How We Do Independent Work {How We Homeschool}

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Our school year is well underway, but I really want to share how our homeschool works. I’ve shared a few “Day in the Life” posts, our curriculum, and more, but I’m going to get into the nitty-gritty of our schooling: how I plan each week, how the girls do their independent work, and more. Every Tuesday for the next few weeks, I will highlight a new aspect of our homeschooling life. If you missed it, check out the first post in the series: My Weekly Homeschool Plan.

I like to tease Shane about how many of his sermons come from other’s ideas. It’s also funny how people will compliment him on a great event, and he laughs because many of the parts of the event he gleaned from someone else. Our homeschool is like that. Every once in a while, I have a great idea, but for the most part, I learn from others.

This particular idea came from yet another discussion with my friend Mandi. She mentioned these fantastic binders that she got for her girls. Being the office supply geek that I am, I had to check them out. The girls were needing a good system for their independent work, so I decided to give them a try.

These are a little more than I normally spend on binders, but it is a two-in-one binder, and the difference it has made in our homeschool makes it worth the price.

When I say these have revolutionized how we do school, I mean it. It sounds crazy to say a binder made such a huge difference, but it truly has.

During my weekly planning time, I go through the girls’ binders, pull the work they’ve done, grade it if necessary, and then file it in their main tabbed binder. Then I get their work ready for the next week and file it behind the coordinating day. When I am busy with Cam, the girls head for their Independent Work Binder, pull the work for the day, and do it.

This method has eliminated them coming to me (while I’m rocking Cam) and asking what they need to do next. They know if I am not in there, the work they need to be doing is ready. I even laminated a checklist and attached it to the back of the binder. I can take a glance at this list and know if they finished all of their work, without asking them. And the list helps them keep track of what they need to finish, because not all of their independent work is actually in the binder (Abby Grace’s math, for example, is on the computer).

After the girls finish each subject, they file that day’s lesson in the three-ring part of the binder. For the most part this independent work does not need to be reviewed by me, so I really don’t look over it until my weekly planning session.

I really love how this system fosters independence in the girls; it makes life easier for me, and motivates and excites the girls because they are doing their work without my help. It’s a win-win!

top photo credit: adam.declercq via photopin cc

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