Sunday, February 20, 2011

Workbox System in Progress

Tuesday we resume homeschool after having a week off.  Daddy has been home from his truck driving job after being gone 7 weeks.  We decided when he took this job that the kids will homeschool while he is gone, but will have a break when he is home.  This gives us more time to just enjoy being together and having family time.
I ordered a book, "Sue Patrick's Workbox System: User's Guide" by Sue Patrick, a week ago.  Went ahead and ordered a few supplies also from her website.  She sells quite a bit of things that support the workbox system. 
The workbox system put in simplest terms is a way to organize your kids' school work and other tasks.  You have 12 workboxes (bins, shoe boxes, or other container) set up on shelves.  Some use the stacked drawer storage units for this.  In each workbox a single activity or lesson assignment is placed.  The child starts with the first workbox and completes the activity before going on to the next one.  This gives the child a sense of the activity having a definite beginning and end.  Sue Patrick started doing this for her own autistic son whom she was homeschooling.
For younger children or those with special needs, you can number the workboxes and have a set of "tokens" that are numbered also.  When the child completes workbox number 1, they place the token numbered 1 on a tally sheet.  This gives a visual of the work done.  It is similar to when you have a chores list and mark them off as you complete them.
Abigail loves using this system.  She actually gets upset if I have her do her homeschool assignments without them being organized in the workboxes.  She loves being able to open each box to find the activity inside.  For her it is exciting.  She enjoys keeping track of her progress with the tokens.  At the day, she gets a sticker to place on an incentive chart.  When that chart is full, I take her out on a special outing.  For her, this usually means going out for an ice cream.
Micah is being prepared for the workbox system.  His activities include skill building toys or other activities that cannot fit in the workboxes.  I will be taking pictures of each activity, then laminate each picture.  The pictures will be placed in his workboxes.  Any activity that fits in his workbox will have the activity's materials all ready for him in that workbox.  When the workbox is completed, it's number token will go on his tally chart.
I recently saw a YouTube video about shoebox activities that you can buy premade.  Each has all the materials needed, which are stored in that shoebox.  As I watched the video, I got many ideas of types of activities to do with Micah skill building.  Now, I just have to get a few made up.  Starting with about 6 activities will give Micah enough to give him a total of 12 workbox activities when added to the skill building toys that I already bought for him. 
Not all of the workboxes are academics.  Some are crafts or Phys Ed in nature.  Abigail is going to be starting to work on the Keepers in the Home program soon.  We plan to incorporate some of that into the workboxes.  The last workbox of the day is a favorite snack or activity that is like a reward for having completed all the tasks of the day.
I am so excited about using the workboxes.  They help me stay organized and it is teaching Abigail (and later on Micah) to be more independent.  Abigail is in control of her day.  She decides through her actions how much of the day is taken up by homeschooling. If she gets busy and stays on task, she is done by lunch time.  If she wool gathers too much, then she is doing homeschool til dinner time.  I love anything that helps my kids learn to develop self discipline and independence.  It is an important trait that will serve them well throughout their life. 
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