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ADD & Homework – Part TWO

October 22nd, 2008

Two separate areas need to be addressed in order to fully understand homework difficulties: the academic area and the behavioral area.


1. Do your kids have the required skills to do the assignments?

2. Is their reading level at their actual grade level?

3. Do your kids comprehend the information they are reading for their assignments?

4. When your kids read to you do they skip, repeat, or omit words when they read aloud to you?

5. Do your kids understand the written directions that are on the page of their homework?


1. Do your ADD/ADHD kids record their assignments in an assignment book, sheet, or planner?

2. Do your ADD/ADHD kids bring home the assignment books, textbooks, notebooks, and other materials needed to complete the assignment?

3. Do you as a parent review the assignment book and do you have an independent way to insure that your kids are accurately recording the assignments?

4. Where do your kids do their homework? Do they select a quiet place that is well-lit without distractions to do their homework, or do they do their homework where there is a lot going on?

5. Do you help your kids develop an organized plan of attack to sequencing multiple homework assignments and study in one evening?

6. Have you and your kids agreed upon a starting time for doing homework, and does he/she adhere to this agreement?

7. If your kids take medication to help them with their ADD/ADHD, is their an adequate “homework dose” on board during the time period that they are working on homework?

10. Do you coach your kids on how to use a calendar to track long-term assignments?

11. Do you check that your kids are periodically working on their long-term assignments so that they are not left to the last minute?

12. Do you have any incentives in place to motivate your kids to do their homework?

More often than not, the causes of homework difficulties and/or failures in schoolwork that ADD/ADHD kids have are due to a combination of both lacking academic skills and difficulty with the behavioral areas.

Once you determine where the problem lies, it is helpful to enlist the help of your child’s teacher. Enlisting their help usually creates a better situation for your child and their teacher usually will have be more willing to work with you on either the academic or the behavioral aspects of the problem so there is consistency both at home and at school.

As a parent because you have been through the particular grade that your kids are in and don’t want to and shouldn’t have to “go through it again.” Instead, what you need to do is be strong and unemotional about it, letting your kids know that school is their job, their responsibility.

However, you are not going to let them fall through the cracks when they need help. You care too much for them to allow that. What you can do is to help support them and develop a plan together to make the homework process as painless as possible for them.

Let your kids know that Failure is Not an Option! If your kids need to build their basic skills, their foundation, provide them with the tools they need. The more tools and resources one has the better they will do.

For instance, if you were playing poker with another person and you both had the same amount of skills, but you had 5 chips to play with and your opponent had 30 chips to play with, your opponent would have a better chance of succeeding – winning – because they had more resources to use.

In the same way, if your kids are slow methodical readers, if they have trouble comprehending what they are reading, or if they didn’t know how to write a paragraph, doing homework will be challenging for them. However, if they were fluent readers, understood what they read the first time they read it, and knew how to write a paragraph, homework would be easy for them.

I hope this has been helpful.

Bonnie Terry, M. ed., BCET

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