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Use “independent work piling” to save time for older students!

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From Our House to Yours

Use “independent work piling” to save time for olders!

I was on our Heart of Dakota (HOD)   message board and found an old post of mine about “independent work piling.” This has been such a time saver for me through the years! Independent work piling works best with older students who have completed at least several months of their new HOD guide. I do my most concentrated teaching the first month of each new guide. If I do a good job of training my older children to carefully follow directions and properly complete each box of plans, they will likely continue to do so all year. After several months or so of this, they are ready for “independent work piling.” To see how to use “independent work piling” with your olders, check out this blast from the past post below!

My first routine plans for me to stay by my children’s side more.

I begin each year by carefully training my olders to use their guides. This initially involves me staying by their side more (teacher part, stay and monitor student part, teacher part, stay and monitor student part). I find this necessary for a period of time. However, after important training for an adequate amount of time, I find I am able to change MY part of the routine. My older students usually no longer need me to stay by their side to monitor the student part of their work. So, for instance, I stayed by my oldest son’s side in Resurrection to Reformation (RTR) for about the first one-third of the guide. My first routine planned for that. However, my second routine, which I will share today, incorporates “independent work piling.”

My Second Routine: Independent Work Piling in Math

I want to share my second routine for my RTR son here. At this point in the year, we are using “independent work piling.” How? Well, now I do the teaching of say… math. Then, he looks over his independent math workbook, tries a problem from any section he thinks he may need more guidance on first, and sets aside the rest to finish later.

Independent Work Piling in English

Likewise, with R & S English, I do my teaching part. Then, I assign a section or few problems from each section for him to do independently. He numbers his notebook page according to what I want him to do independently, and I ask if he has questions about how to do any of it. Then, we add that to the independent work pile to be done along with the math.

Independent Work Piling in Writing

We do the same with Medieval-History Based Writing Lessons. I go through the teacher’s part, and we look over his student part together. I ask if he has any questions. He sometimes wants me to help him get started. Other times, he does not want me to help him at all because he “gets it.” (“I get it, Mom, I’m fine with this” is usually what he says, I believe, and quite firmly too sometimes.) Then that gets added to the independent work pile of math and English.

Independent Work Piling in DITHOR

Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) is the same way. I do my teacher’s part. Next, I go over any Student Book questions he has and listen to him read a page or two at the start. Then, he sets his Student Book and his book to finish reading on the independent work pile to do later.

Independent work piling frees up time for me to leisurely enjoy the rest of my teaching time.

We then enjoy our rotating teaching box time together at a leisurely pace. I LOVE this time together and do not rush it. If ever I draw something out within my teaching time, it is that box because it gets to the heart and the mind. This year with Boyhood and Beyond, Poetry study, and Art Appreciation we are really enjoying this time together so much. I feel like I’ve gained the time by doing the independent work piling to really take time with my son during these other times. It has been wonderful. I have really shared my faith with him so personally so many times, and he shares his growing faith with me. It seems like a special gift from God for me. It fills my cup, and it is the connection I have with my oldest son right now.

A Few More Things Added to the Independent Work Pile

Then, when we finish, added to the independent work pile is his copywork of Boyhood and Beyond, and he is off to do his independent pile of work. The rest of the guide is independent already, so this just is a time saver for me. Because I have three very different ages of sons with three very different levels of placement needed, this frees up time for me to work with Riley, my second son.

Independent Work Piling for Slightly Younger Students

This kind of independent work piling looks very different for younger-aged children like Riley, who is almost eight years-old and doing Bigger Hearts for His Glory (BHFHG). This was not possible for him in any way, shape, or form at the start of BHFHG. But, since we did half-speed for many months, and now full-speed, he now understands the routine and what he is expected to do. So, for him, I need two teacher directed times, and then a marker board with a list for him to finish out anything he can independently. I still oversee more of his work than Wyatt’s work in RTR, but he is taking on more responsibility and I am not needing to “hover” as much as I used to.

Independent Work Piling for Those in Younger Guides – Not a Good Idea

My Little Hands to Heaven (LHTH) son is now entering the stage where he will need me 100%. So, because HOD has written guides so more independence can be gained each year because of skills being taught incrementally, and because boxes of plans in the guides follow predictable routines, my oldest will need me the least, my middle son will need me about half the time, and my youngest all of the time. Perfect! I love this part of HOD because I feel like it “grows” with children and lets them mature (which they really want to do even if we don’t want them to so much). It’s a healthy thing.

This kind of time saving tip of “independent work piling” is only possible after we have put in our time teaching our children the routine of a guide, and of course, accurate placement is key. I hope something here helps those of you with older children who are also teaching multiple guides. It is my prayer independent work piling can save you time, as well as help your older children enjoy the newfound independence getting older affords.

In Christ,

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