|My son's workboxes|
Do older students like workboxes? Mine are 15 and 13, and they still like the system. Here's a link to my original post on workboxes. I thought I'd share some of the ways I've tweaked the system to work for us.
|My daughter's workboxes|
I no longer use a separate box for them to turn in their work. I found that we were all better organized if they simply returned everything to the drawer before putting up their sticker. (Last year I updated the stickers, got rid of the old ones with pictures, and changed to a round style--my son saw a friend who had round stickers, and he thought they looked more professional!)
This has greatly simplified the system for me. No trying to think up what to put in boxes, no loading them each night (things that burn some people out on workboxes)--the drawers are ready to go as is, and if I get sick, no one has to guess what the system is or look for some kind of master list--the kids can get up and get to work on most things without me. I think if I had started with younger kids, I would have enjoyed mixing things up with fun crafts and so on, but my older kids want to get to business and choose their own "fun" activities.
Each night (or sometimes in the morning before school), I check their work and record what they did in my teacher binder.
My daughter, always the crafty one, needs her scissors handy, and you can also see a magnifying glass sticking out under her progress chart. She's the resident detective.
I added a top drawer for a few supplies, and to have a place for daily stickers that don't need or wouldn't fit in a drawer--practicing their instruments, making their beds, exercising, and taking out the garbage or recycling.
My son prefers not to have a separate drawer for "Time with Mom" any more, and just comes to me with the work he knows we'll need to discuss. When he started high school last year, I found that our time was getting longer and felt it was more fair to him to schedule things like longer history discussions into his actual history time. We spent enough time on history last year for 1.5-2 credits! So I make sure longer discussions no longer derail the day but count as part of his work. This helps me not to be such an over-achieving home school mom, trying to squeeze in one more thing!
The boxes help my kids know what to expect each day, and help them efficiently use their time. They keep their items well-organized, and we seldom have missing books due to our rule that they can't put the sticker up (marking a subject as "done") without returning all of the supplies. It's simple, yet effective. Having a very visual organizational system is helpful for anyone who might struggle with losing things, and yet I find this flexible enough to be creative in our schooling. My kids can work on a project or experiment, read outside, and manage their own time--this just helps us keep on track, not forget to do things, and not lose things! If I want to schedule only a half day, I only put some stickers up. If they want to write in their science journal for Language Arts time, I can make that switch. The system hasn't changed us so much as it has made us more efficient and effective in what we do.
I also like that it allows me to clearly see how to organize my day--both kids can't use the computer at the same time, or work with me at the same time, so I make sure to lay out their boxes in an order that accommodates those needs. My son reads history while I work with my daughter, and so on.
One last thing we have changed since I started: location. We no longer school in our kitchen. The only remaining school items in there are a wall map and a cupboard with art supplies. Their boxes are now in our livingroom with all of our home school books. My kids are growing up! sniff...
Next time I'll post about what's in each box. How do you use workboxes?
Need a template for number circles? Here's the one I made.