Alright, so here is the skinny on workboxes and why we love them in our school room. Honestly, I am beginning to think maybe I need some for myself to stay on track!
The idea of workboxes is not an original thought of mine unfortunately. The credit goes to Sue Patrick who has written an eBook on this system. (You can find it at here) To be honest, I did not buy the eBook, although I am sure it is fabulous. Our system has been adapted to fit our individual needs and style. What I did do was go on a crazy Pinterest search and got myself enormously overwhelmed with way too many options and designs. I hope that this post will help you from getting too overwhelmed as I did. My suggestion to you would be to take what we have done and make it your own. Make it fit your kids and your school room.
The general idea of workboxes is to have 6-10 boxes for each child. These boxes will hold the child’s lesson for the day. They can be made of anything your heart desires; from purchased shelving to file boxes to folders to re-purposed diaper boxes. I think this is awesome for the child because they can instantly see how many lessons they have for the day, what they have accomplished, and how much they have left to do. Without a system like this the child would be pretty lost in knowing how much more there is to do. As a bit of a compulsive planner myself I would hate to not know what the plan for the day was. We have a system where when they finish a box they get to take the number off the front and replace it with a check mark label to show it is complete. They can then place the number label on a chart. When the cart is full they are done for the day! Our boys are young and they love being able to visualize their accomplishments in this way!
Each box is also labeled with some way for the child to know whether they can accomplish this box independently or whether they need mom’s assistance. This can be done in many ways, for us we have a space on the side of the front of the box that a “mommy” label is placed if they will need my help. Having more than one child, this is a life saver. I can schedule out the boxes so that Johnathan will need my assistance with Box 1 and Jacob and Ian will be able to work independently with their Box 1. Jacob will need my help with Box 2, while Johnathan and Ian can work independently with their Box 2. Make sense? This way, theoretically at least, everyone should not be needing mommy’s help all at the same time! I have no idea how people teach multiple kids and different levels without doing something like this. If they were all the same grade level it may not be as advantageous for this reason at least.
I can also alternate their lessons so they are not doing stressful lessons back to back or at a time when they are likely to be getting tired. This is especially helpful with the two little ones as they tend to get a bit on the grumpy side toward the end of our school time. Because of this I try to make sure their more fun lessons are towards the end. I also do this with Johnathan as he is most stressed about his reading lessons, so I always make sure to have something fun that he will enjoy after that lesson.
The last benefit I see to this system is both a great benefit and also a struggle……it forces me to stay on track and be organized AHEAD of time! Uhg…..but Yeah…… The boxes need to be filled with the days lessons before the kids start school! This is imperative to the success of this system. For me, that means it has to be done the night or day before. Because we have early risers, doing it in the morning would be a bit chaotic. The awesome thing is that it is very easy to see where we are at in relation to staying on schedule with our curriculum. It also helps in a HUGE way to save time and help us stay on task. When filling the boxes, each box needs to have everything that the child will need to complete that activity. This means if it is a coloring worksheet we need to have the worksheet and crayons in the bin. If the lesson is a math sheet, it should have a calculator, pencil, ruler, ect. The idea is that we are not running around wasting time looking for that loose sheet of paper, or a pencil sharpener, or crayons. I have a small bin on our table with extra pencils, erasers, and a sharpener as well just in case.
So far this system has been working seamlessly for us. I will admit that there have been days I have been up at midnight filling the stupid workboxes……but I know if is helping our school time to be more efficient and in the end save time and frustration.
So what do you think? Will you try this system? If you already use it what type of bins do you use? Any suggestions?