Including Independent Work Time in Your Homeschool

The following post is from Victoria of Snail Pace Transformations:

Including Independent Work Time in Your Homeschool at

When I began homeschooling I was in the most stressful season of my life to date. I had a newborn a two year old and a 6 year old with learning delays. I had just moved over 1000 miles away from my extended family and friends. I knew no one and one month after arriving my mother discovered her cancer had returned.

I needed a homeschooling plan that gave me breathing space each and every day.

Little did I know that out of this stressful period of life I would create a system of homeschooling that would cause my children to become the independent learners my husband and I desired them to be years before we thought it possible.

Independent Learning Resources

Here is what I have learned about setting up independent learning sessions for my kids:

Learning happens outside of textbooks.

My children learned scripture from the Hide Em in Your Heart CDs, math from Math Blaster and alphabet recognition from LeapFrog: Letter Factory.

Now that they are older Spelling City gives them a daily spelling test, Teaching Textbooks teaches them math and they work on grammar skills using the Editor in Chief program from The Creative Thinking Company.

Curriculum can be adapted to suit independent learning.

My children love Mystery of History which is intended to be a read a loud book, however I purchase the CD version as well as the book and have the children listen as they read for 3 days of the week and then on the 4th day we do the activities together.

Choose workbooks they can do on their own.

Sometimes I think we moms tend to hover too much when we homeschool, not allowing the child to stretch their learning abilities.

Step away from the school table for a few days and see what books the children bring to you for help and what they just need you to mark.

Including Independent Work Time in Your Homeschool at

Creating Independent Learning Sessions

Once you have researched what is available beyond the textbook, you have found adaptations for others and have spent sometime observing what each child can do on their own successfully; it is time to sit down and map out your school day mixing independent work sessions with time with

Make a plan.

Your plan is going to be as unique as your family. Here is what we have done over the years.

When most of children were pre-readers, I rotated independent learning time with mom time. My eldest would have an ½ hr with me, then my third child, then my second child. This allowed me to work on reading with each child individually while giving my two oldest children a full hour on their own and my youngest child two ½ hour sessions on her own.

Now that all three read well, all three spend the morning working independently allowing me to work at my work. I spend my afternoon going over the work they did that morning, teaching science, history and whatever else is needed.

They are able to work 100% on their own each morning due to a well thought out plan that is printed out for them to follow.

Keep reworking the plan.

When you are switching over to independent learning sessions not every thing is going to flow well the first day.

I plan for a week off of all other activities beyond homeschooling at the beginning of each school year. This allows me to help the children get use to their new routines and work out kinks.

For instance, one year I had all three children listening to different books on CD at the same time causing the noise sensitive child much mental stress until I went running to the store for headphones. Another year, I had not allowed enough time one child to finish with the computer before the next one needed it.

Is independent work time part of your homeschooling routine?

Victoria writes at Snail Pace Transformations about frugality, food, faith, fitness and sometimes homeschooling. She believes in life long learning even if it is only at a snail’s pace.