Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Wonder Box

The I Wonder Workbox

Here is an idea to use the workbox system to foster some wonder and creativity in your children (you might just want to make one for yourself as well). So much of leadership has to do with creative thinking and using the workbox system can be a great means through which creativity and leadership development can take place. The training that happens in the home will eventually spill out into the adult world and finding ways to develop creative thinking is important for adult success.

I have developed a site to help spark some of this creativity (it serves as a kind of virtual workbox) and I invite you to come and participate in what I am calling the I Wonder Chronicles. My intention is to help children enjoy and begin to love learning, reading, and writing.

Here's my suggestion on how to begin the I Wonder Workbox:
First, find a box...make it wonderful - let your child decide what that will entail. Invite creativity by supplying an assortment of mediums for them to use to decorate their box (give helpful boundaries as that sometimes fosters more creative thinking). Let them name their box or turn it into a creature of some sort - whatever, just make it really fun. (Also, let me know what they create so I can congratulate them).
Start filling the box with wonderful things - i.e. items they discover, magazine clippings, favorite stones, shark's teeth, bits of yarn, figurines, whatever...
Each week (or however often you choose) open the box and create an "I Wonder..." prompt for your child to interact with...have them respond to the prompt with a story, poem, drawing, painting, etc. (see my site for how I have done it with my kids)
Possibly use one of the prompts I have already created and posted on my site (make sure you send me their work so I can showcase it in the slideshows on the site!)
Have your children start their own I Wonder Chronicles and delight in the opportunity to create new worlds and stories.
Come and visit the I Wonder Chronicles site here:

Check out the contact tab for my email or sign up for the monthly email updates and be notified when new stuff arrives. Here's to the wondering...

Dan Haase
Gatherer of Wonder

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Workbox "DUH!" Moment

I'm not sure why I didn't figure this out a long time ago...

IF you choose to use workboxes that are the SAME boxes (or at least the same size) as your standard toy storage, you can swap toys in and out as preschool workboxes.

For example, I just sorted our Fisher Price little people into small, plastic bins with lids:

Now I can rotate them into our workbox rack for preschool activities (see top two boxes on left):

You could do this with a wide variety of toy "collections" including:
  • Legos
  • Playmobile
  • blocks with plastic animals (to make a zoo)
  • Fisher Price Little People sets (we have the "old" kind...which means I'm old???)
  • dinosaurs (thought we'd get out the dinosaur books and tapes that week)
  • trains
  • cars w/ a plastic mat showing roads
  • Lincoln Logs

But I bet you figure that out a long time ago, didn't you???

Next time, tell ME! :)  I'd love to have you visit me at love2learn2day!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blic Bloks Work Box

Submission from Renita

Blik Bloks

So I am a real curriculum junkie. I am subscribed to many sites and am always looking for a good deal.

I received a catalog from a new place I had never ordered from before. It was from Mindware. They had some really great deals (check out their clearance section!!), and I am going through this catalog making a wish list when I saw this wonderful visual perception activity called Blik Blok. It was pricey, but so far we have found it worth the tag.

It comes with 100 cards that range from beginner to advanced/expert levels of building. When I put this activity card in one of their boxes, the other kids complained because they wanted a turn too. Our almost 3 year old even gets into this creating her own works of art.

Here’s a card creation:

Here is a one-of-a-kind Kid creation:

I wish I would’ve been able to buy more than one set. They fight and fight over this game. I plan on purchasing another one eventually. I love the fact that they can work on the cards and increase their visual perception skills and then switch over the creative play all within the same allotted time period. To me it’s like a 2-for-1 special!!

I do recommend this for everyone. It’s a great educational and fun activity.

(I am not receiving any compensation for this post. I purchased this item. I just want to share with everyone how wonderful it is, especially to those who may have children with special needs or learning delays.)

Thank you Renita for this great idea.
Here is where you can find more of renita's ideas for work boxes.

If any of you would like to send in a submission please send it to child.workbox@gmail.com send as regular email(for ease of copy/paste), not in doc, docx, or pdf format, as for any pictures send as attachments. If you would like to become an author please tell us about yourself, thank you.

Work Boxes For 8th-12th Grades

Here is a great presentation about what you can do for your older learners.

Sue shows and talks about all kinds of great ideas and how to's. She touches on ideas for:

Interactive Documents using ppt, word, and open office.

Group/Unit Studies

Posters, and how to make them interactive and more interesting for your learners.

Interactive Websites

Personalized File Folder Activities.

Here is the link for more ideas from Sue:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Math Ideas Work Box

What goes in yours?

I know some use curriculum with their own maniplulatives and some have none, but what about adding to it, or other types of Math Work Box ideas. Get creative, think about what is around your house.

Pom-Poms- Counters, Sorting, Graphing

Popsicle Sticks and Beans- To make base 10 blocks and hundred blocks

Measuring Cups in many shapes and sizes- Provide many different things to measure like, water, colored water, rice, beans, flour, corn starch, and other items. You can provide paper and graph the differences between the materials.

Measuring Spoons- Same as above.

Measuring Bowls - Same as above.

Refrigerator magnets from businesses (Cut them up and glue them to manipulatives.)

Different sized boxes

AAA has free maps available at the end of the year.

Buttons in different sizes and shapes.

A loop of thread stretched over two pencils (or a pencil and a toothpick) becomes a compass.

Nature's manipulatives - including twigs, leaves, nuts, berries


Beans in different colors and shapes.

Plus many, many more.. go look add them to the Math Work Box see what your child comes up with.

Here are a couple of ideas to get those Math gears moving:

Geometry dominoes would also be a great idea. Make domino cards. Begin by listing all kinds of geometry words and have pictures to match each one. Examples: one half could be a square, the other half could have the word rectangle, one half could be a picture of a cone, the other half could be the word rectangular prism. Be sure your words match your pictures.

You could also make dominoes for fractions. The fraction would be on one half of the card, and a picture would be on the other half. The pictures could be different shapes that are shaded to match the fractions you are using...circles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, etc.

Math Math file folder games and centers, add them to your Math Box

Here are some fun things to put into and sites to use with your Math Boxes











So The Work Box Community wants to know what goes into your math Work Box? If your leaving a link, please write a small blurb of what the content is about. Ideas welcome for all grade levels and abilities and anything Math related. Please no ads of your selling a product.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kid-Scheduled Workboxes

I am organizationally challenged. There. I said it.

For that reason, I was not at all sure that workboxes would WORK for us. BUT,...it was also the reason we desperately needed them. We started in September and are still using them. (I will say, however, that I'm *best* at using them on days when we're home and things are "normal." On car-schooling days, the beauty of workboxes is that I throw all his school materials into one tub and carry it to the car!) Here is my favorite way to use workboxes on "normal" days:

(The remainder of this post is taken from a piece I wrote for my blog, love2learn2day.)

My son schedules his day. I love the way this gives him a sense of responsibility. It's also beneficial for our parent-teacher-child-student relationship. *I* am not telling him what to do. The schedule--which he created--is telling him what to do. Don't get me wrong. I have no problem telling my children what to do (or I wouldn't have had FIVE); however, I do think that one of the challenges in homeschooling is the ever increasing amount of directives coming from adult to child. For homeschoolers it's not just parent-child directives, but also teacher-student.

I prepared* schedule cards for this year as follows. (*I prefer to have the child create the cards, but in this instance I needed to figure things out as I worked. Tweaking, always tweaking.)

When my son wakes up in the morning, the chart looks like the one to the left. The orange/yellow cards indicate landmarks that I schedule: breakfast, lunch, rest time, outside play time, my exercise time, etc.

His first job in the morning is to schedule his day using blue subject cards. Each card has a number in the lower right corner indicating approximately how many minutes of school time need to be reserved. I set out the cards needed that day; each card has a corresponding workbox, already filled and ready to go.

Blue cards include subjects:
  • science 
  • math calendar
  • reader/history (Sonlight Core 3)
  • journal
  • art
  • math 
  • writing workshop
  • violin
  • foreign language
  • Bible (Sonlight Core 3)
  • read aloud/history (Sonlight Core 3)
  • history (Sonlight Core 3)
  • cursive writing
  • "extra" (catch-all box)
And a few daily jobs:
  • pick up house
  • pick up room
(Remember, the subjects aren't all done every day. I give him the cards he needs each day.)

Each subject card has a labeled box. (Or at least the ones that use school materials do. Things like "violin" are just part of the schedule and not boxed. I don't have violin-sized boxes! ;)

A few boxes are double labeled like the one at left; we do art and science on an alternate schedule. A few boxes have an additional sticker. The MOMMY sticker.  This sticker indicates how many minutes Mommy needs to help. For a few subjects, it's the entire time. For most, it's a smaller length of time, designed to introduce a subject (teacher/student), followed by some time to do some independent practice work (student).

Each box includes all materials needed to complete the task. In the "read aloud" (Core 3) box at right, for example, the box contains the book as well as the iTouch containing the CD with the poems read aloud.

When he finishes a subject, he empties the box or turns it around so the sticker is no longer showing; he also turns over the related blue card.

We don't move discs or worry about velcro. And he still sets his own schedule. The biggest benefit to me is that I am accountable for having his entire school day ready to go the night before. As I told a friend, it's your basic "lay out your clothes the night before" routine. Just for school.

One of my focus topics on this blog and love2learn2day are hands-on math activities that fit well with workboxes. Check back!

Fun Box Activity

What to do….the wiggles were running through the legs and arms of the kids today. My daughter’s seat had said enough and she was dancing in her seat. The boys were just not able to focus any longer. It
wasn’t a hard day today, and a quick few jumps in the trampoline wasn’t going to do the trick today. I try to have reserves of “fun” activities to take our minds off of learning and take us back to the reason why we homeschool, spending time together. But I was feeling pressure to finish that day’s assigned tasks.
Then I remember a card game I just picked up in the Playing card aisle at Toys R Us.

I pulled out the game and let each child choose a color and then we put them all together. At first the boys were puzzled about doing silly things listed on the cards. The girls loved it right away. After switching the cards around a few times we got a lot of wiggles out and we were able to finish all we needed to get done. This is a great get up and move addition to a reserve of “fun” tricks!!!

This post was brought to you by a guest poster named - Renita, Thank you for your submission.

If you would like add a submission, please email child.workbox@gmail.com