Our Homeschool Workboxes Updated

how to use homeschool workboxes

I am a big supporter of homeschool workboxes and have been for a long time. However, within the last few months, I noticed I was spending a lot of time deciding what to put in 9 to 12 boxes each day. School was becoming a huge chore for me and the children were rarely getting through their work. It was just too much.

Now, I know that Sue Patrickhow to use homeschool workboxes believes the workboxes should be done in a very specific way, but I feel that you should use the idea to fit your family. With that disclaimer out there, here is how we are doing out homeschool workboxes now…

how to use homeschool work boxes

Gone are the bookcases. They have been put to use elsewhere. And, the boxes I was using were a perfect way to organize all my homeschool craft supplies. Now, I use a 3-Drawer Rolling Organizerhow to organize homeschool workboxes. The children each have their own drawer and on the front is a workcard, attached with a Velcro dothow to organize homeschool workboxes.

free printables for homeschool workboxes

The workcard has six spaces which is plenty of room for my young learners. They might need more spots as they grow but for now, it works really well and the timing is perfect.

I have a series of numbers and also cards for allowing the children to pick something from the homeschool closet, going outside, visiting our home library, cooking, cleaning their rooms, and more.

Each workcard and the corresponding “buttons” are laminated and attached with Velcro. (You can find the link for the free printables below.)

How to use homeschool workboxes

I placed the opposite side of the Velcro dots on manila file folders and the workbooks. Worksheets go into folders and a bookmark marks where I want the children to work in the workbooks.

how to plan homeschool workboxes

As the children complete an assignment, they place the workcard button back on the card.  If they come to a spot that has an activity already placed, then the children know to move to that project and then return to the card when they are done. Sometimes, if the activity is something that I know they will become very absorbed with, I set a Time Tracker timerhomeschool timer in order to keep our morning moving.

This updated workbox system takes just a few minutes to prepare each morning and is less frustrating for me AND the children.

So, how do you use homeschool workboxes?

Free Printable for You ~

Linked with love at Add a Pinch and OrgJunkie.

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  1. says

    I actually stopped using workboxes for the exact same reason why you changed yours! I was spending too long preparing the night before – just as much time as it took the kids to blow through them! I never had downtime so nixed the idea altogether. However, I’m rethinking them. I have the 12-drawer rolling carts. Now that my older two are a bit older (and I want them to be more responsible) I may select a few for work they can do on their own.

    • Penny says

      I think finding what works for YOUR family is critical. If it doesn’t work, homeschool becomes a pain and Lord knows that it takes a huge commitment without being a burden. I pray you find something that will fit your family’s needs. :)

  2. Jessica says

    We recently abandoned our workboxes. They were just overwhelming and our crazy schedule wasn’t allowing me the time to fill them properly. They were also taking up much needed space in our tiny house so they had to go. We’re brainstorming a new way to organize our days possibly using a small portable file box or a binder with a folder for each subject.

  3. says

    I just bought myself a shelf with six drawers. I put math, science, English, etc in the drawers for each day (ie Monday, Tuesday) This is work that my daughter can do on her own. We are currently doing the Prairie Primer. So we do that stuff at the time that I want to do it. This way once the Prairie Primer stuff is done, she can do the other stuff at her choosing. When she is done with the stuff in the box, she puts it back and I can grade at my time. That way she can work on the daily stuff when I am cleaning or cooking. That has helped us use the Prairie time much more efficiently. Less confusion and we know what got done. Plus it makes her responsible to make sure her daily stuff is done with me having to remind her. She likes that she can do it when she wants too. Sometimes it is early in the morning or after dinner. I have had no complains.

    • Penny says

      I love that you have personalized the workbox system to fit your family, Amy. I really think it is a great way to have school but it has to fit your family’s style. :)

  4. Amanda C says

    I like how you put more responsibility on your kids as well as giving them more freedom to choose. WTG

    • Penny says

      Thank you, Amanda. That is one of the biggest things I have learned about homeschooling multiple ages. If I want to stay sane and avoid burnout, I have to motivate them to want to learn independently. :)

      • Amanda C says

        I started with six boxes and finangled with how I would do homeschool for a few weeks now so that I could work out any kinks without the stress of getting behind any real school days. What I am doing that works is I have a binder filled with worksheets, etc separated between eight dividers. My Kindergartener decides which worksheets he wants to do and when he’s done I transfer them to a ‘completed’ binder. He must choose at least six subjects, but he can do as many worksheet, activities, coloring pages, etc he wants to. This works for us since he likes flipping between dividers and deciding what to do. I print worksheets, copy pages and fill the binder every Sunday. A few subjects are copies of his books that I just need the next chapters. I keep the boxes to entertain the youngers, but they have a whole area of their own and my three-year old has her own binder of work, since everything of her brother’s must be hers too :)

        • Penny says

          That is so great that you have found something that works for your family, Amanda. I truly love the flexibility behind this idea.

  5. Susan says

    I was just wondering if you use the boxes (I would probably use file folders) and for the basic subjects leave the workbook/textbooks, etc in the same folder and just have an assignment sheet (which i already use) for them to see what lesson. Each day you could switch up the order of the basic folders but not have to change what is in them. The order change up woulld be fun for the kids but it would be less work for the parent. Other activities that change daily and do not have a set book or workbook would still need to be changed. Of course you could put together a pack for the week and put that in the folder so you only have to do fill folders weekly. You can still change the orders of folders and skip folders depending on the day. Just thinking aloud I guess….anyone try any of these ideas?

    • Penny says

      Actually, Susan, we do not use boxes. Each child has their own drawer where I keep their curriculum… maybe that is what you meant by “box”? As this post mentions, we switched from traditional workboxes to a workcard. For our family, it works much better. It takes me about two minutes total to get them ready for the three children who use the system.

  6. Tabatha F. says

    Sue Patrick is actually apart of the same homeschool support group as me!! Last year she spoke about her workbox system and showed all the different things she’s done and used but made sure to tell everyone that while it was important to do certain things certain ways, you should also find what works best for your family and even showed us a few different ways that people have done her workbox system!! I love the concept, but I know that my kids would have to be much older to actually use any version of the system! Kudos to you for finding your best fit!!

  7. says

    Hi – great article and ideas! I’ve been homeschooling now for 8 years and have recently employed the workbox system, however, I did have to adjust it to suit our particular needs. I only have one child to homeschool, but even I couldn’t justify dedicating so much space to all those boxes! Instead, I use one box which contains file folders. I number each file as needed and place her assignments into them. She then has a laminated flip card with the numbers/activities placed on them and then a sheet with velcro stickers (which I named “My Progress Card”) and when she completes a file, she simply removes the number from the flip card and places it on her progress card. I have to agree that it does take up quite a bit of time to fill the files/boxes up each night, not to mention marking her work and filing that! I can imagine that if you are homeschooling a number of children, this would take up a huge amount of time. I have to say though, I do like the idea of getting things organised so that we know what we’re doing each day, so much so that I’m tempted to make up my own little flip card!! :)

  8. says

    I love this idea. I tried the work box system a couple of years ago and ditched it pretty quick because of your mentioned frustrations…it was taking a lot of time and we weren’t getting the core subjects done at all. But, this gives me some great ideas and I already have the the three drawer rolling organizer. (Currently used to hold supplies such as crayons, pencils, tape, glue, etc.) But maybe if I can reorganize our hutch as you mentioned else where, (no china on ours for many years), this just might work. Thanks for your great ideas. You just picked up a new follower.

    • Penny says

      Welcome, Beth! Revising the workbox system this way has certainly made life more simple and we actually have less clutter too. We love it and I hope you do too.


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