Helping Your ADHD Child Plan For School Work

My son was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago. However, it wasn't until 7th grade that I started to see him really struggle to get organized and focused enough to complete his homework assignments. He would get home by 4 pm and "work" right on up to bedtime, 9:30 pm, and have very little to show for his efforts. It was quite challenging and stressful for him to do some basic executive functions, like taking a large goal (list of assignments or projects) and breaking them down into smaller, manageable tasks to do each day.

I discovered that once I was able to give him a list of things he needed to complete, before moving on to video games or playing with friends, he was able to focus and knock it out (relatively) quickly. One of the problems was that he is adverse to writing things down. "I've got it in my head, Mom!" he would argue. But would often forget, including forgetting to turn things in to the teacher on time, that he had already completed.

So out of frustration and desperation to help him get a handle on his schoolwork, I created the following school planning pages, which I will share with you for free, in the hope it helps your student. For right now, I am doing these for him so that he can focus on getting caught up with his assignments. But I will be working with him over the next few months so that he creates and checks his "list" everyday, by himself.

The following planning pages will help your student plan an entire week of work. There are really two components. The first page, Weekly Homework Assignment List, lets your student write down assignments for each subject that are coming due. Write the name of the subject at the top of each box. For each assignment, it is important to write down its due date.

Homework List

Click here to access my free template for the Weekly Homework Assignment List by Subject.  

The second page is the most critical component of the planning system, as it helps your student:

1) Identify assignments/tests they need to complete at school or turn in;
2) Lay out when he or she intends to do each assignment at home;
3) List any chores that must be completed for each day;
4) Schedule any appointments or before / after school activities.

Weekly Planner for Jake

Given the option, my son would choose to procrastinate on school work, almost 100% of the time. This makes completing weekend homework especially challenging, because he would always choose to fill his weekends with fun and games, until panic hits Sunday night and he realizes how far behind he is. Thus, I have provided two different start dates for these planning templates.

A Friday Start Date - This is one I use with my son, given the above issue I have with him not checking homework until Sunday night. We take a few minutes each Friday after school to lay out what is coming up, and plan to do a little each day to make sure it is done. This helps plan out what he needs to get done throughout the weekend, and allows him some stress-free time to relax and play.

A Monday Start Date - Given many people consider their school week starts on Monday, I provided this as an option. Whichever helps your child the most is the one you should use!

I print each of these pages for him and fill them out, and we slide them in on the front and back cover of his binder, like this:
Back of School Binder

Slide Planner Pages into Binder Front and Back

If laying a full week out on one page stresses your child out, you can also use this daily template, which I created for my son.

Given my son's school lacks any lockers, he is required to carry his backpack everywhere. After trying out this planning system for a week, I noticed that he wasn't checking his binder, until he got home after school, which clearly laid out everything he needed to do. I inquired why and he said the binder was too difficult to get in and out of his bag.

So, I created this daily template that I fill out, detailing what needs to be turned in/done at school and what homework he has scheduled. I then place this daily list inside a clear, plastic passport tag, which I purchased from, attached to his backpack. This way, he can't miss seeing it!

Daily Homework List

Daily Planner Attached to BackPack
So far, this has worked and he is almost caught up on everything. I just wanted to share these tips because I know having ADHD or ADD can be challenging for kids when it comes to getting organized and planning for schoolwork.

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