The workbox system is a physical structure designed to organize your home school day. It is supposed to help you break your daily curriculum into smaller chunks, provide motivation, and foster independent learning.
The mother of the workbox system is Sue Patrick. She sells an e-book that explains her system for $19.
Confession, this frugalista of limited means has not read or purchased the e-book. I hunted and gathered ideas from different blogs instead. (Sorry Sue Patrick, but I'm cheap). Also the concept of using visual scheduling and prompts in various forms has been around for awhile.
Here is a tour of our workbox system.
Being a big believer in using what you have, I decided to use this toy organizer that was sitting empty in our garage. It didn't function well as a toy organizer in our home but has found new use as our workbox station. I divided up the drawers so that the top 6 belong to Robo Dude and the bottom 6 belong to Cyber Princess. At some point I will have to upgrade this system because I am finding that I would like more workboxes for Robo Dude.
I downloaded the numbers on the boxes from Cassie's Workbox Graphics at Spell Outloud. I made two copies of the numbers for each child. One set to go on their schedules and one set to go on the boxes.
I cut three velcro strips and stuck them onto the smaller boxes (one for the box number, one for the work with mom tag, and one for the schedule strip number). I ended up putting six velcro strips on the larger boxes so that those boxes can not only be used for individual work but also when Robo Dude and Cyber Girl study together.
To make the schedule strips I used OpenOffice.org Writer. I formatted a page with three columns. At the the top of the first column I typed a child's name. I printed the sheet, cut it into thirds and laminated it at Staples.
After laminating, I hole punched through the top left corner on all three cards and tied them together with yarn. The schedule cards hang on two utility hooks I adhered to one of the sides of the workbox station.
The work with Mom cards are made from snapshots of mom with each child. I use also use minute cards from the Workbox Picture Collection at Home School Creations (on page 6 of the pdf).
Robo Dude and Cyber Princess have loved using the Brick Building Activity cards by Honey Brown at Sunflower Schoolhouse (So far with these blocks and look forward to using the cards with Legos, Mega Bloks, and K-Nex).
I am going to introduce the kids to the activity cards by Candace Crabtree found at HomeSchool Share soon.
When we start school each day, the kids get their schedule cards and their first box. When they complete a box they take the matching number from off their schedule and put it on the coordinating box.
We do not stack the empty boxes in a corner, instead we put them back on the shelf. Robo Dude likes to turn his finished boxes around so that the numbers are facing the wall.
I try to put two necessary lessons/activities that Robo Dude has low motivation to complete before a high motivation lesson/activity (so usually in boxes 3 and 6). This really has helped get him through some of his less favorite activities more quickly.
Some really great resources for more information about Workboxes can be found here:
Working the Workboxes
A Comprehensive Review of Sue Patrick's Work Box System
I think that variations of the workbox system could be used for lots of other things, i.e. homework boxes, housework/chores, etc.
So what do you think? Have you tried workboxes?