Fostering Greater Independence In Middle School

One of my main goals when realizing I was actually homeschooling a middle schooler was to make him more independent.  Ian is pretty great about getting himself all ready for the day and he's incredibly responsible.  He's even great about sitting down to the table and doing the school work that is piled up and waiting for him-- without being asked or told.

However, if there is a day I forget to set out his work; he assumes he doesn't have any.


I'd like to see him start taking ownership of his schooling and take the initiative to pick out schoolwork.  Eventually I'd like to see him taking over more and more showing me what he'd like to learn about and how he's going to go about learning.

But I realize he's only 11 and these are more long term goals I have for high school.

I don't feel like I can just wait until he reaches high school age though and spring it on him.

I know Ian does well with baby steps and lots of advanced warning and preparation.  He really hates change and gets anxious at the thought of being "on his own!"

I thought one manageable goal for this year would be to have him pick out his own schoolwork once a week.

I thought I'd write up a check list of all the subjects we like to try and cover in a week and have him pick three or four subjects to work on that day.

The idea would be to work through the entire checklist by the end of the month ensuring that he has chosen a variety of work for himself on each individual week.

Hopefully this will help him gain confidence in outlining his work and what he needs to accomplish and I'm also hopeful that this will help me see what he enjoys the most and where his passions lie (other than working with dirt and driving heavy equipment).

Another idea I had was to use the Thinking Tree 12 Subject Portfolio to help him put together his own curriculum for high school.  Right now I plan out what we're going to be learning about based on all of the boys interests but this would allow Ian more independence on picking subjects and doing his own work.

In thinking of where I'd like him to be for high school, I thought a good way for us to start this was to use the Thinking Tree's Eclectic Homeschooler's Plan Book together this year.  I could write what he needs to do each day; leaving Friday's page blank for him to fill in but allowing him to look back and see what we typically do in a day.

So far the boys are taking to these Thinking Tree books rather well and I think the planner is going to be a great addition to our schooling and to helping Ian become more independent.

Linking  up with:

Thursday Favorite Thing blog link party


  1. The portfolio is definitely something I want for my oldest! Thanks for linking up!

  2. I think you have a good plan for guiding him to pick out his own work one day a week. Fostering some independence is also on my goal list for my middle schooler.


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