Raising Independent Learners January 15, 2019 By Bekki Leave a Comment This content may contain affiliate links.You stumble into the kitchen to start your coffee and you find your 8th grader already plugging away at school. You rub your eyes and look again. Sure enough, there he sits quietly working on his math for the day. Can you imagine? This is an everyday occurrence in my home. Our 8th grader likes to get a jump start on his day. He feels like he gets his best start when he is the first one awake. One of our biggest goals for our boys is to teach them to be organized. This is a mentorship program that my husband initiated when our first two sons were in high school. It is now the biggest focus of middle school and high school: Teaching our kids to create and manage a work calendar. Each of our boys have their own monthly calendars (created by me) that break down their lessons for the month. As they approach high school, they get trained how to break their lessons into week-long chunks. The goal is that they will be able to break down a college syllabus into a manageable workload by the time they are juniors in high school. Each son has a weekly to-do list of school assignments. When they are younger, I create this for them. As they transition into high school, they sit side by side with me as we work together to map out each day’s work. Eventually, they will have the skills to do this step by themselves as well. Time management is a tremendously useful life skill. It is never too early to begin with your kids. Daily checklists. Weekly to do lists. Weekly overviews Monthly calendars. These skills enable our boys to take charge of their days. They can see when they have soccer, doctor’s appointments, field trips and then they plan their day accordingly. It is a common occurrence in our home to have kids up early jump starting their day, or older kids to work ahead by taking advantage of days they finish their work early. They are taught to look ahead and grab a later lesson to get a jump start. Don’t get me wrong. It takes a lot out of me to teach the kids organization. It’s hard work and time-consuming to assimilate three different levels of schooling and to break it all into workable pieces. But the results are well worth the effort. It’s wonderful!