Please note that our homeschool workbox system has been drastically updated. We now use a simpler method that I highly recommend.
Today, I am very happy to be hosting the Homeschool Village Playdate. While I am new to writing about our homeschool adventures, I have been following the Homeschool Village since we first decided to homeschool a little over a year ago when we encountered problems with the public school system’s lack of services for our daughter’s Autism. At that point, I was homeschooling Lira in Kindergarten and Franc in Preschool.
This Fall will be a sudden change for our homeschool as I will not only be teaching Lira and Franc but Ruble will begin Preschool, and we will have our Little Learner, Ariary, to care for at the same time. That is why I am so grateful to have bumped into the workboxes idea a few months ago.
Workboxes were the discovery that brought sanity back to my life. That might seem a little extreme but let me assure you that I mean every word. Before workboxes, I was praying that God would release me from homeschooling our children and pulling my hair out. Each day was a battle. With this simple step, our children went from “I don’t want to have school today” to “You haven’t put anything in my boxes yet.” They even think we are supposed to have school on Saturdays.
People who have seen my workbox system immediately assume that it is too complicated for them and think it would take too much time to make it work. Honestly, it does take some additional time but not much, and I work that into my planning instead of figuring out what I will do day to day. Planning ahead diminishes the extra brain power needed and I can just switch on the auto-pilot throughout the school year ~ extremely important with a house full of children.
How I plan for my workboxes
Since I want to keep my workbox planning organized, I created a template that I use in addition to my basic lesson plans. (Feel free to download this template for your personal use.) I keep the workbox plans separate from my basic lesson plans since I need to submit those each quarter. If you do not have to prepare lesson plans for your cover school, you could just add a few boxes to the basic lesson plans.
Within the template, you can plan for twelve workboxes. Personally, I like to keep the basic subjects (spelling, reading, math, and Bible) in the same box each day and just change out the fun and supplemental materials. Since the template is built in an Excel file, you can easily cut/paste to save time when planning each day.
Also, certain fun items from our homeschool closet are on an automatic rotation. That leaves even fewer boxes to deal with on the planning template.
What I love about workboxes
- Each child has their own set of boxes giving them a territory for which they are responsible. This feeling of ownership builds pride as they strive to keep their area neat.
- The children learn to be self-motivated as they work through the boxes at their own pace, knowing that when they reach the last box they are done for the day.
- I can give one-on-one attention to each child to introduce new material or just have some face-to-face time as the others are working on fun activities or reviewing concepts previously studied.
- Workboxes are very routine and patterned (great for special needs children like Lira) while still offering a unique, suspenseful ingredient to our school as their contents change daily, keeping the children excited about school and learning.
What are your thoughts about workboxes?
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