The importance of independent work showing a mothers of the believers craft

The Importance of Independent Work in Your Muslim Homeschool

Independent work is the lifeblood of a successful homeschool.  Sometimes parents feel guilty that they are not spending more time ‘teaching’.  However, the ability of kids to complete work independently is hugely beneficial for them and for you.  Read on for just some of the reasons why independent work is so important and ditch that homeschool guilt today!

Spoon feeding quote

Important study skill

The ability to work independently is a vital study skill.  You’ve likely heard of students being ‘spoon-fed’ information.  This metaphor really conveys the sense that students are overly reliant on their teachers and have not acquired an essential life skill.  This article on the Cambridge University education blog explores the importance of independent learning in depth.  

‘Spoon-feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.’

E.M Forster

Homeschooled kids are often brilliant independent learners. They are given the opportunity to explore topics by themselves.  Perhaps more importantly they are expected by their parents to learn independently.  

I’ve observed this in particular when homeschooled kids approach the age when they take formal exams.  For UK students that is normally age 15-16.  Many homeschooled kids get support from tutors in certain subjects or for particular topics but are not ‘taught’ for every subject.  

As a result, they teach themselves using textbooks, video tutorials,  workbooks and other resources.  It is much better preparation for how lifelong learning will actually take place.  You won’t attend a course for everything, but likely seek help when needed or teach yourself where possible. You need a teacher for swimming or first aid but you likely can grasp the fundamentals of graphic design or how to start an online business through online tutorials.

Teaching multiple kids at the same time

If you want to teach several kids of varying ages and abilities, you need to incorporate independent work into your homeschool.  Independent work is essential so a child can be learning and use their time productively while you focus on another child.

You can even organise your homeschool that way. Instead of organising your daily work by subject, instead, organise it by whether it can be completed independently or not.  That way when something comes up, a baby needs feeding or an unexpected call, kids know they can switch to independent work until you return. This is a great idea when you have a newborn or young baby. 

Remember, kids would not have hours of one-on-one instruction at school.  You don’t need to feel guilty that you have to split your time between several kids.  

Follow instructions

Independent work develops the skill of following instructions.  Homeschooled kids have the luxury of having their teacher always at hand (plus their teacher really loves them!)  However, it can mean that they don’t pay close attention to instructions as they know you’ll always be on hand to answer clarifying questions.  Independent work means that you can practice giving instructions once and then expecting them to complete them without coming to you again and again.

A Mothers of the Believers time line problem solving worksheet

Independent Work Encourages Problem-solving

The development of problem-solving skills is closely related to the skill of following instructions.  Once they know that you aren’t on hand to answer every question and solve any issue, they realise they have to solve the issue themselves.  This is great for building their confidence and also a sense of independence.

Interest-based learning

Independent work also allows kids to follow their interests.  If everyone has to learn the same topics, naturally not everyone will be able to study the topic they are most interested in.  When students work independently they can select the subject that most piques their interest. This helps with motivation which is often the biggest obstacle in learning.

A colourful country tab book designed  to be completed independently


The final benefit of independent work for today is that it encourages accountability.  This is especially true of older students. They see their own progress as their own responsibility rather than their teachers.  This means they are more likely to identify any problems and then seek help.  

If the expectation is that they will be moved from point A to point B through a process that they haven’t planned themselves, they feel passive and they act that way too!  It’s similar to when you are in charge of organising an activity, you have a much better grasp of what is happening than the people who are just participating.  This is true even if you shared the plan with everyone.  Whenever you play an active role, you are more invested and engaged in the process. For kids, this means accountability, as they see their success as a direct result of their own learning process.  Problems and issues are their responsibility so they take steps to solve them.

Islamic reading comprehension from the free resource library

Free resources that include independent work

I hope you have found this summary of why independent work is important for your homeschool.  If you would like to get FREE resources such as biography packs that can be completed independently then join the mailing list here to gain access to the free resource library.

Here are some other blog posts you may be interested in:

5 ways to create a productive Muslim homeschool

The Impact of Well-Designed Resources on Your Muslim Homeschool

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Asalaamu alaikum,

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