Creating independence in your homeschooling
I feel pretty strongly about having my kids be as independent as possible in their homeschooling. It saves me time and energy, as well as helps them take responsibility for their own work.
My kids are still very young so I am sure we will see many changes and adjustments to things over the next few years, but these are some strategies that I believe will hold true over time.
Give your kids a checklist
This year, we are using spiral notebooks for checklists. I found the idea on Amongst the Lovely Things and it has worked amazingly well for us so far! Making a checklist only takes a few minutes every evening and really helps me stay on top of where the kids are each day. I also like that I can write Eden an encouraging note or reminder if I want to.
Every evening, I write in Eden’s and Judah’s notebooks the things they need to get done the next day. I start with things they can do on their own — copy work, math worksheets, iPad assignments, reading for 20 minutes. Underneath the checklist, there is a section titled Mom that includes any subjects the kids need to do with me.
I have found that they love knowing exactly what they need to get done during the day. It also helps hold me accountable to my plan for the day.
Give them a timeframe
My kids have until afternoon snack to have their checklist completed. I typically do the school work with them in the mornings, but give them the freedom to complete the rest of the checklist on their own when they want. They usually finish it in the morning but sometimes they save certain subjects for nap/quiet time.
In our house, nap/quiet time ends around 4 pm, followed by a snack, maybe a fun experiment or project, and then TV time. If their checklist is not completed in time, they miss doing those things until their work is completed. So if the kids decide to complete the checklist right after snack time, they miss snacks. The same goes for any projects or TV time. I can honestly say this has only happened once so far. These are too important to them to miss!
Take advantage of any help you can get! Part of Eden’s daily schedule is to practice her math facts on the iPad. I used to do these with her using flashcards, but she loves her math app, and I love that it is one less thing I have to do. She also uses the iPad to review her spelling words several days a week.
Start earlier than you think
Use the time when your kids are younger students to train them to work independently. Judah, who is in Kindergarten, is still not reading well enough to read his checklist on his own, but he is learning to look at it every day and check things off. He is also learning to recognize certain subjects we do often.
I have Eden keep a running list of all the chapter books she has read. Her writing is hard to read, and quite honestly I would like it better if I just wrote it myself (she isn’t in love with doing it either!), but it is something I want to keep in her portfolio as she gets older and it will be much easier later if she gets in the habit of writing it now.
These may seem like little tasks, but over time the little tasks will continue to add up to make your student a more independent learner.