A few years ago, I was homeschooling three children. That may not seem like a lot to larger families, but it was to me. I was dealing with an age range of kindergarten through high school. I had children who still needed a lot of help from me and others who were ready to work on their own. I needed to come up with a system to free up my time and teach the older children to be more independent. Part of that system was using a homeschool assignment chart I created.
What Is a Homeschool Assignment Chart?
A homeschool assignment chart is what it says. It’s a sheet or chart where your child will learn to record the work he is doing each day. It shouldn’t be complicated, or your child will not want to use it. You don’t want it to be something he dreads. In fact, it should be something that makes his day easier.
It’s a tool that will organize all his assignments into one place. It can quickly be referred to between subjects. Once he masters how to use it, his day is going to go much smoother and faster. The purpose is to train him on how to start school on his own each day automatically.
This is article is part one in a three part series I have written about helping your children to become more independent.
Part Three: Homeschool Record Keeping- How to Save Time
Weekly Homeschool Planner Benefits
Teaches Independence– Independence is a skill that’s necessary in life. Being able to complete work without being nagged or checked on constantly will benefit your child in many ways.
Children Can Record the Work for You– Instead of worrying about writing out lesson plans each week, these charts can replace them.
Portfolio Reviews– If you do portfolio reviews instead of standardized testing, as I mentioned above, these charts take the place of your lesson plans. Every single lesson has already been written down, dated, and checked off. Put them all together and bind them, and you have an instant lesson plan book to show your reviewer.
Gives Guidance– Writing out a plan for each day is going to provide a framework that gives your student guidance, so he knows exactly what to do.
Helps to See What Is Left for the Day– Some children are very motivated when they can see a finish line. As he crosses off or checks a box next to each completed lesson, he can see how many things are left to finish. He will be motivated to keep going.
Teaches Organization and Planning– Organization and planning don’t come naturally to everyone. This is a great tool to help with that.
Makes Them Accountable for Their Own Work– Instead of you continually having to tell your child to go do the next subject, he has the sheet right in front of him that will show him what to do.
Eases the Amount of Work You Need to Do– Homeschool moms have a lot to do! Being able to remove a few things from that list makes our lives easier. As your child uses this chart and becomes more independent, you are going to see a dramatic change in how much he depends on you. Yes, he is still going to need some help at times, and there are still subjects that require the teacher to assist, but for the most part, he will be able to complete a lot more on his own.
Take Control of Their learning– When a child is able to take control of his own learning, he feels a sense of accomplishment. He is able to make choices about which subject he wants to do first, figure out which lessons take the longest, and estimate how much time he needs to complete each item.
Makes Their Day Quicker– If you are teaching multiple children and having to assist each one, I’m sure you’ve had the situation where you are working with one child, and another has finished but can’t go on because he doesn’t know what to do next. This daily assignment sheet will solve that problem. He can look at it and move on! He will most likely finish his day in less time.
Prepares Them for the Workplace– Finding employees who can do tasks without being told is becoming very difficult these days. Teaching your child to be self-sufficient will make him a valuable worker that will stand out in today’s society.
Builds Confidence– Many of the above benefits I have listed help to build your child’s confidence. Not from some reward you have given him, but from the fact that he has been able to do this solely on his own. Each time he checks off something on the list, he is getting an intrinsic reward.
How to Use a Homeschool Assignment Sheet
I find that the best way to teach a child how to use a homeschool assignment sheet is to start by modeling it. Sit down together and go through each subject looking for the next day’s work. Show your student how to jot down the page numbers or a few keywords that explain what needs to be done. The most effective way to do this is to make a homeschool curriculum guide* your child can refer to.
*I highly recomment you read about the curriculum guide. It’s the easiest way to help your child become an independent learner.
After a day or so, have your child try to do it on his own while you are there for assistance. It’s essential that you work through at least a week or two together to make sure your child has grasped the concept and can do it independently.
You will want to look over the chart periodically during the first couple of weeks when he is filling it in completely on his own to make sure it is being done correctly. I also recommend you have your child hand in the chart to you either at the end of each day or at the very least, the end of each week for accountability.
Once your child has grasped the concept, at the beginning of each week (or each day), he will spend a few minutes filling in all the assignments. Some children like to fill out the tasks for the entire week, while others prefer to do it one day at a time. If you feel your son or daughter is someone who may stress out if a lesson doesn’t get done and they have to erase and move things around, it would be best to stick with one day at a time.
Whether you decide to create your own chart or download the free printable assignment sheets I have designed, make sure you include the date for each week and check boxes to show each assignment has been completed.
A Way to Make this Process Easier
Some curricula are broken down better than others and make it super easy to see what the individual lessons are. The ones that are not could be challenging for a student to figure out where each lesson starts and ends.
I have found the best way to make this go smoothly is to spend some time writing out the entire year’s lessons for each subject. I know this sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be anything long and drawn out. It could just be the page numbers or a phrase telling what needs to be done for each lesson. You will be so glad if you do!
Once you have the lessons done, you can print them out (or tear them out of the notebook) and place them in a binder. You can separate each of the lists by subject or put them in the order your child will be referring to them to fill out his assignment sheet. Your child will use the binder to look at and easily list each lesson on his chart.
Free Printable Assignment Sheets
If you would like to download the charts I have created, they are free for my subscribers. Just fill out the form at the bottom, and they will be emailed to you. I have several designs that will appeal to boys and girls. I have also included a section at the bottom where they can list appointments or events going on each week and another one on the side for notes. It’s a great way for them to learn to organize and plan their day.
My son used this method when he was in high school. At the time when I started it, it was really out of necessity for me to have both he and my older daughter working on their own so I could teach my youngest daughter how to read and write. He has since graduated, and I am now seeing the benefits of this.
He knows how to break tasks into smaller chunks and also how to manage his time. I have watched him take many of these skills and apply them to studying for a test to get his real estate license. He is not a natural planner, and I believe this system is truly what has helped.
Using the homeschool assignment chart has been a game changer in our household. It has freed up a lot of my time and also helped my middle-schooler to become way more independent. My daughter is now able to start school right when she gets up if she chooses because she knows exactly what needs to be done.
She moves right along with her assignments instead of waiting for me to tell her what to do next. She loves having the freedom to pick the order she does her subjects in and has realized on her own that math is a subject that takes the most time, so she gets it out of the way first, leaving her easiest subjects for last.
If you have multiple children (some of which are upper elementary and older), and you are feeling pulled in many directions while trying to homeschool, you should give this simple but effective tool a try!
Have you tried using an assignment sheet with your students? How did it work out? What ways do you try to teach independence in your homeschool?
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