While I do not consider using workboxes to be anymore complicated from other homeschool organization, some people get overwhelmed by the mere site of workboxes. Let me boil it down for you today and explain how you can put this simple system to use for you.
Admittedly, our system varies from the plan first recommended in Sue Patrick’s Workbox System A User’s Guide.
With workboxes, you have nine to twelve boxes. In each box, you place and activity. The children work through the boxes at their own pace. When they are done, school is over.
You can put anything into the workboxes. I use a mix of curriculum and fun items. You could even put a snack directly in the boxes or a card instructing the child to have outdoor play time or a turn at a learning center (if you have them).
If you are organized, workboxes will not take much additional planning. In all honesty, if you don’t care if your fun boxes are themed with your curriculum, you could probably just put anything in them and be done with it. I prefer to have activities which extend what my children have learned through their lessons.
How I use workboxes in our home
- Each child has their own set of workboxes (bins that I purchased at the Dollar Tree) on a three-shelved bookcase. Each child also has their own work card. (I got mine from Confessions of a Homeschooler and laminated them.)
- The work card has twelve spaces but I only use nine boxes. (Well… there are really ten but one is used to attach the work card and hold items like pencils, scissors and crayons.) The children use their work card to know what is happening and when.
- I place at least three special buttons on the work card where ever I want them to fit into the school day. (The buttons are a part of the printable at Confessions of a Homeschooler.) Typically, I put a computer time, snack time and potty break on the card. Then, I number the boxes with the spaces that remain with a numbered button which I attach to the box with a Velcro dot. The children move the buttong from the box to the work card as they finish. When the work card is full, they are done.
How the work card might look
On the card, spaces 1 through 4 are left empty. On space 5, there is a computer time button. Spaces 6 through 8 are left empty. Space 9 has a potty break and space 10 has snack time. Spaces 11 and 12 are opened.
The boxes are then numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, (skip 5), 6, 7, 8, (skip 9 and 10), 11, and 12. Each box contains an assignment for the child to do.
Typically, I leave the same subject in a workbox each day. This cuts down on planning and organizing. For Lira, math is always in box 1 and spelling is always in box 2. Piano practice is always in box 12.
How the workboxes fit into our day
When the school day starts, we have our Social Studies or Science first as a group. Then, the children can start their workboxes. Since the children might reach the snack time space on their work cards at different times, I either have something ready or allow the children to make their own snack from whatever I have pulled out.
As the children finish up their work boxes, I remove the items that need to be put away (might ask a child to help me) and then restock the boxes for the next day.