Self Responsiblity

At what point can you expect an 8 year old to do some independent work. When I walk out of the room it is like she doesn’t know anything. And when I am sitting by her desk having her do independent work she acts like she doesn’t know how to read to do the work. Even though I go over the directions and words. I have set time limits with extra time, reward system if finished on time. She has been working on second and third grade level …this is our second year.

I’m not sure because I’m still in the room with my daughter when she does her work. I’m interested to read replies.

I, too am in the room and usually sitting with my 3rd and 2nd grade boys. We are working hard on some independent work and the area in which I have found it works best is Arithmetic. We go over the lesson and the examples from the Teacher’s edition - some of which is new material, some of which applies to the day’s lesson. Then, together we choose the assignment (2 rows or maybe 3 on each page) for them to finish independently. We then go onto the rest of their subjects for the day. After we are done together, then they go back and finish their math. Then I come back in and check it. Most days this works quite well and they enjoy the process.
Another area I am trying this is with writing Spelling words 3 times each. It is working very well with my 3rd grader, but not so well with my 2nd grader as he just runs the words together as sloppily as possible and as quickly as possible to get done. A work in progress with him . . . .

I have a 3rd grader and we’re encouraging self-directed and independent learning as well. He loves reading, so this is where I thought he’d feel some confidence. He loves to do “big boy” work, so he’s been taking his history book and reading the chapter alone in a comfy spot, then coming back to me, sharing what he learned and then we do the related projects together. Reviewing material (like math problems and grammar exercises) is another way to allow him to do something on his own, since its not a newly taught concept. Sometimes I’ll ask him to read an article or a small biographical book and have him tell me about it later… what he found interesting, or what he learned that he didn’t know before. It’s a wonderful feeling to have the child get be the “teacher” for awhile!

Instructions are sometimes hard or include words that may be out of reach. Try having her read the instructions out loud to you, and then see if she can tell you what she thinks they mean. Help her with any words she struggles to read, and help her with any gaps in understanding about what to do. I found independence was something I could start fostering and developing at age 8, but my kids were more like 9-10 when they were ready to do a lot independently.

I didn’t leave the room (or just for a moment) but instead did things like say, “Let’s see who can finish first, you with your math, or me folding this laundry. Ready…go!” My kids enjoyed a bit of competition, and I made it so they could win if they tried.

Other times if the topic was hard for them, they still needed me there. Sometimes I even took turns writing the answers (they worked the problem and told me what to write). Sometimes they needed more concrete examples with base 10 blocks or other manipulatives, or they needed some problems modeled on the page to help them remember what to do.

She won’t need you forever and will push you away when she’s ready to do it on her own. Be patient, encourage her, and help her towards independence, but know it might be another year or so for some things (and some things may need more help).


I think it’s just partially a maturity thing that will come with time. And I have an easier time with my daughters completing work when I’m out of the room, than with my son. I still have to get on him to focus and do his work.

I try to view my job as a homeschool mom as if I were in a school classroom. I wouldn’t frequently leave the classroom to go do household things like laundry etc. Even though it’s tempting :slight_smile:

Instead I make sure I’m available as a teacher to them and in the room during school hours. If everyone is working well, then I might sneak and answer a few emails or something. But honestly I try to stay off my computer during school as it can suck more time away than you think!

I DO expect them to be able to do their work independently where appropriate, even though I am in the room. For example, they can certainly do handwriting without my help, but I’m still in the room monitoring them. Or everyone might be working quietly on math, but I’m still standing in the room in case someone has a question. Of course there are subjects that require my teaching as well. But for independent things like handwriting, etc. I usually teach them to do them on their own, and only ask questions if needed.

And honestly I don’t know what it is, but just having me in the room, even if they’re working independently seems to keep everyone on track. If I do have to leave, I’ll warn them that I’m going to swap laundry, and will be back in 3 minutes. If they’re not still working at their desks they’ll have a consequence.

I also have a post on procrastination that might be helpful to you too :smile:

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