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!