Thursday, October 27, 2011

{You CAN} Teach your child Thursday: Workboxes!!

Last year, our homeschooling routine was better than in previous years because of the new curriculum's we were using.
But there were still some bugs that needed to be worked out, and I was at a loss in how to make it better.
I felt like my children were always waiting for me to tell them the next thing to do, and some days would hardly complete more than the bare bones basics.
In other words, I felt like we were wasting a tremendous amount of time every. single. day!!

In my wanderings around other homeschooling blogs and forums, I remembered conversations about workboxes and what a wonderful tool they were in organizing your homeschool!!
At first, I just bookmarked some sites and intended to read up on how they worked later on......they sounded like a lot of work to get set up.

Well, in August, as I was getting our schooling set-up for this year, I went back and spent some extensive time reading about the pros and cons of this concept!!
And the more I read, the more excited I got!!

This was the solution to my problems!!

The basic idea was founded by another homeschooling mom who was struggling with the exact same issues I had.
So she devised this system of "workboxes" that are nothing more than the plastic shoe boxes you can get cheap anywhere.
She set up 12 of these boxes on a small wire shelving unit and in each box she put a subject for her child to complete that day.
Some boxes had a chore they needed to complete, and another might have a special treat to keep them motivated.
The boxes are numbered consecutively and the child is instructed to start at number #1 and go in order.
No skipping ahead to something they want to do instead.
This way, the child sees everything they are required to do for the day before they are "finished" and can play.

My main problem was the space for 4 of these things!!
So I looked around and found that other mom's had come up with some fabulous alternatives to the shelves of boxes while keeping the basic idea in tact!!

So I started looking for a solution to my space problem and the Lord led me to these mini plastic file holders they sold at Wal-Mart this year!!!
They fit perfectly on my already existing book shelves!!!

This has been the BEST thing for us, and I plan on keeping this system in place FOREVER!!!
I only have 8 folders in each of my children's boxes.
They are numbered from 1-8.
I just load up their daily assignments the night before {ideally!!!} and in the morning, after our breakfast and Bible time, they grab their box and GO!!

The oldest's workbox.

A younger student's workbox.

It gives me a couple minutes to clean up the kitchen and get little ones involved while the older ones are working independently!!
They know how much work they have to do everyday and they are motivated to get it done by the time their friends in the neighborhood get home from school so they can go outside and play.
They also know they aren't supposed to play games on the computer until their work is done either.

Because we are several weeks into this.....we have come up with some loop-holes!!
This system would be hard for those who are exclusively using unit studies to teach their children!!
We do a combination, so in between the lessons we do together, my children are to be doing their independent subjects.
For me, it can be a bit cumbersome to have to stay on top of grading some things and refilling their folders for the next day.
Sometimes I don't get to that until the morning and that lends to the children getting busy with toys or other things while they are waiting for me and we have a late start to the day.
Just being transparent about some of my own discipline issues..... 

Over all though, this system is great and anyone CAN do this!!
For an EXHAUSTIVE discussion on this system, with tons of links to those who already use it, alternatives to the boxes and shelves, the pros and cons, on this:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi! I had the same thoughts, ideas, and stuggles with school and workboxes. The one thing that has held me back from trying them out is the 'daily filling of them' on my part. It seems that with 4 kids, I have so much to do that this would never get done, then they would never learn. :) I'm curious to see how this works out for you over the rest of the year, maybe it will encourage me for next year, as I do love the concept! In the mean time, I've just sort of put their "workboxes" onto a sheet of paper, with all the lessons for the week, and they get to check off as they go. Thanks for blogging - you encourage me in so many areas!