Workbox Week

In an effort to bring more organization to our homeschooling I’ve decided to use workboxes. This has actually been in the plans for ages, I’m just finally getting around to doing it. I’ve noticed that a lot of homeschoolers are using workboxes and a google or pinterest search will bring you plenty of ideas. It was originally thought up by homeschool mom Sue Patrick for her autistic son, using a lot of the visual components used by TEACCH. From what I’ve seen on the web a lot of people have seen the idea and taken it and made it work for them but haven’t read her book. Now I think anything that works for you is great, but the book really does explain why she feels you should use certain things (shoeboxes versus say file folders) and it also has a some good homeschooling tips. It does have some religious talk in it but it is very minimal. So if you are interested in using workboxes I highly recommend you read the book and hey, it’s now available on the Kindle.

So, for those who have no idea what workboxes are I’m going to give a quick overview. They have nothing to do with what type of homeschooler you are (eclectic, Classical, Charlotte Mason) or what curriculum you are using. Workboxes are just a way to organize what you are doing. The parent fills numbered boxes with each bit of school work that the student is to do, and the student can go from box to box on their own (eventually), following the numbers. You can put other signs on the boxes like “do with Mom” for work that needs Mom’s supervision or help. They help the student learn independently– it’s already laid out for them, rather than finishing one bit of work and having to get Mom to find out what to do next.

At this point there is no independent work going on here in the Woolly Dragon’s Lair. MBS can’t read and is just beginning to learn his numbers. Almost all of our “work” at this point needs my direction and help, but I can see where that will change and I like the idea of him being able to move independently from assignment to assignment.

I’ve read 2 big complaints about using workboxes. Number 1 is the actual boxes take up a lot of space, which I can see, especially if you have more than one child. I want to store our boxes on a rolling cart but so far haven’t found one I like, so I’m just putting them out on top of our cubby bookshelf. Complaint number 2 is that it’s too much work for the parent. And honestly I don’t get this at all. Yes, it does take a little bit of time to choose what bit of curriculum, book, game, that I want in what box each day but I’d still be picking out all of these things for him each day. And if eventually he’ll be able to learn more independently that will save me more time. Of course I might change my mind, today was only day 2 of using them.

Right now we are doing a two week study Ants, Beetles (ladybugs), and Caterpillars and I am planning on using the workboxes every day. I thought it would be fun to put a “what’s in the workboxes” post up every day of this unit. Hopefully this will encourage me to blog more too.

So for day 1 we had six workboxes, four were shoeboxes, and I had one cookie sheet, and one larger lower plastic box that I’m using for a sensory bin.

Our workboxes up on top of our cubby bookcase.
Our workboxes up on top of our cubby bookcase.
MBS was super excited about the workboxes. Here he is being goofy when I asked him to point to the first one.
MBS was super excited about the workboxes. Here he is being goofy when I asked him to point to the first one.

In box number 1 we have some books and an action card (this one says, “March like an ant.”). I ended up only reading two of the books to him, his glazed over eyes told me that one science book was enough. We really liked the book I Love Bugs! by Emma Dodd. Except for the last couple pages that had spiders, well, he really like that it had a spider but Mommy was completely annoyed because a spider is NOT an insect.

Box 1: Books
Box 1: Books
Spider!
Spider!

 

In box number 2 we had several different worksheets, all the supplies he’d need to do them (pens, glue stick, dot marker, scissors) and another action card.

Four work sheets.
Box 2: Four work sheets.
"It has an X! I have an X!" MBS has an X in his name and is very excited to find it other places.
“It has an X! I have an X!” MBS has an X in his name and is very excited to find it other places.
After pounding down for most of the dots he started sliding the marker along and said, "This is drawing. When you draw with a dot marker it's not so bangy."
After pounding down for most of the dots he started sliding the marker along and said, “This is drawing. When you draw with a dot marker it’s not so bangy.”
Circling everything that was brown and putting an X through anything that wasn't. We'd never done anything like this and he absolutely loved it! Was so proud of his X's and circles, "this is a perfect circle!"
Circling everything that was brown and putting an X through anything that wasn’t. We’d never done anything like this and he absolutely loved it! Was so proud of his X’s and circles, “this is a perfect circle!”

Workbox number 3 wasn’t an actual box. It was an alphabet sheet and our magnet box on a metal cookie sheet, oh, and another action card.

Box 3: Match the alphabet
Box 3: Match the alphabet
Checking to make sure the magnets really stick. This was not a favorite activity but he needs work recognizing letters in different fonts.
Checking to make sure the magnets really stick. This was not a favorite activity but he needs work recognizing letters in different fonts.

Number 4 was the sensory box with dyed rice and with letter A pictures hidden in it. And an action card.

Box 4: Colored rice with hidden pictures.
Box 4: Colored rice with hidden pictures.
He enjoyed the activity but mostly he enjoyed the rice and has asked to play with it several times.
He enjoyed the activity but mostly he enjoyed the rice and has asked to play with it several times.

Box number 5 had a blank card, pens, a sticker sheet, and an action card. He “wrote” and decorated a card to my Grandmother. She lives for mail and he happily obliges. He loves to make and send cards, especially to people who send back (and often include stickers).

Box 5: Make a card.
Box 5: Make a card.

Our final box of the day had our counter bugs, a die, bug jars (both counting and sorted by bug type), and an action card.

Box 6: Bug counters.
Box 6: Bug counters.

 

See that smile? It had nothing to do with the actual activity, all he wanted to do was make the bugs fight.
See that smile? It had nothing to do with the actual activity, all he wanted to do was make the bugs fight.

What was his favorite part of the day? The activity cards we did after finishing each box. Getting up and moving like a certain critter just cracked him up, especially since Mommy was doing it too. Were the workboxes a success? It really is too soon to tell but I feel that the answer is yes. Our day moved smoothly and MBS was very motivated to find what was in the next box. An hour after we finished  school MBS came up to me and asked if we could start school all over and do more boxes! That is a good homeschool day!

Printouts used in these boxes were from these great sites:

I apologize if I have shown your printout and not included a link, not my intention just my tiredness, please let me know so I can update the page. Thank you for visiting the site.

 

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