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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!


  1. hey! Thanks for visiting http://www.livinglikethekings.com have a happy monday!

  2. Thanks for following. I am your latest follower from Following Friday!


  3. I LOVE this. I'd love to have someone who uses the work boxes system do a guest post on Layers of Learning, a homeschool and education blog. I'm a new follower. Contact me at hoodoopublishing at gmail dot com if you'd be interested. http://www.layers-of-learning.com

  4. WOW C GREAT details,thank you for sharing and helping out the work box community. We are happy to have you on board.

  5. I'm bookmarking this entry. I love the idea of the child determining her own schedule.