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Need Homework Help?

How can we help our children improve their grades and reduce the associated stress with school work?

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Homework can be a constant battle for families. Children are often reluctant to listen to their parents' explanations of the assignments and their “help” tends to be ignored and unappreciated. 

But it’s not just their school work that we should be concerned with. As parents, we also have to worry about their self-esteem, which can be damaged by poor grades and feelings of inferiority.

There are several avenues within Foster City where you can seek help for your child with their homework.  Many times, just having an outsider explain the concepts to your child is all they need.  Whether it is a particular subject or a certain project your child is having issues with or if they just need general help with the grade level material, you can find help to suit your particular needs.

There are many agencies that offer group tutoring and/or programmed learning.  These offer more help in concepts and study skills; they don't assist with the time sensitive items the child is having problems with.  These types of programs may work for the long run, but I’ve seen children get frustrated when they’re unable to grasp the concept currently being discussed in school while their afterschool program is concentrating on something completely different.

What seems to work better for some children is a one on one approach, where the child and tutor actually work on the child’s current work load and assignments.  Private tutors can be arranged, at an average cost of $30 to $60 per hour, or group setting tutoring can be sought at a lesser fee or no fee.  If you are looking for private tutoring, don’t ignore the option of checking with your teacher or with other teachers you respect --– teachers often tutor after school hours, know the current curriculum better than an outside tutor and sometimes have more reasonable rates.

The offers free homework help for children in grades fifth through twelfth on Mondays through Thursdays, from 3:30 to 6 pm. A professional tutor assists the children on a drop in basis.  In this environment, the children can bring their current homework with them to work on and receive assistance as needed or merely work independently in a quiet, supervised environment.

l also has free after school homework help available in their media center every Monday and Thursday afternoons from 3 to 4 pm. Select teachers are available each session to assist students with questions or students can just take advantage of the quiet time to work independently.  There is a strict rule about socializing during this hour, and students who want to visit with friends instead of work on their studies may be asked to leave.

Bowditch Middle School also has an after school program run by the school district called the Annex, which does have a fee involved.  This program is designed as a daycare option for middle school students, but staff members are also readily available to assist on any study needs or questions.

offers study help as well. For a one-time membership fee of $25, middle school students can take advantage of this fun, supportive environment. Most students take the SamTrans bus from Bowditch to the Foster City Library and walk across the street to the Vibe.  Once there, students have a mandatory study hour with approximately three staff members to assist when needed, followed by supervised fun with friends.  There is also a study room with computers available for any children who want to study past the required hour.  In this environment, students can choose to work independently, with their friends or with the assistance of a staff member.

There are also many daycare programs for children in Foster City that emphasize study skills and homework.  These programs provide supervision, academic assistance and fun for the children, for a fee.  Two of these local options include the ’s Treehouse program and the Newton program at .

The Peninsula Jewish Community Center's recently opened Treehouse program is for grades one through five.  The staff at Treehouse will pick the children up after school from any Foster City elementary school and bring them to the PJCC for homework help (the amount of assistance is determined at a meeting between the parents and the staff) followed by an afternoon of fun, including cooking and art projects.

Another local daycare program which emphasizes homework and homework assistance is the Newton Program at Brewer Island.  This program is open as after school care for grades one through five at Brewer Island Elementary School and is also available for middle school students at Bowditch Middle School.  Middle school students are picked up from Bowditch by a Newton staff member, brought to Brewer Island Elementary School, and receive homework assistance and enrichment activities (the level of which are determined by a prior meeting with parents and staff members), all in a group setting of similar aged peers. 

Yoram Tamir, owner of the Newton program states, “This program is designed to go beyond the curriculum the child is currently working on by working with both the parents and the child to determine the individual child’s needs.”

Each student and family has different study needs and various methods which work for them.  Regardless of which work best for you, I think we are alike in that we want to find a way to best help our children, either directly or indirectly, to succeed in the competitive school environment they are now in. 

I’d like to open this up for discussion among readers: How do you handle homework and studying with your child?  Do you have a tip or story on this topic? Share with us by emailing sarahy@patch.com or commenting below. 

John Craighead March 02, 2011 at 04:38 AM
When my boys were younger, it was a constant fight to keep on top of their homework. I'll admit that the battle wasn't always won. Setting up a routine is always helpful, as the child(ren) know when to expect to be doing homework. I think School Loop is a great tool for parents, sure wish we had that when my boys were in Middle/High School ! Being firm, but fair is a good rule. Let them have breaks every so often if it's a heavy homework night works also. I enjoy Candyce's articles & look forward to them every week !

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