Published on ADDitudeMag.com
Homework and Study Shortcuts: 12 Ways to Get Things Done Quicker
Small steps can bring huge rewards in getting homework done and in studying for tests.
By Susan Kruger, M.Ed.
You Can Get It Done
with a parent about raising her ADHD child and, sooner or later, the
conversation will turn to the homework wars. “You can’t believe how long it
takes for my son to finish homework,” she will say. “Will it ever get better?”
Yes, it will. There are ADD-friendly strategies for finishing homework and
studying more effectively. Don’t tell your child which strategy to use.
Instead, let her choose. Choice is a key factor for inspiring motivation.
you first sit down to do homework, take two minutes to put loose papers into
the proper folders. Use the next eight minutes to reread notes and/or handouts
from school. These 10 minutes will save you hours of searching and studying.
You will quickly get into the habit of putting assignments where they belong.
Reviewing your notes transfers information to long-term memory, saving hours of
study time when test time comes around.
Work in 30-Minute Blocks
a timer and limit each study or work session to 30 minutes. Challenge yourself
to finish a certain amount of work within that time. The adrenaline rush of the
challenge will improve your focus.
Take Five-Minute Breaks
your body and brain need frequent refreshers. Set another timer for five
minutes, then do jumping jacks, run in place, or stretch. Start another
30-minute block of homework. This sounds too simple to work, but these breaks
keep you sharp to get your work done faster. After two weeks, you will find
that these five-minute blocks will significantly reduce procrastination.
Create a User-Friendly Planner
lot of ADHD students who keep a planner forget to use it throughout the day.
Always keep it in your main folder or binder, along with a pen in the binding.
Use a binder clip to mark your current page. It should take only a few steps to
access your planner and to write down assignments and reminders—and you won’t
waste time later, calling friends to ask about homework.
Sip Something Sweet
kids do homework, they should sip (not gulp) a drink with sugar in it, says Dr.
Russell Barkley, Ph.D., author of Taking Charge of ADHD.
Lemonade or sports drinks are good choices. These beverages deliver glucose to
your brain, which is its only source of fuel. The more fuel you have, the more
you will be able to work effectively and efficiently.
Skip Problems That Stump You
you come to a homework question (or two or three) that you find confusing, highlight
or circle it and move on. The more you dwell on something you don’t understand,
the more anxious you will get. The more anxious you get, the less energy you
have for the rest of your homework. Stick with what you can figure out. Take
the hard problems to your teacher at the start of class and ask for help.
Review Your Notes Out Loud
brain will process the information in three ways: through your eyes as you read
it, your mouth as you say it, and your ears as you hear your own voice. This
improves your focus and memory.
Create Test Questions from Your Notes
down questions helps you learn better than reciting or memorizing information.
The process forces you to think about the information at a higher level.
Higher-level thinking helps you learn more things, thus shortening your study
Read Your Textbook: Just Not Every Word
through related sections of your textbook, but don’t read every word. Read headings,
diagrams, and captions to photos and illustrations to get started. Set your
timer and spend one 30-minute block reviewing a textbook chapter. Your enhanced
comprehension will help you sail through your homework.
Do a Quick Review Before Class
textbook chapters before teachers lecture about them in class. This process
gives your brain enough knowledge to help you pay better attention in class.
You can reduce study and homework time if you have a deeper understanding of
Get Ready for School at Night
ADDers are groggy in the morning, so it’s easy to forget things if you are
trying to get organized. Instead, gather all of your folders, books, notebooks,
and supplies, and put them in your bag before you go to sleep. When you don’t deal
with chaos in the morning, you have more resources to stay focused through the
day. The calmer your day, the more energy you’ll have to blast through homework
in the evening.
More Homework Help
For more must-have resources on helping your ADHD child address homework issues and develop better study skills,
visit the Homework Help Resource
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