Since first hearing about workboxes from fellow eclectic/Charlotte Mason-style homeschoolers in the SecularCM yahoo group, I've been working toward getting our homeschooling/living space organized. It's been an interesting shift--I'm seeing toys being brought down from upstairs during the day and actually being played with, instead of being strewn throughout the first floor rooms and largely ignored. The living area is much more peaceful to look at, as well. Gone are the one-per-child homeschooling cubes that quickly became overfilled with just about anything, and (mostly) the sideways stacks of notebooks that wouldn't fit in the fourth cubbyhole.
the eleven-year-old's set
the eight-year-old's set
the four-year-old's set
Sue Patrick's Workbox System grew out of her work with her autistic child, and, while I did purchase her book through Amazon, I also found a huge outpouring of ideas and resources from the many homeschooling parents in the Workboxes yahoo group. The general idea is that kids will have visual reminders of what needs to be done on a given day (or week, depending on how one tweaks the system), which help improve time management skills and increase self-reliant learning. In theory, anyway. ☺
Being someone who usually follows a recipe pretty closely the first time I make something new, I'm planning to keep with the "fill x boxes per child per day" idea as long as it's working for everyone. I've also kept the "schedule strip" idea, which you can see here (with names blurred out courtesy of iPhoto):
Activities on the schedule, besides delving into their boxes, will include group time (for lessons the older two have together), tea time (thanks, Bravewriter), nature walks, mental breaks like crab-walking around the room or rolling across the carpet, music lessons and practice, online educational games, Skype-ing a friend or family member for a few minutes, and more:
While I think my kids will benefit from using the system, I think they will benefit even more from my use of the system. No more printing out pages while the kids sit at the table waiting, or, worse, wander off and get distracted by something else. No more really cool materials sitting on the shelves, unused, because we've forgotten about them or just don't have time to make use of them. Time for me to harness that creative gene I know is somewhere in my 23 pairs of chromosomes and fill the boxes with a combination of must-do homeschooling work, possible rabbit trail beginnings, and miscellaneous fun stuff. Once I have a solid idea of what's going in this coming Tuesday's boxes (this weekend's task), I'll post more. Wish me luck, and a firm grip on my sanity!