Sunday, September 19, 2010

Whassa Workbox?

So I've mentioned using workboxes as our organization technique.  I know you've been waiting on tenterhooks to find out what that means.  Or, if you're more of an impatient type (like Mwa), then you might have just Googled it.  And found a wealth of info.

I found out about workboxes from a friend who was also looking her first year of homeschooing in the face.  She found Sue Patrick's Workbox System site and told me about it.  I thought it would work for us.  (Read: me.  Type A and all...)

Workboxes are an organization technique -- a way to keep your child working in an organized, responsible manner.  They are not a curriculum.  They do not teach your child math.  Or grammar.  Or teach the dog to let himself out when he needs to go.   But they do organize the daily school work my children complete.  And I love being organized.  Being anal -- uh, having it all together.  And it's something I will pass along to my children.  I will organize myself to organize my children.  Huh?!?!

Instead of telling you everything I did to create these workboxes, I'm going to just give you an overview of what the workboxes are and how we use them.  Then, I'll do a few follow up posts about preparing the workboxes and all that goes with that.  
In case you're interested in using this type of organizational system.  
Which I highly suggest you might want to be.
And so I'll tell you about them.  Because I think they rock. 
Yes, I'd do that for you.  
I'm nice like that.  
You're welcome.

Like I previously mentioned (ahem, several times) workboxes are simply an organization system.  To organize the kids' work.  To organize our daily schedule.  To organize my pantry.  Uh, wait.  Not the pantry.  Just the kids' daily school work and schedule.

Again, I will break this down further, but here's what it is, in bulleted fashion (organized me, remember!) because this post is already longer than I wanted it to be...
  • You'll need some sort of drawer/cart/shoebox shelving system that you can put your child's school work into.
  • You'll need some way to number the workboxes -- we use number tags with a cartoon character of the child's choice velcroed onto each box. (Is velcroed even a word?? Spell Check says no. If not, it should be.  Especially with all the velcroing I did on this project.  "Velcroing" = another Spell Check no-no!)
  • Using your lesson plans, fill each box with some type of work (i.e. the Spelling Lesson for the day)
  • If the lesson requires Mom to sit with and/or work with the child, add a "Work With Mom" label to the outside of the workbox.
  • Kids work through their boxes in numerical order.  No skipping around.  No missing a box.  No forgotten, misplaced work.  Everything they need to complete the work in the box is IN the box.  No searching around for a pencil, crayons, etc!!  
  • Very visual in that a child can see how much work she has already completed.  And how much more needs to be done.
  • While Sue Patrick uses 12 workboxes for her middle and high school students, I've found that our 7 work great for the amount of work we have with our current curriculum.
  • Some boxes contain curricula, while other contain games, small crafts, snacks, and whatever else I think will interest the student.  All, of course, are purely educational.  Of course!

I'll break this down for you more in the days to come, but for now that's a brief overview.  

If I had to sum up the workbox system in one word, it would be: life changing.  
Ummm... that's two words.  

 Okay, lemme try again:  bliss inducing.  
Again, two words.  And not exactly the feeling I was going for.  
One more try:  organized.  Yes.  Organized.  
That's my final answer.  
And I'm sticking to it.

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