Workboxes Updated

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You know, I’ve really gone back and forth about the whole workbox thing.  When I first heard about it, I decided that it wasn’t for me.  Then, the more I heard people talk about it, the more intrigued I became.  I was very excited when the opportunity came up to review it.

As you may recall, I didn’t set up our workboxes the way author Sue Patrick suggested (which is no surprise to those who know me).  I set up work(file)boxes for the kids with hanging file folders for their workbooks, folders and papers.  I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve come to love our work(file)boxes.

During our last week or two before Christmas break, we focused simply on the basics, which would, primarily, be the things that are in the kids boxes.  Those also happen to be the things that the kids can do mostly independently, which left me a lot of free time for all the other stuff that goes on in the weeks before Christmas.

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The only problem I have had with our workboxes is that the kids are pretty hard on the file folders and the number squares.  So, I spent some time during Christmas break updating the boxes.  I can’t do much about the file folders, other than remind the kids to take it easy on them or next time they’ll be replaced with utilitarian green folders rather than the cheerier, more expensive primary colored ones that I bought.  I did replace as many as I could with the folders that I had left.

I think I made the number squares and the grids to which the kids stick the squares when they’ve completed their work a bit more sturdy, though.  I reprinted them — on card stock again — then, I laminated both the squares and the grids using self-laminating sheets.  I love those things.  I did cut everything out before laminating to avoid having the laminated edges come loose.

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After they were all done, I taped the grids to the crates with packing tape and reapplied the Velcro dots to everything.  Now, I’m set to go for the week.  I think these may come in very handy as I try to figure out how to fit in my workouts in the morning without starting school so late.  I’m sure the kids are going to hear the now-familiar cry of, “Go ahead and get started on the stuff in your boxes.”

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Yep, sounds like a sanity-saver to me. 

Did you do any behind-the-scenes stuff that you’re hoping will make your life easier for the last half of the school year?

Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I have really loved the workbox system in our home. We also tweaked it and we don't use any of the cards. It really helps me keep organized and helps me to use more items than I would have in the past that normally just hang out of the shelves. Of course I have only one child to contend with with the plastic workboxes.

  2. That's exactly how I felt about workboxes… not for me until we had to use them for the review. I couldn't set them up exactly like the author suggests either. Like you, I have found they free me up to exercise or take care of other responsibilities while the kids stay on-track with school. This is my planning week, so no major changes yet, but I did tweak my planning pages to include space for workboxes.

  3. Kris,
    I try to walk on our treadmill several times per week. While I like to do the work that we do together first thing in the morning, I often have to compromise to get my walk in. On those days when walk, the boys can easily get started on their workbox work and my daughter gets started on her assignment page. Since we have been using the system since August, the boys are used to it and can work through many boxes independently.

  4. That's pretty cute. We use just a plain old notebook where I write down there assignments then check off when done. As my younger two start working more independently I will look at using this. Have a great week. 🙂 I love your Friday wrapup and will try to drop in.

  5. No, I should have, and reading your blog made me feel guilty, 'cuz you are SO with it! 🙂 But, I hope to pull down some Christmas and go get my school stuff organized today! Thanks for the motivation.

  6. Samantha,
    I'm the same way — I *have* to get my workout in first thing. I would probably still do it later in the day, but it's much easier to get it done before all the craziness starts…and I like knowing I'm jump-starting my calorie burn.

  7. I'm officially hanging out in our "class room" which is a spare room off of the garage. If the kids wake up, they might not know I"m in the house, which tells you how often we are in here. 🙂 I like the sound of the workbox system, I may look into it more this week. Today, I 'm in here to re-boot our schedule. I had it in a system –!55AEA4B5A7ED23C1!1883.entry – before we moved, but have been winging it these past two months. So – in here with the laminator to get a system that doesn't involve me hurumphing several times a day. 🙂

  8. Kris,

    I do not use the card thingys…I did not get the point of having them go back and forth and all of that, so I jsut attached numbers to my boxes and called it good….
    The issue I have is having 5 children…so I do not have five of these racks with boxes all around the house…I only have one SORT OF the way it is supposed to be…but someone at my homeschool group suggested cutting flat rate boxes in half…you know the long skinny one, and so you get 2 out of one box and I may do that…for my other four.
    I love that everything is right there and you do not need to hold on to copy a map and four days later you get back at it.
    I would love to hear more about it.

  9. I was definitely in the "not for me" camp, but then we hit a point where Ben wasn't interested in anything. I figured we could try it and darn if he didn't get re-engaged with his "activities" and start working ON HIS OWN because he knows where the boxes are :).

    I'm completely convinced it was the right move for us and I readily admit that I didn't think it would be — granted we tweaked it, too. He doesn't work at a desk, we numbered the drawers, but he can choose whichever drawer he wants to work on so long as all the drawers get done. I think I"m going to have to talk more about this.

  10. @ Adjunctmom — Yeah, I don't make my kids work in any particular order either, though their folders are numbered. The numbers are there as more of a "check off" system for the kids. I'm glad it's not just me!

  11. I'm like you–I never do it like it's supposed to be done! I have workboxes on a page! I'm sure I'll have a full description along with pictures by week's end to play along with your week's end carnival. Have a good homeschooling week!

  12. WorkBoxes have been such a blessing for us. My kids love them, and so do I!

    Love to see what you have done with them.

  13. Nice!

    Yeah, we tweaked stuff at home for the second half of the school year. I mean, we completely went in a different direction. You know, I should blog about it because it's really a long explanation. But, yes, we're always in a state of flux over here! Kids change, parents change, so the system does, too. 🙂

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