Modified Workbox System for a Large Family

I took one look at Sue Patrick’s workbox system and ran the other way.  No way, no how could that work for me.  Not with the size of family I have!  It would take a million zillion shoe boxes, and I would be a raving lunatic living in a home full of plastic before it was all said and done.

What I failed to see was the adaptability of the system…even to a large family.  As I mentioned in my post on Reworking Workboxes at The Homeschool Classroom, it took seeing others do it with a large family to see that it really could work…it just required a lot of tweaking!

I gave you a taste of the system in my post on homeschooling preschool and kindergarten and I gave you a better explanation in the Homeschool Classroom post, but today I’d like to give you a full-blown peek into the charts and folders that make up our modified workbox system.

OK, quick overview for those of you allergic to clicking on links:

1. Each school-age child has a crate with a nametag stuck to it. I let each of my children choose pictures to go along with their nametag.  I then laminated the tags using contact paper and put velcro dots on the crate and on the nametag to get them to stick to each other.

2. Each crate contains that child’s school things. This includes a pencil box (with their name taped to it that holds pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, glue stick, etc), notebooks, text books that are specific to them (no corporate work- goes in the crate…that is all kept on a bookshelf), and their assignment folder.

3. Each folder is labeled on the outside with laminated velcro tabs (done the same as their crate nametags) that represent their responsibilities for the day. Here’s where I’ll explain beyond what I have in other posts…

As you can see, my son’s folder has places for other tabs that used to be there or will be there in the future.  He no longer has Grammar, so that tab is gone and will eventually be replaced by Writing.  He has an AM Chores and a Chores tab (we found a PM Chores tab to be unnecessary, but all the children have a PM Chores list that you’ll see in a bit).

4. Inside each folder are the needed assignment sheets. First off, notice how UN-fancy my assignment sheets are!?!  I used to have nice(r) assignment sheets that I used for my record-keeping as well (someday I’ll share those with you), but my body hasn’t fully caught up with my brain, so for now a blank sheet with mama’s handwritten instructions works just dandy!

My non-readers do not have assignment sheets.  My readers have assignment sheets for their independent subjects that change consistently. For instance, on the left is Blake’s Math.  I really should just get rid of this sheet because he is doing Teaching Textbooks on his own and does not need me to assign it to him (in fact, the sheet just says, “Keep doing TT”).  However, his Reading and his Science change daily and are guided by me.  I keep track of the corporate assignments (besides Reading) in my School Binder (yes, there will be binder posts to come ;) )

5. When an assignment/tab is completed, the child moves it to their What I Did Today Chart. (As you can see they each have their AM Chores and PM Chores listed on either side of their charts–I’ll be doing a post specific to what these chores are later on.)  The charts are just cardstock with velcro dots stuck on them.

6. When all their tabs for the day are gone, they move their folder to the COMPLETED box with any worksheets or papers slipped inside the folder. From there, I can check their work, replace the tabs, and put the folder back in their crate.

Thus concludes my modified workbox system that works quite well for a larger than average family.  Beyond that, I found this system is easy to manage on auto-pilot.  It really has been a lifesaver to our homeschool!

If you’d like to see more workboxes in real-life situations, take a look at the extensive listing at Heart of Wisdom.  Robin did an amazing job putting this together!

14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Modified Workbox System for a Large Family

  1. I like how you’ve modified the system! I might have to give something like this a try for next year.
    .-= Sandpiper´s last blog .. =-.

  2. Wonderful! I love the Workbox System idea and the “normal” way would work just fine for now, as we only have one child (for now). We’ve recently surrendered our family planning to the Lord and are actually getting excited about raising a large family (if that’s what God chooses to give us). I was wondering how the Workbox idea would translate to larger families. My favorite part is the separate “completed” bin to make checking work easier.

    Love your blog!

  3. The best thing about the workbox system we use is when everything that is needed for a subject is in the box. this is a huge time/stress saver! I use boxes from Wal-Mart that close. For older children I use “magazine holders”.
    hth
    Monique

  4. Amy, Do you still use this system? I am considering it, but our kids have so little independent work. Really, the only things they do independently are some of their math, handwriting, and grammar (for my 4th grader). The rest we do together. Next year, we are using My Father’s World for all, which has very little individual work. I need to get organized though, because there is a lot of wasted time while waiting fir Mom to help or teach. We will have 4 school aged, and 1 preschooler, and a toddler next year. I am such a disirganized person! I am thankful for your blog.

  5. THANK YOU! I kept seeing workboxes and thinking they were too much work for me but liked the idea! This will work for me – I only have 2 kids but I don’t have hours for prep!

  6. I gearing up for a school year with 3rd grade, 1st grade, preschool, a 2.5 yo and expecting half way through the year. This looks like I might be able to tweak it for our family. I would be curious to know of any changes you have made in the last couple of years since you have posted this or if it is still working for your family.

    • Hi Tara! We do not use this system anymore because we have changed our approach to homeschooling a bit with less items that work in the individual folders. I have a post coming out soon on what we are using, but I’ll give you a quick rundown. ;) I now have separated the boxes by subject rather than child. I have folders in each box for loose papers, the children’s notebooks, and any books we are using or will soon be using in the boxes. We also use Scholaric.com to track our lessons. However, at the time of this post, this method worked very well! :)

      • Thanks! School needs to look a little different for us this year I know, but I am just not sure what it needs to look like! :)

  7. Hi! I was introduced to your blog just last week and I am really enjoying it and getting a lot of ideas. Where do you get your picture icons?