I came across an article on the role of afterschool programs as a place to do homework. I sometimes think that the home is one of the worst places do to homework and agree that libraries and school-based afterschool programs can play a valuable role in reducing pressures in the home.
The article is geared to those who run these programs and it is worth reading if you are a librarian or a afterschool program worker. That said, I would like to add another role that the afterschool program can take that is not included in this article, and that is as observer of homework behavior
In reality, up to 25% of kids have serious homework problems and, for some, continued pressure to make them do the work does more harm than good. These kids need homework relief.
In this article, the writers acknowledge that homework gets mixed to poor reviews as an educational tool, yet it is still an educational fact of life that can weigh heavily on students who fail to get it done. I know that is true. Whether or not we should accept this fact of life is up for debate, but if we do, let's not overlook the fact that there are children who are bright and capable of learning, but who are totally incapable of getting assignments done, usually because of problems with working memory and processing speed. These are under the radar learning problems that don't catch the attention of the child study team until the child acts out and the problem is one of behavior, rather than learning. After school staff, if attuned to these issues, could actually take a major role in resolving this problem. Parents are often misperceived as being too close to their kids to see them clearly. If the afterschool staff sees the child struggling and reports those observations, it may be helpful getting the child the help he needs (including homework relief), rather than leaving it to the parents to make this point alone, or assuming the child can do something he can't really do.
For more information on Dr. Goldberg's model, read other postings on this blog, visit his website, The Homework Trap, or read his book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.