After School Homework Programs

As national conversations turn toward reframing the traditional school day and year, there remains much to be gleaned from 10 years of research and evaluation about what works to support student learning and success.There’s nothing like tough homework assignments to create stress and frustration for both you and your child.

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Also, youth benefit by developing positive relationships with the program’s staff, who in turn model good behavior, actively promote student mastery of skills or concepts in activities, listen attentively, provide feedback and guidance, and establish clear expectations for mature, respectful interactions with peers.But beyond offering a safe haven, research and evaluation studies have demonstrated that the programs can have a positive effect on a range of prevention outcomes, such as avoidance of drug and alcohol use, decreases in delinquency and violent behavior, increased knowledge of safe sex, avoidance of sexual activity, and reduction in juvenile crime.Afterschool programs can help tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity among our nation’s children and youth.The afterschool homework environment accommodates group collaborative study and individual one-on-one help.In a classroom setting, desks are arranged so that students with similar work can help each other with the guidance of a qualified facilitator.To build the knowledge base, and to support efforts to improve quality in this field, the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) has developed and maintains an accessible national database of evaluations of hundreds of afterschool programs.In 2008, HFRP issued a review of these studies to address two fundamental questions: Does participation in after school programs make a difference, and if so, what conditions appear to be necessary to achieve positive results?Another common thread among all of these studies is that successful programs focus not just on academic support, but also offer other enrichment activities.Thus, balancing academic support with a variety of structured, engaging, and enjoyable extracurricular activities appears to improve academic performance.The United States is engaged in an ongoing, public discussion about how to best expand afterschool time and opportunities for children and youth, to support their learning and development across the day, throughout the year, and from kindergarten through high school.Debate continues about the range of academic, social, and other types of knowledge and skills that young people will need to succeed as workers, citizens, and family and community members in a global world.

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