Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Workbox Wednesday

I am so lucky to have such smart friends! Last year Lynette came up with a great idea to get her daughter Ellie working independently and just keep everything organized. She decided ahead of time what Ellie would need to do that day and load the work into file folders the night before. That way Ellie knew exactly what was coming next and what she needed to complete for the day. I thought this was a smart idea but a lot of our work is straight out of books, and I wasn't sure I was up for getting that organized.

Enter workboxes! If you read many homeschooling blogs, you have surely seen this system by now. Sue Patrick's brainstorm, workboxes have many many benefits. I'd read about them but still thought it was crazy to load all those boxes every day with work for the next day, especially for someone with more than a couple kids.

Then I saw Alison's workbox system. And I fell in looooove! So simple, so smart. They don't take up much room, which was one of the things I didn't like about the workbox system. I started to realize as I read through Alison's post that this system would save us so much time during the day, and not only that but how much more we would get done. We are pretty good about getting the essentials in, but there is not usually time for the things the kids truly enjoy - art projects, history projects, Latin, nature journals etc. With workboxes, all of that will be worked into our day.

My first favorite thing is that each drawer will have *everything* the child needs to complete his task. Let's say we're doing a Color the Classics page - then that drawer will have a pack of colored pencils, the coloring sheet and the CD. Each drawer will have a pencil if it needs it, glue, whatever is required. I am giddy thinking of how much time this will save, how many arguments it will avoid ("he has my pencils!" "no, they're mine!" "where is my glue stick? someone used it all! wah!").

We're going to go out later today to buy the first few drawers. I'm going to need 12 sets of 3 drawers, and since I don't have room in my budget for that right now, I will acquire them over the next few weeks.

I did go ahead and make my lesson plans. Sometime between Friday afternoon and Monday morning I will fill in each child's lesson plans with what I plan to put into their boxes for the week. When the week is done, these will serve as records of what we accomplished.Each Wednesday I'll post about how it's going and some things that we've put in the drawers. Since it's not set up yet, I'll show you a few of the things we bought this week in anticipation of the new year starting. I got each child a composition book (50 cents at Target) that they will use to journal in each day - this will be the last drawer of the day most days. I got a couple of sets of glue sticks for 22 cents each, and everything else is from Target's dollar section: math and alphabet bingo and several sets of flash cards. We went back to Target the next day and Malachi bought a couple sets of flash cards to keep in his room. I also got each of the kids a sketch notebook to use as a nature journal, 2.49 each with 70 pages. That should last us the year if we do nature journals several times a week. It'll be fine with me if we need more!


  1. Really impressed with all the work you've put into this! And I loooooove those school supplies all fresh and ready to go!

  2. WOW, that even makes ME want to learn! Thanks for the teacherfilebox link. I had a look and loved the ideas but the text used for the handwriting (also some of the numbers) is not the style taught in Queensland so I'm looking to get the Queensland font to make up my own of those! Thanks again!

  3. LOVE it..hey can you send me that lesson plan thing?

  4. What a great idea! I'm trying to get our stuff organized, too. You're gonna hate this... but did you see the new Target ad? Those composition books are on sale for $.50 each this week!!

  5. Looks like you are off to a great start. I am like you, I just haven't wrapped my mind around the workbox thing.....I hope it works out great for you!