Work boxes seem to be a popular trend right now in the home school world. If you google the term “home school workbox,” you can find countless sites about workbox systems, workbox printables, workbox schedules, etc.
In case you are not familiar with the term “workboxes,” let me give you a quick definition. Workboxes are a group of boxes or sometimes files that are filled with a student’s curriculum and supplies. They are usually separated by subject. Often, parents fill them to eliminate a lot of daily instruction to their kids. The main purpose is the student will know what to do and when to do it. They encourage students to take initiative and work independently.
We first started using workboxes two years ago when I had a 2nd grader, kindergartner, and preschooler and we are still using them daily. They have truly helped us become and stay organized with the kids’ schoolwork. They have saved countless hours because we never have to look for everything. Everything we need is neatly kept in the boxes.
We use a VERY relaxed system. The boxes are mainly used to store the kids books, workbooks, journals, and manipulatives. I do not make a concrete schedule for my kids to complete the work in each box at a specific time each day.
We use the workboxes differently for each of our kids. My 4th grader and I fill our her planner together with her assignments for each day. At 9:00, she starts some independent work time. She finds her materials in each box and is able to start on each subject by herself by looking at her assignments in her planner. (Of course, I am right there at the school table working with her younger siblings, so if she needs help I am available.) On some subjects, we write “Do With Mom” in her planner, and she knows that we will do this together while younger brothers are napping in the afternoon.
For my 2nd grader, who is not doing much independent work yet, we do not use a planner. We simply keep her boxes filled and work through them during her alone time with me. Sometimes we start at the top and work down to the bottom, and other days I let her chose what subject to do next.
My preschooler and kindergartner share the third row of workboxes. They only have a few materials and are able to store all that they have in one drawer each. The other drawers are used for our paper storage. In the coming years, we will provide more boxes for them as they start doing more subjects.
When we first started using workboxes, I felt a little discouraged because we weren’t using them in a super-organized, scheduled way that some families use. I didn’t print out the cute labels from Pinterest, or fill them each night when the kids when in bed with exciting new activities for the next day. I quickly learned though that we were free to use them in a relaxed way that works really well for our family. Isn’t that the beauty of everything in homeschooling?