As AJ enters 7th grade, I know that she needs to become more independent. I don’t want a homeschool where she sits and completes all of her work on her own, I want to be involved. But she needs to have some responsibility with her schoolwork. In the middle of last year I decided to print off weekly lists for her with things that she could do on her own. This year I have taken it a steep further.
Each week I make a spreadsheet with the work she needs to complete. I don’t plan for more than a week at a time, because we often have amazing items to review that change up our schedule. This week we have 3 review items; Fantastic Education – a biology program, Dig It! – a fun computer game, and Superteachersworksheets.com.
Once the list and any worksheets that are needed have been printed, I put them in the schoolroom.
Scheduling Independent Work
We go over the list on Sunday night, (or Monday morning if I am behind) and make sure she understands everything she has to get done. When she gets up in the morning she is responsible to complete any of her Bible, spelling, geography, spelling, music and reading before she is able to have free time. Depending on the assignment for the day, she may also do her Spanish, grammar, art and computer work.
The catch is that when I am ready to start school she has to stop what she is working on and do the subjects that she needs me for.
When I am done with my part of school she has to finish any of her left over work. I don’t remind her to hurry and get the work done, and I don’t offer to help. If she needs help with an assignment I will gladly help – after she has tried her best, and only when she asks for help. She is in charge of her independent work. She can work ahead in any subject, (except geography which I want her to do daily) and do her assignments in any order.
If her independent work isn’t done by the time she has to go to bed, then there are consequences.
So far this has been working wonderfully! I often find her in the school room getting her work done without being told. She has about 2 hours of independent work a day when you include the piano practice and reading. It is amazing how much faster she is able to work when she knows she gets to pick what order it is done in. I feel 2 hours is a great amount! It is less than the amount of homework she would receive in public school and enough that she has to plan out the best way to do it. She takes pride in marking each item off of the list and has taken a sense of ownership with it. This is the third week and so far she has completed all of her work early in the day. I know we will run into bad days where she doesn’t complete her work, but I think they will be great teaching moments.
For us this is the best fit. She is learning study skills and time management, but I am involved in the teaching of her major subjects. I think having some independent work will prepare her for high school and possibly college. It also ensures she is learning even on days that I can’t work with her until later in the day.
Do your kids have daily independent work?
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