ADHD and homework, words to strike fear into most parent’s hearts. But it doesn’t have to be the war of the worlds to get your ADHD child to do their homework. No one claims it’s going to be easy every time, but it can be easier most of the time. No two children are the same, and no two children with ADHD are the same, but there are things that work for most situations, children, and yes you the parents. Forgotten text books, forgotten details, forgotten homework. We’ve all been there, but for ADHD children this is the norm rather than the exception. ADDitude Magazine has some great tips to put in place in school, to make sure you’re ready at home, we also include a video we found helpful, if you need further support after reading this post reach out to Scholar Tutoring, where one of our tutoring might be able to offer one-two-one support.
Solutions at School - Allow time to write down homework assignments. Teachers should post the day’s assignments on the board, and read them aloud to reinforce the information. If attention or language deficits make it hard for some kids to copy down the homework, give everyone a typed assignment sheet to take home. - Establish "study buddies." Partner children so they can check each other's assignment books and make sure everything is correct and in the right place. At the end of the day, buddies can help each other pack up the planners and books they'll need at home. - Create a "completed work" folder. This folder will serve as a reminder for what needs to go back to school. For kids who have trouble remembering their homework, include a sheet for parents to sign once the work is finished and packed in the child's school bag. - Lighten the homework load. Children with ADD ADHD work slowly and are easily frustrated. Try cutting down their work load by assigning just the odd-numbered math problems for example. This way, the student can demonstrate what he's learned without being pushed too hard. Once the homework comes home, this may mean you need to talk to their teachers to make sure it is coming home, you can start to set up the correct conditions to get things done at home. Prepare a time, place and things that you need.Here is a YouTube video we found helpful, if you need further
Track the task and break it down. They need to write a story four pages long with illustrations, or they have to produce a 20-page piece of coursework. Sit an ADHD child down with that task in front of them, and the majority will be out their seat and gone before you can say procrastinate. Instead break that story down into a plan, an introduction or start, the body of the story, the conclusion and the illustrations. At each stage set a goal, a deadline and a reward. The Reward can be as simple as a mark on a chart such as a star, just to give them a visual or physical indicator that they achieved that section. Overall track the day’s tasks, break them down into 10 or 20 minute blocks and check them off as they are completed. Work to their strengths and time scales. If an average week contains 4 hours’ homework, then 3 sets of 20 minutes a night, with 5 minutes break between each one. Suddenly 4 hours of homework is just over an hour a night and Friday off if they get it all done on the other nights. Rather than being a punishment “don’t get the work done tonight and you’ll have to work on Friday” make it a reward, “Well done, you worked hard all week and you’ve completed your work, so we have tonight to do something else.” Make sure it gets to school Have a folder of completed work and make sure it gets to school. Use the methods of communication that you make sure homework comes home, to make sure it goes the opposite direction. Pack the folder in their school bag as soon as the homework is completed, and stress that work can be handed into the teacher before it’s due, not just on the day it’s due. Make sure they know when they’ve got it right. Adults with ADHD suffer from a lack of confidence in part because they’ve spent their childhood being told they’ve got things wrong. Make homework fun by praising them when they get it right. It doesn’t have to be fireworks and marching bands at every correct statement, but a “well done,” or “You’ve got it.” as they go will make the world of difference. A hug or other reminder you care; no matter their homework performance can help soothe the anxious child. Make it fun If you can put the fun into learning, make it a game, or link it to stuff that they love. But it’s better to spend time having fun and learning, than fighting and not learning.
- Time, some students come in still in the frame of mind for learning, others need some time and exercise to burn off the day’s frustrations, before getting stuck back in. Find out what works for your child and set aside that time every day.
- Place, have a place that minimizes distractions, but don’t stick them in the spare room on their own whilst the rest of the family enjoys themselves down stairs. Often setting up on the kitchen table with a box of supplies at the ready, or if you have a home office, at their own desk with you working in the room at the same time can be what they need.
- Have things at the ready. Keep a set of textbooks at home so it doesn’t matter if they forget and leave theirs at school, paper pencils, bottle of water, pen and refills all minimizes the procrastination time in getting up, to get a drink, to sharpen their pencil. Most ADHD students will hyper focus, once you capture their attention.
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