Warning 2) Move their Seat 3) Dismissal from Homework Time.
6) Provide Rewards & Incentives: Reward positive behavior during Homework Time. Try to to recognize not only their good behavior but also how well they are staying focused on their Homework and completing it. You can use a Smiley Sticker Chart, and have a Homework Party after a certain number of stickers are earned. You can also put up a WOW Board, showing off children’s stellar work.
7) Have Break Time Before Homework Time: Try to have a 15 to 20 minute window between the time school gets out to when Homework time begins. During this break the children can relax, have a snack and then re-focus on their work without feeling burned out.
Best of Luck having a successful Homework Time at your program. As with any new idea with children, you may want to adapt or change a few things here and there to fit the needs of your program.
10 thoughts on “Homework Club/Help in After School Programs: How to make this time productive”
That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here.
I know from past experiences two major ways to gain homework success is taking a break after school/before homework (but not too long of a break) and rewards/incentives. As students get older the rewars and incentives will obviously change- but learning at a young age the value of hard work, and subsequent rewards is great.
We are starting a homework club this term at our local church. We are situated in a VERY poor area in Cape Town South Africa, called Delft. We are looking forward to starting by giving learners a SAFE PLACE (with a table), where they could do their homework in a far better environment than at home. Thank you for this website, and all your ideas! it is precious to me! Regards, Glenda
I am so moved by what you are doing for the children in Delft. Having a safe place for them to do their homework is priceless! I wish you and the children the best of luck in this venture. Please let me know if you need anymore ideas and I would be glad to brainstorm with you!
My school is in a deprived part of London. We have just started an afterschool initiative to help students with homework and to get them to go the extra mile with their studies. I have found that small rewards i.e. stickers and small refreshments are.good incentives, but we promote the big incentive as being Success! Every time a student attends they also receive a raffle ticket. At the end of a term names are drawn from the box for even bigger prizes, e.g. high street vouchers. It is working very well and.easily have 50 plus students every day
Martin- That is awesome to hear that your Homework program is going successfully! I too have found small incentives work to keep children motivated. I like your idea of giving raffle tickets each time children attend! What a great motivator. We have had great success using homework “smilies” for children who attend and posting a WOW board that displays children’s work.
I AM PLANNING TO START A HOMEWORK CENTER FIRST IN MY HOME AND LATER MOVE TO A BIGGER VENUE. THESE IDEAS ARE SO HELPFUL AND I AM IN THE MIDST OF TOWN BUT SEE KIDS IN OUR CHURCH NEED HELP WITH THEIR STUDIES.
My friend started a homework club in Nyanga Cape Town I would like to help. But i dont know how now visting your site helped thank you
I am so happy to hear that! If you’d ever like to guest blog about your club, we’d love to see what you guys did.