Our first box had our books, a nice one about Ladybugs, a cute Valentine’s day book, and a book about going potty. Sadly his response to the end of the potty book was, “I’m not a big boy!” Sigh, I so want to say goodbye to diapers. The box also had these cute little ladybug antennas.
Our third box started out with the Leap Frog Letter Factory dvd and when we finished watching it we reviewed our letter sound (all short vowels and up to letter M) index cards (Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise). Then we listened for short vowel sounds and matched picture cards to the vowels using a Valentine’s Vowels printout from Make, Take and Teach. When he said and raised the right heart on a stick the picture heart would kiss it and then give him kisses. He was just cracking up over this. It was fun letter sound practice.
Our fifth box was a Kiwi Crate. It was the second part of January’s crate which had a theme of family game night. When the crate first arrived we made the board game and today we made the Comet Toss game. We played in the hallway with the help of our dogs.
Our final box had Hi Ho Cherry-O in it. MBS loves playing the game and it’s good counting practice. Unfortunately this was too many games in a row (Ladybug grid, Comet Toss, and this) and his sportsmanship limit had run dry so when Mommy won (again) he totally lost it. Not really the way I thought the day would end when I put a favorite game in the last box. Now I know better, not too many games in one day!
Even ending with a tantrum I still feel we had a good day. He was not interested in doing any careful tracing– just scribbled all over– but he did well with the letter sounds and with counting and number recognition. Just a few weeks ago he couldn’t tell you a 2 from a 6, he’s gotten so much better.
Thank you for stopping by and seeing what was in our workboxes.
The end of our first week using workboxes. They definitely kept us more organized and our days moved smoothly. It really gave us a beginning and end to our school day, instead of activities just dragging on all day, leaving me feeling unsure whether we accomplished anything at all. In the past I’ve planned activities and not gotten to them just because I didn’t have everything set up; this system is really helping me get my act together. As MBS gets used to the system I can see him being able to move on through the boxes much more independently. We will be continuing to use the workbox system but I will not continue to do a post about each day, while it is nice having a record of how every day went it really isn’t necessary and the posts take me way to long to do.
Starting with books again, all of the day’s selection were by Eric Carle.
Our second box had MBS sorting Groundhog’s and big G’s and little g’s into containers and us reviewing letter sounds.
Our cookie sheet had a few fun printouts to use our glass bead and pompom magnets with.
Box number four had us painting. First we painted groundhogs (and later in the day we added shadows to them), and then I just put out watercolor paper and MBS painted for as long as he wanted.
Our fifth box had Groundhog worksheets that practiced tracing and cutting.
Friday’s final box had a insect gathering set. After getting everything out of the box we went for a walk around our property. We saw some insects, worms, a snail, and spiders but sadly I was unable to capture any insects for us to look at close up.
Our first box Thursday was filled with books and an action card. I highly recommend the book Bubba & Trixie, not for it’s scientific accuracy about insects, but for it’s message of being a good friend and being yourself and accepting differences. However MBS’s favorite was Adios, Oscar! and he asked me to read it multiple times since we did the workbox.
Our second box of the day had letter recognition, tracing, cutting, gluing, and color match worksheets in it. He needed help with the cutting, and we had to look up whether crickets have wings (they do) for the wings/no wings sheets. The color find one was still a favorite.
The rice sensory bin with A pictures hidden in it was our third workbox again. He really had fun finding all the cards and then we said what everything was.
Bug Bingo and an ant life cycle puzzle was our fifth box. This was the first time either of us had ever played bingo and oh my, he did NOT want to quit. Game after game after game. I had to help him with his strategy and I’ll admit I started to purposefully go in bad squares so that he’d win. He really liked this game, well worth the 1 buck at the Dollar Tree.
Our final box of the day was a dvd from the library. It had 3 episodes all about insects from The Magic School Bus show. He really enjoyed watching this and it was amazingly informative. First time I’d seen the show and I was definitely impressed, I’ll have to check out which other ones the library has.
Day three of our new workboxes did not get off to a good start. MBS was very excited about starting school and wanted to get going as soon as he was up, but like Tuesday I told him it had to wait until after our regular morning routine. However when I came in after feeding the animals I found out we had no power, and that just set everything going downhill. We actually did our first box, the books, fine but MBS was too amped up sit for anything else. He was full of explanations about why we had no power and ideas about how to fix it. So I just called a halt to school for awhile. The power came back on before the hour was up but the MBS was deeply involved in his play so I just let school wait until he was ready. Once he was ready school did go pretty well and any problems were just Mommy’s grumpiness and nothing to do with the actual schooling.
Box one had our books and an action card.
Our second box of the day had several worksheets, letter finds, tracing the number 1, cutting, and another color find. He enjoyed them all and did well, though the cutting one was torturous for me to watch– he really needs scissor practice and I was terrified he was going to cut himself.
Our third box was the cookie sheet with our pattern blocks, he immediately just wanted to play with them. At first my stress level started to rise and then I reminded myself that he is 4 and I want school to be fun, I need to be flexible! I decided to just have him do one pattern sheet. I let him choose which and then I took the other and we did the sheets. Then we just played with the blocks. He kept making different dragons. He asked what I was making and I said I didn’t know. He kept pestering me but I really had nothing in mind and told him so. After a moment he shouted, “you’re doodle building!” I just LOVE that term.
We did patterns again in box number five. I used some bugs to do color match, thinking that manipulative would make it more fun for him. No. He still does not like this and really doesn’t seem to grasp it, which I don’t understand, I mean it’s just an ABAB pattern. Is it really that he doesn’t see it or is it just that he doesn’t want to do it, like singing the alphabet song?
Box number five was a huge hit! The printout is actually for spinning and graphing but what I did was use a matching color dice for each ant and then we “raced”, I used a different color pen for each race. MBS loved this, he just wanted to go again and again. Strangely even though we would switch who was doing what colors the yellow ant won most of the games, I wonder if the die is weighted wrong.
Our final box for the day was based on a project in Janice VanCleave’s Play and Find Out about Bugs: Easy Experiments for Young Children. It was to build an insect. Obviously the modeling clay called for in the book is much lighter than Play-Doh, my ant’s chenille stem legs couldn’t hold it up but it sure was cute! MBS had fun making his ant and then attacking mine. After that he spent another hour just playing with his Play-Doh and having a blast. The day got off to a bumpy start but it ended well.
Day two of using our workboxes went well. MBS woke up wanting to to do school, not that Mommy was ready to go that fast– coffee, shower, animal chores, and food, all had to come first. Once that was done we started our school day. I started a stop watch to see how long we actually spent on school, pausing it during snack time and his bath, but kept it running as we switched between boxes and while we did our action cards. Our whole Tuesday school time took an hour and ten minutes– I don’t plan on recording the time at this point but it was nice to know about how long it will take if we’re doing well and I feel that is about right for a 4 year old.
Box number 1 was filled with books again and probably always will be, I like starting our day with reading. All the boxes contained an action card, just like Monday.
Our second box of the day had two different file folders. One with a ten piece puzzle, which he really enjoyed doing and he practiced saying the numbers. The other folder had a game to add ants to an ant hill and while he was excited to use dice for the first time the game itself just bombed, he just kept saying, “I’m done now”. Oh well.
We had the cookie sheet with magnet letters and the rest of the capital letters today. He actually enjoyed it more today until he found a foam letter J instead of a magnet. Then there was a meltdown. Sigh. 2 sets of magnetic letters and the darn J was missing from both!
The little cup next to the cookie sheet held a card that said “snack”. In Sue Patrick’s Workbox System she recommends having a schedule strip where you put the order of the boxes and include the other things you’ll be doing like snacks, chores, exercise– so that they have visual clue as to what is coming up. I didn’t have any velcro dots when I was setting things up so I put my schedule cards in the little cup in the box to let him know what would be happening next.
Box number four had a capital and lower case letter A sort. This was way too easy for him (and sadly I have it printed up for several more letters!) but he seemed to enjoy being really good at it. InÂ the same box we had my index cards from The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise. I have an index card for each letter with their sound and the little poem that goes with it. He’s learned all the vowels soft sounds, so we reviewed them first, and then we went through the first several consonants. He does say the sounds and some of the poem but not all of each verse but what he does say he says LOUDLY and with great enthusiasm.
MBS has been waiting to do what was in box number five for a while now. It is an ocarina whistle that you can paint, he received it as a gift. He was so happy to finally paint it.
We had a break in school while he took a bath and when he got back we dove right into our last box. He was surprised to find a new pair of socks in it. Ant and beetle socks! It also had ant pattern cards. He really has trouble with patterns and does not enjoy it so we’re just doing little bit at a time.
Our second day of using workboxes over. We had another good day. After lunch we watched A Bug’s Life. This has not been a favorite of his and usually he says “no” to watching it but this time he sat and watched the whole movie. And I mean watched, not played with lego’s and occasionally glanced at the screen, he really watched it and enjoyed it. Still was scared by the grasshoppers but not enough to ask me to turn it off.
Thanks for stopping by. (all printouts are from the same sources as yesterdays blog post)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Number 4 was the sensory box with dyed rice and with letter A pictures hidden in it. And an action card.
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).
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.
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 finishedÂ 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: