Updated: Jan 9, 2019
Homework may be a struggle for elementary school kids who have ADHD. Their medication should be wearing off in the late afternoon so they can eat a good dinner and fall asleep without a problem. The best time for homework is right after school is out. The kids should be given a 15-minute break with a healthy snack and then get right to the homework. The long acting stimulants that are almost always used should still be effective at this time and allow the child to complete the homework while still having the advantage of the medication.
However this homework time may be delayed for children with after school activities. These students find themselves faced with homework at the worst time of day. Just to be clear, exercise is very valuable. It increases focus and the willingness to keep working. It makes you feel recharged, with a general sense of well being. It improves appetite and, if done about 4 or 5 hours earlier, it helps you sleep. It is, in some ways, more important than homework! But homework still needs to be done.
For these children an hour of homework before school works really well. It does mean getting the whole house started an hour earlier. Make sure that you are completely ready to leave an hour earlier than usual and then sit down to an hour of homework. This is especially helpful when the student is needing a parents guidance and the evenings are becoming a time of stress and conflict, neither of which help the child to focus.
The promise to the child is that if they work hard and try their best for that hour in the morning, there won’t be any after school homework other than long term projects. They will have time to play after school and not feel as stressed. Parents who do this report that the time spent on homework is way less because the kids are focused and work far more quickly than in the evening.