My Little Author

Pac Man has been a *book writer* for awhile now, it has been something he really enjoys. He takes long breaks but eventually goes back to his love. Thankfully this is something that he just loves, I never have to “make” him do this, he does it in his free time!

Recently he decided to write a chapter book. Honestly I didn’t think he would see it to completion, but I must eat my words-he finished it!!!! I never reminded him, never helped him (during the rough draft), it was ALL him :). He worked on this rough draft for a long time…Then when he finally finished he asked me if I would help him edit it. He is learning what an editor does, and what publishing means, it has been a great learning time together. I sat him with me as I re-wrote his story for him in Microsoft Publisher. He read it out loud as I typed. I showed him what I was doing, he helped me choose and place the graphics. Here is how it turned out…
After printing, he had to color a few of the graphics, he loved doing that…Here is the final book, can you tell how proud he is??? I am pretty proud of him too!
I hope he keeps it up, I created a 3 ring binder for him to keep his rough draft and final copies in, what a great keepsake it will be for him when he is older!!!

Behind the Scenes ~ Workboxes in Our House

Behind the Scenes ~ Workboxes

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…

Pac Man’s Homeschooling *Issues*
  • 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…

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!

2nd Grade!!!!

Look who is a BIG 2nd grader now…

Yup, Pac Man began 2nd grade today, since his Calvert box arrived yesterday! If you don’t know already-we get Calvert free of charge through our state cyber school. I still teach entirely on my own, the state just provides us with the necessities free of charge. It is an amazing blessing and I know only about 13 states do this. Even though we get this, I still do a LOT of our own thing for his schooling!
I get asked a lot about what we use so I thought I would summarize what we are planning to use for 2nd grade. And yes, you will notice that we are not traditional fall grade changers. We move up to a new grade whenever he finishes the previous one!
Here is our curriculum plan for 2nd grade…

Our plans for 2nd Grade…

  • Reading, Phonics…Calvert
  • Math…Calvert
  • Spelling…Calvert and All About Spelling (we are going back to the basics using Level 1, and then hopefully moving on quickly to Level 2, I just felt that Calvert didn’t teach enough of the rules of spelling for Pac Man’s needs)
  • Writing…Calvert and our own stuff (mainly developing his story writing skills as he loves to write “books”)
  • Social Studies/Geography…Calvert and much of our own stuff (lapbooks, puzzles, games, etc.)
  • HistoryThe Story of the World: Volume 1 We began this a while ago and are still loving it.
  • BibleOld Testament Overview Also began awhile back and it is working wonderfully for us, we both still love it!
  • ScienceLapbooks (I will make sure we cover everything in the Calvert science book, we just don’t do things their way!)

Basically we follow Calvert, as to be certain he is prepared for their testing and such, but I change things up a bit within certain subjects (science, social studies, history, and spelling mainly). I like Calvert as a whole, but I am really picky about certain things. If it doesn’t meet his needs, I make a change!

Another new thing we began today is the Workbox learning method, inspired from this great book. I am not going to write a ton about it…YET, because I want to be sure I really like it before I share much about it. But I will say I am overly impressed after our first day and so is Pac Man. It probably won’t be long until you begin hearing from me about it :). Stay tuned for more, I promise!

Pac Man is also now a blogger :). Like mother like son! He has been asking me to begin his own blog for over a year now and finally I knew he was ready. He is doing a wonderful job and I love that he is learning so much and he doesn’t even know it, he just loves it!!! It is something neat we do together now. I am keeping his blog private but if you have a great desire to see it in case you are thinking about your own child starting one, email me and let me know (don’t leave a comment). I will give you the link as long as it is for that purpose and is kept private.

I am thrilled to say that our first day of 2nd grade went beautifully, I am so thankful!!! His attitude was great, he loved the new workboxes and it was just wonderful. Now I am praying for tomorrow to go just as well!