I have been thinking a lot of getting more done in our day; more productive done anyhow. I have been thinking a lot about adding meat to our day, adding structure, and adding challenge, about pushing us someplace and not just floating around. I have been thinking a lot about this all being momma and not the boys. 🙂 I have been reading a lot of home school schedules and ‘systems’ and ‘order’ not that it applies all that much to us now or for the next year or more; the boys are just young, they don’t need a formal push in academics, they need to read, explore and start crafting the foundation blocks that their entire education will be built upon (no pressure on momma there).
I have been attracted to the workbox system, in some form at least. I have also wanted to start a visual schedule with the boys, and the workbox system is one that can ‘make it all one system’. My intent is that the home have one system; school, chores, life is not pigeon-holed. The beauty of home schooling, one of them anyway is that home schooling is as unique as each family. I have several friends that home school and “school” and its role in life of the family is different in each house, and wonderful in each house. I love peeking into other’s homes and seeing their order and their schedules and seeing the flow and shape of their days, it is a magnificent cafeteria of ideas where I am free to choose and leave ideas at will, and if something doesn’t work for us forget it there is always more of the picking.
The basic concept of the work box system is that you put each assignment in a box, so the school day is in manageable chunks for a child to more on more independently. From there the variations are as endless as the children learning. In the original each child has a ‘to do strip’ that they can remove a “box” from once it is done. The To DO Strip has tabs for each box, or strips. The child takes the strip (in the original in order) retrieves the box, does the assignment, then put the assignment back in the box, returns the box and then put the marker / label / strip in a different location “telling mom it is done”.
I am utilizing the most basic concept. The tools I made last night are very temporary. I did not put a lot of time or effort into it, I need to see how my idea is going to work when the rubber meets the road and the boys get their hands on it. So I have some vague plans for how I’d like this system to develop and look someday; it is a concept that can grow with the kids nicely; but I have seen before momma plans mean nothing if they do not work with the boys.
I took a 3 drawer plastic stacker, some construction paper and got to work. I made a list of the things it is important to me that we do daily: ASL, handwriting, math/counting, phonic/letters, Bible and made a magnet for each of them (I forgot reading, duh!!! But this is a draft systems anyhow I want to make nicely – more sturdy – pieces anyway). These are things we have not been doing daily, but I really want to make an effort to be sure we do. I made a magnet for TO DO and DONE. I took three subjects and made them a drawer. So each day I will put an activity is each of the three drawers (phonics, handwriting, and math) and start with all the magnets on the TO DO side. My plan is to let the boys choose and as the activity is done for the day it moves to the DONE list. Primitive I admit.
The system will grow. As the boys get used to it I plan to make magnets for things such as ST and OT and play date and classroom and so on; things that are going to happen that day, which can be moved over to DONE after they happen. So that it functions for us as a visual schedule as well as a TO DO for ‘school’ list. Also eventually I plan for it to live on its own magnetic white board to allow for notes to be made too, and it shall have a home other than the gun safe. The joy is that each day I only have to put out the magnets I plan to do that day; my first idea was for a dry-erase check list, but that is not ‘changeable’ on a daily basis. Days we go to the city and Big Brother has a couple of therapies, we don’t do all the stuff we do on a day we are home all day; this way I can put up as many or few magnets as I need, only the correct ones, the combinations are endless and can perfectly match our day. Both boys are boys for whom a visual schedule is a great tool, so I am hopeful for this system providing some shape and form to our days; especially as the boys get older and more able to ‘take some independent control’. Eventually chores can be added; and DONE can become DONE and READY TO CHECK. I see a lot of possibilities, BUT personally I tend to get too excited about the possibilities and get caught up in getting it all crafted – I need to just get into the system and see how it works for us. Grand plans do nothing if they are not implemented. I have a dear friend who tells me I plan so well, I do. My shortcoming is in the implementation stage. Time for rubber to meet the road and for momma to stop thinking so much and start doing.
Work boxes are a popular concept; it is so flexible and looks as different in each home as the families that live there. Any Net search turns up pages of great relevant hits, I did one search and here area few of my favorites that I have consulted (my personal favs are listed first and marked)
- http://www.workboxsystem.com/ (the official site, it is, at the root, a sales site, but not bad)
- http://www.crookedcreekfarmgirl.com/2009/03/this-is-best-system-ever.html (she uses envelopes)
- http://myfamilyliferocks.blogspot.com/2009/03/workboxes.html this mom actually uses the shoe boxes Sue’ finds very fundamental
- http://hilltophomeschool.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/my-new-workbox-system/ a GRANDMA raising her SN grandson