So before the deployment, I had already started the paperwork to enroll her in the CDC after-school program. A CDC staff member meets the kids after school, walks them to the Youth Center, and then serves snacks, helps with homework, and supervises play. I can’t afford to send her daily, so I was planning to use it as an occasional treat. If she completed her homework without whining, or if she did well on her spelling, then she could go there to hang out with her friends 1 day per week. She has always been asking to join some of her classmates, so I thought it would be a good motivational incentive.
But before I even completed the enrollment, a better opportunity came along! Our base has a very active YMCA program, that offers a variety of classes and services–mostly for free–to military members and families. One of their programs is called ‘Operation Hero.’ This is a FREE after school program which has a dual purpose: not only do they help children complete homework in a structured environment, but they also help struggling students to play games and do activities that help build their confidence, obedience, and respect. They meet after school twice a week, for 2 hours each time. The program only lasts about 1 month, but so far it has been great for me and for my daughter. It gives me an afternoon free from homework struggles, where I can do important errands (today I went grocery shopping), or I can spend some 1-on-1 time with my Kindergarten son. My daughter benefits from doing homework in an environment free from distractions, and she works much better with an adult that isn’t ME. It has only been a few weeks, but already I am noticing some improvements in her schoolwork. She is doing better with spelling words, passing more math quizzes, and taking time to write more neatly.
She doesn’t always like going to the program. It’s not the fun reward that the other after-school center would be. It is very long, and she comes home tired. But by that time, we have dinner, play outside, read books, and go to bed. So she doesn’t have as much opportunity to complain and fuss. I’m glad that she doesn’t have sports or other activities on those days, because that would be too much. So it may not be a good fit for everyone. But for us, I think it is very helpful for her to do her homework with someone else sometimes, and I am grateful for the Operation Hero afternoons!
Who else has some after-school homework strategies?