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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Five Days of Workboxing. Day Three: But How Can We Use Workboxes?

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Ah!  Welcome back!  I'm so glad you are joining me for the Five Days of Workboxing, and I hope you are having as much fun as I am!

In case you've missed any posts so far, here's what we've talked about so far:

Today I thought we'd talk about how to make workboxes fit your family--not mine, not your neighbor's, not that cool mom on Pinterest--YOURS.

Here are some of the questions I've been asked about our workbox system:

"I love your workboxes and all, BUT...I don't have room for that in my house / schoolroom / kitchen."  I get that.  We have been blessed to have a dedicated schoolroom in both houses that we've lived in since we started homeschooling.  I've also only had two to three children using workboxes at any given time.  Our shoebox and rack system works great for us.  But the great thing about workboxes is that you could use the IDEA of workboxes without actually using the boxes.

What about workbinders?

Work folders?
Work magazine holders?

Any of these ideas would work well in a smaller space, or when you have more children to keep track of.  (And, if you are anything like me, please note that they can be beautifully color-coded--but I digress...)

The main point is to have a system in which the child (and the parent) can know what comes next, and how much more there is to do.  It is a simple, but organized approach to helping us all stay on track.  And it doesn't matter if the work is in a shoebox or a folder, or even an old coffee table drawer.  

If we were to use a folder system, I would also make sure to add some sort of cubby close by to hold those textbooks, glue sticks, pencils, etc, that always seem to get lost when it's time to work.  That is one of the nice things about the actual boxes--all of the items needed usually can fit into the box.

"What type of homeschooler are you?  How can you use the workbox system with other methods?  What about unschooling?"

I hate to say it, but we're not really a "type".  If I had to nail us down, I'd call us Charlotte Mason-y, Classical-type, Eclectic, Wanna-be Unschoolers.  It really depends on the day.

Our primary curriculum for my younger kiddos is Heart of Dakota.  The beautiful thing about Heart of Dakota curriculum and workboxes is that, if you look at a teacher's manual of the curriculum, you discover that the day is made up of boxes!  Each subject comes complete with the plans for that day in its own little box.  When it comes time for me to fill boxes, I just transfer what is in the lesson plan box into the actual physical box!

When I want to play unschooler, I find some of the cool things that I bought at garage sales or beginning-of-school sales that I always meant to use with the kids but then forgot, and put them inside workboxes for my kiddos to discover and enjoy.  Usually, I then partner these with some kind of reading or exploring center set up somewhere else for more in-depth learning about whatever-it-is that is striking our interests.

When we used Classical Conversations, our workboxes worked perfectly for separating out memory work and being able to add more learning about a particular history sentence or science concept.

If you are wanting to use workboxes in your homeschool, you need to know that they are just so versatile, and can work with just about any style of homeschooling.

"Can I use workboxes with a child that is not reading yet?"

Yes.  And yes.  That's more of the beauty of workboxes.  My middle child, Firefly, has some special needs, and for many years we had her on a picture schedule.  She can read now, quite well, but schoolwork stresses her out some days  almost every day.  Continuing with pictures instead of text as much as possible when scheduling out her day is something that is really important in our home.  

Workbox tags?  Can all be made with pictures.

Schedule Strip?  Yep.  Just use pictures.

Writing directions for what to do with the more independent boxes?  Yeah, not so much.  But what if you sat with the child the first time you expected them to do the task and made sure they understood it, and then from then on they will know what to do when they open a box and see the same type of task.

I think the key in all of this is that the idea of workboxes can be adapted, just like any other idea used in homeschooling, to fit your family.  

Preschoolers?  Yep, there's an adaptation for that.

Special needs?  An adaptation for that.

Relaxed schoolers?  An adaptation for that, too!

Do you have any suggestions about how you've "tweaked" workboxes to fit your family?  Or do you use them "straight by the book"?  I'd love to hear your suggestions and / or your questions.

If you've missed any posts in this series, make sure to click on them below.

And tune in tomorrow, when we take a sneak peek "inside the workbox"!

Day Four:  What do I Put in the Workboxes?
Day Five:  More Internet Helps for Workboxing

Also, make sure to check our some of my fellow bloggers participating in the Five Days Series.  There have been so many wonderful posts by so many wonderful ladies!

Summer Blog Hop


  1. I'm a workbox fanatic! Love them. Even found a way so I only have to fill my boxes 1 time a week. (easier for older kids).

    1. That's great! How many kids are you using your workboxes with? How old are they?



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