Monday, August 3, 2009

The Workbox System!

The workbox system is a pretty popular way for home schoolers to organize their day. Here's the official site with various products, but the gist of it that you basically fill up a series of boxes (or bags) with one day's school work, and the child works through each one. Most people have the child work through the boxes in order, while others let the child pick their own order. By taking the time to fill the boxes the night ahead, you save time the next day by not having to run around the house and gather up various supplies or books needed for each activity- they're already gathered. Also, the children can see how much work they have to do and how much they've completed. 

What does it look like?

Here's a workbox system with velcro numbers. As the child completes their work from one box, they place the number on their laminated card. This mom says she appreciates that the system is on wheels to be rolled around the house as needed, since they don't have a dedicated school room. She spends about 10 minutes a day filling the boxes and about 30-45 minutes each Friday planning the next week's workboxes... 

(originally posted here)

Here's another workbox system, set up in line for three children with the workboxes to the left of each child's desk. This mom uses Microsoft Excel for her weekly lesson planning/ box filling. She says that implementing this system really cut down on whining since the children know exactly when they're done with their work. She even puts a snack in one box, about half-way down, and a fun craft or game at the very end. She also puts a "work with mom" sticker on the outside of boxes that the child will need help with, and staggers those activities between children. 
(originally posted here)

And here's an alternate variation that I like, and it's great if you're low on space but already have some shelves to spare... vertical boxes or magazine holders in a book shelf... you can attach a clothespin when the box is done...
(originally posted here and here

Two more alternate variations are to use plastic storage drawers or hanging pockets (the pockets aren't ideal since everything can't be fit inside them, but are nice if you have no space). The mom using the plastic storage drawers had three colors for her three kids, and a fourth color for the subject they do as a group, history.

(originally posted here and here

That mom ended up changing her system so that they're only using one set of workboxes for the work the kids do together, and just uses a three-ring binder for each child for their separate work, using a tab for each day.

She implemented the use of "waiting stations" which are what a child can do while waiting for group time or waiting for Mom. 
(originally posted here

Here's a peek inside a few workboxes...

Remember, each box contains everything needed for one activity- books, paper, scissors, glue... anything! That way the child can pick up the box and get started right away. 
(originally posted here and here and here and here)

It's even handy for younger siblings...

If you have little ones that need occupied while you're teaching their older siblings, they can have their own work boxes too! Here are a few workbox examples for the wee ones: 

(originally posted here

Want to see mine? Here are our first workboxes, and here are our current workboxes!

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