OK, here’s the post about how we are using the workbox system. I did not buy Sue Patrick’s book (http://www.workboxsystem.com/), but have used various printables and ideas taken from many home school blogs and websites. Like I said before, I believe that workboxes have been a lifesaver :)!
We start off our day with “group” time which includes Bible, Geography, Science, Art, and Music. We do not cover all of these subjects everyday, but this gives you the basic idea. After group time, the boys start working through their boxes. Each workbox has an activity or an assignment inside with the needed instructions. The boys start with #1 and work in numerical order until they are finished with all of their boxes for the day. As they finish each box, they put their completed work in a clear bin (for Mom to check), remove the corresponding number (attached with Velcro Dots), and place it on the “Completed Workboxes” poster by their desk. I make them complete their boxes in order because I “stagger” the assignments so that one child is working independently while I work one-on-one with the other. This has required some rearranging at times , but I think it’s getting better as I learn more about the kids’ academic strengths and weaknesses. I also try to alternate written assignments, reading, and more hand-on activities to break things up a bit.
Now, as for being an “organizational geek” – LOL…I know that it seems like a lot of work, but I can’t imagine trying to get everything done without being organized! Being organized and structured has made our days go by much more smoothly! The boys are thriving on this system so far (not to say that our needs and preferences will never change). Maybe it’s because they are coming from a structured school/classroom setting. The best part is that although we are organized, we are also flexible! If the boys need a hug, a snack, or just a “get the wiggles out moment”…we stop what we’re doing, take a rest, and then get back to our work.
One of the main benefits that attracted me to this system is that it is very visual – the students see how many boxes need to be done for the day, work at their own pace, and get the satisfaction of hanging their numbers up as they finish. They get to literally see that there is an end in sight, without constantly having to ask, “how much more do I have to do?” or “when are we going to be finished?”.
I also wanted to share a few pictures of my daily planner, organizer, and file system. I am trying to stay about one week ahead of schedule with my planning (this was very helpful when the hurricane hit two weeks ago – everything was already planned, copies made, and ready to go – I just had to gather the needed books, grab the daily folders, and find a building with electricity :)). I fill out a tentative weekly workbox grid, so that the night before school I can just follow the chart, grab the items, fill the boxes, and be ready to go! It’s great!
I’m sure that I’m forgetting something, but I wanted to share what is working for our family. It was soooo helpful for me to see other moms’ blogs and pictures of their “systems”. I was able to “pick and choose” what parts I thought would work for us. I hope that a few of these ideas will be helpful to other home school moms out there. Happy organizing :)!