Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Workboxes and Homeschooling

Hi All,

I've changed my plan many times, so don't hold me to this plan either... :) But I think I'm going to start Kindergarten with Rachel in the fall. Of course, our third baby is due 2 weeks before I was planning to get started, so I'm reserving the right to stop, take a break, slow down, or whatever I need to do until we find our groove. Rachel will only be 4.5 years old by then, which gives us some great flexibility. If we were sending her to school, she wouldn't begin until September of 2011.

Organizing our day with workboxes...
I've been reading other homeschooling blogs to get tips and ideas and that's been getting me really excited about starting! In particular, I'm really interested in how other Moms organize their curriculum and supplies. Workboxes are one system that has caught my eye.

I haven't read Sue Patrick's Workbox System book, but this is what I've gleaned from other bloggers. Workboxes are a way to organize your homeschool curriculum in a way that fosters independence and a well structured day. Sounds good to me!

Many people use a cart with 3 or 4 shelves that hold a total of 12 containers. The containers are numbered 1-12 and each container corresponds to one subject area. For example, if Box #1 is designated for Math, the box would contain the worksheet, manipulatives, and pencil that the child needs for Math that day. The child begins working through the boxes starting with Box #1 and ending with Box #12. As the child completes each box, they take a velcro number off of a schedule/number strip and velcro it to the box. It's a great way to see the sequence for the day, how much work is left, and what has already been completed.

It's also a great way to ensure that I will be prepared for each day. I can simply fill up the boxes the night before and know I won't have to hunt for all the little craft supplies I currently have to hunt for. It's a big time stealer!

What else can go in the boxes?
Just about anything it seems! I've even seen Moms put a snack in one of the boxes or a fun game or activity. The curriculum we will be using, Little Hearts for His Glory, only has 9 subject areas per day, so I plan to be creative with my extra 3 boxes. I've also thought about using the extra boxes to plan activities for Abby who will be 2.5 by then. I will definitely need things to keep her busy while I work with Rachel!

Here are some photos from other Mommy bloggers to show you what they do and how flexible the system can be. Some Moms don't use a cart and boxes because of space constraints. Instead, I've seen workfolders and workbinders too.

Cassie from Spell Out Loud uses IKEA shelves and Itso bins.

Ruby Slippers School uses space saving file folders.

Fenced in Family uses work pockets for another variation.

Last but not least, I just love how Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations modified the system to work for her family.

Here is a picture of the schedule strip she created. How cute is that?

She uses workfolders because she has 4 children and didn't have room for 48 boxes.

These are the activity and subject cards she created for things they do during that school day that don't have worksheets. Jolanthe is a graphic designer extraordinaire and she loves to share! You can download them from her here!

I'd love to give workboxes a try. Now I have to figure out how to convince Matt to let me put workboxes in our dining room school room. His initial reaction was, "You're going to put what where?"

Have you tried workboxes or a variation of the system? Please share your experience with us!


  1. Don't have time to post all about our experience with the workboxes, but I will do a post about it at some point.

    What I liked about it is that it made the day run smoother, no lost time looking for a pencil or book. I can prepare and have a place to put it.

    I did not use the shoe boxes - takes up too much space. I do not follow the system to a T either.

    Oh, and I do use them for Mr. Z who is in kindergarten. It makes school go much faster with everything lined up to go.

  2. Hi Yes I have used workboxes and it did not work for us at this time. I have a 2,4,6 year old and one due in July.
    Instead of the workboxes I am using a binder method and planning for the year ahead.
    You can read my post here.


    This post helped me as well!