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.