How to Use Independent Work Lists for Elementary Students

Once you have determined that you do need the structure for your student that Independent Work Lists provide for your school, there are many questions to answer and decisions to make. And these decisions will be different according to ages.

Here are some tips for using Independent Work Lists With 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


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. For things that you are uncertain of/change-ables, put time or generic wording, such as
“30 minutes of uninterrupted CQLA work” or “All Meaningful Composition assignments
from previous meeting with Mom,” etc.


5. 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.)


6. Be sure there is a time in which it is turned in each day.

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.


7. 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

I would love to answer questions about these daily charts. Leave your questions below—or email me, and I will get you some answers!



For a downloadable product with a dozen charts to use with various ages, check the store here!

Video: Independent Work Lists

Audio: Independent Work Lists

Audio: Using Your Planner to Get More Done

Audio: Overcoming Parenting Obstacles

Video: Using Consequence Pies


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