Back to School: Homework Help and Tutoring

It’s almost school time. This means sending junior off to get his or her learning on until 3pm or thereabouts. Outside of school, though, your child may need additional help. Also, he or she will definitely have some level of homework to do. Depending on your own schedule and your child’s needs you may or may not be able to provide adequate help with their homework and their larger needs in school. Below we’ve provided some tips as well as some resources which will come in handy in helping junior to be successful in school.

Helping at Home

As with everything, children need structure. This means setting a homework routine. Depending on your child’s commitments, you may want to have him or her complete homework right after getting home. This assures that there is plenty of time for homework and for sleep. If your child leaves homework until right before bedtime, chances are that your kiddo will be very tired and also that homework time will eat into sleep time. No good! Also, depending on your child’s age and learning style, you may want to set the amount of time your child dedicates for homework at one time. High schoolers may be able to spend hours on homework, while first graders may only be able to concentrate for a half hour at a time. You may want to institute breaks or switch assignments at certain times.

Set a special homework spot, which has minimal distractions. This will help junior concentrate and really immerse him/herself in the task at hand. Make sure the space is well-lit and well-stocked with the supplies your child will need. This may include a computer and the typical school supplies like pens, pencil, paper, etc. Also, make sure you have a dictionary and all textbooks. Depending on your child’s learning style, you may need other tools like highlighters, post-it notes, etc.

Be aware that junior may need support in order to complete his or her assignments. This may mean just being around to check-in. Make sure to ask daily how school was and what they learned. For younger students especially, you’ll want to look over all assignments before they begin. This way you can discuss the instructions and make sure your child understands what needs to be done and how long it will take.  After junior is done with homework, check it over to make sure assignments were completed successfully.

You may also have to help with larger lessons. Help your child form a basis of good study habits that will lead to success. Help junior figure out how to write down assignments. Form a plan about how he or she wants to study for tests. Help them plan out longer projects so they don’t pick up procrastination as a habit. These things may not be mentioned in class.

Be involved in other ways too. Make sure to read your child’s report cards and progress reports, so you will be informed about his or her progress. At school, ask what tests your child will be taking in their current grade. Ensure that teachers know who you are so they will more readily reach out to you if your child is having a hard time. Meet the school’s Parent Coordinator and PTA president. Contact them with questions, attend parent teacher nights and other school events, and volunteer for school events. Also, be on top of your child’s attendance. Missing classes can lead to lack of comprehension.

If your child needs additional support, seek out resources. There are many community organizations that offer academic support. We’ve listed some resources below.

Supplemental Educational Services

This program offered through the Department of Education is federally funded and provides free academic tutoring in the academic subjects to eligible students who attend eligible schools. SES eligible schools may have a status which indicate that they are in need of improvement or are pursuing it. Find out if your child’s school is eligible here or speak to the Principal or Parent Coordinator. You will be notified by your child’s school if he or she is eligible. If you think your child may need this service, see the school’s Principal or Parent Coordinator.

The tutoring happens before or after school and even on weekends. It is offered at home, school, community centers or at the contractor’s center. Students can enroll during three enrollment windows in October, January, and another which is still to be determined. Parents will be able to review the updated provider directory soon.

Dial –a-teacher

This program, which is sponsored by the UFT, helps elementary and middle school students with their homework over the phone. Students and parents can call 212-777-3380 and speak to a classroom teacher in any of 12 languages, from 4pm to 7pm during the school year. Students can also interact with teachers live through Dial-A-Teacher’s white board from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on Monday through Thursday during the school year.

NYC Department of Youth and Community Development

The New York City DYCD sponsors a number of amazing programs for our sons and daughters. Search their website for programs near you. The Out-of-School Time (OST) programs offer after school programs at community organizations and schools across the city. They generally offer recreational activities and academic support. The Beacon Program supports 80 centers at public schools. These centers offer family programs including adult education as well as after school programming for youth. Also see their Adolescent Literacy Program among the many others.


The Queens Library is committed to providing quality programming for school-aged children during the afterschool hours. Many libraries host social activities like Games Clubs and even debate-type clubs. For homework help, check out the Homework Help Club at the Bayside Branch, which offers drop-in help on Saturdays and Mondays for kids 5 and up. On weekday afternoons, the Ridgewood Branch also offers the BOOST (Best Out of School Time) program which is for youngsters from 6 to 14. The program offers homework help as well as fun activities. The system as a whole also offers access to online help through a program called Brain Fuse. After registering, students can access online tutoring with live tutors in the major subjects as well as prep for major exams like the regents. Students can also access 24-hour help with writing and receive feedback on their work. There is help in Spanish and state-specific skills-building. For quick facts over the phone, students can call the Telephone Reference Service at 718-990-0714, 718-990-0728 or 718-990-0780. Check it out!

Boy’s Club of NY

For just $5 per year, your son can participate in any number of activities at BCNY. Their academic support programs are a great deal. They provide personalized tutoring for members in the five major subjects. They also have programs for specific grades like homework help and literacy.


While YMCA’s offer a lot of their after school programming free as a vendor for the DOE and with support from a number of other agencies, they also offer a lot of programming at their sites. The Long Island City Teen Center is free to all teens. It offers drop-in hours where students can take part in recreational activities as well as homework help. Check out their other free programs for teens! The Cross Island Branch offers a number of programs. Their after school childcare program is newly re-designed to include academies that young people can choose. Each academy will focus on a particular project centered around a topic, art, or sport, while also focusing on the five major subjects. They have 3, 4, and 5 day programming and extended hours go to 7PM. This fee-based program even provides transportation to and from certain area schools.

Police Athletic League (PAL)

The after-school program at the PAL centers has an academic enrichment component, which is run in small groups. They provide homework help, which is personalized to the student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Edward Byrne Center in Jamaica hosts this program as well as a Teen Center program.

Online help

While there are a number of online services which are fee-based, we’ve included only free ones here.

Check out the following web sites:


When all else fails, don’t forget: ask for help. Reach out to folks at your child’s school, if your kiddo needs additional support. If you don’t think your child is getting the appropriate support at their school, reach out to Advocates for Children at 1-866-427-6033.


Sandy Jimenez