I is for INDEPENDENT WORK!
|Chart by picstopin.com
If you don’t start Independent Work Charts/Lists with your littles, you will definitely want to start it in elementary school after your child learns to read!
(Some people feel that they have very little to put in an Independent Work Chart for little kids. We always managed to find things as I felt it kept my littles learning and exploring all the time–and it helped my preschoolers to NEVER be bored!)i
Here are some tips for creating Independent Work Lists for elementary children:
1. Either make it on a chart that the child uses wipe and write markers and mount it somewhere–or make it in Excel (or your favorite record keeping program) and place it on a thin clip boards.
Trust me: loose papers never make it back to mom at the end of the day. (Spoken from true experiences–plural–you would think I would have learned this the first time or two! 😉 )
2. Put things in the order of importance on the chart–in the order that you want them done.
3. And/or put things in sections.
I used to have mine in order and sections–the first so many items needed done before the child met with Mom or before the child had a morning snack or before lunch chores, or whatever. Never underestimate the value of teaching children time management, prioritizing, etc. via these daily checklists.
4. Explain to your child that this is his daily accountability list.
He is to get these things done each day. (Hint: We taught our children from their earliest recollection of school that school is their occupation. It was what they were supposed to be about every day. No questions asked. No exceptions (unless we parents wanted an exception for sickness or family trips, etc.–in other words, the child doesn’t choose to do school or not do school–ever).
5. For things that you are uncertain of/change-ables, put time or generic wording, such as “30 minutes of uninterrupted CQLA work” or “All CQLA assignments from previous meeting with Mom,” etc.
6. Be sure to include drill work, silent reading, etc.–all the extras that you want him to do each day.
(I even put the things that they would often do as I read aloud on this list in the section marked “During Read-Aloud”–such as coloring in educational coloring book, penmanship page, building something with Legos, etc.)
7. Be sure there is a time in which it is turned in each day.
This is kind of another subject, but it fits here as well: A child should not go to basketball practice, Girl Scouts, youth group, or any other activity if he doesn’t do his school. Period. We have so many parents come up to us at conventions and say, “I just can’t get my fifteen year old to finish his school each day, and he keeps getting further and further behind.” Then we ask, “Does he go to sports practice in the afternoon? Does he go to youth group that night?’ etc. etc. None of those things should ever happen if he doesn’t do his school. School is non-optional.
If your child’s independent list is on a clip board, he can simply put the clip board on your desk at the end of the day–all checked off and ready for the next day.
8. The Independent Work Checklist is, in part, to help keep the child moving as you are working with other kids, walking your college kids through a difficulty on the phone, or helping Grandma with something. In other words, you want to teach your student to get up and start on the list right away–and to go back to the list any time he is not meeting with you or doing chores, etc. (I even put things like “Read to Jonathan for 15 minutes” and “30 minutes of morning devotional book and journaling” on the list–everything the child does (outside of chores) was listed on this chart.
I just can’t stress enough the benefits of the Independent Work Lists–for Mom and for the student. It takes away gray areas of parenting (something crucial that we teach in our parenting seminars). It helps the child become an independent learner. It teaches many character qualities–perseverance, prioritizing, resourcefulness, responsibility, diligence, timeliness, and much more. Yeah, I am pretty crazy about my thirty years of Independent Work Lists! 😉