Change homework helplessness to homework excitement when you follow suggestions in AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed! by Harriet Hope Green. This book is totally engaging and has some very original ideas to help lower the stress of homework completion. It's extremely practical.
In her introduction, Harriet Hope Green states that the challenges of doing homework can be met by using activities that “empower, engage, enrich, enable, and encourage.” Her activities do all of these things. Parents and educators are given a full menu of activities and strategies to suit individual students. At the end of each activity, a note details what the activity does for the child. Of course, this is one or more of the five “E” words listed above.
When children feel like they have some control (empowered) in their homework choices, they are more likely to become engaged in the work. This active involvement allows them to appreciate the enrichment that their parents or teachers can give them. As the student starts to feel addtional success, they are enabled to do more. All of this happens as a product of the encouragement that adults can offer the student.
Parents can be encouraged by the user-friendly structure of this book. The introduction has ideas about how to get ready for doing homework. Chapter 1 Enablers, continues this theme. There are ideas for starting and planning homework. I especially like the idea of having a “reliable best buddy.” Another child is available to call if the student with AD/HD has difficulty remembering something about the homework assignment. Even younger children can benefit from the segment on “The Schedule.” Middle and high school students should take advantage of this lesson on getting organized. It would be a good skill for students who are college bound.
Students with AD/HD who want to go to college often lack the study skills to do so successfully. What do you see when you open a student’s backpack? You bet! It’s a huge jumble of paper. Ms. Green has a solution for this. Sort those papers into three piles. There’s the pile that gets pitched. Some papers go back into folders in the backpack. Others, which the student might need later, go into a box. Aspiring college students will also learn how to get a project started. Then, they will be able to work through the project and bring it to a successful conclusion. Activity ideas are shown in study skills areas from writing to science.
Bring on the Homework, Chapter 3, has ideas for practicing basic skills. There are also ideas for rewards. My favorite is the “unexpected reward." Wrap small boxes containing cards that describe rewards that the child finds reinforcing. These could include a later bedtime, activity time with a parent, or special privileges. After a great homework session, the child may choose one package to unwrap. This is done just frequently enough for the child to maintain excitement about opening the packages. This type of reward loses its punch if it is done too often.
Chapters 4-7 address subject specific strategies for making homework engaging for the child. Reading, math, spelling and writing are all explored. The largest section is writing. Ms. Green is obviously familiar with the problems that many students who have ADD/ADHD have with writing. There are many ways to help the child conquer the fear of writing. A novel approach is to let the child choose a restaurant for a family meal as a reward for an accomplishment. Read a few professional reviews of the restaurant. At the restaurant have the family discuss the types of things that a reviewer would describe. Then, let the student write his own review and mail it to the restaurant. This is an authentic type of activity. It is a task that people do in real life. I might also have the student post the review online for others to see. This would take editing and revising to suit writing for an online audience.
Chapter 8 Addressing Symptoms and Chapter 9 Emotions both tackle major problems for kids with AD/HD. There are ways to work with impulsivity and hyperactivity. Social skills and reading emotions are discussed. These chapters have a bit of overlap. Some of the sections would work in either chapter. All of this information is well-worth reading.
I would have enjoyed having a chart for each section showing which activities are most appropriate for different ages or grade levels. This is a minor wish. The book is filled with ideas for all ages and educational levels.
In her concluding chapter, Harriett Hope Green says that the book “does not offer any cures.” It may not offer cures; AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed! does offer hope for every parent and child who has struggled through hours of homework at the finish of a very long day.
This book was provided to me for review by the publisher. I was not paid for the review.
I wish that this book had been available for our family. I heartily recommend it to you. It is practical and full of ways to make homework more exciting.
AD/HD Homework Challenges Transformed: Creative Ways to Achieve Focus and Attention by Building on AD/HD Traits