I have a tendency to be overdramatic, let’s get that out of the way immediately. However, if you homeschool…OR have even a hint of imagination for someone else’s struggles, you may realize while I sound over the top, deep down in my heart, I am completely serious.
Let me recap how I got here…
Mother of 3 children.
The kids attended an amazing Christian school for years.
Then THE DAY happened.
God said, you’re going to homeschool now. If He was still choosing to burn bushes today, I am certain I would have seen one up in flame. It was that clear.
I threw a fit, then surrendered.
That’s the short of it.
So, for the sake of this post, I had a few months to whine and prepare. Come to think of it, I don’t know if you are ever truly prepared for homeschooling. September arrived and I was ushered into my first year with my 5th grade son, 4th grade daughter, and pre-k daughter. I relate it to how it felt when as I first time mom, I had been laboring peacefully with the blessed epidural and the doctor decided to turn it off right before pushing. BAM. No warning…With homeschooling, the choices are endless, the information overwhelming, and the resources almost too many to be helpful. Over the summer, I managed to successfully purchase curriculum, supplies, and have fun creating a classroom in our home. However, in the fall the day to day left me feeling like a facilitator of worksheets rather than a teacher. I went in search of new curriculum thinking that must be the problem. I didn’t feel like we were LEARNING anything.
Then I found it…(insert dramatic music please)…THE WORKBOX SYSTEM….the rolling carts come from Sam’s. My awesome and spectacular friend Cindy texts me the next day (after she saw my Facebook post of my new found plan to workbox it) and says, “I’m at Sam’s…can I get you three?” If that isn’t good enough, I decorate for her and she says…let’s just trade for hours! DONE! I own the workboxes.
Some velcro dots, time with my Xyron, and a little building of carts later…I am a mom, who home schools, who uses the workbox method. I do wish they would rename it. Workbox method does not do it justice.
Alright enough drama, here is the deal. Bullet pointed for your reading pleasure.
1. Workbox method is NOT a curriculum. It is a method how to implement any curriculum you choose.
2. There are 10 drawers and 3 carts. 1 cart per child. 1 drawer per subject or assignment. Refilled every day with assignments for the next day of school.
3. The workboxes are to be used in order with no peeking ahead.
4. My kids feel like they are “opening a present” with each drawer they pull out. (yes, they really said that)
5. I insert notes, sticks (our reward system in our classroom), or snacks in different drawers. I have even been known to include a “free box”.
6. The boxes are numbered. When they complete a box they move the number to the right side to keep track of where they are.
7. I fill the boxes daily when school is over. As I fill them, I move the number back to the left. This way I know which ones have been filled.
8. Filling the boxes daily, keeps me more on top of their curriculum and waaaayyyy more accountable. (To who? I don’t know, but it works.)
9. The kids know what’s expected of them and how much they work they have remaining. It provides a visual and eliminates the question…”how much more work do we have left today?”
10. I have extra notes such as “Teacher Help” or “recess” to put on the boxes as I see fit. This way if I know one child needs help in math and another in science, I schedule those boxes at different points in the day. I avoid feeling like I’m stuck in a pinball machine and the kids can actually have my attention.
10. I have at least a couple of extra boxes every day that I can fill with “fun” activities such as baking, art projects, or different educational games. I intermingle those with core subjects.
11. This whole system has really allowed me to wrap my head around what we are actually doing each day. It gives me some structure, yet enough freedom to really be able to put in science experiments and all the “extras”. I used to find that I rushed or eliminated those types of things to “get done” quicker with school.
12. My frustration of being the “facilitator” is gone. Instead of spending valuable time when I should be teaching the kids, running around grabbing supplies etc… I enter the room, completely prepared with all the supplies pulled and stored in such a fashion that it gives the kids some independence, some surprise, and generally makes the day go 1 million times smoother.
13. It’s the first system that I have tried, that works for all ages of kids. I have a 5, 9, 11 year old. I can use this same system for all three!
My final thought is this…you may have been thinking that everywhere carries these rolling carts right? This one is perfection in my opinion. Not obnoxious in color, just the right amount of boxes, the right size of boxes, and super sturdy. If your gonna try this, just get it at Sam’s…and no one is paying me to say that.
Tomorrow, I will continue my over the top review about this method, with lots of pictures and examples of what goes into the different workboxes. If you homeschool (especially if you’re new and or have multiple children) and haven’t tried this, consider it. It just may end up saving your life too.
Now there is just 62 school days left until summer.