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Monday, April 12, 2010

Workbox System

Last year I came across Sue Patrick's workbox
system. It sounded like a great idea to me and so I
bookmarked her site with every intention of trying it out.
Time went on and things seemed to be working as they
were, but lately I have found that I have less time with an
8 month old running around. Sweet pea is into everything
these day. She has been pulling herself up to the sofa,
wobbling and falling over. I have to keep my eyes peeled
for what she might get into next. Princess seems to be able
to work independently well with her schedules and checklists.
Superboy struggles to work alone. He is still always by my side
and Spirit wants more and more school work it's hard to
keep up with him some days. So I decided maybe now was
the time to try the workbox system. The workbox system
is a organizational tool in helping children work more
independently with their lessons. It also helps to create
a smooth atmosphere from one activity to the next.
Your child knows how much and what to do with supervision
from mom or some explanation from the parent. I
decided to first try this with Spirit since he is the youngest
and ever eager for more. Yet at times my hands are
tied with helping the older children and Sweet pea. This
system would allow him to find activities on his own.
You can find more information on the workbox system
at Sue Patricks site or you can peruse the sites
that I located on my search.

Sue Patrick’s

Home school shares workbox forum

Squidoo Workboxes

Workbox Idea blog

Workbox tags

Homeschool Creations

I personally do not have the space for large storage containers
in my home. So I decided to go with a smaller system. I
bought a simple crate file folder storage box from walmart
I believe it was about $6. and the hanging laminated files
6 for $3. Ours is a simpler system since we are working
with a 4 year old. Once I give this a try for a bit with Spirit
I may add the other students in the fall. (possibly only
Superboy I don't want to frustrate Princess with something
new. She has been working so smoothly through her lessons)
I decided to start with 8 folders and if that still is not enough
I will add 2 more to the box . I had room in the back of his box
for his latest library books. I nice safe place to keep them until
their return. Most of my games I have are already in file folder form
or in Ziploc baggies. If there is something I want to put in
that is to large for the box. I have been sitting it beside the box
with a number attached to it. Here is the inside of our box
all set for a day of learning.

I believe for that day we had ...
1. A baggie of links
2. elephant story with ABC cards
3. Shape elephant
4.Name game
5. Elephant color bingo
6. Elephant coloring page
7. Lacing cards
8. word book

Today he has -
1. Animal matching lotto
2. Name game and writing sheet
3. Snake book and ABC cards
4. Snake counting game
5. ABC snack and cutting practice
6. Snake S writing sheet and snake decorating
7. Activity bag of matching
8. snack in the grass play dough mat

Our first day with the elephants Spirit did the entire
box in less than an hour. He was so excited about
it and more so excited about the number system on the
front of the box, probably because it had to do with
transportation. Today with his lesson on snakes he
was a little preoccupied and so far has only completed 3.
That is ok with me since he is only a preschooler. I
am not forcing boxes on him. He may even come back
and finish them later today. You never know. I like
that he can accomplish them at leisure and honestly
its even ok if he doesn't complete them at all. It is for
those days he wants an activity to do. Now if I decided to
do this with my older students they will need to complete
the boxes.

Now his tag system is also not as detailed as Sue Patrick's
but then he is only 4. I decided to go with a simple number
system. I copied 8 square sheet that I use often for patterning
from my files. It will appear later this week in my file for
share under patterns on my side bar. I actually cut out two
so I could cut the shape of the craft foam the size of the
square. I cut colored craft foam squares for each and had
transportation foam stickers that I added to the tags. Then
wrote the numbers with Sharpie. I didn't use Velcro as
some do. I found a type of sticky tack at our local dollar
store and that seem to be working great. Spirit can handle
it just fine and you can see all of the number without
the ugly Velcro.

When he comes to a folder his number card is sticky tacked
to the folder. When he completes the activity he replaces the
items and pulls the foam card from the folder and places
it onto the front card. When his card on the front of the
box is complete then he is finished with his lessons.

I have to say that I am really enjoying this system. I am using
more of my sources than I usually get around to and
Spirit has activity to do when I am working one on
one with my other children. I can also sort of space it out
so that I can work with one child while the other is
doing one on one work. I also love how visual it is in
organizing their goals for the day.


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