Final Tips on Independent Work Lists–Especially for Older Students

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Today I would like to leave you some tips for Independent Work Lists–especially for older students (junior high through high school). These will be in no true order–just some things that I want to re-emphasize from the younger ages as well as things that pertain only to olders.

So here we go:

1. Consider the document or chart that works best for your age child now. Most kids in junior high and high school no longer want cutsie charts. Once you decide you want a genuine paper document, then you have to decide how you want it filled in:

a. As he goes, he lists what he does each day, sort of a daily school journal.
b. You write in a planner each week for him for the following week (page number, number of pages, lesso number, etc.).
c. You have a standard daily Independent Work List that you create in your scheduling program or Excel—that you can customize when something changes, etc. You print this off, put it on a clip board, and have him highlight or mark off as he does things each day.

2. Consider if you are going to make his Independent Work List for him completely or if you will have his input. We liked to choose our high schoolers materials, schedules, lists, etc., with them, so that they have some input in the process–and to help model for them/teach them how to organize, prioritize, etc.

3. Still use some of the elements from the earlier suggestions (for younger kids) that are universal, such as:

a. School is your child’s occupation. It is what he should be about during the day.
b. Put the daily tasks in sections according to time of day or importance–and also in order according to when they should be done.
c. Do your part to be sure that charts are updated, printed, and ready. I know from personal experience that if we are laxed in this–they become laxed real quick!
d. Have a system that works for you every day. Have his list on a clip board that he carries with him/keeps in his school area. Have him highlight as he does things. Have him leave it on your desk when he is done, etc.
e. Develop a “no exceptions” approach to daily independent work. A student doesn’t go to basketball, girls group, youth group, etc., until his daily independent work list is done.

4. Have blanks on the chart to add in any work from outside classes, music lessons, Bible quizzing, etc.

5. Put things that are not dailies where ever they go. This was always a little bit difficult for me. Do twice weeklies go on Tuesday and Thursday (but Thursday is our lesson and errand day…). Do three times weeklies always go M-W-F, even though Wednesday is our “cottage class day” and extras do not get done on that day. This might take a while to get in the groove, but it is worth it to tweak things and make it work.

6. For junior high kids, consider that you might need smaller chunks (maybe two math sessions at 30 minutes a day, etc.). Again, you know your student and  your family situation, so do whatever works best for you.

7. Consider if you want this Independent Work List to be his total chart/list for all aspects of his day at older ages:

a. Do you want to put his devotions, music practice, and outside work on there too?
b. Do you want it to contain meetings/tutoring sessions with you?
c. Do you want it to also be his chore list?

There are some definite advantages to a junior high or high schooler having his day right in front of him in one spread sheet. However, this can also get overwhelming to some kids.

Feel free to ask questions here on FB about the Independent Work Lists–I will try to answer them. I can’t imagine not having homeschooled without our three daily task lists: (1) Morning routines; (2) Chore charts; (3) Independent Work Lists!

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