Showing posts with label Ask Sheri. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ask Sheri. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ask Sheri: Dana asked about the Geography Centers

A fellow blogger, Dana, wanted to know:

How did you find all the post cards? What exactly did a child do at this center for 15 min.?

This is a two part question, so I will answer it as such:

As for where I found the post cards-I joined the Yahoo group Postcard Kids to get most of the ones I needed for the 50 states. [I haven't been on this group in eons, so not sure how well the exchanges are working now-you'll have to investigate that to know for sure]. I did run into a couple of issues tho: 

#1:  I couldn't find folks that had the cards for the "challenging to find states"; or who could find a few of the cards I needed [not there fault-they just were not available] so, I solved that issue by getting some when I traveled, or by finding a picture of one online and then copy/pasting it to my Paint program to make a postcard. But I believe I only had to do that for a 2 or 3 and that was after about a year of trying to find em via the group. 

#2-some folks are not [well, how can I say this nicely?] uh, "mindful" of returning the agreed upon card(s) in exchange for what I sent.  I got burned on a few in the beginning, but the group moderator was great at bumping those postcard bums outta the group.  So do be mindful of this problem-but usually folks are very, very good at exchanging.  Also, give folks time to get yours to a couple weeks is fair (after all life goes on and sometimes getting the cards out has to be delayed due to stuff happening).  All in all it was a great experience. 

As to what the child does whilst at the center-now that is totally up to you and what you want to accomplish.  But around here that usually involves a few things:

1.  Coloring in the states we have covered on the laminated sheet of the US.

2.  Opening the mailbox to see what new cards have arrived and filing them when done (into a plastic card box).  Examine the Circle with the State names and Capitals too.

3.  Looking over any new maps I put in or worksheets that I added.

4.  Doing a puzzle of the US.

5.  As for the added worksheets-I have failed a bit there but my big plan is to have ones that use the little compass and ask him to do something (like go outside and stand on the porch-which way does the front of our house point? Or What corner of the back of the house points W? Things like that.  I can also do Long./Lat. pages where he has to use the mini-help guides [in the pocket] to answer questions.  Things like that).  

6.  Read a book on the state we are covering.

These are merely suggestions.  Remember too-we do NOT do the center everyday nor do we even do it once a week (yep, I could but usually don't).  I try to set it up once we have covered 5 states, then ask him to do the above #1-4 and any additional stuff I find to toss in there.

Again-use what you have laying around the house.  Find simple games, puzzles, projects that you could toss near the center for the child to do and set the time according to the amount of activities you want them to accomplish.  I am sure other folks have some awesome ideas too-and if you know of some, please share.  I have been looking at the shower curtain {just trying to justify that cost! Eww} with the world on it for when we do the world geography-thinking of games and such we can do using that.  So there are tons of ideas-just depends on what you want to accomplish! 

HTH ya out a bit!  Thanks for asking too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ask Sheri: part II of Kelly's questions

So, finally I am back in business with my own computer, so I am now able to focus on a few things, and answering the second part of Kelly's question is one of those.

Kelly asked:

I also was wondering the time commitment with "coming up" with the boxes and activities. With my 19mo. old we are going all the time and makes time management a HUGE thing at our house. I really want to try to start incorporating workboxes with our classical style. Do you think that will work?

This is a toughy really because I cannot see what really goes on in your home. But I once was there with a toddler, preschooler and 2 elementary children-with a husband whose job had him (and still does) on the road more often than not-so believe me when I say, I "understand"-because I do.

I suggest first off, that you decide what exactly you want the children to accomplish each day, for the week and month.  Then break that down into what you feel you can handle per day.  That should give you an idea of how much material, and planning you have to aim in organizing and carrying out. [time commitment? depends on how many students you have, and the projects you are trying to cover. Even 15-30 per day of prep time is sufficient. If you keep a note pad by your side to jot down stuff you want in the workboxes-whilst doing other things-you won't notice any real time commitment at all]. Not knowing your other children's ages too-makes this somewhat a "shot in the dark" but I will do my best to give you hope and ideas to try.

Once you get into your workbox flow-you could conceivably fill a set of boxes in less than 15 mins-BUT (and this a big one) you have to have your prep work done [again time depends on your particular curriculum and student load-this can range from a several hours spread throughout the week to only a few].  So that is going to require some assistance from dad, granny or a mother's helper.  Once per week, with you goal list in hand-figure out what things need to be copied off, items collected, books gathered, and so forth.  Take your prep time and get those together and then file them accordingly.  I place pre-printed lapbook material, notebook pages and such in file folders in a large file box. Then as the week progresses-I simply pull the needed item and toss into the box. This is a HUGE time saver in the long run.  IT takes you getting yourself into the habit of doing this-and it can be a bother from time to time...but the effort spent putting forth direct focus on prep time, will bless you in the end with "quick as a wink" workbox filling.  I actually put a lot of time in this past summer getting several things pre-done (seriously, if I could print, cut, organize and get it done-it was done)...the dedication has allowed me to stay the course through unplanned vacations, illnesses and a divulge of "unplanned" situations that have done their best to knock us off course.  You may have less work depending on what you use. I honestly cannot give a time frame-some but not so much that you drown.  I also know that once I got into my flow, I found I could move quickly from task to task and get the materials and boxes done in short order.  So practice makes perfect!

Now, I understand many families who use a particular curriculum or method have decided to only have boxes for each child-that they can do on their own, while keeping the first part of the day (or times throughout the day) to work on group items/projects together.  That is a wonderful way to provide the much needed family time (which means toddler can sit right there with you and learn too) and then perhaps when baby goes down for nap (I hope you have that pleasure of a napper) you can focus on more one on one with the older children.  So only fill those boxes that are individual to each student-so probably not more than 6. Esp. if the child is 7 and younger.  I do not advocate having the youngers doing long, drawn out work at those early ages.

Step into it slowly. Perhaps only having 3 boxes per child with 2 reg. subjects and one with a fun, activity/craft project/game/puzzle, etc.  Once the children (and you) get into the flow, slowly add a couple more until you find your perfect wkbx number.

I know I haven't exactly answered your question-as I stated before, I don't think I honestly can.  But generally speaking this is a good rule of thumb here: start small, with a couple per child-mainly on their individual type work.  Have one set for baby; and allow some time somewhere in the week to put forth focused thought on your goals for that week only.


I hope this helps. I suggest reading through the other blogs out there to glean more ideas, and thoughts regarding prep time and introducing your family to workboxing.
Also-create workboxes for the toddler to keep the busyness down.  I read recently that someone created a box for each day and the child may only do/play with those items on that day-period.  That is genius!  By keeping those toys/activities for just that day, one alleviates boredom, and provides mother with a much needed "break" to address the other children.

YES, workboxes can be used, but you will have to tweak it to fit your current needs.  Do not expect to do the level of wkbx activities, and individual time like I have (as my youngest is 9 and I am currently not watching my preschool aged nephew).  If your toddler is more content in the morning then strive to school then (the main stuff) and allow for a quiet time with the others where they need the help for the afternoon.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh, here we go-an Ask Sheri opportunity fell onto my lap today-Part I

Well, I find myself with a load of ??s from a fellow blogger, Kelly, who has asked me actually a 3 part question-so, to all you out there-I will simply split this into 2 segments because I need to ponder the one part to come up with something remotely intelligent for an answer...

Here is the easier part, which is long winded-so sorry...
Kelly asks:
"I would also love to know how you "come up" with the ideas for the activity centers."

Well, funny you should ask, because I often have moments where I have trouble figuring that out myself.  I honestly do not know where these things come from (well, yes I do...the Lord puts into my head and opens the door for me to create it).  I don't get it.  I truly don't.  Sometimes, I am like as dumb as a stump trying to figure out a way to get something across to the children-other times I emulate the dude from the "Beautiful Mind" movie, where ideas and things just pour from my think tank like a waterfall gone wild!  Seriously.

So there really is no formula or books I scour to get these things-just general reading of other's blogs, piece mealing ideas I have read in various books/magazines or seen somewhere...then a need strikes.  My poor family is doomed-they step back and I get to creating this whirlwind of something.

Then a situation arises where we could use something fun or an activity of sorts that helps cement the lessons and poof! I get motivated (having worked in child care for many years, I was no stranger to the idea of centers or areas dedicated to a certain topic, but gosh darn it all I don't want my house looking like a science fair or elementary open house display)-so I knew I had to come up with something that I could tuck away.  Hence the science project boards-saw em one day at JoAnns and thought, "Well lookie here, I can put such and such on this, then when we are done with it for the day-fold and tuck it away!" I was sold.

Then I will just look around at the goodies I have squirreled away [the dollar store teacher section is a dangerous place for me-I will see those bulletin board cut outs or something and  "see" that I can do something with it-what?  Well who I get ones that I believe I can use and "wait" for something creative to pop into my head for it.  Then I start making something after I have a need [such as the geo center].   I look at the resources I have on my shelves, in my 'puter and so forth, pick through to find what will work, and then throw it together. It is amazing what you can find tucked away in toy boxes, one's school stuff, junk drawers, etc!  I get some pretty cool things from those treasure troves. It is like putting a puzzle together-the pieces are there, you just have to figure out where they go and if it even fits (you know cuz the kids mixed different ones together) get the finished product.

And there you have it.  I guess need drives my creativity, together with a God given talent [which comes and goes] for whipping up something, is truly how it comes to be. I know there are many more talented and gifted folks out there that put me to shame.  I actually love finding/seeing their stuff, and learning from them; so I can glean what I can for future use. I just tailor it [whatever it is I am trying to put together] to our needs and hope it works [which is not always the case, actually-I have to toss a lot of it out b/cuz it stinks], and that there is my long winded explanation for you.

But thanks for asking!  Part II will come soon-just want to ponder it a bit.  Thanks and hope you all enjoyed another session of Ask Sheri.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Ask Sheri moment

So Rhonda asked:

I am considering implementing WORKBOXES into our homeschool starting in a couple of weeks. I wonder how parents introduce the system and how it works to the children who will be using it? Sue really doesn't address that in her book, and for my son, info is key to his cooperation. Also, I was considering signing up for Sue's webinar this Friday...any suggestions?

For starters-the question about introducing them-I suggest you create a great excitement!  Talk it up and go over the basic how-to do it with him.  Let him know that this is a new way of doing business, that you will have all his goodies for the assignment in those boxes and ready to go.  Give him 3 stuffed boxes as a trial experience.  Leaving the third one with a fun snack/activity (the other 2 with minimal work-just to give an example).  Show him where you want the boxes to go after he is done, what he is suppose to do with work you want to check over, and how it works with the number cards (not sure how you'll be doing that, so my example is how we do it)  Ex: since I expect the child to go in order, he is to take the number off the box when the project is complete, and then place it onto the number board~I would show him how that works.  

We have two boxes that he is to put the stuff-one for the extra supplies/materials, and the other for those papers/workbooks that I need to go over and check.  I also have a Schedule Ntbk    that he follows along in, due to some activities not being able to fit into a box.  Then it is clear that when those are done-unless I have given him the OK to stop at a certain box-his day is done.

Here is my unsolicited parental take on this-as the parent, I have the final say on how we do school-and as the child, they are to be obedient to this way of doing it.  I am all about using what works and considering the child's learning style and personality, but some children will balk at anything to just be ornery.  This is a life-long character trait they will need to have-for college, work, marriage, life!  They must know how to be submissive in certain areas of authority and acknowledge that they cannot always have it their way.  So setting the ground rules will serve to make this go much more smoothly.  You can talk it up, explain and take it easy for the first couple weeks-but eventually-the child will have to (and this almost happens naturally b/cuz they will know what to expect and can see what they'll be doing) "go with the flow" and just do arguments allowed.  After 22 years of battling some very head strong children, you can take that advice to the bank!  It won't always be a picnic, but push thru the tantrums, pouting and small annoyances, and you'll be blessed if you do.  

As to the ?? about attending a webinar with Sue-by all means yes!  You will get a great understanding of the system. I heard her speak at the Spring TOS HS Expo and I really enjoyed it.Just keep in mind, that no matter whose program we're talking about-you the parent must figure out how to implement it so it works best for your children. Thankfully Sue (and if you are reading this hon-I love ya but I am sure by now you see that there are many ways to do this and still succeed-but thanks for sharing this awesome way of doing school!) is better at accepting that most HSers have had to tweak and adjust to fit it for their fams. So even tho she wants you doing it her way-you will ultimately need to decide a way that works best for your child. So if you can still get a ticket, and can afford it (sorry, not sure what that is) I say-you most likely will be blessed by doing so.  


**I am not sure about the Scribd stuff now-I haven't gotten that far into my 'clean up' process and links checking (2014) so not sure if any links/pages will work for that.  Sorry. :(

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November's ASK SHERI question

OK, now this one (from my faithful askee from One More Equals Four) is a good question, and well, not so sure I have a good answer for it.  So, I am asking for my fellow bloggie pals for some assistance.  Please, if you have anything to offer up-leave a comment for all to read.

Here is her question:

In the past, I have traditionally graded papers as my kids have completed them and we immediately correct them. Today, our first day of all out "workboxing", the kids are turning in their papers in our basket. When I get to them, I am correcting them, but I am not sure how to deal with mistakes. By the time I have found the mistakes, the kids have moved on to another subject and I don't feel like I should break in to that subject, however, I have also promised them that when they are done, they are done. I hate to wait until tomorrow to correct the mistakes because I think the correction is good reinforcement and eliminates bad habits starting to form. What do you do?

My answer:

I have two different situations regarding the need for correcting papers-

First off, my second grader and I work on the more "challenging material" together, or within close proximity of each other-so I see any mistakes almost immediately.  We correct on the spot.   So I have yet to encounter the above issue.  

But for my teen-that is a whole 'nother situation.  I learned long ago [with my test subjects-kid 1 and kid 2] that they preferred to "correct" their work themselves.  Now since "cheating" is unheard of here-no need or reason to-I would hand the TG to them to go thru their work, and correct as necessary. This little Test Project of mine proved quite valuable-since they saw the correct method, within moments of finishing their assignment, and they were able to make the necessary changes immediately. It also saved me a lot of work!  On some things-I would go thru the work (such as tests or essays/research papers) but on the subjects that were more black and white-such as math-they could correct.  So I am continuing this method with kid3 and in the future-kid4.   Right now-my 10th grader has to turn in her science to the lady who teaches it at the HS group we partake in.  The same goes for the Film Analysis course, and the Finance 101 class.  So, I am off the hook there.  As for history, Home Ec and various other things we are doing-I do not necessarily have to "rush" or quickly correct-it simply isn't necessary.  I will just put it in a "correct this stuff" file for the next day-after the Bible lesson.  She knows she needs to go thru the notes I made and fix the boo-boos.  Easy as pie.

When and if I get to a situation where they need to have something correctly immediately, I guess I will simply ask the other student to hold off on what we are doing (if we are working on it together) or ask them to move to a box that they can work on alone-so I can go thru the material and hand it back for any corrections (meaning that that student will need to wait patiently whilst I do so-before they can move along to the next box).  

I am actually looking forward to reading what others do-as I am just a bit unsure myself what is the best method. So dear friends-do tell!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Additional ASK SHERI post

This one is too good to wait upon-so here goes:

dccd mom writes:

I just have to ask you how you use spray glue without making a huge mess everywhere. I'm having trouble getting my file folder games to stick to the folder, especially when I'm using velcro. The spray glue seems perfect, except that I make such a mess with it. 

That is not a good situation.  I actually try to laminate most of my games.  I put them on to card stock, using a reg. stick glue-then laminate and (clear packing) tape them together.  But those are only for the ones I will get a long time use from.  The others, I usually use the double-sided tape (scrapbook isle in stores) or a really good glue (stick)  but when I do the spray glue [and that is more for the lapbooks] I have found:

1.  You need a bag of those cheap medical gloves-I am telling ya, that spray glue does go everywhere, and having to de-glue my hands is such a pain.  SO those puppies are coming in handy.

2.  You should have a cardboard box, or newspaper spread out before you spray.  That way, you can lay down the material to be coated, spray  and remove -with the over-spray stuck to your box and not you.

3.  You need to hold the can far enough away, but not so far the glue is rendered useless because it dries before it hits the paper.  Read the can and adjust as needed.  I found that about 6 or so inches is best.  Too much closer and it is overkill-farther than that-it simply won't get enough adhesion to stick nicely to your project.  (and that is what I am thinking is the problem-not enough glue is on it to stick properly)

4.  Remember too-you do not need to hold the button down and spray for an eternity (not sure if that is what is going on either).  Quick sprays in a sweeping motion, over the item only, should do the trick.  A couple swipes per item.  That will help keep the mess of the over-spray down too.  

I am thinking that if you are using Velcro for some of it-I would think those items would do better laminated, so the Velcro won't pull up on the paper, and so that your game won't be ruined.  

oh, and number 

5.  When it is cold out-the glue will not hold properly.  It has been so chilly here, that some projects I did this past weekend had parts that did not adhere correctly because of it-so I had to respray in the house.  Not something I recommend, but a necessity if living in the North.  This stuff stinks and is not good for breathing in!  

6.  When all else fails-use that clear Elmer's glue (sparingly) to adhere your stuff.

Well, hope this will give you some ideas to see if you can fix the problem.  

Thanks for asking! 


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Time for another ASK SHERI

My lovely bloggie pal, over at One More Equals Four has been asking some great questions, so here is her latest:

I am wondering how much time it took you initially to get organized and fully functioning with the work boxes. Did you ease into it or transition into it as you got things ready?

Here is my best answer-

Uh, well, ya see-I am still getting organized. This workboxing thing has become a new passion of mine. But that said-I am spending a lot of time organizing, and figuring out stuff because I am constantly distracted by new ideas on what to create to put into it! That is not the norm for most workboxing moms.

The actual set up took all about an hour (assembly and getting some numbers made) but from there-yes, that took time. Maybe the first month of using it was more involved in organizing, and switching around to find what worked and didn't. I didn't own the book [at the time] nor have the access to the downloads, so I had to make everything myself (time eater, but I enjoy doing it). Then what I did, was kind of organize as I went. I would figure out what I was in need of-then work on that. For example: I needed a place to put all these new file folder games, cards, activities so that I could find them asap and not waste time hunting them down-so I had to find some totes to store them. At times, I realized the need after I was setting up or putting things away (like I realized I needed a place for the kids to put their finished work, and another to put their non-consumable items) or a lot of the times I needed [and had to create] certain cards, center set ups and so forth. That comes thru use, which equals time.

What I realized quickly is that I couldn't get the main stuff together, teach, and do other mommy duties-without burning out like a bad TV sitcom. So I designated a week for prep. My hubby was home that week, so he was able to keep the boy busy (the others are older and can easily care for themselves) whilst I printed, cut, searched for ideas, printed again, cut, laminated, laminated, Velcro'd and added a whole bunch of "needful" things to my collection. Then I sorted, packed them in Ziplock bags, put em in specific totes (I have a tote for the Lapbook components we are going to study and another for all the File Folder games, and those type of goodies) and then stood back admiring my hard work. Uh, until I realized the classroom set up was not conducive to the new additions in the room, the boy's workbox rack and so forth. So gosh, I had to rearrange the area again (another weakness) but-I suspect after a lot of hours-I walked away satisfied.

Now I just add when I can-I like to keep an hour or so here and there during the week (nites) to find and print new stuff, organize things I need to finish; and then usually on a Sat. I will take an hour or so to figure out what I want to cover in the coming week.  It takes me about 15 mins. to pack the boy's boxes (but a lot of times I pull it off the top of my head which makes that longer at times).  I have to "think" and I am still working on getting the week ahead better scheduled to keep the time to pack down.  Esp. for the teen.  I had to wait tho on her b/cuz she has 5 classes thru a homeschool group and I needed see the syllabus listings first.  So I am still figuring it all out, and taking more time for her-but about 15-20 min. usually.

You may find you need to take a couple full days to get all the cards, supplies and other such things organized and in place-so you can feel better and things will go more smoothly. Unfortunately, I cannot put an actual amount of time out there. Mostly b/cuz I am nuts and do all the extras and such.  For a normal person-maybe a good week of intense work on it (not all at once) should do. With all the gals out there who are sharing their ideas and downloads-it is helping to save time "reinventing the wheel" with all those download and activity ideas.  If you need time to get a good grasp on it-then perhaps just schedule 1/2 days for a week or so.  Have the kids do their stuff in the work on tweaking the system in the afternoon while they play, do individual activities.

The second part of your question:

I started it with just 4-6 boxes for the boy.  I was more interested in him getting used to how it worked, and what was expected of him.  Then I could see what I needed to drop (amount of work in the box or repetitive things he became bored with) and then I also saw what I needed to add.  I did put more fun things in than meatier stuff at first to "hook" him.  But this child was one who loathed school at the ripe age of 7, so I had to make it a bit more of a grand time, than I would have for a child who didn't have such a disdain for it.  My teen, well-I started her this fall and didn't "circus it up" b/cuz she is older and understands that she needs to complete certain things-but I did add in those fun activities we were missing, and it is going well so far.

I kept the 4-6 boxes (sometimes I did 8) for several months.  Then I took the summer to think out and plan and create.  We do anywhere from 6-12 but stay more at the 10-11 box level, and a lot of those have non-'R'R&'R material.  On days I can see we're dogging it, I will just grab a few off the shelf and save them for the next day.  Other days, we whip thru them and have the afternoon for lots of outdoor activities and such.

SO, eased into it thru several months of use, for the younger child; transitioned the teen into it in a week's time.

I haven't exactly answered your questions,  because it depends on your child(ren), you and your time allowances. It is different than it would be for me.  If you are feeling pinched-ease back and figure out what it is that is causing the stress-either eliminate that component or find a better solution.  If the kids need to get used to this new system-wean em in.  Do as many boxes as you think their age can handle, but do not feel you have to do all 12!!  This is suppose to help improve and enhance the HS experience not kill it.  You'll find the balance soon.  It just takes time.  Keep an open mind (and ya know-there are days we DO NOT do workboxes-yes!)  Gasp!  And go figure-we still survive-LOL! 

Well, hope I helped give you some ideas. Hang in there, it gets easier as you get your "groove on" and the kids get used to the set up.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I was asked the question, and wanted to address it for all to see

I have decided to start a new section here, called Ask Sheri. So once a month or so, when I get a question regarding the Workbox System, I will post it with my not so expert response. That way, all who stop by will be able to benefit (including me-because I am learning new stuff every day about the workbox system and its power) and if I don't know the answer, I will look for my readers help here goes-my first question. Thanks to my unsuspecting visitor for this great opening question!

A momma new to the workbox idea, One More Equals Four asked me:

My question to you is, do you use this system with your older children? I have a 1 1/2 year old, a 1st grader, a 4th grader and a 7th grader. I can see where the system would work for the three younger ones but am wondering about for the middle schooler, haven't seen a lot out there for older kids...just wondering what you think having used the system? Thanks!

This is such a wonderful, and timely question. Because, if you have been following this blog-I haven't really mentioned the workboxes for the older kiddos. I have one (Sophomore this year) and yet, haven't utilized it up to this point. At first, I wanted to just get a grasp of the over all concept, tweak it for my youngest and work thru it for a while-before tackling the teen. I was unsure of what I would use, because-no offense to Sue-the shoe rack/shoe boxes are just a tad immature for teens (and the boxes too small for the bigger books). Now, I am not trying to sound harsh-I just think young adults need something a wee bit more sophisticated, if we want them to want to use it.

After scanning tons of Internet store sites, walking many an isle in your usual name brand stores, and thinking and thinking-I hadn't a clue as to what to use until just this past Saturday. Yes, I had some minor "me thinks" moments, but when I got to really thinking upon it-I just couldn't figure out what would work for my teen. I thought about those carts on wheels, and may in the end resort to them-but for now I am not going this route-mainly due to space and the fact that I cannot find one I like. I thought about those desk top paper slot things, but figured they would be too skinny to hold a chunky textbook, I thought about a lot of things. Then I figured I would go streamline. I would give it a office look. When attending the Staples Teacher Appreciation day, I stood in that isle that displays the trinkets that go on top of desks, file cabinets and the like. I almost bought a wire rack that holds files on the top and has 2 baskets below-and still may do that. Then I saw it. The holder that just spoke to me. Maybe because I like things that move? I dunno. This one has 5 clear dividers that flip forward, so you can see then next divider when moving the one in front. One of the things I was concerned about was where to put those number cards. On a wire rack-it wouldn't work (but now I think I could laminate a skinnier card and add velcro for the cards, then clip it on with a ring). If I put em on the folders I bought-they would be all warped and possibly ripped within a is what I decided on. Not sure if it will really work-or it will suit our needs. But if it doesn't, I guess I will have a nice file holder for my stuff. So I velcro'd on some squares to hold the number cards (which she is drawing pictures for-then I will shrink to fit with numbers-making it even more personal for her)-but in the pics it is the piggy bank cards she'll have to use til that is done. I also am having her draw a pic for her name card to put the number cards on when she is done with the packet. [2 projects that we will have to wrap up this week]

I also decided that trying to stuff those texts into a workbox would be crazy-usually they are too big for most storage units. Have you seen how big and heavy those Apologia books are? I also didn't want to appear to be micro-managing her either. She needs to be able to accomplish a lot more on her own at her age-as it is a life skill I want all my kids to have; and high school is a great time to really let them hone those skills. SO-

I bought a 10 pack of 1 1/2" expandable file folders (and can I just say-I simply do not get why they cost so much, and I think, perhaps they're a major rip off-but I digress), to hold the essentials for her day. I bought colored ones, and will tape on the numbers for them once we get more printer ink (and no they are not see thru-haven't found those, but sometimes you need to bend the rules a bit). I can put 2 folders per section. I do not plan on putting super bulky things in there-but will instead use my Holding Stations [we are going to create a few more teenish looking ones to use with her-but for now, she has to use what I have on hand. I will get a link for those soon, otherwise if you are a part of the workbox yahoo group, it is in the file section] for such things.

I have explained to her that with the system, she will

*take the first folder and peek inside-and then proceed to read any notes in it, and do the assigned work
*take the number off the divider (I still have to get the matching number cards on there, but alas-she needs to draw em first) when done, and place it on her chart (visual, visual, visual)
*move on to the next one until she comes to a time where she is do something else-
**insert the Missions Chart (not created yet due to no ink)-not chore chart or activity strip-but a missions chart...why a MC? Because-she is on a mission to improve her time usage skills and get into a habit of working thru the day in a timely and accomplishing (new word?) manner.
***so on the MC-I will have blocks for the 1-10 cards, but also have squares to break up the day from school work (guess I need to create or run off a few more cards), with certain activities; such as household chores, or phys ed or various other things that give her a mental break before diving back into the schoolish stuff. It sounds a bit more sophisticated than a chore chart doesn't it? Maybe not-well, that is what it is named around here.

For the classes she is taking thru our local homeschool group-I will have to morph the instructors' schedule of assignments into the ones I am teaching at home. So until I get them, I really cannot be specific to the work set up yet. So, I will get back to that once we figure out something that really works for us.

Here are some examples of what I put in for tomorrow, as we are only doing 7 to start out. But you get an idea of what you could stuff em with.

So, that covers the system. I suggest to all-find something that will not only work within your house's space limitations, but also something that your teen is excited about. I have something in my head that would work, but I don't think it actually exists...time to hunt down Ty from Extreme Makeover-Home Edition, for help.

Now for my thoughts on the concept for a Junior High/Senior High student. I think it is an absolutely awesome idea! I also think if more businesses had something like this for their employees-so much more would get done in one week than they would normally see in a month's time. A lot of people simply shut down when confronted with a task that seems huge and overwhelming. Toss a big, ole thick math book in front of your kid and watch the eyes gloss over, and you will see what I mean. Give your hubby a "Honey Do list" thicker than a metro phone book-and you will get why it simply doesn't work (in rare occasions perhaps there are those who thrive on 20" thick task lists) for most. So, by taking the project and breaking it down into bite sized, manageable pieces-you get success. Knowing they do not have to linger for several hours over one assignment, and you get accomplishment. Getting your teen to do their work without excessive stress-and you've found peace. Oh, sweet peace.

That is what the workbox system does-it simplifies and breaks down assignments into something they can do without being overwhelmed. Now, I have tried typed out "to do" lists for her. I have laid out the goodies before her each day, in nice neat piles, and I have scheduled work on a calendar-and nothing has worked. For whatever reason the list simply was ignored or didn't strike her as useful. So we're giving the system a try.

SO-to end this rambling post-yes, workboxes should work quite nicely for the teenager in your home, and will help you stay on top of what they are doing too. Yes, you will have prep work, but will be accountable too (and I know we need to be more so in that department), but I am looking at the end result. Getting a school year accomplished without fighting, tears, and non-finished assignments-whilst doing so with a sense of success. Teens will start their day with little increments of assignments, knowing what they are to do-and when they are done for the day!

Give it a try with your teen(s). I hope any of you who are using the system with your JR/SR highers will comment about how it is going in your home too.