Monday, February 8, 2010

A new take on the homeschool Workbox system

Using the workbox system has really revolutionized our homeschool. But the original system is not a keeper. We used to do it this way, and it was great for awhile. It helped me to organize our day better and get a whole lot more accomplished in our homeschool. I think it also helped the kids get more "into" doing school work each day. There were a couple of problems with the original workbox system, though. The plastic bins, even though we used way less than the actual workbox system suggests, turned out to be a waste of that was sorely needed to store actual stuff, not just bins that were empty most of the time. Taking 30-45 minutes EVERY night to fill the bins turned out to not be my thing...way too time consuming! The kids would get out their bins out to do their work, and suddenly the table was a mess of bins and papers and very little room for kids to work. It's taken me a few weeks, but I finally figured out how to solve our storage problem and adapt the workbox system to fit our needs. TA-DA! The workbox crate! (see above picture) Each child has 4 hanging file folders; one for each of the 4 days that we homeschool a week. All the kid's file folders fit nicely in one much less space than all the plastic bins! PLUS, I can load up a whole weeks worth of work in one night! YAY! :)
At the front of each of the sets of file folders, there is an expandable folder with the child's name on it so they know which section is theirs. This expandable folder is also where they put their finished work so I can check it/look it over at my leisure. I haven't figured out exactly how to integrate the funner, hands-on activities that I used to put in their bins (larger, bulkier things, etc) but I'm sure the solution will come to me soon!

Another "new" system I have implemented in our house is the individual white board. Why does each kid need their own white board? Several reasons, actually: first, my kids LOVE drawing on my white board and most of the time it is full of kids pictures and a cause of contention in that we have 5 kids who want to use it and only one small white board; second, kids have been REALLY dragging about getting their stuff done very day! While at the school supply store doing our shopping for the semester on Saturday, I purchased some super cool white board stickers that turn any surface into a white board! Later that day when I went to Wal-mart to finish up my shopping, I bought 5 clipboards for 98 cents each. Viola! 5 individual white boards! What does this have to do with helping motivate kids to get their stuff done every day? Well, I thought I'd try and tie in the love my kids have for their white board to help them see what needs to be done every day and see when it is completed.

On each child's white board, I made a list of all the things I expect them to get done in the morning...things I usually have to remind/nag about until after lunch. Each child can see exactly what they need to accomplish before they have free-time, and they get the added bonus of getting to wipe each task off after it is completed! Today was our first morning using the white boards and it went sooooooo well!! It's just after 10am and I have one child who is minutes away from completing his whole list! Wow, what a difference a white board makes!

Now that we don't have all those empty bins lying around, I have so much more storage! I also bought a few pieces of cheapy furniture from Wal-mart to complete our organization (see the very blurry picture above.)
And here is what Brighton did for his "school" this morning. :) This is our one cabinet that we can't seem to baby-proof all the way...he knows how to open it anyway! So he has lots of fun getting the pots and pans out a.l.l. d.a.y. l.o.n.g.! He's cute, though, so we don't mind. :) I usually let my toddlers get into a few cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, it's fun and educational for them even if it does make a bit more mess.


  1. Hi Heidi- Maggie H. sent me here. We're planning on starting to home school our daughter in the Fall (for Kindergarten.) I like this crate idea!

  2. love it. i can see this is the answer now for you guys. so glad you kept at it to find this method! can't wait to see it in action.