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Workboxes and HOD, or MFW or Sonlight with a 3rd/4th grader...


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I am intrigued by the workboxes... yet don't want to be impulsive either... I can see how having it all there and ready to go would be a huge help. Just with digging around for a stack of 10 books to do history, science and lit each day got frustrating... and thus some days didn't always get to one thing. Then to be able to do all the fun stuff we don't get too... :001_smile:


So, my question... for those using lots of living books for history science etc... like with HOD, MFW or Sonlight... DO you make just one bin for history, science and literature??? Or do you give a seperate one for each subject? Any thoughts??? :001_huh: Please share, I'm all ears! :bigear:

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I have started workboxes for my 3rd grader doing Bigger in HOD. I am training her for more independence for when our newborn arrives and while I'm busy with the toddler and K'er now. I don't know how to attach a file, so I'm going to copy and paste part of my list of exactly what I put in each box that I use for reloading each evening. List Activity refers to a list I compiled of fun things to add to the boxes like puzzles and logic books and games. This is for Days 1&4 of Bigger, then I have Days 2&5 then Day 3...grouped like that in my plans b/c they follow the same pattern on those days in the guide.







KEY: I-Independent S-Semi-Ind. M-Mom




Numbers represent minutes X- no set minutes







Days 1 & 4




1. Cursive, History, & Science Reading (I-15)




2. Grammar & Dictation (S-20)




3. Exercise (I-15)




4. Bible & Hymns (M-X)




5. Math (S-15)




6. Art/History Activity (S-10)




7. Free Drawing Time or List Acticity (I-10) (sometimes this box is notebooking)




8. Poetry & Storytime (M-15) (start during snacktime)




9. Spanish & CWC (Combined Time) (M-X




10. Extension Books (I-45)




11. Fun Box- Art Study Game OR List Activity (I-15)

12Fun Box- Quarter Mile Math OR List Activity



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I used workboxes this spring and we use Sonlight. I keep anything that is a read-aloud on my shelf. The author, Sue Patrick, also used Sonlight. She suggests having a "group time" first and then moving on to the workboxes for independent time. That's what we do. This year I had 6th & 4th graders, and we started with Bible, Science & History time. Then I moved to 1 on 1 tutoring with one child while the other did something independent, then switched them, then they both just had independent subjects left (asking questions as needed, obviously). In their boxes they had:


1-Bibles (which they brought to Bible time)

2-Science Notebook (for notebooking)

3-spelling/tutoring with mom stuff





8-Bible Memory.


Additionally we had velcro stickers on top of their drawers to put on when they had completed:


cleaned room/made bed


family service (chores)

music practice.


So we used 8 drawers & had 12 velcro stickers. The system helped us in several ways:

1, no more lost books! Every day they either return them to their workboxes (Bibles, readers etc...) or turn them in (math etc...).


2, I have to grade daily! I needed this accountability, sometimes I skipped a day. Can't do that now, because the books are in my box, waiting to be graded & then loaded back into drawers.


3, I have to think about the next day a bit--I think our day has a slightly better flow & I'm slightly better prepared--not so much "winging" it.


4, we are less likely to look at the clock and say, "that's enough for today." If we need a shorter day, I am more likely to plan for it the night before now--and otherwise, we just do the boxes, and no one wonders what we'll do.

5, it was the impetus to finally create an actual box for them to turn their work into. Such a simple thing, but a great little improvement!


I blogged about My Workboxes & put pictures up of the drawers & velcro stickers etc... It's worked out well for us and we'll use it again in the fall. HTH!


Merry :-)

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yet don't want to be impulsive either

I think that's a good idea. I don't want to take away from anyone's excitement, but there have been many of these types of organizational things showing up in the homeschool movement. Many jump on the bandwagon, spends lots of money and then they find out that using the system is tiring or annoying after awhile. Do you have containers on hand that you can use to try it out before investing?

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I got containers for $1 each from walmart. Cost me 16 bucks for 2 kids. Then I printed free files online from other workbox moms and covered them with contact paper I already had. (for the numbers, etc.) Oh, I paid $6 for velcro dots. I didn't invest much other than time to organize my days, which I needed to do anyway. WE don't use the kind of cart she recommends and I didn't bother getting the book. Blogs are a wealth of info!

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We will be trying this with Winterpromise. My little guy will be doing WP WAM and tagging along with my middle guy for WP QMA.


My middle guy does fine with a weekly schedule neatly printed in a grid. However, with WP and the multiple books and explanatory notes for WP QMA and WP HB&F instead of one sheet he was ending up with mulitple sheets- 3 for QMA, 1 for HB&F, 1 with my additions. Anyway, he isn't little and he isn't special needs but I think that this is a beautiful way to conquer the multiple pages of paper schedules and explanations. Hopefully, this will allow him to continue working independently without keeping up with and deciphering lots of paper schedules.


My thought would be that if what you are doing is working for you don't change it. We are going to try this next year, because middle guy's 5 sheets made next year look overwelmingly more complicated than it actually is. Then, I didn't think the little guy would be very happy if his brother had cool new boxes and he didn't.:p


I bought boxes a couple of days ago. I didn't like the idea of shoe boxes, because they are not wide enough for binders, workbooks, etc. to lay flat. I bought four 3-drawer sterilite medium carts for $11 each at Wal-Mart, so they are comparable in cost to the shoe rack with clear shoe boxes. On the outside each 3 drawer cart measures 14.5''L x 12.5''W x 24''H. On the inside the drawers are about 6.75" deep and are just wide enough for a cheap 1"-3 ring binder to lay flat.


For the little guy I laminated numbers 1-12 that I printed in a pretty green (his favorite color) font and cut them out in circles. I velcroed them on from left to right, top to bottom. I will not have the little man pull the drawers out (this sounds like a giant mess that will need to be cleaned up at the end of the day) instead he will bring me what is in the drawer. When he returns the items to the drawer, he will remove the velcro number from the drawer and place it on a velcro strip on his completed chart. When his day is finished all the velcro numbers will have moved from his drawers to his chart. If he likes the visual representation/ reward of the completed chart, I have thought of some cool ideas for a permanent chart, but to begin with we will use part of a piece of poster board.


Here is what I plan to put in the little man's drawers.

1. Printed sheet with his weekly Ambleside poem and my weekly notes (4x/week); Kumon bag (6x/week)

2. The WP QMA that he will be using with big brother (4x/week)

3. Ambleside Online Literature (4x/week)

4. Math Matters (2x/week); Primary Challenge Math (2x/week)

5. Queen's Copywork (5x/week); Handwriting (2x/week); All Things Fun and Fascinating IEW (2x/week)

6. WP WAM Guide and Books needed that week (4x/week)

7. Calvert Discoveries in Music (2x/week); Rosetta Stone Farsi (2x/week)

8. MCP Phonics, Wordly Wise, Easy Grammar (5x/week)

9. Nature Notebook and guides (4x/week)

10. This one is a book basket that will contain extra books related to the weeks topics in QMA and WAM (4x/week)

11. a daily hands-on surprise (4x/week)

12. Readers (7x/week)


So, 4x/week he will use all the drawers. On our light 5th day, he will only use box 1 (Kumon), box 5 (copywork), box 8 (LA workbooks), and box 12 (reader at bedtime). If we go on a field trip on day5, then those items minus the reader will go in a tote and come with us for some car schooling.biggrin.gif We do Kumon math 6 days/week and read a little every night at bedtime.


The only box that I plan to change everyday is box 11. I will change boxes 1, 6, and 10 weekly. I will change out 2, 9, and 12 as needed. Boxes 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 will stay the same all year.


I have no idea if this will work and we won't start school until August 3. I may do a trial run in a couple of weeks after we have finished some of the out of school things.




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spends lots of money and then they find out that using the system is tiring or annoying after awhile. Do you have containers on hand that you can use to try it out before investing?


If you wanted to try it without purchasing boxes, some families apparently do modifications that use legal envelopes or hanging files.



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