I need to tell y’all before I dive in that I have not personally read Sue Patrick’s book. When I heard of her system this summer, I was intrigued and excited. I was also already over my homeschool budget limit.
I was able to hear her speak at The Heart of the Matter On-line Homeschool Conference and read many different blogs ~ from those who are implementing her ideas. I tried to glean as much information as I could from those sources and came up with what we’re doing now.
With her system, you use 12 clear, plastic containers ~ specifically, plastic shoe boxes. In each box, is a school assignment and everything the child will need to complete that assignment: workbook, scissors, glue, tape, ruler, paper, etc. As the child completes each box (or assignment), he takes the box off the shelf and puts it into a larger container, bag or just on the floor beside him. This allows the child to see progress and exactly how much he has left to do.
Sue’s reasoning for the clear boxes is solid. I really wish I could have gone that route. However, I could not financially justify the expense. Last spring, I spent a small fortune on redecorating our schoolroom, which included lots of new baskets.
I couldn’t justify replacing those when they’re still in great condition. I decided I needed to work with what I had. I had seen other blogs that mentioned using file folders instead of boxes. Perfect! I laminated 12 file folders for each child in hopes that it would help them to last a little longer.
Our file folders work the same way as the boxes. Everything he needs is in each folder. As he completes an assignment, he puts that folder into his bag and moves onto the next folder. He sees his basket emptying and his bag filling up. The folders that have a Mom Square attached to them are to be done with my assistance. All other folders are done individually.
Today I’ll give you an overall look at how our day flows and then in the days following I’ll give you a more in-depth look at each child’s basket.
Everything that I can do with all the children together is done first. This includes all of our history readings, science, art, music, geography, Bible verses, etc. On a typical day, combined school takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
After our combined schooling is complete, each child pulls out his basket and time card.
The younger two children’s time strips never change. They just have numbers listed in order from 1 to 12 (or sometimes fewer). Cowgirl Princess’ time strip changes from day to day, depending on what order I place things. She has typing and piano that I schedule at different times, so she refers to her time strip ever day ~ whereas the boys just know to keep moving on to the next folder.
I schedule one-on-one time with Lil’ Dub right away. His first several folders have a Mom square on them. These include his reading, some kind of activity reinforcing what he learned, math, flash cards and his God’s World newsletter. He then moves on to his next folders without me.
Meanwhile, Junior has been working through his folders and is about ready for his one-on-one time with me. These include Shurley English, reading, math, etc. Once he gets to the next folders that do not include me, I move onto Cowgirl Princess.
At this point, she has been working independently for the majority of the morning. Her last few folders have a Mom square on them ~ spelling, Shurley Enlish, Vocabulary from the Roots Up and sometimes writing (if it’s a new lesson).
And there you have it ~ an overview of how we’re implementing the Workbox System.
Clear as mud?
Here are several links to check out: