Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Workbox System

Have you heard of it? The Work of Childhood has compiled a list of people using the system, so you can research and gather ideas.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm big on systems.... and lists.... and schedules. I really enjoy being able to cross something off or count it as done. I'm an obsess-er who will do something and realize it wasn't on the list, so I then ADD it to the list and mark it off. Yeah.

I've read Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores, and enjoyed both. I'm not a die-hard scheduler, so the 30-minute increment scheduling system wasn't a great fit. It only went well until lunchtime, and then we always veered from the path. It helped, but I felt... chained. If math took to long, I couldn't feel "okay" about being off schedule.

The Reminder Pack System is still going wonderfully, though. In fact, it's going so smashingly for us, that I'm considering chore packs for us big people, too. I often forget about things that need to be done. Yes, even daily things. With Fred, it's just a matter of the time he has available. If we had cards like the kids we might work faster to get through it. :-)

So, what's this workbox system anyway? Well, it's nothing new in the way of curriculum or style, or philosophy. It's simply an "organizing your stuff & your day" method. If you follow the original idea, you will have 12 clear boxes (like those clear ice-cube tray things from your freezer.) You label the outside with numbers, and stick a book or activity in each. The simplest thing would be to use mailbox numbers. So, you know I won't be doing that. Naturally, I must make everything more difficult on myself, and it must be bright and pretty to function well in this house.

The kids work through the boxes in order, so that you can sandwich the more challenging work between fun or less-time consuming lessons. When the assignments in the boxes are complete, the work for the day is done. (The overachieving Artist will then beg me to refill her boxes.) Sounds simple enough. Often the simplest things are the most effective! I have two visual learners, and I'm hoping that the clear boxes will help them. Enough of the "when are we going to be done," and "can't I do something fun now?" We do a lot of fun things, but not everything they need to know will be their cup of tea.

I plan to include puzzles and word matches for the younger kiddos, and PE activities and such for the older ones. Oh, and I plan to give them each a timer. With some activities, the card might read, "set your timer for 15 minutes and play with playdough." It wouldn't do me much good if they spent an hour on each activity that they most enjoyed, now would it?

We "officially" start back in about a month, so I'm in my gather, buy, glean, research phase right now.


Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Yes, I just posted with no pictures. Are you shocked??

Suzanne said...

This is really interesting. I had started with just everything for the week in a large box (just the extra activities and craft stuff) but then that has slid to the wayside the past several months. I have been using file folders for all the paperwork for the kids for each day, but this gives me something to ponder over and hone some of our organization even if we don't end up with 48 boxes sitting around. :)

Jerri Dalrymple said...

Sounds interesting! I'm off to check it out and thanks for sharing! :0)

Leslie said...

This may sound strange, but I've told my husband over the years that I need my own "wife" to come organize and take care of things for me. Too bad you're taken! HA, HA!

I do the same thing...add something I've done to my list so that I can cross it off!

By the way,'re it! Stop by my blog to see what I mean!

Have a wonderful day!

Jessica S. said...

Hello Lady,

I will be posting pics of our classroom again with the WorkBox system in place...hopefully soon.
It will is nothing major or fancy, but it works effectively in our home.
I definitely don't have space for centers, unless I can get an extra table in our learning room, kids playing soccer (so that takes care of the running), and I really don't have poster activities...maybe one day-I'll get it together, but for now it's awesome! :)