Friday, August 21, 2009

Workboxes and how they are working

We have officially begun school this week, and as you have seen in previous posts, I am implementing the workbox system. I have to say, it is an easy system to incorporate into any schedule, and so I can honestly say our school day routine has not changed drastically so far, and the workboxes are fitting in nicely. I have seen many people remark "I don't get it, why is it such a big deal?" Well, it's not, it is just a very helpful way to keep me and my kids on track. Here is how workboxes fit into our day so far:

7:00 - kids up, chores, breakfast
8:00 - leave for workout
9:15 - home, quick pick up, head to school room
The baby goes to her playpen for independent play, and we begin our morning time together. We say prayers, read about a saint, read our Bible story (which is also our history right now), review memory work and read a selection from one of our science story books or geography books.
10:00 - or whenever we finish with our basket time - the kids move to their workboxes - the baby joins us in the school room and I stay in there helping each child as needed - I have made certain to schedule Latin and Math in the first few boxes.
11:00 - tea time - they stop wherever they are in their boxes and join me for tea time, poetry reading and a story
11:30 - back to workboxes
1:00 - lunch time
1:30 - here is where things are loosey-goosey :) they take a break if needed (though the workboxes are allowing me to build breaks into the earlier times making it unneccessary now.) This time is set aside for working on projects, history exploration, geography, sort of a lesson block time for whatever I want to spend a lot of time on. When we complete that, then if there are workboxes left, they finish them, if not, they go outside to play, or get ready for afternoon activities (gym, karate etc.)

My evaluation for the week - while it is a bit of work to make sure the boxes are ready to go each day, I am beginning to find a rhythm to that (little things like making sure I have all of our math drill sheets printed off for the week and in a folder ready to load each evening). I am also trying to work towards loading the boxes in the afternoon when they are finished for the day so I don't have to do that after they go to bed. It is helping me to make sure the little things are getting done (can't remember how often we actually used pattern blocks last year, it was always one of those things I never got around to - but it is so easy for me to just dump them in a workbox along with a few design patterns and it gets done.) Same thing for all of those wonderful preschool activity bags I did years ago - they get loaded into workboxes for the Queen, and she is containing the mess beautifully. So, for us it has been a help so far. It cuts out a lot of the time I was spending last year telling them what to do next, and it is easier and more motivating for them than a checklist of assignments. Overall, it has been a good start to the school year!


Ashley said...

We start back on Monday, but I have been busy finding fun stuff for our boxes. I found some really neat wipe-off activities in the dollar section at Target (multiplication, addition, US Presidents, insects, all sorts!) I'm taking your advice of setting up a small inflatable baby pool for Elena to use as her area. I found a small one for $2.50 on clearance. Our greatest change this week has been our morning routine. I am using one for each of the kids, and they are joyfully emptying the dishwasher (even Elena!), feeding pets, and I have Steven starting a load of laundry every morning. They think these morning chore lists are the greatest thing ever invented! Steven comes into my room at 7am every morning with his whole list done. (That may be a downside) They think "checking in" to school is great, too.

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Seriously! Can you just come to Hotlanta for a visit and get me all organized?!? You rock!

Anna said...

ha, ha :) I am trying - still a long way to go though! My problem is consistency and maintenance, so that is my focus this year - sticking with a system and making things happen!