The majority of students will end the school day with a batch of homework that they must complete. Today, many schools require students to make use of the internet in order to complete their work. This can be a big problem for students who fall into the “homework gap”.
What’s the “homework gap”? It is the space between the students whose families have access to the internet at home – and the students whose families do not have internet access at home. Those who cannot access the internet at home are at a disadvantage.
The Council of Economic Advisers released a March 2016 Issue Brief that has more details about the “homework gap”. It states that the number of U.S. households subscribing to the internet has risen 50 percent from 2001 to 2014, and three-quarters of American households currently subscribe.
At the same time, the Issue Brief also found: “A digital divide remains, however, with just under half of households in the bottom income quintile using the internet at home, compared to 95 percent of households in the top quintile.” In short, students who come from low-income families frequently fall into the “homework gap”.
Here are some ways to cope with the “homework gap”:
Talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child can stay after school and use a school computer to complete their homework. The school might have a computer lab that has internet access. It’s possible that the school already has a system in place that allows students to sign up and “reserve” time on a school’s computer after school is over for the day.
Try the local library. Many public libraries have some computers that are available for public use. Those computers are often used by genealogists who need to go online to do their research. Ask a librarian if your child can do his or her homework on their computers. You might need a library card first. Those are free and easy to obtain.
Consider an after school program. The Boys and Girls Club, and the YMCA, both have after school programs for students of different ages. One thing these programs do is provide a good place for students to get their homework done. They may have computers with internet access that your child could use.
If all else fails, consider taking your child to a fast food place, or cafe, that has free Wi-Fi. You will need to bring a laptop with you. In general, the business is going to expect that you will buy food or beverages while you are there.
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