Homework & Studying

12 Schoolwork Shortcuts for Kids Who Hate Homework

Finishing homework faster doesn’t mean rushing or hovering over your child until he melts down. It means following these 12 ADHD-friendly strategies for creating calm, avoiding burnout, and staying organized.

A mother, daughter duo team up using a smart adhd homework strategy.
1 of 12

1. What Homework Strategy Is Best?

Talk with a parent about raising her child with ADHD 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 ADHD homework strategies and secrets for studying more effectively. Don’t tell your child which strategy to use. Instead, let her choose. Choice is a key factor for inspiring motivation.

A girl uses ADHD homework strategies to finish her assignments
2 of 12

2. How Should We Begin Homework?

When 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.

A boy uses ADHD homework strategies to finish his assignments
3 of 12

3. How Long Should We Work on Homework?

Set 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.

[Free Download: Top 5 Homework Frustrations — and Fixes for Each]

A girl takes an exercise break, one of her ADHD homework strategies.
4 of 12

4. What's a Reasonable Homework Break?

Both 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.

A girl uses ADHD homework strategies to complete her assignments
5 of 12

5. How Can We Keep Homework Organized?

A lot of students with ADHD 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.

A boy and his father use ADHD homework strategies to finish assignments together.
6 of 12

6. What's an Energizing After-School Snack?

When 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.

A teen uses ADHD homework strategies to finish his assignments.
7 of 12

7. Should We Skip Tough Homework Problems?

If 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.

[The ADHD Homework System We Swear By]

A girl uses ADHD homework strategies to finish her assignments.
8 of 12

8. What's the Best Way to Review School Notes?

Your 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.

A girl and her father use ADHD homework strategies together to finish assignments.
9 of 12

9. What's the Best Way to Review for Tests?

Writing 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 time.

A boy and his mother use ADHD homework strategies to finish assignments.
10 of 12

10. How Much Do We Need to Read?

Read 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.

A boy uses ADHD homework strategies to finish reading assignments.
11 of 12

11. How Much Review Is Best?

Review 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 the material.

Two girls leave school with their backpacks, ready to use ADHD homework strategies to finish assignments.
12 of 12

12. How Do You Wake Up an ADHD Brain?

Most children with ADHD 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.

[Scripts to End Every Homework Fight]

2 Related Links

  1. Great suggestions. I agree with all. My 13 year old son (7th grade) has always struggled with homework. Luckily, his school provides afterschool homework help for a couple of hours so usually he comes home without having any left. But 6th and most of 7th grade were very difficult and the teachers and his dad and I tried desperately to support him. Finally, a new doctor prescribed 5mg of Adderall for 3pm (his classes end at 2:50). His morning Adderall is slow release and his afternoon pill lasts only 6 hours. I didn’t like the idea at first but we needed to try something because his self esteem is so low when he finds school difficult. It’s now been nearly 8 weeks and he is doing really well. Such a huge difference. We set alarms on his phone and his school Ipad to remind him to take his 3pm pill then he goes to Homework help. I recommend that you trust yourself as a parent/guardian and your child AND talk to the teachers, doctors and therapists and make decisions that are best for YOUR child and YOUR family. Remember, that medicine doesn’t have to be a permanent solution. But it can always be tried. If your child were diabetic you wouldn’t deny him insulin. Allow your child to live their fullest life – it Might be with medication. It’s not the only solution – there are many lifestyles changes we must deal with as an AdD family! I know – I have it and my two sons do! Most importantly…support and love each other!

  2. Ha. Kids with high levels ADD kids hate homework. Good luck getting them to use a timer, or a planner for the matter, or most anything else here for that matter without an adult running down their back forcing them to – what a joke. However ADD kids do have an innate ability to focus on things they like and ARE interested in. Like music. video games. sports. friends. Perhaps it should be renamed Self Interest Attention Disorder?

Leave a Reply