Homework Help!! - Carson City,NV

Updated on December 15, 2015
N.D. asks from Carson City, NV
19 answers

I have a ten year old daughter who is bipolar and ADD, she is very smart! I have been told this by ALL her teachers =} Her test are way above average, and she has recieve perfect scores on so many of these tests that we have gotten letters from the state. Anyway, she has just started 5th grade and it has been HARD! We (her teacher, myself and her father) can not get her to complete her work, and when she does she doesnt turn it in. She loses it somewhere between home and school. I need some kind of ideas on HOW to get her more organized, both here at home and at school. Something simple (ADD simple, easy to remember) Some system that will help her remember what she has for homework, and then something that will remind her to turn it in the next day. She SHOVES everything into her back pack in a hurry to get out of the classroom (long story for the reason, but it was a bad teacher in 2nd grade that made her so paranoid about taking too long) Any ideas would be helpful, I have tried several things and none of them are working. I just need a system that she can follow, so when she gets home she will remember what homework she has and some way to help her keep track of it so it can get turned in....Thank you all in advance.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I hope you have a 504 plan on your child, and hopefully even an EAP. My older daughter is ADHD and has tentatively been diagnosed bipolar at times. At the very least hyper due to ADHD and prone to depression. It is a difficult diagnosis. You need to have someone very competent advising you medically.

The school should be helping you put together plans to help your daughter get organized. She needs to methodically learn to use a planner, even at her early age. I would recommend a notebook with a divider for every section where she can have a pocket to place finished homework for every subject as she completes it. Go shopping together and make this a very special notebook. We got the kind with a clear cover where she can insert her own artwork, cutouts, stickers, and photos. Like my daughter, she will always have to work harder than the other students to stay organized. My daughter is in college now and she missed a homework assignment in algebra and received a zero just last week.

I should think that her teacher should work with her and methodically make sure every piece of homework is accounted for each morning. This is a minimal accommodation under a 504 plan. As your daughter matures she can assume more responsibility, but 5th grade with these disabilities is just too much to expect her to remain completely organized on her own. Same thing with homework assignments: her teacher should be checking with her to make sure she has all homework assignments correctly recorded before leaving for home each day.

When my daughter was in high school we were still having periodic meetings with her teachers and advisor to make sure she wasn't missing homework. Until she can competently handle this on her own your daughter should NOT be penalized for late homework. That is her legal right because she has a disability.

If you are interested in discussing specifics with me, or have any questions about your daughter's rights under either Section 504 or IDEA (for EAP's) please correspond with me directly at [email protected]____.com preschool to college I have so much information in my head about how we worked with my daughter--I don't want to drone on about stuff your not interested in. I also invite you to keep my email and contact me as your daughter gets older and new questions arise.

Our daughter is bright, but never tested extremely high. However, she is gifted in other ways and has been a very high achiever in performing arts.

It is an adventure with these kids, but so fulfilling. The frustrations can also take quite a toll on parents, though. Oh--and if I had it to do all over again I would search the bottom of her backpack every night. Wow! That sounded familiar!

I have taken classes. I would be happy to share my knowlege with you.

I hope to hear from you.


J. D.

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answers from Los Angeles on

N., First know that ADD/ADHD is a blessing not something to curse. Did you know some of the most famous people on the planet are/were ADD? Ansel Adams, photographer; Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; Hans Christian Anderson, author; Beethoven; Terry Bradshaw, foot ball quarterback; Jim Carrey, Actor; Prince Charles; Cher; Agatha Christie; Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci; Walt Disney; Henry Ford; Magic Johnson, JFK; John D Rockefeller; even Albert Einstein…I could go on…

Can you imagine what may have happened to them if their parents gave up on them? Would they be who they are today? Thank you for not giving up on your daughter. Thank you for asking for help.

Okay. I will do my best here but without knowing your routine or anything my ideas will be VERY general, if you want more specifics then you have to connect with me ([email protected]____.com). These suggestions come from working with Special Needs students both in and out of the classroom for over 20 years.

1. Get her a shoulder bag - not a back pack - it is shaped more like the books and papers that she needs to put in. Shoving is next to impossible.

2. Have a checklist in every room of the house for what needs to be completed before she leaves that room. The classroom included.

3. Have pictures of reminders - EX by the door a picture of her holding her bag with everything in it with a smile on her face. Her subconscious brain will see it and internalize the memory and make it real.

4. Homework - this is not ADD specific - MOST kids have challenges - she is only in grade 5 - her homework should be limited anyway. Set up 2 days a week where she gets to stay after school to complete her assignments IN THE CLASSROOM with teacher or parent supervision. That way she will not have to bring it home and risk "losing it" (Honestly, in my opinion, HOMEwork is the most ridiculous invention- they just worked for 8 hours at school now they have to work more at home? You have got to be kidding me...when do they get to get be kids????)

5. YOU MUST STOP blaming a grade 2 teacher for her actions. Habits can be changed in 30 days. If she still has that habit, change it.

6. What are you feeding her? A lot of ADD/AHDH stems from diet. I will send 2 quick stories to you in a personal email.

N., there are a million things you can do, but like I said, not knowing your routine, home or habits, it is difficult. If you want to connect it would me my pleasure to help your daughter.

Family Wellness Coach

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Oy. Puberty & ADHD is almost intolerable. I would literally write assignments down on my hand, and forget them/not SEE them. Even things I LIKED. (The usual thing with adhd, is forgetting things that are boring, or that interfere with something more interesting) . I also tried marketing myself as a "loser for hire" meaning, if you had something you needed lost, just hand it to me and *poof* where DID that thing go? (I have literally lost a movie ticket between the gate and 10 feet in where they get torn. With witnesses, while walking in a straight line, and the ticket in my hand.)

A book I'd HIGHLY like to recommend is "You mean I'm not lazy, stupid, or crazy?!?" by Kate Kelly & Peggy Ramundo. It's nominally for adult adhd, but it's invaluable for parents of adhd kids. The only difference between adult adhd and child adhd, is 10+ years of learning coping mechanisms.

This book has a LOT of coping mechanisms in it (including organizational systems). We all sort of develop our own, and what works best for us. These are also very very rarely things that the general population uses. To make matters worse, for many of us, our systems out and out make no rational sense. Ex) For ME, certain systems I use have to be utterly private...if my husband even is *aware* I have "X" deadline the likelihood of my meeting it is next to nill. (He pesters me, which makes me defensive, and then the task gets mentally filed with my being irritated with him, so every time I try and start the task I just get irritated with HIM and hyperfocus on that instead of happily wading through the task hyperfocused on THAT....pfui). Other systems have to be rock steady, out in the open. Like being able to SEE everything, but not having to look at it all the time (my clothes CANNOT live in a drawer or on a hanger. HATE hangers. But I have to be able to see them. Because I don't want clothes all over the floor, draped on furniture, etc.....my closets have round brushed metal rows of hooks -shirts on the top row, pants on the bottom- I open the closet door and there's my wardrobe staring at me).

You may wonder why I'm talking about closets and being irritated with my husband, when you're asking for a fairly simple adhd "turn homework in" system. It's because with adhd (inattentive or hyperactive or mixed expression....personally I'm mixed expression), you frequently have to turn a problem on it's head. I have no internal sense of structure, so I have to create external structure. That structure has to work WITH my adhd, instead of trying to conform my adhd to it, or force my adhd to work around it. Like my closet, or knowing that I have to be "happy" in order to do certain things. If "no matter how hard I try" something just doesn't get done, it's time to switch the task itself around.

So how does this relate to homework? And getting it done and turned in?

By turning the problem on it's head...she doesn't HAVE a problem getting the work done and turned in. Huh? The problem is with the work itself, and with the transportation.

I can't say what the problems are with the work itself for HER (there could be/usually are tons, and they're different for all of us)...so I'll give you the problems that my son has.

- He has to be able to see it
- It has to separate from any other form of work (from other schoolwork, from housework, play work, etc.)
- All of the materials have to right there, no looking for anything and finding something more interesting along the way/being eaten by monsters
- He has to know what he has to get done that day and that week
- He has to NOT have low blood sugar
- He has to have time to "switch gears" (aka take a 10-15 minute play break between each subject)
- He has to be able to "change things up" (aka take a math workbook and do his math on the stairs, or read upside down, etc.)
- He has to feel proud
- He has to feel like he is in control (ahem, has some measure of control I might say)
- He has to feel like he's not missing out on something more fun

What we use is a "works box" system. We have 2 cheap, 3 shelf, wooden shelving units. Each shelf has several identical oversized shoe boxes without lids. Inside each box is a different kind of work. All of the basic subjects, and then a box for each individual project related to that subject. So his mathbook goes in one along with his math worksheets/graph paper/etc, his history book with 3 ring binder in another, english in a third, latin in a fourth, etc. Then his calligraphy project is in it's own box (with the quills, ink, paper, etc) next to the English box, and his library books are ALSO in their own box next to the english box, as are any other English related project. All of his research and materials for making a canopic jar are in a box next to the history box. On the top shelf is a STACK of paper, a jar for pencils (all identical), a jar for pens (also all identical), and a stack of 3x5 colorful notecards. Each day he writes down on a notecard what has to be done that day. Each week we write down what's "going on" school-wise (aka, what he's studying as well as what needs to be completed when). I help him with this, but he's 7 so he doesn't mind.

So that takes care of seeing it, and having it separate, keeping everything right there so he doesn't get eaten by monsters while looking for a pencil/paper/etc, and helps with feeling like he's in control.

He also has a "snack tray" that get brought out with ONE of his works. (One box on the table at a time, and then put away). That takes care of blood sugar. The one box at a time, his choice of what when, is another control/focus thing. Whenever he finishes a box he has the OPTION of taking a break. He sets the timer on the kitchen stove (ahem, and I check to make sure he hasn't his 100 minutes instead of 10, or forgets to push start).

Etc. Essentially, we look at each problem and figure out how to either use it to our advantage, or counteract it.

Before he can be done with school stuff, we go through the list and make sure everything is checked off.

You know...one of the problems with adhd is that things that are simple for other people are reeeeally complex and difficult for us, and things that are simple for us are complex for non-adhders. This is true in and out of academic circles. Work that is hard for others we do with ease, but when it comes to the "easy part" of turning it in...wait! I just had it!! Where did it go??? Darn darn darn darn darn....

The above is OUR list, and I'm sure it seems overly complicated to some, but for US (my son and I) having the same exterior structure, day in and out...actually simplifies so much, and allows so much flexibility that it's what works for US. Meanwhile that simple little "to do list" that my neighbor's child uses is all they need.

I'm not surprised at all that you think your daughter is smart...most people who really have adhd (and not a nutritional/allergic/sleep/whatever thing that gets misdiagnosed)...fall into the "gifted" range. One of the BEST ways to get adhd'ers to preform well in school is actually to get them into the gifted classes. <grinning> there's also waaaaaaay less homework in those classes by and large, and what there is you *really* have to work on. It's really really really difficult for people with adhd to do busywork. You glance at the paper, know all the answers, put it in your bag...and in your mind it's "done" because you already did it in your head. Oops. Blank sheet to turn in the next day, or argument over dinner when mum or dad asks to see it.

I personally got a chip on my shoulder in the 5th grade and refused to do pointless work (no matter how much my parents bent over backwards trying to help...and then of course I got a chip on my shoulder with them...poor things. I was a nightmare). I TRIED playing the game (if only to keep them happy/less sad with me)...but quite frankly, I didn't "consistently or regularly turn in homework" until I went to college. Scored a near perfect SAT, and very nearly flunked highschool (they had a mandatory homework = 60% of your grade. Only my AP classes that I aced, and those same AP teachers that snuck around the system & got me registered for independent study classes got me out of there with a diploma).

A college syllabus is an orgasmic joy to people with ADHD.(At least to myself and everyone I've known with adhd) Oh my goodness...each and every single assignment and it's due date for the next 3 months on a single happy piece of paper??? Clear, concise expectations? Not one thing piled on top of another with no idea of what was coming next??? Hallelujah!! I felt like I was "cheating" for my first 2 years at college, purely by having those glorious syllabi.

So by the time I was in college, I had figured out what I needed to do...but boy oh boy is it a whole nother kettle of fish when you're dealing with a child. Because, quite frankly, the best person to figure out a system that will work for them, is them. And we just don't have the time to let that process happen organically, do we? Sorry kiddo. I know you'll come up with something completely different in 10 years, but for now...we've got to figure out what will work. Which, with adhd, can sure seem like you're doing a ridiculous amount of work for the simple stuff. Because, of course, we are. <grinning> But since the complex stuff is so easy, I suppose turnaround is fair play.

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answers from Los Angeles on

We just started second grade in a conventional school with homework. This is new for us and we as a family have all the same challenges with doing the work and getting it back to school that you describe. The teacher gave all the kids an orange folder to transport the work. I think this is brilliantly simple. The teacher also sends home important notes in the same folder. No matter what else is going on in my daughter's backpack, you can't miss the orange folder. Yes, it is up to me to remember to look for the folder, but hey, I can help out, too.

By the way, I hate to tell you this, but you are probably going to need to be more involved in supporting your daughter. We face similar challenges at our house with organizational issues that my daughter has left over from prematurity. In fact, I'm pretty sure that somebody someday is going to try and convince us that she has ADD. My husband and I both work full time and oh how we wish that our daughter could take more responsibility for her own stuff. And yes, I realize that your daughter is three years older, but my point is that I'm continually surprised how much ongoing support my daughter still needs. The most important thing you can teach your daughter at this age is that she is loved and supported, no matter what anybody else is telling her.

Bless our special needs kids! They are our future creative thinkers, if we let them be "them."

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My 6th grade daughter also has ADD, and organization is tough. For her, if things have a set place to go, life gets better. In 5th grade, each student had a "reminder binder" for homework assignments (spiral notebook, with subjects on one side, and space to write each assignment next to it). Every day, I had her teacher sign her reminder binder, to ensure my daughter didn't forget any assigment. For homework, I'd recommend a fun folder of your daughter's choosing, and all homework goes in there. No where else but there. Easy to find, easy to check, no panic. You might also consider a 504 plan for your daughter for some official accomodations. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Does she have a 504 plan or an IEP? With her diagnosis she can qualify for either. I have a 504 for my youngest -- ADHD, and an IEP for my gifted, yet ADD/Aspergers daughter. For 5th grade she needs a day planner -- our school gives them to every student 3rd and above. Have the teacher check to see that she writes the HW down -- perhaps in the morning NOT the END of the day. The teacher can initial to verify it is correct. You check the planner each night and sign to say HW was completed. Have a 2 pocket folder label IN/OUT or TO DO at home vs. TURN IN. I also e-mail the teacher frequently -- you could stipulate daily correspondence in the IEP or 504 plan. Don't let the school try to tell you don't need one. Both my girls are SMART, but have trouble w/ ORGANIZATION! I also try to get the spelling words ahead of time for the 7yr old -- she has trouble getting started on HW in the after school program when the HW is not routine. Last year I typed all the spelling words in to a table in Word. Then I printed out pages for her to fill in the word 3 times each night. This year will be more challenging because she is supposed to write the word in a sentence and I just don't see that happening, despite the fact she knows the vocabulary and is pretty good at story telling. She just doesn't stay focused long enough (and is on meds.) to complete something that seems boring to her. Please know you are not alone, but what ever you can do now will be big help for JR high and High school.



answers from Reno on

Hi N.,

My youngest son, now in the 6th grade, really struggled with organization, too (although he's not ADD). Here's what worked for us...

First, we gave him a mantra to repeat over and over "Focus and finish the task." We shared this with his teachers so they could use the same wording and pretty soon EVERY adult in my son's life was using this phrase with him. It helped.

Second, get a really great binder with simple plastic folders in which your daughter can store her work. Perhaps your daughter's teacher will set aside a few minutes each day gently helping her with getting the work in her binder. Ideally, at the end of each lesson of the day, the teacher would walk over and say, "OK, Susie, let me watch you put your work in your binder." This takes about 30 seconds and would help your daughter stay on track. By doing this, all work should be in her binder for you to supervise at home.

Once your daughter is done in the evening with any homework, have her put all work in the appropriate folder in her binder and place her binder and whatever else she needs for school on a "launch pad," a predesignated spot for all stuff walking out the door. Unless your daughter is throwing her work out the school bus window, it shouldn't get lost in her backpack or her binder because adults have supervised it going in to both.

These things really helped my son. Now, in the 6th grade, we don't have any more missing work and my son knows where all his papers are. When something does get misplaced (usually out the school bus window or at the bottom of his backpack), he can see why his binder is so useful. But, it took years of consistency and dedication to make it a habit. I can still hear my son muttering while he works, "Focus and finish...focus and finish."

If you like these ideas and the teacher is recalcitrant about using them, have your school counselor write them into her IEP (if she has one) or a Section 504 plan. Then, teachers will be legally bound to do these accomodations.

I teach high school and yes, even ADD kids can learn organization. I've seen it! But it takes a lot of work! Good luck!


answers from Visalia on

hope u dont think im nuts, but for a joke my mom tied a red string around my finger to remind me of something, it worked, lol.

how about buying ur daughter rings for her finger to remember turning in homework/etc. a color stone or band = turning it in, another color or style for completeing homework. or just have her finish homework in spurts, in 30 min stop, 30 min start up again. good luck!



answers from New York on

I have found a solution to this one. I am planning to try this Lumos Stepup Coach. Let me know if it works for you as well.



answers from Los Angeles on

to hlep her sit down and finish it, baroque music. It helped me and my sister immensely when we were kids. As to organization, maybe hava a special folder that the homework goes into immediately?
Good luck



answers from San Diego on


I don't know what you've already tried, but here is my idea. In my classroom, my students fill out a calendar everyday before they leave. On that date they put in everything they were assigned that day. If there is a long term project, they write in the calendar when it is due. Then their parents are responsible for looking at the calendar, making sure they do the homework, and signing it. I then check the calendars the next day for a signature. The signature even counts as a homework assignment!

It is partially your daughter's teachers responsibility to make sure enough time is given to pack backpacks, write down homework, etc. I would check with him/her to see what the procedure is in her class.

I hope that helps. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

If she's on meds, that can screw up her organization in her brain. Maybe ask HER what she needs to stay organized....but I would word it like, "What can I help you get or buy that will allow you to finish your homework and be able to find it and turn it in on time?"

Also ask her if anybody had made fun of her for being so smart? Sometimes mart kids purposefully "lose" things so they will rank with everyone else.



answers from Los Angeles on

disorganization is a problem in our house too. But, I do have an idea for tests/homework. does your daughter have an IEP? extra time, or other allowances can be written into her IEP, and that can help in the stress department.



answers from San Diego on

Hello, At our grandsons' schools they have a planner which goes right into their folder. It has a place for them to write their homework in. If you could get something like that, she would be able to write it in at school and then be able to check it each afternoon at homework time. Also, I would get her a thin folder to keep her homework in and have her put it in at school and after she has finished it. It makes it easier to keep track of.
Good luck with your precious family.
K. K.



answers from Los Angeles on

I would recommend buying two of those durable plastic large envelopes from an office store. Try to get one for homework that needs to get done and a different color envelope for anything you want her to give to the teacher. This will also help you stay in good communication with her teacher. Good luck with this new school year.



answers from Los Angeles on

I would also try Flylady.net 's student control journal.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am a 3rd grade teacher and I've always tried to teach my students how to be organized and responsible for their work.

I give all of my students a 3-ring binder with pockets in the front and back. The front pocket is labeled "bring to school" and the back pocket is labeled "leave at home." So anything that needed to be returned to school all went into one place. I made sure the students emptied the back pocket at home, so there wasn't an excess of papers. And then I used dividers for various subjects (homework, reading, math, and other resources). If I gave the students any papers that they could use for homework help or old corrected work, they would put it in the binder for future reference. Anything else needed to be left at home. All of their supplies were kept in a bag or pouch that could be put into the binder as well. That way, all papers and supplies were in one place and everything was available during homework time. Periodically, I did binder and backpack checks to make sure they were keeping everything organized and papers weren't shoved into the backpack. I know it sounds a little anal, but it actually helped a lot of my students. The parents knew the system and where to check for important notes or homework that needed to be completed.

Also, I encouraged the parents to have a designated homework area at home. For your daughter, a place away from the TV, siblings, and possible distractions. The students have everything they need in their binder so they just need a place to do their work.

I don't know how your daughter's teacher assigns homework, but you could have a weekly homework log, with a box for each subject. Any time the teacher assigned something, your daughter can write it down and every assignment is in one place. You can check off or initial each assignment once it is completed.

I know this sounds like a lot, and you may have already tried some of it. I don't have school-age children yet, but I've taught 2nd and 3rd grades for 10 years (with students with ADHD). I've used this system for each class and it has worked. I wish you luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi N.,

As a parent coach, I am asked about learning issues quite a bit. Here is an article I recently wrote for my column on My Daily Find and an article from my blog. I hope that they might be of some help to you.



I also have a parent workshop coming up next month that would be perfect for you. Here is a link to the full class description.


If I can be of any further help, feel free to contact me.
Be well,
G. B., M.A.
Child Development Specialist & Parent Educator

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