Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our Workbox System

This year we've decided to implement the workbox system.  In my research I came across Sue Patrick's workbox system.  Everything I read about it was positive and it just sounded like something that would work good for our kids.  We're still in the process of refining it, but after only 3 days I have seen such a major change already.

What do I like about it?
  1. My children can be more independent.  They have all of their work & the tools to do their work right there in front of them, so they can independently do their work.
  2. Gives me more freedom.   I don't have to stand there next to them telling them what they need to do and what comes next.  My son is still struggling with reading, which means he still needs help reading directions for many of his assignments, but this way we both know ahead of time what he can do on his own and what he needs my help with.  
  3. Makes planning the week quicker and easier.  I plan once a week what is going inside the boxes.  It takes about an hour (give or take).  I know what things he needs to accomplish each day and the things that I want to add in between.  
  4. Takes the stress of the unknown out of the day.  There's no more asking "When are we gonna be done?" or "How much more do I have left?" or "when do we get to do [fill in the blank]?"  He knows what he's done and what he has left.  My son gets overwhelmed very fast.  If I ask him to clean his room and there are toys everywhere, he doesn't see that they're all legos and all you have to do is put them in the lego bin.  He sees there are way too many toys for him to pick up, so why even try, because he'll never be able to do it all himself.  But if someone comes and does it with him, even if it means I only pick up 1 lego, he'll do all the rest just knowing someone is there to take part of the load off.  Thats kind of how school work is with him.  If I tell him he has Group Time, History, Science, Math, Reading, Phonics, Grammar, Spelling, Vocab, Life Skills, Art, Music...to do today, or he sees a tall stack of books, he wigs out.  I might as well have thrown him into a pit of starving crocodiles.  But having all of his work separated, yet right there in front of him, he doesn't feel so overwhelmed.  He can see that it isn't as much work as it sounds.  
  5. The day goes by so much quicker!  My son doesn't complain as much and he's actually already figured out that the sooner he gets through his work, the sooner he'll get to have free time.  
Here's our workbox system so far.  It's not quite as I want it to be yet, but its all I could pull together before school started (I'm an over achiever, I know).

The boys clock in/clock out cards.  Each day they clock in and clock out so they have the visual of starting and finishing school.  My 4-year-old especially likes this!

(I totally snaked the idea for the look from Spell Outloud.)

Their workbox grids/schedules.

As the boys finish their work, they take the tag from their workbox and place it on their grid.

If you don't want to make your own activity cards, you can download them from Homeschool Creations.  One of these days I'll upload mine for download as well.

Their grid shows them the order in which they get things done.  We start off with Group Time, then we move on to workboxes.  Once they've gotten their first 2 workboxes complete, they get to have a snack and take a 10 minute break.  So they can see on the grid what they need to do in order to take a break and have a snack.

Here are are my oldest son's workboxes thus far.  I love these bins (found in discount section at Target for $2.50/each), but I could only find a total of 7, so he gets 4 & my younger son gets 3.  We just double up and some times triple up on assignments per box.  Eventually I'd like to get more and build a rolling library cart to put them on.

When he's all done with his assignments, he places them into the "Finished Work" bin above his workboxes.

Here's what his whole workbox system looks like (you can see my preschoolers workboxes in the background).  We're using an old antique school desk to place it all on.

We've definitely changed Sue's system a bit to fit our needs and style, but its been great so far!

If you want to learn more about Sue Patrick's Workbox System or would like to order her book, visit her site here.  If you're looking for cool ideas others have done with their workboxes, search "sue patrick workboxes" in google images.  

No comments:

Post a Comment