Did you see our new awesome school closet a few weeks ago? I’m just loving that thing! I’ve since added a little shelf to the side that makes storing often used materials so much simpler. I’ll be tweaking that closet for months, I bet, but I’m so pleased with the overall result that I couldn’t help mentioning it again!
The next thing I wanted to chat about is how I plan what’s going in the boxes each day. This post is happening a bit early (on Tuesday rather than Wednesday) because of a friend in need of some encouragement, but if you want, you can come back and read this tomorrow !
When I first started using workboxes I was excited by the concept, but then quickly became overwhelmed by getting the boxes filled every night. I spent hours every night trying to make fun games and get everything printed out and gathered just so. I was staying up until one or even two in the morning only to have to get up early in the morning with my four kids. Ugh. I did this for two weeks straight and then quit. lol
I loved the system though! Everything went so smoothly during our school time. My kids don’t work independently yet because they are just too young, but lessons flowed so well while using workboxes. I wanted to find a way to make it work. So I took a day off and just went to the park with the kids. No school that day. The next day, with clearer heads, we took off too, but while the kids played, I planned and organized.
The first thing I planned was exactly what subjects I wanted to cover with the kids for the year. Some subjects I already had a book that planned everything out for me and for others I had to plan it all, so I put the subject at the top of it’s own sheet of paper. Then I listed under that the topics I would cover. If the subject had a book plan that all for me I just listed the book.
Now that I had an outline for the year (and you don’t have to wait for a new school year to do this… Jump in right where you are!) I planned what materials I would use to present or practice each topic. As I went, I printed out the copies I needed of worksheets, games, etc that I found to use and began putting them in a file box. You can sort this any way that works for you, but a file crate with hanging file folders worked for me. You’ll need one hanging file for each week of school for the year. Then in each you’ll put one file folder per day for that week, so you might have 5 file folders in the hanging file. Or you can use colored paper to separate the days in one file folder. Now that I had a way to organize the materials, it was just a matter of deciding how long I could spend on each topic for each subject. I put materials or even just an index card describing what I needed to do or use for a particular day in each spot and before long I had a box full of materials just waiting to go in the workboxes.
I still find things to add to it, and sometimes plans don’t go as created and I have to adjust things. Sometimes a topic is harder than I expect and needs more time. I create games as I have a chance, but if I don’t get to it, there are plenty of other things to add to the boxes. I rearrange and sometimes even throw out something that I thought looked good but changed my mind about. But it takes only a few minutes to actually fill the boxes at night and I love it!
No matter how you set up your materials, my best advise is to go ahead and take a couple of days to really plan this all out. Your time after the planning will be far more efficient and you’ll easily make up the school time lost with efficient work.
Teaching Multiple Grade Levels:
I have the luxury right now of teaching three children all at one level, mostly. Soon, though, we’ll be splitting up into three levels and I know this system will work well for all of them. I’ll be using a set of hanging files for each child and filling those up with their materials for the year.
FOR MORE INFORMATION about this filing system, and some photos too, head on over to Springs Of Joy Homeschool where she shares her whole file box idea. It is such a life saver!