Updated: Oct 28, 2021
Ever wished your kids didn't have to do homework? We sure have! In the early 1900s, Ladies' Home Journal campaigned against homework; they gathered medical professionals and doctors to declare that homework was harmful to a kid's health. As a result, in 1901, California passed a law banning all homework for school kids in kindergarten through eighth grade!
Unfortunately, for kids (and their parents), that law was repealed in the 1950s. And even though homework is not proven harmful to a kid's health, we would argue that homework can be "hazardous" to the parent-child relationship.
Until homework is "banned" once again, it is up to us to help our kids discover ways to lessen the stressful elements of doing homework.
As we have discussed before, there are many reasons why our kids struggle to do their homework. One of those reasons is the lack of organization. Being organized takes planning, working memory, forethought, hindsight, patience, and consistency—all EF process elements that challenge the ADHD brain.
A lack of organization creates chaos with our time, our thoughts, and our surroundings. One surefire way to add to the disorder is a disorganized study space, lost supplies, or a messy backpack. When it comes to doing homework, having exactly what you need when you need it is essential.
Unfortunately, we spent many nights searching for the materials needed to complete an assignment in our family. Sometimes we were missing information(what needed to be done), missing materials(where was the homework located), or missing supplies(the computer charger). The added stress and frustration often lead to meltdowns, power struggles, and unfinished homework.
Even though most kids prefer an organized space to do homework, most admit that managing and keeping anything contained is difficult. They often don't know how to get started and quickly become overwhelmed.
To help our children become more organized, we focused on making small changes one at a time. We began by organizing their study space, supplies, and backpacks. This led to a more productive and relaxed homework environment. We were able to get more done in less time, which made for a happier home.
The study space can be anywhere in the house; the room and location don't matter as long as it's a dedicated place where your child can go to do homework. It is common for our kids to have more than one space conducive to studying/homework. The goal is to create a space that is both inviting and clutter-free. An inviting space has colors, scents, or images they enjoy and a clutter-free space has only the necessary items to get their work done.
Having a dedicated homework space provides the perfect home for all the supplies they need to get their assignments done. When everything has a home, it is much easier to teach children to put things back. It took a lot of gentle reminders, but now my daughter is terrific at using something and putting it back where it belongs. The maximizing momma has some great ideas on how to organize kids' school supplies at home. Check her out at https://themaximizingmomma.com/organize-school-supplies-at-home/
Surprisingly, backpacks are often overlooked, yet they are notorious for quickly becoming a disorganized mess. Because it takes intention and mental focus to put papers where they belong, it is common for our kids to simply "stuff" everything inside. Messy backpacks have led to many meltdowns in our home.
A few minutes each day emptying the backpack with your child can keep it clean and organized. Monica Woods, a professional organizer, suggests taking the backpack to the kitchen as soon as kids arrive home. She has a caddy for papers sorted into a "keep" or "take back to school" pile; the rest goes into the recycling bin. The "back to school" stack is organized into their corresponding folders, and the backpack is returned to its "home."
Taking the time to start with these three areas will increase your child's ability to stay organized, making the homework process less stressful.
Remember, a classic symptom of ADHD is being consistently inconsistent. Some days our kids can work unassisted, and at other times they struggle to stay on task; even with close supervision, they may not accomplish much. It takes a lot of mental energy to maintain focus and finish what they've started. Helping them become more organized by setting small, realistic goals in these three areas will make homework quicker and easier.
What one thing will you help your child organize this week? Let us know in the comments!
Coco and Vicky