Saturday, September 17, 2011

Workboxes Part 2: How We Use Them

Last time when I wrote about the Workbox system, I shared my decision to use it and where I went for information in understanding the system. Today I am going share how I implemented the system into our homeschool.

After doing much research, I had all kinds of possibilities circulating in my head about how I could put this theory into practice. I went to the store with ideas of what I hoped to find to use for my workboxes. To be honest I really couldn't find anything that would work without spending lots of money. So I decided for my oldest to use magazine holders and place them on his bookshelf in his bedroom. I had several plastic magazine holders of different sizes. I bought a set of the thick cardboard bankers boxes to give him a total of 12 boxes.

For the younger one, I followed Sue Patrick's advice to the tee about how to set up the workboxes. Up in my attic, I had a shoe rack that holds 12 plastic boxes. I only had to buy four more boxes which were $1 each at Walmart. So this ended up costing me very little money. Now for those of you with limited space and several students, I can see why you would chose something else. I had a spot for one show rack in our school room.

One of the resources at The Comprehensive Workbox site (post at the bottom of the page) had the little labels, charts and numbers created for you in bright colors. All you have to do is print them out on a color printer, laminate them and cut them out. Then get some of those small round velcro pieces (avaliable at Walmart in the sewing area). Put the bottom portion of the velcro on each box and on their chart. The top part of the velcro on the numbers. Each morning the numbers start on the box and when the box is completed, the number is transferred to the chart.

Each evening, I try to fill their boxes for the day. Now I have already completed daily lesson plans for the entire year. On a clipboard, I have taken the first page from each subject (it covers 6 weeks of school) for each child. Then I just have to carry around the clipboard. It also makes it easy to fill their boxes as I flip the page and see what needs to go in each box.

When a student completes a box during the day, he removes the number on the box and puts it on his chart which I have attached to a cabinet beside his desk. Then if he has a finished loose paper, it goes into the tray. Otherwise, the books go back into the box. More than likely we will need them again tomorrow. Now Sue Patrick suggests having a large tub and putting everything from the boxes completed through the day into the tub and stacking the boxes themselves together. Then when you refill the box for tomorrow you have everything there. To me it was more of a time saver to leave the boxes on the shelf and put the books and supplies back in the box.

We have been using the Workbox System for four weeks now and I have to say for both my 2nd grader and my 8th grader it has been a huge success. I chose to use this system for a couple of reasons. I am already a planner. So this wasn't about getting me organized and teaching more with ease. For us, this system works because it gets everything together we need for the day in each subject ahead of time, so we are saving time. The boys are working more independently in certain subjects which is a goal we have. They are able to skip to other subjects when mom is working with brother instead of waiting around when mom is free. For my oldest son, it has encouraged him to get up early and start school an hour before breakfast on his own thereby finishing school earlier.

Next time, I'll share what we put in the boxes.