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As busy homeschooling mothers of many children, Rachel and I have found that having a simple system in place to help our children work independently is a MUST! I once heard someone say that one of our chief responsibilities as mothers is to "work ourselves out of a job" and I couldn't agree more. From the moment our children are tottering around on chubby little legs, we should be training them to be helpers and workers. By the time our children are young teens, they ought to be able to take over lawn care, meal preparation and many other household tasks completely independent from Dad and Mom. Sound like a dream come true?
Check out Rachel's 3 part post series Teaching Our Children to Work
So what does teaching our children to mow lawns and empty the dishwasher have to do with school work? Lots! Just as we begin work training from the earliest age possible, we can begin "school" training as soon as our little ones are ready to learn their colors or build with blocks. Now, just to be clear, when I say "school training", I am not referring to training our little ones (or older ones) to fall in line and sit still for 8 hours a day at a school desk laboring over boring worksheets. Ugh! I hope my kids never receive that kind of training. What I am referring to is teaching our children skills such as:
One of the ways we accomplish this is by implementing systems of organization from our oldest children down to our youngest. We have used many different methods over the years. Here are a few ideas that have worked for us.
A great system that works for preschoolers and early elementary is The Workbox System. This idea originally came fromSue Patrick. You can read about her system here. Many homeschoolers use variations of her workbox system. You can find a ton of ideas on Pinterest. Confessions of a Homeschooler has a great post on how she implements the workbox system, as well as free printable labels and workbox planning pages.
When our children get a little older, they graduate from the workbox system and move on to Weekly Assignment pages. Weekly Assignment pages are pretty much what they sound like: pages that contain all of the child's weekly assignments so that they know exactly what they need to work on and accomplish every day. When my children first graduate from the workbox system to Weekly Assignment pages, I like to use aDaily Checklist and hang it someplace visible where I can check it often throughout the day to see if the child is completing their tasks. This works well for young children or immature children who haven't quite mastered time management.
This is the one Miss Caitlyn has been using. Click on the image to download.
Once my children are in the habit of faithfully using theDaily Checklist, then they are ready to move on to Weekly Assignment pages. These are not quite as visible, as I like to clip them in the front of their school binders, therefore I wait to use them until I know that they are ready for the responsibility of managing their own schedule to a certain degree.
This is our elementary version. You can download by clicking on the images below.
As the kids get older, I like to include a handy place for them to record credit hours. Then, at the end of each week (or when mom remembers to remind them! We're still working on that training. lol), they can record their credit hours in their Record Keeping Journals. This keeps them from having to open up their Record Keeping Journals every time they complete a task or spend time working on credit hours.
Some of our favorite resources for preserving and using our assignment sheets
These versions include a place for keeping track of weekly credit hours. You can download by clicking on the images below.
This summer I created what I like to call the "ultimate" version of the Weekly Assignments page. I have included a weekly calendar, as well as boxes for the kids to check off each assignment as it is completed. The calendar was a MUST for us this year. With two high school students, one middle school student, one elementary and one preschooler, to say we are spread out is an understatement! The calendar is a visual reminder to the kids of what their week looks like (classes, music lessons, co-op, etc) so they can better manage their time. I plan to use this one this year with my upper elementary through high school kids.
The "ultimate" Weekly Assignements page. Download by clicking on the link below.
And that, my friends, is how we stay (somewhat) sane throughout this crazy and wonderful season of life otherwise known as motherhood! I hope you have found some inspiration here today!
If you enjoyed these free resources, would you mind sharing for other homeschool friends to find?
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