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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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(#CommissionsEarned). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
#CommissionsEarned As an Amazon Associate, ADDitude earns a commission from qualifying purchases made by ADDitude readers on the affiliate links we share. However, all products linked in the ADDitude Store have been independently selected by our editors and/or recommended by our readers. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.