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Do I *need* the workbox book/ebook


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For those of you using a workbox system who own the book, do you feel that I really *need* (relative term I know) the ebook/book to get the full benefit of the system?


Background on us - we did start a workbox system based on what I have read on blogs, here, other forums ... I'm just wondering if I am missing out on really valuable info and tips by not going back and getting the book or ebook. Thoughts?

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I think it depends on what you want out of the system. I bought it because at the time I had money in my paypal account & I like to support the work that people do! That said, I didn't find the book amazing. If I had younger kids, I think I might use more of her ideas. Most of the blogs talk about workboxes themselves and not a lot about her other ideas for setting up centers and for turning worksheets into more interesting, hands-on or visually appealing activities. She also had some great ideas for turning posters into hands-on experiences.


I also bought it to get some of the freebies on her site, and because she was going to have troubleshooting ideas on there--last I checked she hadn't developed that part of her site yet. I did enjoy some of the freebies (my kids both used her typing hands and her typing system, and it did get them started with typing in ways that computer games/programs alone hadn't--after they did what she had, then they regained interest in some of those computer games that teach typing).


Here's a review I wrote about the book (on the SL board) when I read it 1.5 years ago:


I think this is an "eat the fish, spit out the bones" kind of book.


My dislikes: Ch's 1 & 2 have no information and could easily be skipped.

Chapter one--I was happy enough to read a chapter about the importance of homeschooling (I like encouragement!) but this was basically just her saying it's good for relationships & learning etc... nothing new. Chapter two on "How we Teach" sounded promising--but there was no concrete info given on how to teach, just that a "logical system" is important, and that logical can look creative, even if you are not creative.


Ch. 3 hinted at having something to offer in talking about the educational philosophy of the system, but then didn't follow through with any meat. Lots of "telling" and little "showing" in these first 3 chapters. I'd like to hear about real-life examples from some of those hundreds of families she's worked with. She's obviously knowledgeable, but I don't get to benefit from her experience because I don't get to journey with her through thought or example. She talks in circles and often repeats herself--a little editing would help with that. She states things as facts that are her opinion or that she doesn't support. An example--that using business file-folders instead of the boxes is "60% less effective." No basis is given for this statistic.


She likes to speak authoritatively "do this, it's the only way," without letting the reader see the logic or the real-life experience that led her to those conclusions. I really wish I could see the thoughts behind these conclusions and truly learn from her years of experience.


One idea she's fond of, sight word reading, did NOT work for my kids (in fact, my son actually regressed and picked up a lot of bad habits when we tried it), so I personally disagree with her idea to teach sight words before phonics. YMMV :-).


My Likes: That said--she has some good ideas. She's good at altering things to make them more self-directed, or turning something (even posters!) into a more hands-on type activity. She has forms and a few game materials/practical hands-on type stuff on her site that you can download after ordering. This part is still under construction & she'll be adding more to it (she's also taking requests). I think this part will be helpful for me, especially her color-coded typing sheet, and a grammar-sorting activity that is like something I wanted to make up but hadn't gotten to yet. Some of the forms I'll start with as how she has them & then maybe tweak (I'm just that way, LOL!). But I like that she has some things made up for me to work from.


I'd like to go back through some parts of the book & make a list of ideas I might use for some of the drawers. Her ideas on breaking down curriculum were interesting, though I think some are more time-consuming for the average person than they are for her (she transformed a sheet in "5 minutes" that I know would take me 30-60).


She has some helpful links at the back of the book.


On the website she has a "Tips and Tricks" section that is under construction. I have a feeling that this is where she will shine, helping people with trouble-shooting and answering specific questions with specific ideas. Time will tell.


All in all, I'd say her ideas have some creative juices flowing for me, and that I'll be thinking through goals and what I want to accomplish a bit more. For me, the book did add to what I understood of the system, the thinking behind it, and how to really make our school better.


BTW, I was a bit surprised to see she has used Sonlight! I know some (myself included) have wondered if this system works for Sonlight users--obviously so!


Hope this is helpful to someone! Merry :-)

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I bought the book and skimmed it over in a couple of hours. It's written toward younger children - mine are middle school. Even though cautions against modifying the system to, say, a file box or some other mechanism, I found that a big file box works just fine for my boys.


So...will you get some good ideas from the book? Yes.

Do you need the book? Not in my opinion, especially if you're familiar with the concept.


There's no way my boys were going to dig all the velcro color blocks and charts.


I set their file boxes up the night before school and they work through them. :)

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There are 2 different workbox yahoo groups where you can get help and ideas. One is the regular workbox users group, the other is for Workboxes Tots to Kinder for those with younger kids.


I use a modified workbox system that I will be tweaking more as we get more space. I never bought the book.

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  • 1 month later...

i bought the book & we do not use workboxes in any similar fashion. so for me, the answer is no. the book wasn't necessary. it just depends on how you want to use them though. mine are more-so for organizational purposes, as opposed to promoting independent work though... so the ideas in the book didn't really apply well in our situation. i found the best ideas at the workbox yahoo group and on youtube. hth.

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I thought the book was not worth it. It's about an hour-2 hour read at most.


There's enough posts and blogs out there, plus the Yahoo group, to glean what you need to know.

:iagree: You'd be just as well off asking someone who has successfully used (and stuck with!) the system to give you pointers. IMHO.

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  • 1 year later...

I am just bumping this thread back up because it answered a question I had. There have been several workbox threads recently (or maybe I am just seeing what I want to?). I have considered doing them for a while now, but now that summer (aka planning season) is here I want to get them set up. I thought maybe I would get the ebook. Then I noticed that the ebook is the same $22 as the printed version. I thought the printed version was a bit steep to begin with. At any rate, I think I am going to go the route of not getting the book and just keep gleaning things from the web.


Off to look at containers :auto:

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