Three Tips For Managing Homework Headaches

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School Supplies adhdAfter the post about Ron and his college homework, you’re probably ready for some positive hints on homework…and thanks to Alana Morales – here they are: Three Tips For Managing Homework Headaches!

In my neck of the woods (or desert, as it is), we are gearing up for the second quarter of school. This semester, I have experienced teacher battles, homework nightmares and medication debacles. All in all, a pretty normal school year for an ADHD family, wouldn’t you say?

One of the things that I have found myself doing is reevaluating my homework processes and making changes based on the day, the subject and the kids. A large part of the homework battle with ADHD kiddos is getting the homework home and then back to school. Part of this is finding out if they even have homework. As frustrating as this is, it is an essential skill to work on, because without the homework, there can be no grades. Here are some strategies that you can employ to make sure the homework makes it home:

1. From School To Home. – Use some sort of daily agenda. Have your student write down their class agenda and homework daily and if they have trouble doing this, ask the teacher to check it and initial off on it every day before your student leaves school. If they are having additional trouble with this step, ask the teacher if you can show up and write down the assignments for a few days or once a week and continue this until your student gets on track. (Kayla’s note: Check out the PAC-kit for this!)

– Make a homework folder. Sometimes homework gets lost in what I like to refer to as “The Abyss.” You may also know it by it’s more common name – the backpack. If your student has some organizational issues, make them a homework folder. Then, ANY work that is to come home can be put in this folder. My recommendation is to make the folder as difficult as possible to lose – make it a bright color or even a character folder. And plan on having several backups for the inevitable time it gets lost, ripped or otherwise unusable.

– Pick a study buddy. This is a person in the class who is responsible and can be called on the phone if your student ever misses an assignment or has a question about an activity.

2. At Home. – Make sure you have a designated homework area with supplies. After battling over spelling words or math problems, the last thing you want to do is have a kid lose their motivation just because you lack the proper materials.

– Schedule breaks. It’s tough to stay on task after trying to stay on task all day. Set a timer and let your kiddo take a break every time it goes off, provided they are working effectively while it is ticking away.

– Offer incentives. Offer some incentive based on their homework performance. Give Nerds, Smarties, or Sweet Tarts for each math problem completed or spelling word written correctly. It really helps with the immediate gratification issue.

3. Getting the Homework Back To School. Yes, kids need to be responsible, but let’s face it, our little darlings need a little more support in these areas.

– Make sure when an assignment is done, it immediately goes into the homework folder. Not on the table. Not on top of the backpack. In the folder. Trust me on this one.

– Use the agenda. Ask the teacher to sign the agenda to show that the nightly homework was turned in. It may seem like a lot of checks and balances, but until ADHD kids can use these skills consistently, it’s a good idea to make it as difficult as possible for them to forget.

Using these tips may seem like a lot of work and they are. But, in the end, if your student is able to get better grades, be less frustrated and build more self confidence, isn’t that worth the extra work?

———-Alana Morales is the author of Domestically Challenged: A Working Mom’s Survival Guide to Becoming a Stay at Home Mom. You can learn more about her at You can also follow her on Twitter at for mom and ADHD tips.

PS If you’ve not read Waking Up from the Homework Nightmare, you really owe it to yourself to grab a copy before your next homework nightmare begins!

About Kayla

Kayla Fay is a freelance writer and the mother of four boys, three of whom have been formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD. When she started “Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet?” in 2002, her sons were ages 8 through 14, when her life was a “progression of dirty laundry, lost homework, misunderstood Algebra, and a whole lot of love and fun”.

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