The Ultimate List Of Back To School Suggestions and After School Programs!

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

Believe it or not summer is almost over, and it is time to get prepared for back to school! But there is no need to panic. We've got you all covered with our ultimate list of back to school suggestions.


Beyond the Bell

Type: Academic

The mission of the Beyond the Bell is to ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high quality, safe, and supervised academic, enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day (before and after school and Saturdays). Parents should request an application directly from your schools' after school provider.

Levels: Elementary+

City: Los Angeles

Contact: (213) 249-7900

Star Nova

Type: Academic, STEAM, Arts, Sports

STAR Education offers a wide breadth of exciting and original STAR NOVA enrichment classes in the areas of Academics, STEAM Education (science, technology, engineering, art and math), Language, Performing Arts, Sports & P.E., Recreation, Visual and Media Arts and so much more! STAR NOVA enrichment classes take place once or twice a week, allowing for a university quality class with a more individualized approach tailored to the specific needs and interests of each student. STAR collaborates with artists in residence, universities, and professionals in each field to create stimulating classes that give each student invigorating insight into the real world.

Levels: Elementary+

Locations: Various Schools - LAUSD


Star Galexy

Type: Academic, Homework lab, Sports

STAR Galaxy offers a balance of academic support, enrichment classes, fitness and recreation programs as well as special events on campus, community events and activities. It’s a recipe for a balanced childhood and a preparation for future success! STAR Galaxy offers a daily dose of scheduled classes, August through June, from the end of the school day until 6 PM. Students rotate through group tutoring, a homework lab, sports/fitness/recreation, and enrichment classes.

Levels: Elementary+

Locations: Various Schools - LAUSD



Type: Academic

ARC is an award-winning, nationally recognized after school and experiential education provider. ACR bridges the opportunity gap by creating transformational learning opportunities that empower youth to realize their full potential, serving 19 high schools, 16 middle schools, 2 K-8 schools, and 15 elementary schools in the Los Angeles area.

Levels: Elementary to High School

Location: Various - Los Angeles

Contact: (310) 671-4400


Type: Academic, Art, Sports

The award-winning L.A.C.E.R. After-school Programs provide middle and high school students in Los Angeles with free arts, athletics, and academic activities after school. By allowing young people the opportunity to expand their learning, improve their skills and develop new ones in a safe, supportive setting, L.A.C.E.R. fosters scholastic achievement, self-confidence, and good citizenship. Classes and supplies are free to all students, with a nutritional snack served daily. The program operates five days a week from immediately after school until 6:00 PM. To enhance learning, weekend and evening field trips to cultural and sporting events are scheduled throughout the school year. Check the website to see if your child’s school is on the participating schools list.

Levels: Middle School to High School

Location: Various - Los Angeles

Contact: (323) 957-6481


Type: Academic, Sports

The CREST programs are available to students attending SMMUSD schools. It is an easy way for parents to add more fun to their child's day with before, after, and out-of-school activities that appeal to a broad range of interests. The highly-trained, professional staff work with children year-round, right at their school site! Check the website to see if your school is one of the participant.

Levels: Elementary

Location: Various - Santa Monica

Contact: (310) 458-8540

Los Angeles Public Libraries

Type: Academic

Most Public Libraries offer variety of free after-school programs and activities. Kids and teens can explore, create and experiment, and have fun at the same time. Variety of free STEAM-related programs and workshops are offered which will inspire and motivate kids and teens with fun, hands-on learning activities. Contact your nearest public library to learn more!

​​​Levels: Elementary+

Location: Various - Los Angeles

Contact: Click here

THINK Together

Type: Academic

THINK Togehter's Afterschool Expended Learning Programs provide meaningful academic and enrichment activities to K-8 students. THINK Together Afterschool programs keep kids safe, provide them with homework support and dynamic learning time, while helping working families. THINK Together's curriculum is focused on English Language Arts, Math, STEM, Youth Development, and Arts & Enrichment. THINK Together programs are available in schools and at sites in the Bay Area, Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and San Diego County. Contact THINK Together to find out if this program is available at your school.

​​​Levels: K-8 Grade

Location: Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County

Contact: Click here


Type: Academic

At LA’s BEST, children go straight into the program after the last bell rings, without ever leaving school grounds. From Sun Valley to San Pedro, El Sereno to Venice, students at 193 elementary schools across LAUSD are greeted after their last class of the day with a nutritious snack, help with their homework, and exciting things to do and learn. Click if your here to school is a participant.

​​​Levels: Elementary

Location: Los Angeles County

Contact: (213) 978-0801

LA County Parks & Recreation Centers

Type: Sports, Homework Club

Various LA County Parks and Recreation Centers offer after-school programs, and a fun place to meet new friends, receive healthy snacks and receive helpful homework assistance. The After School Programs are managed by trained recreation staff and ensure participants a balanced curriculum of fun and educational activities. Click here for locations.

​​​Levels: Elementary+

Location: Los Angeles County

Contact: Click here for contact list

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Type: Sports, Art, Homework Club, Technology

For a minimal annual membership, kids can take part in the club’s sports, arts, homework help, and computer lab, and even eat a free snack while they’re doing it at Boys and Girls Club. Many local clubs offer daily transport from the public school to the club for an extra annual fee. Find your nearest location near you here.

​​​Levels: Elementary+

Location: Los Angeles County



Type: Sports, STEM, Art

There are nearly 10,000 local kids’ programs across the country at YMCA. The YMCA is helping all children reach their full potential by supporting their unique youth development journeys. At more than 1,000 YMCA sites nationwide, youth are engaged in year-round activities that nurture their curiosity, inspire creativity and teach them how to succeed. Find the nearest YMCA here.

​​​Levels: Kindergarten through Middle School

Location: Various locations

Contact: 1-800-872-9622


Type: Academic, Homework Club

826LA provides a variety of free programming for students ages 6–18, designed to challenge and enchant while strengthening writing skills. During the school year, 826LA offers tutoring Monday through Thursday, for students ages 6–11; and in the evening, Tuesday and Thursday, for students ages 11–18. Students gather into our writing labs at both 826LA in Mar Vista and 826LA in Echo Park to complete their homework, read, and respond to writing prompts based on a monthly theme.

Daily writing prompts are posted for students when they complete their homework and reading.

​​​Levels: Elementary through High School

Locations: Echo Park & Mar Vista

Contact: (213) 413-3388 & (310) 915-0200


Type: Academic, Homework Club

Founded in 2002 by Arnold Schwarzenegger, ASAS-LA serves over 14,000 students annually and average 6,000 students a day at 48 schools throughout the Los Angeles County and Lucerne Valley, offering a broad enrichment curriculum and homework help. After-School All-Stars' mission is to educate, enlighten, and inspire young people by providing exciting and dynamic opportunities for their success, while cultivating students’ self-esteem, leadership and respect for one another to help build healthier communities. Contact ASAS-LA to find out if this program is offered at your school.

​​​Levels: Kindergarden through High School

Locations: Los Angeles County and Lucerne Valley

Contact: (323) 957-4426


Revolution Math

Type: Academic

Revolution Math is an innovative program designed to help 2nd-5th graders develop their math skills and an overall love of learning. The live, online interface integrates an interactive learning experience with a story-based curriculum and Common Core aligned math games. Students enjoy a small class size of only 4 students (online), allowing them to build confidence under the instruction of a dedicated teacher.

Levels: 2nd - 5th Grade

Location: 1337 3rd St. Promenade, 2nd Floor, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Contact: (424) 320-3085


Get your kids ready for back to school with these wonderful books. We have carefully handpicked each book for your kids to help ease the back to school jitters. If you have an Amazon account, you can buy directly from Amazon by clicking on each book.


This School year will be the Best - On the first day of school, new classmates are asked to share what they would most like to happen in the upcoming year. Some kids hope they are familiar while others are off-the-wall. Whether it's looking good on picture day or skateboarding at school, everyone's wishes are shown in humorously exaggerated illustrations. As the first day draws to a close, there can be no doubt that this school year will definitely be the best!

Buy from Amazon/Affiliated

First Day Jitters - Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending.

I Don't want to go to School - Joey doesn't want to go to school and he has a whole list of far-fetched reasons to stay home. Can his mom convince him otherwise? Perfect for first graders or anxious children returning from summer break.

The Nigh Before First Grade - It’'s the night before the Big Day - first grade! Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers, as well as the "heroine" of the story, and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.


Middle School, The Worst Year of My Life - It's Rafe's first day at Hills Village Middle School, and it's shaping up to be the worst year ever. He has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix, but luckily he's got an ace plan for the best year ever--if only he can pull it off. Rafe tries to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class; Running in the hallway; Pulling the fire alarm! But not everyone thinks Rafe's plan is a good idea, especially not the teachers, parents, and bullies who keep getting in his way. Will Rafe decide that winning is the only thing that matters? Are things about to go from magic to tragic? Find out in this hilarious--and heartwarming--#1 New York Times bestselling hit! Includes a FREE POSTER, a teaser to the upcoming I Funny, and over 100 illustrations!

A Smart Girl's Guide to Middle School - Starting middle school can be scary. But knowing what to expect will make you feel more confident. Packed with tips and fun quizzes, here's the inside scoop on topics like classes, lockers, homework, and getting involved in after-school activities. Get help deciding the best way to introduce yourself to those new classmates. Plus, you'll read letters from other girls who were just as worried about starting middle school, and advice from girls who have already been there.


Kids need organization as much as we do. Having a comfortable homework station with all the necessary supplies makes doing homework much easier for them, and less stressful for us. These are some of our favorite children's desks and homework stations:

Mount-It! Children's Desk and Chair Set, Kids School Workstations - Blue

Premium height adjustable study tables for kids that will keep the little ones motivated for studying and learning. Colorful and modern design that will brighten up their rooms. Height adjustment of about 9 inches ensures this study and activity table grows with your child. Both the chair and the desktop can be raised for most suitable and ergonomical size. We just love them!

Mount-It! Children's Desk and Chair Set, Kids School Workstations - Pink


Getting back into the school routine can be a challenge for everyone in the family. To make adjusting to the new routine easier, start early and ease into it.

A new school year means a new routine. Get your child’s mind and body prepared for the big shift.

  • A few weeks before school starts, move bedtime back to an earlier time.

  • As the first day of school approaches, make meal times more regular and aligned with the school year schedule.

  • Put a positive spin on going back to school. Talk about the fun things your child will be learning, the old friends he’ll see, and the new friends he’ll make.

  • If your child is anxious about starting the next grade, reassure him that other children have these feelings too.

  • Don’t make plans for big trips right before the start of school.

  • Establish weekday schedules for homework, TV, baths, and bedtime.

  • Arrange playdates with friends from school to re-establish connections that may have been dropped for the summer, or to create new ones.


It’s tempting, especially during the summer, to let kids watch a lot of television and stare at their screens. As you get ready to go back to school, start to put limits on screen time if you haven’t done so during the summer.

  • Be firm. Set limits of no more than an hour or two of TV daily.

  • Set a good example by not watching a lot of TV yourself. Engage in family activities such as reading or board games.

  • Keep TVs out of your child’s bedroom to limit the temptation.

  • Encourage selective TV viewing. Discourage channel surfing which encourages passive viewing.

  • Choose wisely. There are some TV programs that can be a valuable tool for learning and expanding one’s awareness of the world.

Credit: GreatSchools Staff