Our "New and Improved" Workbox System.
Let me start with saying, I love workboxes! If you don't know what workboxes are- google Sue Patrick. She is the inventor of these wonderful little creations! Many people have taken her main idea and come up with variations. I am one of those people. I love so much of what she does, but not all of it so I have come up with what works for us. Some people use shoe boxes (we used to), file folders, cereal boxes, manila envelopes, etc. This is our current version. They help me to stay more organized and on top of things. The kids love them because they can "see" how much work they need to do for the day. I never have to worry about someone loosing a book or something because it's all contained to their carts. This current system was a little pricey, but it was well worth it. Our old system was shoe boxes ( see below) and I hated how the books didn't lie flat. The drawers of the new system allow the books to lie flat and actually hold a lot. The cart has a sturdy shelf to hold extra supplies on top and it can be wheeled around if needed.
How this all works- The boys start with #1 and work through all the work boxes by the end of the day. As they finish 1, they remove the Velcro # and put it on the card attached to the side of their cart. When all 12 are complete, they are done with school. Ideally, they work in order. Every once in a while they might only have 10 minutes until lunch and the next box will take a lot longer so instead, they do a different box out of order that would only take 10 minutes. If it's an activity that won't fit into the box (like practicing the piano or typing on the computer) the drawer will contain a card that tells them what to do. Easy Peasy, right!
Here is a post I wrote about our "original" workbox system.
Sue Patrick is the one who came up with the workbox idea. If you google worboxes you will come up with hers and numerous variations of her system. Here is my variation:
I bought a shoe rack at Target for around $10. It has 4 small shelves. I went to the $ store and purchased 12 plastic shoe boxes. I laminated the #'s 1-12 and then stuck them on with double sided tape. Every night you get them ready with your child's assignments for the next day. I put everything in them. If it's something that won't fit, I have a card for it like"practice the piano" or "typing". You should put everything in the box that they would need to complete the assignment. For example, if it's a art project that requires glue and scissors- they would be in the box along with paper, paint, etc. I also put in fun things like games and computer time.The child then takes the boxes to the table with them 1 by 1 and completes the boxes in order. I have them turn the box around when it has been completed so when you can't see any #'s you are all done. The beauty of it is that it then frees you up to help whoever is in need. For example- I know my son needs extra help in math so when he is on math (box 3) then the other child is listening to a read along story on the CD player with headphones which he found in his box 3. Some people give each child a timer so that they aren't spending more that 30 minutes on each box, but I don't limit their time. After a few days you begin to notice how long it takes each box so you can plan what to put where. We love this system! I have a very visual learner, so he would get really stressed when he couldn't visualize how much work he had. Now he just sees it in his box and it helps him understand what needs to be done for the day. I think it also teaches them independence. I think kids get just as frustrated with us as we do with them when they are always asking "what's next" or "how much longer". I don't miss my kids asking "what are we doing today"? I hope some of this helps :)