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When working with multiple children and building their confidence in learning, independent work has saved me! Building them a daily checklist has too 😉
I can work with one child while the other does their independent work, or the big kids can both do their independent work while I work with my preschooler & play with my toddler. These are all things they need to accomplish, but they don’t need my immediate help. I’m nearby for questions or to help read the instructions, but it has been great for their confidence that they can complete things on their own.
I made these simple weekly checklists and it has been SO helpful for my kids. These checklists have resulted in less whining about schoolwork when they see what needs to get done each day.
You don’t have to have anything fancy; write down what you want them to complete on regular paper and have them check things off. You can also laminate it, or stick it in a dry erase pouch, so they can check it off with a dry erase marker. 🙌🏼 **These editable checklists can be found in my shop HERE! You are able to edit the colors, text/subjects, and graphics.
Below I’m sharing what we have been using for independent work this school year; 1st and 3rd grade (they do one page a day for each.) We don’t do every subject every day and some of their independent work is individualized for their grade level.
✏️Handwriting- The Good and the Beautiful– My kids really enjoy these handwriting books and like that the handwriting work is broken up by simple puzzles, coloring, or drawing.
✏️Building Writers- Learning Without Tears– I substitute Building Writers for Handwriting once or twice a week to change things up and to work on writing sentences, informational writing, opinion writing, etc. We love these books! (The books use letters for the grade levels and I like to use the book under their grade level to make writing more enjoyable and build a solid foundation.)
✏️Daily Science- Evan Moore– Last year we used Daily Geography and loved it. This year, since we aren’t doing a full science curriculum, they each have a Daily Science workbook. Each day is a short few sentences and 2-3 questions to answer.
I love all of the Evan Moore workbooks. There are so many different ones to help in any area your child needs help with. Next year we will not do the Daily Science, but will probably work more on Spelling or Reading Comprehension. I’m also looking at the Daily Math Practice or Skill Sharpeners Grammar and Punctuation workbooks to help strengthen them in those areas. These books are very simple, can be done in just a few minutes, and give a nice amount of practice each day.
✏️Explode the Code– We have used these books for years and love them for extra phonics practice, helping decode words, and it has really helped with spelling too. My 3rd grader doesn’t need it anymore, but she loves it, so I let her do a few pages once a week.
✏️Word a Day (vocabulary)- This is a definition of one word each day with a quick question to answer, at the end of the week there is a quick 5-6 question quiz on all the words they learned that week. This book takes her a minute or less each day. We also play a game that if she uses the word of the day in a sentence sometime throughout the day correctly, she gets a Hershey Kiss. 😊
✏️Typing- The Good and the Beautiful– My daughter asked to start learning to type, so we have been slowly learning by just doing one lesson a week so far. She really enjoys this book, but there are also FREE typing lessons on typing.com.
✏️Bible- They do their Bible lesson with me, but I write it on their list so I don’t forget ☺️ We use the Faith and Life curriculum from Ignatius Press. Everything is shared more in depth and linked in THIS post.
✏️Reading- They each have a reading time that they can complete anytime throughout the day. Right now my 3rd grader is reading Audrey of the Outback (for our Australia studies) and my 1st grader LOVES the Bad Guys series, Mercy Watson, or Sydney and Taylor.
After they finish their list for the day they know they only have LA and Math left to complete, but they do those lessons with me. The afternoons are when we do our extra subjects (history, science, etc.) and this year it is when we do our Around the World studies.
If you, or your kids, aren’t a fan of workbooks, or your curriculum already covers a lot of these subjects, you don’t have to do many of these. My kids enjoy workbooks and I love the little bit of extra practice we get each day. Their independent work doesn’t take them too long either; about 15 minutes.
When do I start implementing independent work? As early as Kindergarten! My kids have done the same routine since Kindergarten, so independent work has become second nature by now. They know that when I say it is time for schoolwork, to pull out their baskets of curriculum, and complete their independent work tasks. I also check all of their work at the end of the day or when we are cleaning everything up.
If your child can’t read very well on their own yet, there are still some things they can do on their own: Handwriting, and Explode the Code are self explanatory that they can complete on their own each day. I usually pull out a puzzle or sorting game as well for them to complete without reading anything. Many times, I will read and tell them what has to be done, and walk away to let them complete it. When they grow into reading more independently is when I add more to their independent work.
I’m really proud of my kids and how they are able to stay on task and get their independent work done each day. It definitely takes time getting used to, but I think it is very beneficial as they get older to be able to have some control over their learning and learning time management.
Do any of your kids do independent work in your homeschool? Used any great workbooks I need to know about? Drop them in the comments below!
Wishing you a great weekend!