Some homeschooling methods have their children studying independently very early on, but in our house we have had a balance between independent time and times where I teach and work along side of my children. Both aspects to learning are important.
Independent study skills start when your child is just a toddler when they learn to play by themselves. In those early years of toddler / preschool we had many time slots throughout the day where the kids grew in this skill. For it is a skill and it needs learning and practicing.
– Cot time or playpen time – where the children were given a small selection of toys, and a few books and were expected to play for a set period of time. This grew into room time where they played in their room, with a set amount of toys, for a set amount of time.
– Table time. Initially this started as time in a highchair and they would have some activity like playdough, sorting, matching, puzzles etc. When they graduated from their highchair they could sit at the table for a set period of time, and colouring in, drawing, reading, puzzles, etc.