Showing posts with label Thoughts on Workboxes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thoughts on Workboxes. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Whoa! A new Workbox post!? Yup. It's all about a new approach

Well, it was time.  Time to take charge of my out of control classroom area. Which, after many, many and many more hours of cleaning, rearranging and a whole new layout-it's now back under my control.  Whew!

Of course, that included the workboxes. Those beauties were turned into classic junk drawers formed by negligence and perhaps a mini F4 tornado or two. It was time to corral these puppies!  And so I did.

There are so many ways to pull off workboxes, and we have tried many.  Including the classic way of using shoe boxes on the shoe rack to the IKEA drawers (for the boy) to folders stored in a desk top file holder for my (then) high school daughter.  For my son, we have mostly used the drawers and pretty much followed the plan noted below: 

*IKEA totes filled with various assignments (refilled nightly/semi-nightly) that were switched up by subject to avoid boredom. Mini-notes included on top of work if extra instruction was needed.

*Schedule Book (with tags like the number cards) used to layout day/week's worth of activities (including those things not put in the workbox) that he referred to daily.

*Tags numbered 1-6 (or higher depending on assignments) that were on the tote, then removed and put on his chart when done.

*Items needing to be corrected were placed in a basket-items that needed to be re-shelved/sorted were put in a larger tote for me to take care of.

Due to many things, and some sad events in our life over the last two years-the workboxes became dormant. They turned into junk collecting tubs. They beckoned me. I ignored them. I just looked away. Now, I knew our day would go more smoothly if I just recommitted to using them-but I couldn't get myself to that point. Time. Life. Laziness. Whatever it was, it has now come to an end. 
I have a high schooler who needs to get things completed in a timely fashion. He needs to be able to find all that stuff. He needed a new, efficient way to use his workboxes. Mind you, many already do this-but we were just late to the party is all. I knew I wanted to go this route for some time-I just had to have the opportunity and will power to change it over....

NOW-here is the exciting thing, they have been emptied, cleaned and reset to accommodate our new plan.

So instead of having the boxes numbered, with tags removed after the assignment is completed and then transferred to the chart:  The boxes are labeled by subject and the tags stay on.  These will now house the main materials and larger items for that subject.  All of it, except for things that must be graded, will go back in the same box when done.  All nice and tidy like.

I will no longer have to fret over what order the subjects are completed. He will (for the most part) control what he does during the day.  I will set some "Let's do this now." activities (esp. for history, math  new lang. arts material and spelling) where I can give him my utmost attention, but the rest of it is up to him. He can suggest the order to me. I mean if he wants to start with history-so be it. But I will def. encourage math in the morning.  He does much better with that earlier than later. He can stay with the same routine each day or switch it up. As long as he's getting those daily assignments completed...I don't care about the order in which they are done.  

There is no longer a picture tag Schedule Book.  He is now the proud owner of a 3-ring binder which contains the following:

*His personal schedule book noting specific assignments for that day/week. See the video!

*Folders containing any specific worksheets, lapbook/notebook components and quizzes/tests that he will have to do.

Bin for turning in papers to be graded.  It's still there (altho a different one than before) and conveniently located next to his main desk.

Anything too large for the workboxes will just be on the main desk and we can put it away when done.  I mean, geez-he's certainly old enough to do that. :)

My main goal is to get him into the groove of using a written in schedule book, being much more responsible for his work/class load and taking charge of his day.  He needs that exposure to be better equipped for college and beyond.  And I need a break.  Seriously, it's a lot of work covering all the scheduling/planning, filling and refilling of the workboxes, setting up the daily schedule book (younger version) and so forth.

So there you have it.  Our new (to us) system to navigate our workboxes and stay organized, on schedule and accountable.  So now that you have read all the way to here-watch the video to see what I am talking about here.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Well using our workboxes has been an epic fail but just trying to keep it real here

Yes, I admit it-I have failed miserably with utilizing the workboxes this past semester! I mean epic fail. But then again, since I only have one student we don't need them quite as much because my boy gets all my attention. One of the big reasons I originally chose to go the workbox route was to help my 2 kiddos (wish I had known of this when I had four underfoot!) to be able to work at their own speed, on various subjects, in an organized manner. But honestly, it was mostly for me. As in saving my sanity, keeping me on a somewhat decent schedule of what we needed to cover and more than anything-it gave me a breather here and there.

Simply put, I was able to give them each stuff to work on independently without my having to answer the "What's next?" or "Where's the ....?" 30x an hour-so that I could do more focused work with them individually when needed. It was work to get them 'stuffed' but it was time well spent. I was like a routine machine, and after a bit of time loading those puppies I was like Speedy Senorita Sally and could whip those together in less than 20 mins for both of them!   Alas, those were the days.

Last semester I looked over what we'd be doing and decided it was not worth the time/effort to use them as much, so they became our 'store the stuff' boxes.  I have six by my desk that house the various materials we are using this year and he has six which he stuffed his various workbooks, texts and such in.  It was a good situation. It worked.  But changes are on the horizon! I do believe I will be able to use them as intended soon...well I did just the other day-was so proud of myself!

What I have found, like with anything really, is that no matter where you are in your journey there are times where things work and then there are times where you need to just put ideas/methods aside.  That happens with curriculum, with methods, groups/co-ops, and such.  It is not a sign of failure. Granted I labeled this post as an 'epic fail' but my lack of using workboxes as they are intended to be used IS NOT failing.  It is adapting. 

It is my way of stating that yes, best intentions sometimes get waylaid. But more importantly it's my way of encouraging you (if weary or tired or a tad burned out) that with the ebb and flow of life and homeschooling you need to be flexible and adjust to fit the current needs of your family and current life situations.  It's OK. And frankly speaking here-it's better that you do change things up. Way better than 'sticking to your guns' and not veering off course come 'H E double hockey sticks or high water'. That is a one way ticket to Doomsville O'Burnout.  I strongly encourage you to avoid that ride at all costs.  

If you have been struggling to keep up with the workboxes (or other various homeschooling/life things) step back and readjust to fit to what you need now.

If you do need the workboxes but have become a 'slacker' then try to just do 1/2 the amount of boxes you normally would and do more group or one-on-one time. Take some of the load off of yourself so you can recharge.  Take that time to figure out where in the process you are struggling and see if you can find some solutions to help you streamline your efforts.  Look thru Pinterest, other workboxing blogs and of course, here. Maybe I have some older posts that you may have missed.  

If it is your student that struggles using them-then perhaps dear reader they are not the right way to motivate your student. You may need to try other options. And that is OK too.

So even tho I have this blog dedicated to workboxing, it doesn't always mean we actually workbox.  And there you have it, just keeping it real.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Running out of ideas?

Well, after several weeks of the workbox frenzy-I could say that I could run short on ideas, but no-actually, my mind won't cease with ideas. Granted I have to search for things to go along with them, but still... I am amazed that I feel recharged and no longer like crispy burned toast. I was praying and praying for something-anything to keep me from giving up all hopes of continuing my journey with home education-that the Good Lord would plop it right in my lap-and BOY DID HE! I mean, I am not exactly sure, I think one of my crew mates for the TOS Review Crew mentioned these...but man! Finally, I have laid down my suit of armor, my cattle prod and exhausted self. I no longer have to start my day with a "Dear Lord, can today be a good day? Could you please put it into the child's heart to be obedient and not battle me with everything school related?" (Mind you the prayer morphed to many pleas, but this is a fine example-and I still have to address normal behavior stuff, but it's a start)..I now hear, "What do we do today, oh cool..." and off he goes. He even told me(after the first day) "Why haven't we schooled like this all along?" Need I say more? I think not. Thank you Sue, thank you yahoo and workbox participants, thank you Lord for a tangible way to get work done, with fun activities scatter betwixt the pages of the normal three R material, and thank you to Target-for selling the marvelous things labeled shoe rack shelving, and plastic shoe boxes (oh and lest I forget-thanks to the Dollar Tree for the cheap, but cool products they sell).

Now if I can tame the thoughts of my brain into clear, usable material-I will be set. The only thing I do need to do is scour stores for cheap, fun little activities for surprise workbox goodies. Good thing the neighborhood is having a garage sale this week-I may just be able to find lots of cheap, but cool stuff!