Flexibility is one of the major reasons lots of families choose to homeschool their kids. As homeschooling families, we have the flexibility in the way we structure our school days and years. We’re also able to accommodate the way our kids learn best.
But any parent homeschooling multiple grades at once will attest: there are definitely times we wish for a body double! Wouldn’t it be great to have a copy of yourself to work with an elementary-aged child while you spend one-on-one time working with your older students?
Unfortunately, we have yet to figure out the secret of body doubling. We’ll keep you posted on that…but in the meantime, you can set your kids up with some solitary learning with an independent homeschooling activity!
Why Do Independent Homeschool Activities?
Independent homeschooling activities aren’t just about keeping younger kids out of your hair while you work with an older middle school or high school child, though. Teaching kids to work independently will pay off for years to come.
When we cultivate a love for learning in our children and give them the tools they need to seek out the information they desire, nothing can stop them! An independent learner can work within the structure of a math lesson, but they can also find information on a topic that interests them and seek out more information about it!
How To Prepare Your Students for Independent Homeschool Activities
If your students aren’t used to working independently, it may take a bit of trial and error. You’ll also want to make sure your expectations are age-appropriate.
(You shouldn’t expect a five-year-old to give complete focus to an independent activity for a solid hour, for example… Although if they’re really digging something, the activity might keep their interest!)
Start by giving them a little bit of independent work at a time, and check in on them frequently. If you find that they’re losing focus easily, determine whether the rabbit trail they’re headed down is an educational one. (Sometimes you’ll find that they were super interested in the lesson and decided to explore the topic more on their own.)
5 Independent Activity Ideas for Elementary Kids
If you’re looking to help your younger kids work independently for a bit while they’re still learning and engaged, the possibilities are endless. Here are five great ideas to get you started.
1. Practice Letters and Numbers With a Hands-On Activity
Have your kids use to practice forming letters and numbers in print or cursive. You could have them use paper and pencil, of course, or mix it up and make it fun with a material like Wikki Stix or playdough!
There are endless ways you can have them use Wikki Stix for learning as well. (And they’re just downright fun to play with!)
2. Send Them on a Virtual Field Trip!
Now, more than ever before, museums, zoos, and science centers are making their activities available online. Regardless of your child’s interest, you can find a field trip that will fascinate them! If your elementary schooler is loving studying astronomy, they would probably love to tour the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, regardless of where you live!
3. Make Math Fun With Math Games for Kids!
Online math games have come a long way since we played Math Blaster as kids! There are a wide variety of free math games all over the internet. Just select the skill that you want your child to focus on, and find a game that you think they’d enjoy!
4. Set Them Up With a Fun Craft
Pinterest and the internet are full of fun activities for elementary kids. And the best part is that you can easily find activities to supplement anything they’ve been learning! If you’re studying fish with young children, for instance, you can do this adorable paper plate fish craft after reading Marcus Pfister’s The Rainbow Fish.
5. Unstructured Free Time
Even though free time isn’t what we traditionally think of as an “independent activity,” it’s still vital to children’s development to learn how to entertain themselves without a routine. Sometimes, in our efforts to make sure we are doing “enough” with homeschooling, we unknowingly overschedule our kids’ time. It’s important that we allow them a little time to be bored since boredom breeds creativity!
Teaching Your Kids To Learn Independently Takes Time
Even though teaching kids to work and learn independently is important and well worth your time and effort, it’s not always easy. Remember to keep the activities and time expectations reasonable to their age and developmental level.
Then just increase the time you expect them to work solo according to your child’s readiness and your needs!
Hands-On Independent Science
Aside from many great hands on activities students can complete independently, kids can learn to do many school subjects independently too!
Journey Homeschool Academy has designed our curriculum to encourage students to work independently (though many parents report enjoying joining in on the fun too). While parent oversight is always necessary in any curriculum, students in the elementary level will enjoy watching videos and completing hands on assignments. As students enter the middle school and high school years, we’ve set our courses up to offer built in accountability for students with checklists.
Explore our courses for every age group and make this the best year of science yet!