Independent Work Lists for Junior High and High School Students

Now on to Junior High and High School!

The concept behind the Independent Work List is that it helps a student become, well, independent. In that way, the chart/list/planner should grow with the child—more independence/less neediness.

More responsibility/less spoon feeding from Mom.

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.

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, lesson 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

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. 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.

d. 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.

a. Do twice weeklies go on Tuesday and Thursday (but Thursday is our lesson and
errand day…)?

b. 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?

c. 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

b. Do you want it to contain meetings/tutoring sessions with you?

c. Do you want it to also be his chore list?


8. 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.


9. If you are using a “time” planner in which the time slots for each subject are written in, you might want to include times in which he meets with you, does chores, does lab with a sister, etc., so that he can see the big picture for how time fits together.


10. Consider switching to a start time/finish time approach and having him total up his time spent on school if he is having a lot of trouble with time management.

Seeing how much time actually got spent on important things and how much time got wasted can be invaluable in teaching older kids independence.

I hope that these posts have been a help to you. I can’t tell you how worth it, it is to implement independent lists!



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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