You can find entries on a specific topic if you'd like by clicking on the subject under TOPICS in the left column. There's all sorts of stuff- Lapbooking, Lesson Plans, Recipes, Projects, and More! If you're a homeschooling blogger or have a site geared towards homeschoolers and would like to trade links, let me know!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So many workbox blog links your mind will explode

Okay, so I gave in and bought Sue Patrick's e-book- The Workbox System. Let me tell you, I love it. I already knew I loved the idea, but reading her book made me adore it even more.

Of course, this should be no surprise to her as her system has taken the homeschool community by storm! It's hugely popular! I wish I had the money to go purchase this all right now, but my husband has a big job coming up and, unforunately, has to shell out money from his own pocket for it. He'll be paid back by his company, but this means that money will be a little tight for now.

So, to prove it's popularity, more links to SPWSers!

I love Julie's set-up. It's always nice to see how people implement this for multiple children. I like her use of magazine holders. That's a really nifty and space conscious idea.

I hope she doesn't mind that I borrowed her photo, but doesn't it look so beautifully organized and colorful?

I have to admit, I am really drawn to colorful, organized spots. And, I've always wanted a wall full of shelving like this.

Maybe you're like Mimi over at Frump's Findings. You're happy with most of your organizational methods, but you do like some of the ideas within the workbox system. Mimi tweaked her system a bit by using "workboxes" labeled with the days of the week. If nothing else, we can all glean some wisdome from the workbox method and come up with our own system that works for us.

My friend Amy from Milk & Cookies (and also co-owner of Heart of the Matter Magazine) has some great ideas, along with printables. Sue Patrick was one of the speakers at HOTM's online conferences, which I sadly missed. I am sure there's a whole new wave of homeschooling mothers getting pumped up about it now!

And, speaking of Heart of the Matter, Heather Woodie's article, Thinking Inside the Box: Using the Workbox System, is definitely a good read!

Leah is a mom of four who is using a modified version of the system for her children. She's given several examples of what goes in the clear drawer units, along with photos and other tidbits.

Hilltop Homeschool does the same in her blog. It's always interesting to read how others implement this sytem, and how it improves their homeschooling experience.

Sometimes (okay, often) I come across photos of workbox setups which are just so lovely that I want to grab it out of the picture and place it in my own homes. Cassie's set up is beautiful and ... *sigh*. She used an IKEA shelving unit I was eyeing earlier today in the catalog. Seeing it used as I had intended make me want it all the more. I wonder if my husband could build it for cheaper... hmmmmmmmm...

Her bins are from Target, and man, do they fit nicely! Oh, and Cassie's "check in/check out" cards are "totally awesome duuude". [FYI, Sue Patrick's method calls for children to "clock in" and "clock out" of school, which I think it a great idea. Clocking in helps them get in "school mode".]

Have you noticed how my easy going/unschooling ways have morphed into more structure? Well, I'm finding that my kids are actually hungry for the structure now, which is pleasing, because I'm at the point in life where having a plan and a structure of sorts is really helpful and brings a feeling of peace.

Anyway, I haven't been able to find Cassie's actual blog (if she has one), but you can read more about the system she's organized at Spell Out Loud. I think what is really appealing about it for me, besides the fact that is included IKEAness (one of my obsessions) is that she has used digital scrapbooking (my other obsession) to jazz it up.

Spell Out Loud has also blogged about her own setup, including her toddler workbox system.

Now, I'm a bit nosey, so I love to see what others are putting in their workboxes. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love to see the workbox setup in photos, but it's like peeking inside someone's bathroom medicine cabinet.... (which I have never, ever done, btw *wink*) .... you often find some interesting stuff! Enduring Prize has opened up her "medicine cabinet", so to speak, and given us a glimpse of the items inside her children's workboxes.

Aimee reminds me of myself. "I am an unschooler at heart but it does drive both my parents and husband crazy that the kids should be doing more formal learning," the blogger at Journey2Learn writes. "I knew to get the kids back into schooling, I would need a new approach."

I can definitely relate. However, as I mentioned before, I've noticed my children are actually craving stucture, and.. well, so am I.

Meet Me In Melange is yet another homeschooling mom that has tweaked the system to fit her needs and style. "I didn’t want to change what we were doing completely, but I did see imense value in altering Sue Patrick’s origional idea to fit our needs. Any idea that helps organize a homeschooling family is worth it’s value in gold, as far as I’m concerned," she writes.

Exactly my thoughts!

Allison at Wazley Academy also uses the Sterilite-style drawer system, and, bless her heart, has actually posted pictures of what's inside. It's like Christmas in Workbox Land!

A Mother's Journal tells the story of her first day of Workboxism. Her day sounds so fantastic, it'll make any mother want to run out and purchase her system today! (Or at least buy Sue Patrick's book!)

Heather talks about some of the amazing organization systems out there, several of which she has already put into use in her own home, and how these revolutionary ideas invented by parents are so darn simple that we could have thought them up ourselves!

"What's most interesting to me about the vast majority of the wonderful ideas that float in homeschool circles is the absolute simplicity of so many that are embraced. We all know that necessity is often the mother of invention. Why, then, do so many of us seem to walk around with the same necessity and no invention?" she muses.

Oh, come on, you know we've all had those moments when a new idea is introduced to us by someone, and we exclaim, "Wow! That's simple and easy... but profound!" shortly followed by, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Tree House Academy
uses shelves to divide out the work, which is also a great idea. The bins are nice for the kids to be able to take to their work station, but going binless is much cheaper, and the kids can (obviously) still see the work they need to do. This is something woodworking husbands could make fairly, maybe with leftover bits of wood (if you're like our family, you may have small shelf-sized pieces littering your garage).

Tina at Being Made New also put the system into play, and I love the bright pink and blue boxes she chose. She said her first week using the system was "the best school week ever". She admits she had some reservations going in, but obviously she was cured within the first few days!

And, if all these links aren't enough to keep your head spinning with ideas, you can join the Workbox Yahoo! Group! I told you it was a major homeschooling craze! You might want to put it on digest, instead of single emails, as some months have brought in over one-thousand messages.

But wait... there's more! There's a whole blog devoted to this workbox system. It's called "What's in the Box?" and it is loaded with ideas (and fun memes!)

Now, I really, really can't wait to get started on it. I'm not a patient woman, but I guess I don't really have a choice, do I?

More on Workboxes

I'm back with more links to bloggers who have implemented Sue Patrick's Workbox System.

There's a site with a comprehensive review of the workbox system explaining everything from how it works to how others have modified it.

Jess @ Color Me Orange shares a way she has modified this system for her eight children. (Could you imagine having 12 boxes for each child?)

Jess sorts things into folders, which she places in bins. When her students have finished a folder, they take the number off the folder and place it on the velcro spot on the bin.

This is also a great idea for small spaces. Some families do not have much room, so condensing the system would be a great idea. I would recommend finding clear envelopes as one of the key components of Sue Patrick's system is that the students can also see what is ahead, not just how much work they have left.

For those who have young preschoolers who need a little more flexibility, I recommend this Tot Tray idea. This Montessori inspired method will allow your toddler to choose what he or she is interested in testing out. I use this for my 20 month old and he loves it. This site gives you plenty of ideas, and her blog also has photos plastered with "Tot School" inspiration.

Ginger has a great modification as well. She uses those plastic (clear) drawers instead of clear shoe boxes. Another great idea for small spaces.

Over at Homeschool Creations, Jolanthe has set up a great system for her four children.

"While I love the Workbox System and understand why Sue Patrick set it up the way she did {and why it works that way}, we seriously do not have room for 48 boxes, 4 shelving systems and to implement it the way she recommends," Jolanthe comments. You must check out her colorful system. I just love the photographs!

In another post, she details the system. I think it's one of the best reviews of the Workbox System I've read, so check it out.

If you are using the workbox system and have posted an entry in your blog about it, please leave a link! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sure Patrick's Workbox System

There's a new homeschooling craze out there, and, in case you haven't heard about it, I'm sharing it with you now!

It's called the Workbox System, created by homeschooling mom Sue Patrick.

Sue's system divides school work into twelve numbered different bins (about shoe box size) for the student to work through (in order).

Leslie from Joyful Mother of 6 explains, "As the child works through a box, the box is then removed from the shelf so that they can see their work diminishing. They can see exactly what is expected of them each day and how much they have left to do before their school day is over. They can also see fun things in boxes which helps to motivate them to finish the more difficult boxes." Click on blog link to see photos of the system these women have set up for their families.

Aureila from Sowing Precious Seeds has also hopped on the bandwagon.

I believe "Walking by the Way" is also doing the workbox system. Her blog has plenty of photos of activities her children are doing! Looks like a blast!

Little Men in My Library gave it a try. I think she accurately describes why it is such a neat and nifty system!

Love To Know managed to sit Sue Patrick down for an interview which you can read here.