(This is our homeschool room. We’re missing the back of our chair because my mom is recovering it. We found the desk and chair on the side of the road for free. We use the square shelves to hold books for Lynsey to read independently, books from the library, and books for me to read to her. The bins are filled with toys. We got it at Home Depot.)
The workbox system is a structured system made by a mom of an autistic child. The concept works great for all children, but it is especially helpful for kids who have a hard time focusing or get overwhelmed easily. It’s also geared to be more hands on and fun.
The idea is to use 6 to 12 numbered boxes a day for schoolwork that are usually placed on a cart to the left of the child’s desk. We purchased the cart they recommend – Honey Can Do 4-tier closet shelf. It’s supposed to be at Target, but I couldn’t find it there so I ordered from Amazon.com for $13.99, and I get free shipping.
If you have more than one child and don’t have a lot of room, many people use other types of shelves like at IKEA or something. They suggest using shoe box size boxes. I like using at least big enough to fit an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, since that’s the size of most things going in the boxes. I got some Sterilite boxes at Wal-Mart for $3 each. They are clear, 6.2 quart boxes that were 15x11x3. These fit perfectly on the shelf I bought. I can even stack two high on each shelf if I need to. I also bought two 12.7 quart (15x11x6) sizes for the bigger workbox activities that I keep on the top shelf.
I bought an extra cart for my 2 1/2 year old’s boxes, and to keep all our other homeschooling supplies, and workbox activities. You label the boxes with cards with numbers on them. I found some really cute Disney Princess number cards on the Workbox Yahoo group that someone had made. Fill the workboxes the night before with whatever curriculum you are using, or with stuff you printed out, games, etc. Include in each box everything your child will need to complete that box. Ie – a pencil, paper, glue, scissors, etc.
In the morning, your child will go to the boxes and start working through them in order. When they are done with a box, they take it off the cart and place it somewhere else. I have my daughter put hers on our dining room table. The concept is, that the kids can see how much work they have left for the day, and they can feel a sense of accomplishment as the boxes start to disappear. They know exactly how much school is left and know that when their boxes are gone, they are done for the day.
You should work in some fun stuff into the boxes as well, to break up the workload. Using workboxes allows you to break down the school day into manageable pieces for your child.You could take one subject’s work for the day, and break it down into 2 or 3 workboxes.
In the last box, you could include something fun for your child to do or a special prize, so that your child looks forward to finishing their boxes. There are TONS of ideas out there on people’s blogs and homeschool web sites. If you choose to do workboxes, you will definitely want to sign up for the workbox yahoo group. I have a link on my home page.
It takes time to get set up, but once you do, it flows much more easily and you get much more out of your day than typical homeschooling. You spend less time coaxing your children to get to work. If they are a little older, this is a great system to help your children learn to work independently. We aren’t quite there yet.