Homework can be a source of frustration and difficulty particularly for students with ADHD. One of the things you can recommend to parents to help with homework is the creation of an organized and comfortable homework space. Just as you create accommodations in your classroom, a similar set-up can be used by parents at home for homework. The best space is one where the child can be near a parent or another adult but yet have minimal distractions. This could be a kitchen table, desk, or even a space on the floor.
With a designated homework space, children can get into the homework habit each time they sit down to do their homework. They will begin to associate that space with being focused and productive.
You can share the following tips with parents to help them set up the space:
- Involve your child in setting up the space to help figure out what works best for him or her early in the school year.
- Make sure your child has all the necessary materials to do his or her homework (paper, binders, calculator, rulers, pencils, pens and erasers) and, if possible, an extra set of school books for home.
- Color-coded folders or ones with different patterns are very helpful in reminding your child what goes where. Some students find it helpful to have a folder for completed homework assignments that travels back and forth to home and school.
- A portable homework station like a basket with supplies can help when your child prefers to study on a floor mat, a sofa, or at a table near you.
- Remove or minimize things that distract or cause stress, such as facing away from the doors and windows or removing the television.
- Keep pets in another room.
- If possible find an open space or accessible room with good lighting. Although some kids like to do their homework on the floor, having an uncluttered table or desk available is a good idea.
- Pick the space so that you can keep an eye on your child but do not hover over your child.
- Provide a timer or a silent clock to help your child know the difference between work time and break time.
- Your child may work better with predictable background noise or music without words than complete silence. Try it out with your child to see what works.
- Some children work better if they are able to stand or move around/walk while doing activities such as reading, memorizing, or being quizzed. Try it out with your child to see what works.
- Check in throughout the year to see what’s working for your child and if the space needs to be adjusted to help your child work better.