Thursday, February 18, 2010

Space-challenged Workboxes

I have read a lot of posts about Sue Patrick's Workbox system. I love the idea yet haven't been able to justify the cost or the space requirements when I know I am dealing with 3 kids, possibly 4, with anything I set up.

Now, I will be the first to admit I haven't read her book (can't justify postage to Australia, do you get the idea I am careful with my money?!). If you have and my ideas here don't suit her system I apologise. I am just a mum trying to do my best to help my little school work better.

First of all, a note on scheduling. I have scheduled my day into 3 blocks of school, hopefully about an hour each, but some days are shorter, others longer. The idea of 3 blocks is also so that I can change it up a bit. For instance, if block 3 keeps getting missed then I just make it the first block for a couple of days.

Next, I use Homeschool Tracker Plus to keep track of lesson plans and daily tasks. I love how it has become easier and easier to use as I have child 2 and 3 use lesson plans I have already created and used for child 1. It takes a while to get in your groove with it but it has been worth its purchase price and the discussion group is priceless for help.

Now, down to the workbox system. I have used crates for each boy for a while. Usually though they just end up a mess of loose pages and a ring binder that doesn't get used. I also try to give them each a pencil case with pencils, sharpener and eraser for their crate. Their maths workbook goes in there but basically my crate is stacked full of all the books needed for the week. Not a very easy system for them to see what they need to do, and quite frankly overwhelming for me too.

I am now adding plastic envelopes to each box with a number on the front. Each boy has a different colour envelope set up and different little race cars to match.

Then I have created a page for each school block.

The first column will have either a race car with a number to match the folder number or a picture for an activity like snack, game, play outside etc. If Science, Art, History or Music don't need a folder for any paperwork then I can also put a little card in the appropriate spot so they know what is coming. If there is a colouring page or mapwork etc to be done then I will just use a folder number. The "Mum?" column will indicate if they will need me to help with the activity. And the final column is where the little car ends up when the folder is completed.

The folders are see-through and expand out so I will be able to fit in their heftier books and they can also see what is coming. I won't be putting snacks in them though as can be done with the clear shoe boxes. To be more true to Sue Patrick's system the boys will then put their completed folder into a "Done" box for me to empty out, correct and refill. This is an important part of the visual aspect of seeing the amount of work needing to be done diminishing as folders disappear. The goal for each day is to empty out their crate.

Each child has an appropriate number of folders for the level of work they do. This is a variation on Sue's system. Also my sheets for the school blocks will have much more detail than her system of just cards. I can fill these in from my HST report of daily tasks for each child and just leave the workbooks in their folders.

If a child needs my help I will also clip a card to the folder so it is a visual reminder if they miss it on their sheet.

I hope to let the kids keep track of their block sheets but if the baby gets into them I will put them in a communal magazine binder for them to take out as needed then return.

When I get my digital camera working again I will post more pictures on how this looks in real life.

Best wishes
Jen in Oz

1 comment:

  1. I will look forward to you posting the photos of your new system. The work box system is really interesting but at the moment I dont have the space (or the!) to impliment it into our school system. I saw a lady use carboard magazine holders and label them with the childrens subjects which I thought was a great idea.