Although there are multiple reasons to include homework in afterschool programs, perhaps the most compelling reason is that homework help can increase student achievement. In fact, research suggests that when students have the homework support they need, they are more likely to do better in school.
Why Homework in Afterschool Is Important
Homework gives students opportunities to practice and review what they are learning, prepare for new material, and apply learning to new situations. In addition, homework can help students develop good study habits and demonstrate that learning can occur anywhere—not just in the classroom. Effective homework help can foster independent, life-long learning.
Afterschool programs can play an important role in supporting academic achievement. Programs can designate time and create optimal space for homework completion. Program staff can actively assist students in developing organizational, time-management, and study skills that help students complete their homework and encourage their overall academic success.
Principles of Quality Homework Help
In consideration of best policies and practices for homework time, six principles of quality guide the development of the homework content included in this toolkit. These principles state that quality homework programming is:
- for all children;
- an active process;
- age-level appropriate;
- supported by well-trained staff; and
- informed by ongoing needs and progress.
About the Homework Help Tools
Homework help is an important part of many afterschool programs. This portion of the toolkit includes content that afterschool staff and program leaders can use to develop and maintain effective practices aimed at improving academic outcomes for students.
Each Homework practice has specific tools and worksheets. Below are some general planning documents to help you get started:
- Conversation Starter on Homework Help (PDF)
- Professional Development Plan (PDF)
- Intentional Homework Activities (PDF)
How to Use the Tools
The materials in the Homework toolkit can be used in many ways. Practices can be used for self-study or staff training. Use the tools to create, evaluate, and refine practices for your program. Toolkit trainings on a local, state, regional, or national level are also available through the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning. See the training section of the SEDL Web site for more information.
Using the Homework Tools Across Subject Areas
Since homework cuts across all subject areas, these practices were designed to work in conjunction with the other content areas throughout the Afterschool Training Toolkit (Literacy, Math, Science, Arts, and Technology). As a part of academic homework support, many afterschool programs offer tutoring and mentoring services. Practices on tutoring are also available as part of the Literacy, Math, and Science toolkits.