Using Planner Pages to Teach Children Independence

The following is a guest post from Jessica Fisher of LifeasMOM.

Years ago I attended a homeschool conference where curriculum author, Marcia Sommerville shared tips on teaching a large family homeschool. One of the things that stuck with me was to teach my children to become independent workers. I couldn’t hold everybody’s hand all day long!

Doing so would be a win-win situation for all of us as it would lighten my workload at the same time as teaching them a valuable life skill.

So, with four boys, two girls, and a partridge in a pear tree, I set out to find ways to keep track of my kids’ work — both schoolwork and chores — and to start them on the path to independence. At the same time, I developed a set of planning pages and worksheets to help me get (and keep) my act together.

Every August I put together a personal planner/household notebook that helps me keep track of my yearly and monthly goals, meal planning ideas, fammily calendar, contacts list, and business planning. (This is described in more detail in my ebook, Organizing Life as MOM.)

At the same time, I assemble a homeschool notebook that includes an academic calendar, attendance sheets, curriculum outline, lesson plans, and testing. These sheets are all available in my homeschooling add-on pack.

How this helps my kids:

1. Schoolwork

I print out lesson planning sheets for each of my children at the beginning of the year. Each student has his own color so that at a glance, he and I know which sheet is his. I fill these out on Sunday night and affix them to clipboards.

All week long, my students refer to their planning pages, making changes as necessary, for daily school assignments. At the end of the week, I collect them all and file them in my homeschool binder.

Voila! Multipurpose lesson plans, to-do lists, and records of what actually happened during a given week.

2. Chores

Many of my kids still need daily reminders of their household responsibilities. Yeah, I do, too.

Somewhere along the lines I heard about the idea of the “Morning High 5.” It’s five basic chores that a kid can do every morning. You can follow it up with an Evening High 5.

I printed High 5 signs to post throughout the house and in each of the kid’s bedrooms. There’s no excuse for not getting your work done!

3. The Kids’ Daily Docket

Some kids, depending on their age and personality, need daily “to do” lists, rather than weekly or perpetual reminders. I developed a third planning page that gives moms a place to list homeschool assignments, household chores, and words of encouragement. The kid’s daily docket is a great way for a young reader to keep track of his day and learn some new responsibilities along the way.

(One way to reduce clutter is to laminate your child’s daily docket and use a wet erase pen. You’ll save paper and add more interest to a regular “to-do” list. This is found in the homeschool add-on.)

4. Organized Mom = Organized Homelife

It goes without saying that if I have my act together, I can better help and encourage my husband and children in their individual pursuits. When I’m scattered, no one eats on time, has clean clothes, or arrives to appointments and lessons in a timely manner. Plus, if I’m taking care of business — without doing their work for them — I’m setting a good example for my kids.

Getting my act together helps us all.

How do YOU instill independence in your kids?

All the planning pages that I use — as well as some extras — are available in my ebook, Organizing Life as MOM. The main book is a recipe for home and time organization as well as goal setting for moms and other home managers. The homeschool add-on provides pages specifically designed for homeschool parents and children. You can read a recent review of the book here at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

— Mother of six, Jessica Fisher writes about parenting hacks at LifeasMOM and posts delicious ways to act your wage at Good Cheap Eats. She is also the author of Organizing Life as MOM – a 170+ page e-guide complete with customizable planning pages and inspiration for home management. A homeschooling add-on is also available.

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