Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Workbox System

I'm excited about something that I wanted to share here.  I've shared this with my local homeschool group and also with friends I on a recent retreat.  There are many of us excited about this and I wanted to share it here in case others would be encouraged by this.  We are loving this system!


A friend of mine, Sue Patrick, another homeschool mom, has devised a plan for organizing your school day that is brilliant.  I've been interested in doing this for quite some time, but just not gotten around to doing it.  Well, I invited Sue Patrick to share her Workbox System in a workshop for our homeschool group.  I started it the next day.


Here are some of the basics, though I encourage you to buy Sue's book to really understand the details of how it works!  Each child has their own set of 12 workboxes.  They are set up so that the child can work independently through some of them and others are "work with mom" boxes.  The boxes are numbered and the child moves through them sequentially.




As the child works through a box, the box is then removed from the shelf so that they can see their work diminishing.  They can see exactly what is expected of them each day and how much they have left to do before their school day is over.  They can also see fun things in boxes which helps to motivate them to finish the more difficult boxes.


One of the biggest benefits that I have seen is that we are accomplishing more and in less time.  I'm doing so much of the "fun" stuff that seems to get put off and my children are loving it!  We've added back more art, music and games.  I am working to get our day organized and we are all reaping the results!  I can't say enough to praise this system. 


You can visit Sue's website HERE to read more about it.


I'd be happy to answer any questions too as a happy user of this system.  :-)


Blessings,


Leslie 

25 comments:

  1. I love this idea! Too bad I didn't hear about it sooner. As soon as we finish rearranging rooms, I'll hop to it. I need some organization to my days!

    In Him,

    E

    www.nogreatergift.blogspot.com

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  2. HarvestChristianMarch 5, 2009 at 1:32 AM

    They look super! :) Can't wait to get my book.

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  3. That's neat. I seriously don't think I could handle having boxes and bins sitting around, but I still think it's a neat idea!

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  4. That's a great idea! I used to do that in my classroom, but I should use it with Jacob now. He'd love getting to see it like that!


    Melissa C

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  5. healthyhomeschoolMarch 6, 2009 at 6:02 AM

    Leslie, that looks really cool. I remember Sue. I really wanted to be there that day, but had other obligations. Maybe I can check your system out for the next mtg! I'm planning to there with BOOKS. :)


    Lynn

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  6. Thanks for sharing this. I bought the book, and I can't wait to read it and set up shop! I know this is going to help fix a few problems we've had around here. :-) Ami

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  7. I'm so glad this has been helpful! She does have a lot of great ideas.


    Lynn - I'd love to share my system with you at the next mom's meeting. I'm so glad you are coming!

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  8. What are the ages you suggest using these boxes for?

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  9. In her book, Sue suggests using these for ages 18 months and up. I have not yet added my youngest child to the box system yet though. I want to do it more for *me* so that I'm doing intentional things with her and covering her therapy needs.


    For us, it is working very well for ages 4 through 16.


    Hope this helps. :-)


    Leslie

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  10. Wow - I love this idea! I had heard of workboxes mentioned on a couple of blogs but just hadn't taken the time to investigate. Now I'm off to Sue's website to learn how to do this.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings,

    Shannon at Song of my Heart

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  11. Leslie,


    Would it be okay to use your picture in a webinar I'm doing on organization? I plan on mentioning Sue's system and linking to her website. I'll give you credit for the picture. Here's the link to the webinar: www.tinyurl.com/c2aybm. It's full right now but if you get on the waitlist, you'll be notified if a space opens up as well as an email with a link to the recorded session after the fact. Both the live and recorded events are free.


    On a similiar note -- I noticed a call on Sue's website asking for pictures from users. You may want to pass yours along.


    Blessings,

    Maureen Wittmann

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  12. Hi Maureen,


    It would be fine for you to use the pictures and I appreciate both your asking and giving credit.


    Thanks for the info to your webinar. I'll go check that out. I hope it goes well!


    Blessings,

    Leslie

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  13. For those of you who use this system and have purchased the book, are the cards and extras fairly easy to make on your own. I'd love to purchase the starter kit and the book, but I'm on a very tight budget, and can barely afford the book. I really love this idea and think it could work for us, so I want to purchase her book, and try to make our own pieces to make it functional.

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  14. Yes, you can definitely make these on your own! Once you purchase the book, you will receive a code to access the forms on Sue's site. You can then just print and laminate (if you want) yourself.


    I bought the started kit for 2 children just to started. Sue was at my house with them and I wanted to start the next day! lol I have made the rest of them for my other children using the forms on her website.


    The book really has all you need. I hope this helps and feel free to ask questions any time and I'm happy to help.


    Blessings

    Leslie


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  15. How much time does it take you to "reorganize" the boxes each night? That is what seems daunting to me... having to think through each night where to put stuff away and what new things to put in the boxes. With 4 children, it could be chaos.


    Thanks!

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  16. Time - Initially, it took me quite awhile (at least an hour) to fill boxes for the 5 of my children that are using it.


    Since I've started, I've done a better job of organizing some of my resources and figuring out the types of things I want to do each week. Some of my subjects I try to plan out for the week. I put papers in the files on my table for each day of the week for our notebooks. This helps cut down on filling time a lot!


    Now, I'm probably spending about 30 minutes. It is time well spent though because it means I'm planning and gathering all of the supplies we need for science experiments, art projects, notebooking and more. In the past that would have been time wasted or more often a project that would just go undone.


    I hope this helps.


    Blessings

    Leslie

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  17. i was reading online about workboxes and came to your blog almost right away. how fun is that? i was just telling my sister about you this week and how you bless us every sale and how much i look up to you. hope you are well!

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  18. I've read about this system. Your photos are most helpful to date. Now, I'm curious, as to what you would put in the box when you have multiple children using the same resource tool (book, foreign language cd)? What happens when a child gets to a box that needs mom's help, and mom is helping another child? Or, you plan for a group activities Art Lessons, and the one or two children aren't caught up to that box number?


    What size shelfing and boxes do you show in your photos? Can this be found at Walmart?


    Thanks for responding! :)

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  19. Hi Gail! What fun to see you here! Things are a bit chaotic and challenging right now, but hopefully will settle down again before too much longer.


    As for the questions, I'll do my best to answer them. Please feel free to ask any more questions that this brings up. I’m glad the photos are helpful to you. I know that I’m visual and really appreciate photos too.


    When I have multiple children using the same thing I’ve done a couple of different things. If it is something that they will be doing together (for example a science experiment) then I will split up the components and put some in each child’s box. If they need the same tool/book/etc., then I will put a note in the child’s box that is using it later to get it from the other child’s finished box. (Or I’ll just move it to their box when the first child is finished with it.) I usually start with it in the youngest child’s box.


    If I’m busy with one child and another needs my help I will either ask them to wait, have a sibling help or have them skip that box and more on to the next box. You could also set up a “wait center” with something fun for them to do while they are waiting for you. Could be a manipulative, a fun toy or something they would enjoy for a short time and yet could stop it too.


    When we get to a group activity, I will ask the other children to just stop where they are and join me for the group activity. They can pick back up when we are finished. This hasn’t been a problem for us. I usually try to do most of these at the beginning and end of the school day when possible.


    Here are the details on the shelves and boxes that I am using. I bought mine at Target.


    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/LeslieNelsen/667541/


    I hope this is helpful!


    Blessings

    Leslie

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  20. Do you have the same subjects in the same boxes each day? For instance, is Math always in box #1?


    Thanks,

    Ginger

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  21. Ginger - I have not done it that way but it would certainly work. For us, we have therapies 4 days a week and they are at different times. So depending on when I'm available, I try to do the with mom boxes during that slot and the independent boxes during therapy.


    Now that I think about it, with my oldest two, who work mostly independently, their stuff does tend to stay in the same boxes. My daughter helps reload hers each night and just follows the same pattern.


    So, I guess we do a little of both. Hope this helps.


    Blessings,

    Leslie

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  22. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. The answers are helpful, and give me the motivation to purchase the system for 4 children, on-the-road to independent learning.


    Happy new school year!

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  23. I have a family of four. I would like to save money by purchasing just two set ups. Do your older children still use the boxes? If not, at what age were they independent enough?


    Thanks!

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  24. I just stumbled into your blog and noticed you've got a link pointing to one of my images. The link is broken because my site does not allow direct links to images.


    If you change it to go to the actual html page it will work :-)


    http://www.papereggs.com/pages/patterns/egg000.htm


    Thanks for mentioning my site - Pat

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  25. Older children and workboxes


    My oldest child does not use workboxes and hasn't really ever done them. It was his choice and I'm fine with that as he does get his work done. I confess that it would be easier for *me* to correct and keep up with his work if he did do the workboxes.


    My 2nd oldest (8th grade) uses the boxes and pretty much fills them herself. She enjoys having them.


    My youngest four all use the boxes and I fill them. They are used traditionally and are very helpful to all of us.


    I hope this makes sense and helps to answer your question. You can certainly change it around and make it work for you. I really appreciate the way that it makes me prepare and helps hold *me* acountable.


    Pat - Thank you for visiting my site. I'm not sure what link you are talking about. I visited your site and don't remember ever using an image or posting a link to it. If you could show me which post, I'm happy to make any changes.


    Blessings

    Leslie

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