It has been a week since we began using the Workboxes and I must be honest, this is probably the best thing we have added to our homeschooling life! I am still a bit skeptical to see if our joy will last, but so far, so GREAT!!! Here’s what I like about it…
- Whining over how much is left…”Mom, when will we be done, how much more?”
- Whining over what the type of work is….”Mom, is there anything FUN on the schedule today?”
- Working independently
- Working at a reasonable pace-(he can get VERY distracted and slow )
- Asking for help when he doesn’t really need it–I am just right there so he asks as a first resort, instead of really thinking.
How the Workboxes have helped…
- He can clearly see how much work he has for the day-and WHAT it is.
- He has a very clear schedule to follow each day, and he can see when things are coming up (like snack breaks). He has to follow the schedule in order each day, removing each card as the task is completed. I made a little basket for him to put them in. This is a bit different than the book recommends, but we make it work for our schoolroom. Here is his new work station, the basket on the left is for completed work, the blue basket is for completed schedule cards.
- He can see if something FUN is coming up in a certain box that day, which motivates him to get through the boxes that come before it.
- The boxes are clearly labeled if they are “Work with Mom” boxes, or independent boxes.
- If it is an independent work box, he has 3 HELP cards per day he can turn in to get some help. This causes him to have to not use Mom-Help as a first resort, but more as a tool if it’s really needed.
- He is working MUCH faster, and doing MUCH more-this is the most amazing part to me, he is so much more self-motivated.
A few comments he has made that let me know it’s working…
- To a friend of mine who leads a program he is in at church, “Trish, we started these new boxes for school and I am not even doing Calvert anymore, they are SO fun!” Obviously this one was hilarious to me because he KNOWS he is still using Calvert-he’s just doing more fun stuff too so he completely forgets!
- To me last night as I told him that his boxes were all ready for the morning and he could begin before I got up if he wanted, his reply…”YES” imagine a total dramatic, excited answer!
FUN things Pac has done during the first week that I wouldn’t have made time for without the boxes…
- Draw Write Now
- SEQUENCE States & Capitals
- Money Quizmo
- Watercolor painting
- Webkinz-he made a chart listing their names, gender, and type of animal
- Stickers-I bought this neat Baby Animals Sticker Book at Costco-took it apart and made him individual sheets to work on (I will share more later on that if my idea really works).
- Your Big Backyard
Final thoughts (for now)…
Yes you could implement this method without buying the book, BUT I do recommend buying the book if you plan on using this. I read through it quickly and her story and philosophy behind the method are very inspiring. Being a former teacher, I could really relate to tons of what she was writing. I could instantly see how this method could solve many of Pac Man’s issues. Another reason I recommend buying the book, is because it supports another homeschooling mom! Sure I will tell you a lot about it here and I will point you in the direction of other blogs that also share info, but you won’t have a full understanding unless you get it yourself. There are definitely some features to the method that need to be explained by the book.
If you order the E Book or the book, you will gain access to her downloads, which include the schedule cards and such. You will need clear boxes (I got mine at Target for $1 each), velcro, a shelf to put them on, and a laminator to make it all really work. Yes, I did make our own schedule cards and numbers, etc. You all know by now that I am a creating-mess :), so of course I had to control HOW everything looked for us! Plus Pac Man’s favorite color is green so I knew he would be excited if all of his numbers were green!
If you order the book yourself, read it, and then have ?s for me, I will be happy to share. I don’t really feel comfortable answering very specific ?s if you don’t purchase the book, only because this is NOT my original idea-I hope you can understand. I just want to respect the wonderful author! Although if you have general ?s that would help you decide if this method might work for you, I will be happy to share my thoughts! I will also be happy to share anything I have made myself for our boxes, if anyone gets going and wants to use my labels and such (I bet you don’t want the Work with Mom label with my photo though 😉 ).
Finally-another wonderful thing that has come out of this first week-I can’t remember the last time our Wii or XBox was on! Pac is not a video game addict, but he does play a lot and loves it. I think he just turns to it sometimes because it is easy. This past week, he has naturally turned to more playing and creative activities. He has played tons with his K’Nex, done lots of free-art projects, and just kept himself busy playing instead of in front of a screen. I don’t know if this result is because of the workboxes, but I think it might be. I am hoping it lasts!
Here is another wonderful mom-blogger who shares her thoughts about Workboxes, my online buddy-Ami! Look on her right sidebar and you will see her “Wonderful Workboxes” links!
edited to add (11/2009): Visit our webapge all about Workboxes here!