Q: “How Can We Create a Homework and Study Plan That Works for an ADHD Brain?”
“Most parents (not all) think the best place for their students to do homework is quietly at a desk in their bedroom with the door shut. Now for some, that works. For others, a secluded bedroom can feel isolating and make concentrating harder.”
Q: “What is the best way to get my son to sit down and knock out his homework assignments so we can all move on with the night? Where should he do it? When is a good time? It’s a struggle.” — Nell
There is no one-size-fits-all homework solution. Students’ individual preferences and work styles vary. Instead of randomly deciding when and where your son should do homework, work with him to maximize his efforts. You may be surprised to learn that he knows what environment works best for him. He just may need your help defining and creating the optimum situation.
Homework is the last thing kids want to do — especially after a long day at school. This is especially true for those with ADHD or learning differences. Here’s what I tell parents and teachers when describing neurodivergent students who must expend more energy than neurotypical students to get through the long school day. “Hold your stomach in. Now do that for eight hours. That’s your student.” They are usually depleted and exhausted when they come home and finally “let it all out.”
Therefore, tapping into your son’s best practices is critical for homework success.
Homework Help for ADHD Brains
Consider the story of a student client, Jake, who was constantly at odds with his parents over how long it took him to finish his homework. Jake’s parents demanded that he start work immediately after arriving home. Yet Jake would find a million reasons not to get started.
When I quizzed Jake’s parents about his demeanor and energy level after school, they revealed that he was wiped out and extremely cranky. He could barely muster the energy for a conversation. This was very telling. Jake needed a homework solution that included time to replenish his tank, eat a snack, and in his words, “Just be.” Pushing back his homework start time gave Jake a much-needed opportunity to reboot. This also enabled him to focus more effectively and finish his work in a reasonable time frame.
Let me provide you with another example. Most parents (not all) think the best place for their students to do homework is quietly at a desk in their bedroom with the door shut. Now for some, that works. For others, a secluded bedroom can feel isolating and make concentrating harder.
Those students prefer being close to the action in the house. They need a feeling of connectedness to activate and focus. My client Randy was that student.
Randy preferred doing homework at the kitchen table in the middle of the hubbub. He would either wear earplugs to listen to light music or drown out his siblings’ noise. Allowing Randy to work in the center of all the commotion enabled him to stay focused and promptly attend to his homework.
Personalized Homework Help Solutions
The Homework Profile takes the whole student into account. It is a series of questions that help to uncover students’ homework preferences and personalities — from space and pace to energy and noise — so they can tap into THEIR best practices for getting schoolwork done.
Homework Help: Next Steps
- Free Download: The Top 5 Homework Frustrations — and Fixes
- Learn: 15 Tips for Reducing Homework Stress and Completion Time
- Watch: Stress-Free Homework Tips, Tools, & Solutions
- Read: The ADHD Homework System That Really Works
ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.
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