The boxes remain on the cart, but are emptied throughout the day. Completed work and books go in their basket in the red cabinet (what we worked out of before). One downside to this, is that if I do not get their boxes filled (which happens) then they do not get started on work they used to work on independently (reader, handwriting, Explode the Code, etc.) So, I have to ask them for forgiveness in this area and ask them to do "what they know to do" when Mom doesn't have it all together (which happens). The beauty part of the workbox system is that it holds me accountable. When I am on the ball, our day goes much smoother. The hard part is coming up with creative ideas to fill the boxes. Each child has 12 boxes a day, and when you figure it out, that is 60 boxes a week per child! Right now, I am using the "system" with three children, so that task can be quite daunting at times!
I have a cart set up for my youngest two to share. They each have six boxes. I encourage Malachi to work through each box, but I let Eliana pick her own boxes when she wants. I try to include things that she can do alone as well as those that require my assistance and many activities are a boxed version of Tot Trays.
I have added the numbers to the boxes (finally) and made up the schedule strips. The boys especially love this. I keep them hanging from a ring on the cart.
It gives them a sense of order and direction to their day, but we are flexible. We use the wait cards for when I cannot come right away and they are to put the wait card on the box so I know they need my help.
I love the help cards! This has really helped in the area of spelling. They were always coming to me to spell a word for them. Now that I require a "help card," and they only get 3 per day, they think twice about asking me for help for things that they can help themselves with. I keep two Children's Dictionaries, one Student Dictionary, and one College Dictionary on the shelf and they are using them! They save the help cards for math (beyond the lesson we do together).
I store the activity cards on the back side of the schedule strip. This is a huge time saver for me (otherwise, I would be less likely to use them). I like that I am giving the boys variety in their day and they look forward to seeing what is on the schedule (especially if it includes library time).
I am still working on learning centers. I have one to learn the days of the week in Hebrew (located on our white board) and a calender to learn the Hebrew numbers from 1 -31. I also use the calender for counting with Malachi and learning the days of the week (in English and Hebrew). I think my favorite "center" is the world map on our table. It is covered in vinyl plastic (the kind that comes in rolls in the fabric department at Walmart). It is very handy to have right there and also protects our table. The kids make up their own games using the map and are very creative in their free time. We also play games with it at meal times.
I also got some poster games from the Dollar Tree, laminated them and plan to use those soon.
A few goals:
- get the boxes filled!
- find creative ways to fill the boxes
- work on center ideas
- continue to make learning fun and delightful!