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Work-boxes, how do they work for you?

Posted by on May. 26, 2011 at 3:04 PM
  • 10 Replies

I'd love to start trying work boxes for my little ones, so they have another option to tackle some things at their choosing. I believe it would give them an empowering since of independence which they thrive on. I'd like to know how some of you work your boxes into your daily schooling. 

by on May. 26, 2011 at 3:04 PM
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Replies (1-10):
KDBeckham
by on May. 26, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Well according to the book (I know not everyone has read the book or even goes by it) but the true workbox system is supposed to schedule your day. You can schedule in the actual work portion such as worksheets, readers, educational activities and even work in lunch , snacks, and break times using the strips. I know that some people thought not to buy the book, but I did and I was highly impressed. I did correspond back and forth with Sue to get my book registered (which allows you access to lots of free printabls and other supplements that aren't available without the book & registration) and I was completely amazed and how nice and informed she was. This woman went to every length to give you every piece of information she could and did find while she was growing this system. I think the best thing is to buy the book and read it then go from there.

JenA123
by on May. 28, 2011 at 8:47 PM

thanks for posting, someone just mentioned these to me the other day and it was the first I had heard about them and I forgot to look into them, your post reminded me....I'm interested to see what others thinkg, I have been googling it now, and workign on a system of my own...(in my head at the moment).

MommaChell
by on May. 29, 2011 at 8:47 AM

@ KDBeckham- I didn't even know there was a book! I'll be looking into that, what's the title?

@ JenA123- Glad my post was a helpful reminder :)

mom2queenie2004
by on May. 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM

 We have not started using them yet....this coming year we will. I think it will work great for our space and my kids.

This is what we have set up. They are sink wash bins. $1.98 at Walmart.

JenA123
by on May. 29, 2011 at 11:40 PM

yeah thanks again!  you can follow my journey of getting them set up by going to my blog at www.chestnutgroveacademy.blogspot.com, It's in the works now :D  We start the new year June 6th...I hope to have them up and running by then.  Headed to the store tomorrow for a few things (more velcro!)...

maggiemom2000
by Member on May. 29, 2011 at 11:51 PM

Here's my blog post:

How Workboxes Work in our House

We are a couple of weeks into our second year of homeschool at our house. One thing that we have found works well for us is the Workboxes system. I must admit I never read "the book", Sue Patrick's Workbox System. I read a lot of blogs, looked at a lot of photos and came up with our own version of the system.

For the first time this year the boys are enrolled in the California Virtual Academy (CAVA) which uses the K12 curriculum. I find it is easy to use the Workboxes with this curriculum. (EDIT: We left CAVA/K12 after 6 weeks)

I have one child who is easy to homeschool. He is organized, and will sit quietly and do "seatwork". If I were just working with him I wouldn't need any kind of "system".

My other child is not that way. He has been diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD and OCD. I know some people don't like labels for their kids. For me, it helps to remind me that I didn't do, or not do anything to cause the way he goes through life. I can't change him, but I can help to try and give him tools to make it easier to get through life. With this child, I needed a "system'!

While I try and make the kids assignments not to "schooly" and avoid worksheets and generally boring busy work, there still needs to be a way to get through the curriculum. The Workboxes help with this. I find that it does several things that are particularly helpful for a child with ADHD:

  • It helps with organization.
  • It is visual and tactile. He can see how much work (how many boxes) need to get done. He physically moves the tag off the box and onto the chart when he is finished with it.
  • It is self rewarding in that he can see the number of tags increase on his chart and feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • It is not so overwhelming to have one task in a box. It doles things out in small enough chunks for him.
  • It takes away me being the one telling him to do each assignment. Instead he just takes a box off the shelf. I find this leads to fewer power struggles.
  • It gives him a sense of control. I allow him to choose which box to do next, he doesn't need to do them in any specific order.
  • It helps me to insert more fun stuff and games. When I put the game in the box the night before I'm not overwhelmed and ready to quit for the day! Before, by the time I got through math, writing, science, etc. I was too tired to say "Let's play Scrabble!" But when it is on one of the boxes it is different.
  • It promotes independence. He chooses a box and starts working on it on his own (unless it is a "MOM" box, then he brings it to me for us to do together).

With my first child, I just had to tell him how the system works, once. With my second child it took a bit more work. The first week with the workboxes there were boxes and tags and supplies EVERYWHERE! It took some time, and lots of one on one to teach him to take down one box, finish it, move the tag, put it away, then take the next box. I think just learning a routine like that is valuable in itself.


This is what it looks like:

I was able to use some shelves that we already had for the workboxes. Each child has 12 boxes, and I usually "fill" 9-12 boxes each day. At first I thought, how will I ever fill 12 boxes, that is WAY too much! When I started doing it I quickly realized that it wasn't too much, because many of the boxes have short activities. Plus, I needed lots of boxes so that I could add lots of "fun" stuff. My kids love the Active Activity Cards. I downloaded those and made more of my own.

I was amazed at first to find that if I put it into a Workbox, they just did it. It was that easy.




When they finish a box, they pull off the tag and and place it on their chart.
I have one child who always carefully places each tag on his chart in numerical order. My other child is a bit less orderly with how he gets his number tags onto his chart. I'll leave you to figure out who does it which way.






This system also keeps ME organized and on track. I'm much less likely to get too tired at some point and just put something off until the next day (and the next). I keep things on hand to add to the boxes to keep things interesting and "hand on". In addition to my shelves full of supplies I have this little cart with little games, math manipulatives, hands on science equipment and other supplies. I find that if it is within reach I'm much more likely to take advantage of it.

It is a lot of organization up front, but not too difficult to maintain!

MommaChell
by on Jun. 1, 2011 at 10:37 AM


Quoting mom2queenie2004:

 We have not started using them yet....this coming year we will. I think it will work great for our space and my kids.

This is what we have set up. They are sink wash bins. $1.98 at Walmart.

That is ROCKIN!

MommaChell
by on Jun. 1, 2011 at 10:38 AM


Quoting JenA123:

yeah thanks again!  you can follow my journey of getting them set up by going to my blog at www.chestnutgroveacademy.blogspot.com, It's in the works now :D  We start the new year June 6th...I hope to have them up and running by then.  Headed to the store tomorrow for a few things (more velcro!)...

You got it :) I look forward to seeing your results!

MommaChell
by on Jun. 1, 2011 at 10:43 AM


Quoting maggiemom2000:

Here's my blog post:

How Workboxes Work in our House

We are a couple of weeks into our second year of homeschool at our house. One thing that we have found works well for us is the Workboxes system. I must admit I never read "the book", Sue Patrick's Workbox System. I read a lot of blogs, looked at a lot of photos and came up with our own version of the system.

For the first time this year the boys are enrolled in the California Virtual Academy (CAVA) which uses the K12 curriculum. I find it is easy to use the Workboxes with this curriculum. (EDIT: We left CAVA/K12 after 6 weeks)

I have one child who is easy to homeschool. He is organized, and will sit quietly and do "seatwork". If I were just working with him I wouldn't need any kind of "system".

My other child is not that way. He has been diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD and OCD. I know some people don't like labels for their kids. For me, it helps to remind me that I didn't do, or not do anything to cause the way he goes through life. I can't change him, but I can help to try and give him tools to make it easier to get through life. With this child, I needed a "system'!

While I try and make the kids assignments not to "schooly" and avoid worksheets and generally boring busy work, there still needs to be a way to get through the curriculum. The Workboxes help with this. I find that it does several things that are particularly helpful for a child with ADHD:

  • It helps with organization.
  • It is visual and tactile. He can see how much work (how many boxes) need to get done. He physically moves the tag off the box and onto the chart when he is finished with it.
  • It is self rewarding in that he can see the number of tags increase on his chart and feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • It is not so overwhelming to have one task in a box. It doles things out in small enough chunks for him.
  • It takes away me being the one telling him to do each assignment. Instead he just takes a box off the shelf. I find this leads to fewer power struggles.
  • It gives him a sense of control. I allow him to choose which box to do next, he doesn't need to do them in any specific order.
  • It helps me to insert more fun stuff and games. When I put the game in the box the night before I'm not overwhelmed and ready to quit for the day! Before, by the time I got through math, writing, science, etc. I was too tired to say "Let's play Scrabble!" But when it is on one of the boxes it is different.
  • It promotes independence. He chooses a box and starts working on it on his own (unless it is a "MOM" box, then he brings it to me for us to do together).

With my first child, I just had to tell him how the system works, once. With my second child it took a bit more work. The first week with the workboxes there were boxes and tags and supplies EVERYWHERE! It took some time, and lots of one on one to teach him to take down one box, finish it, move the tag, put it away, then take the next box. I think just learning a routine like that is valuable in itself.


This is what it looks like:

I was able to use some shelves that we already had for the workboxes. Each child has 12 boxes, and I usually "fill" 9-12 boxes each day. At first I thought, how will I ever fill 12 boxes, that is WAY too much! When I started doing it I quickly realized that it wasn't too much, because many of the boxes have short activities. Plus, I needed lots of boxes so that I could add lots of "fun" stuff. My kids love the Active Activity Cards. I downloaded those and made more of my own.

I was amazed at first to find that if I put it into a Workbox, they just did it. It was that easy.




When they finish a box, they pull off the tag and and place it on their chart.
I have one child who always carefully places each tag on his chart in numerical order. My other child is a bit less orderly with how he gets his number tags onto his chart. I'll leave you to figure out who does it which way.






This system also keeps ME organized and on track. I'm much less likely to get too tired at some point and just put something off until the next day (and the next). I keep things on hand to add to the boxes to keep things interesting and "hand on". In addition to my shelves full of supplies I have this little cart with little games, math manipulatives, hands on science equipment and other supplies. I find that if it is within reach I'm much more likely to take advantage of it.

It is a lot of organization up front, but not too difficult to maintain!

AMAZING, thank you so much for all this, you've both inspired me and helped light my fire concerning the use of workboxes; YAY! The pictures are tremendously helpful, thanks again :D

MommaChell
by on Jun. 1, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Ladies all of you rockTHANKS for your help with this!

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