Friday, April 23, 2010

Workboxes - Back to Stay!

If you followed my previous blog, you may remember that I tried the whole "Sue Patrick Workbox System" craze last year.  I'm such a rule-follower, that it never occurred to me to *tweak* the idea to make it work for us, until I started seeing that other people were successfully using Sue's idea, but making it work for their indiviual needs.  I rushed out and bought 12 of the traditional plastic shoeboxes, knowing full well that our books would never fit and my OCD nature would have me in fits that I couldn't keep them looking tidy. 

And at the time, we really didn't have room for them - we were doing our lessons in our breakfast area in our kitchen.  Then we moved to the dining area, which wasn't much better.  But we really liked the idea - Trey is just like his mother.  He likes organized and scheduled spontanaeity.  I know - weird.  We like surprises, but only if we know how they fit into our plan for the day - and it helps to know that we're being surprised. 

So when we moved into our new house and I was able to have an actual classroom, I decided to get with the program again.  But this time (being less "new" to homeschooling has given me a greater sense of confidence in my decision to stray from the rules a bit.  lol), I did my research and found these Sterilite Latch Boxes at Wal-Mart that fit a standard size textbook PERFECTLY!  (I bought mine individually in the store, not in the set they have online).  The handles latch the box closed so Trey can stack them neatly once he's finished with his boxes.  They also have different sizes available, which is great because some of my workboxes include chore cards or suprise cards that don't take up as much space, thereby eliminating the wasted space in a bigger box.  I do use a couple of shoebox size boxes, too, because I like that size for crafty-type workboxes, and all of Trey's smaller workbooks, magazines, mad libs, etc.  Here's what our workbox station looks like:  drumroll, please......................................

The green box on the floor is where he puts all of his workbox contents once he's completed the assignment. 

This works well for us because the boxes and contents are separated immediately, rather than piling them all together in one large tub, where everything gets all jumbled up. 

The boxes get stacked on the right, the box contents go in the green tub, and his completed assignments (in paper form) go into a tray on my desk labeled "Completed Work".  (BTW, there's a second tray on my desk labeled "Graded Work," that Trey checks at the end of each day and places in his Portfolio Binder.  It really saves me from having to dig for his work.  I like organization. 

 This is a pic of our larger, textbook-sized workbox.  There's plenty of room for his book, paper, pencils, etc. 

I can't really say enough good things about these boxes - I. love. them. 

They have the interlocking grooves on the top so they can be stacked together and not fall over!  I know - I'm easily excited. 

I got 3 different sizes of these - because we have different sized activities.  They have the shoebox size available, but I couldn't justify buying them when I already had some at home.  :(  Yes, the OCD in me is really bothered by the aesthetic difference. 

And we're stacking.....

I have to say - I hated the schedule cards that were part of Sue's system.  Not just a little, either.  I really hated them.  Trey didn't like them either because they made him feel like a preschooler. 

So in lieu of the schedule cards, I decided on this idea.  He likes file folders (trained him well, I know!).  So I have devised a 2 or 3 page schedule list that I print out each morning.  Snacks, Lunch, and Playtime are all built in to the schedule, just as Sue suggested, and that works well for Trey.  In fact, he just loves it.  I no longer hear 400 times a day: "Mom, what all do we have to do after this??"

Each morning, after he finishes his morning chores, Trey comes to the school room at 9am.  He takes the folder of the appropriate day of the week and places it on his desk.  Then he gets to work checking off each Box Number. 

I try to include at least 2 "Surprise" Cards a day...Trey loves these.  They are as simple as 30 minutes of Computer Time, or as elaborate as a surprise field trip to see a real steam engine roll into town.  We also do a lot of picnics, art cabinet raids, hiking at the park, Mad Libs, Bananagrams, Dominoes (great for Math!!), and other fun stuff like designing a bicycle obstacle course. 

Trey loves the workbox system and so do helps us to stay organized, but it also reminds us to schedule a little fun into our day as well!! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks! You should include a tag or despcription of your wall pockets, so others can find it :) I am using the same Space Place Wall Pockets!


I love to get reader comments!!