workboxes: get rid of the whining in the classroom

A few of the sites I love for free homeschooling printables keep talking about Workboxes.  I hadn’t ventured into finding out what that meant until recently.  So, I ordered Sue Patrick’s Workboxes; A User’s Guide last week.  I read the book in about three hours.  I am so excited about using them.  Let me tell you why.

They give children a visual motivation to get through school.  They can easily see how much they have left and what it is.  No whining about that.

Everything is organized and tidy.  No tearing apart the house for materials needed at the last minute, or children wandering around “looking” for things.  These both waste time.

Things that we would never get to such as art, science experiments, games, ect, are part of the boxes.  We won’t be skipping anything ever again.  There was time for those things, just not the motivation for the children to get through the essentials in order to have extra time.  I felt we were always waiting on someone to get done, and no one ever seemed to do that quickly enough.

This system teaches self-motivation.  It gives one on one time with mom for those who need it.  Everyone has scheduled time with mom instead of running from kid to kid to kid.  No one waits for mom either.  If she’s busy, work on the next box until she’s done.

I have done tot trays/busy bags for Desmond, and this is a more structured version.  If I need to have him working independently I can set the timer for how long he’s needs to do each box.

It’s very easy to have everyone gather for group subjects, without disrupting their work.  When we’re done everyone goes back to their box.  Easy-peasy.

I’m really excited about implementing this system in our schoolroom in January. Josie an Desmond have been doing this for a couple weeks already.  Desmond stays contented while I do one on one with Josie, and vise-versa.  

How will I start this amazing system?

I love the 10-drawer rolling carts.  Sue Patrick suggests a shoe rack and bins for each child.  I don’t like the look and I don’t have the space.  I pinned some inventive ideas onto my Pintrest Board; along with a video tutorial.  

I have chosen the drawers for our permanent system; unfortunately, I need four full systems and one toddler version.  These are on my wish list for each child. These are too expensive for me to buy at once.  We will slowing get them for each child.  Maybe one a month.  

I love that they roll.  We don’t have a separate school room anymore, but we do have a massive closet we put all our books and supplies in.  These can easily come out to the kitchen table and roll right back in and out-of-the-way when school’s done.

For now, I have Josie set up in the few random things we had already, and Desmond has his own section on shelves.  Not the prettiest, but it is the cheapest :)  Setting up our temporary systems has been going on these last two weeks.  I’m preparing for the three older to come home from public school.

I am going to put the older three children’s systems in a plastic crate.  I happen to have three of those already.  This is my favorite example of the workbox system using file boxes.  As we get going on school, I will decide who needs the most motivation/organization  and get their rolling cart first.

The logic behind the system is to keep kids motivated to finish by putting fun activities ans snacks ect. into boxes that follow harder or less excited boxes.  I really urge you to read what others have posted about this system.  If you decide to buy the book, used will do.  You don’t get the access to the printables, but dozens of bloggers have made their own and offer them for free.  Endless creative designs are available.  I pinned some free printable examples on to the Pinterest Board.

If you feel your children are always asking when they’ll be done, saying it’s boring, or are very s l o w at school, this system, or one like it, could be your answer.

Do you use this system?  What do you do differently from the book?

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5 thoughts on “workboxes: get rid of the whining in the classroom

  1. Pingback: our curriculum picks | VintageMamaSew

  2. Im not sure which rolling cart you are referring too, but I have one (multicolored plastic drawers) and its terrible. The drawers are very hard to maneuver in and out and constantly come off their slide…..just a review from one teacher to another.

    • That is the one I’m talking of. I have heard that happens with too much weight in each box. I will look into which brands are more stable, thanks.

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