Monday, November 30, 2009

Organizing it all!

One of my concerns about homeschooling, has been to make sure we cover everything we need to throughout the year.  There are lots of different thoughts on this, as many traditional homeschoolers prefer the unschooling method (children learn on their own without parents pushing subject matter).  However, in order for our homeschool to work I need some form of structure. 

I stumbled onto a homeschool organziationsl system, called the workbox system and after much reading, decided this sounded perfect for us.  Here are the basics of the system:

  • Each child has a set of 6-12 workboxes (dependent on age/subjects).
  • I fill each work box with that days work assignments & materials needed for each assignment, this could include workboooks, worksheets, books, flash cards, games, arts & crafts, snacks, etc.
  • The idea is that each workbox has everything Ella will need, so there is no hunting around and being distracted from the task at hand....schoool!
  • Each box is numbered and has a direction cards like read mom a story, write a letter, 30 minutes of free time, etc.
  • Ella will complete one box before moving to the next.
  • Workboxes can be completed by children independently unless tagged with a “Work with Mom” tag.
  • and when all the boxes are completed , school work is over for the day.  

Sounds simple enough right?  We'll let you know how it all works out, once we start homeschooling in January. 

Well, we decided on a sense of structure for completing our work.  Now, we had to find the perfect workboxes for us to use.  I searched everywhere, but wanted something that was going to look the least obtrusive.  There is nothing like a bunch of tupperware bins sitting all over a room or a wire shelf, when there is an active toddler around.  One late night, while I was reading another homeschoolers blog I saw the perfect shelves:


 These shelves are from Ikea Trofast line and the nicest I found that fits perfectly with the workbox system. 

The benefits of the workbox system and why we decided to go with this particular system of organization:
  • Forces me to be organized and plan the school day ahead of time.
  • Saves Time – Everything is completly laid out before the day begins (no running around looking for scissors, markers, a certain worksheet, etc.)
  • It's flexible and easy to adapt to our ever changing daily schedule. When we have a class (piano, swimming, horseback riding) during the day, I can have Ella return to finish her work and she will know exactly where she left off.  Also, if I am tied up with Eric or a chore, I can have her do her independent work until I am free to do “Work with Mom” one-on-one.
  • Ella will know what is expected of her, how much work there is to be done, and when her work is completed. 
  • Ella will see all her work for the day at all times, as well as see it disappear as completed. Helps her learn self-discpline and independence, giving her a true sense of accomplishment when she's done for the day.
  • Since everything is laid out, Ken (Daddy) can also help! So, if I have to run an errand during the day and he's watching Ella he can work on some boxes with her as well or have her work independently on  a workbox until I return. 
There are more benefits to this system, but these are the reasons why we decided it sounded perfect for us.

The nice thing about the Ikea Trofast system that we have chosen to incorporate the workbox system, is that it is so versatile.  We can use it as a bookshelf or to store all kinds of toys, activities, games, paper, you name it and this system will store it.  We liked these tall pine shelves so much for the workbox system that we purchased two, we also decided to purchase a couple lower units for the rest of our future school room for more toy and art storage for the kids.


 We can't wait to put these together and start  organizing everything!  Ella and Eric had fun picking their color buckets and we'll be decorating Ella's workboxes with laminated designer numbers, once we move into our house in Colorado.  She already likes our clocking in and out of school cards, which I made. She is so excited to see all the fun projects I'm putting together for her to complete.