Many families and communities are realizing the need for student homework assistance after school hours. In some cases, parents are simply unable to provide the academic knowhow and explanations to their children even if they have the time and desire to help. As a result, parents have turned to other avenues which include private tutors, homework centers at public libraries and community centers, or online homework programs.
Private tutors provide students with face-to-face and undivided attention, but can be costly. Online programs are interactive, accessible, and convenient for students, but not everyone has internet access. Homework centers provide a traditional learning environment that some students prefer, but there are transportation barriers, especially in rural areas.
As you can see, even seemingly free services have a cost.
Most of these homework assistance tools represent cost shifting from schools to families, many of whom are not financially able to meet their children’s academic needs.
We are not discounting the fact that students need to begin and continue learning at home and outside the classroom nor are we discrediting the value of homework centers, tutors, or online homework programs. We are also not saying that teachers should be blamed for assigning homework.
We do, however, need to acknowledge that not all families can meet the academic needs of their students outside the classrooms. Public community and private efforts are filling the gaps that some families cannot fill. As a result, our homework assignment is to find ways to make these programs accessible to as many students as possible, without forcing the cost burden onto families, especially as they struggle to make ends meet.