A Review of Sue Patrick's Workbox System

Photobucket"We must start by giving our children their learning materials in a way that will make sense to them, so that they can learn." ~ Sue Patrick
Organization, clear expectations, optimization, independence, repetition, enjoyable activities and motivation are all words to describe the use of Sue Patrick's Workbox System. As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of the e-book for review. (I also own a print copy that I purchased this past Spring). The e-book is priced at $19 and is available for instant download. A comb bound printed user guide sells for $23.30 including shipping and handling. Purchase of the book gives you online access to the printables that are mentioned in the book. A consulting package is also available for purchase. If you have an immediate family member in active service, you can email Sue to request a copy of her e-book for free. You can also see other products that are available. So, what's in it for you?
  1. The Benefits of Homeschooling
  2. How We Teach and Train
  3. What is the Workbox System
  4. Who is this System for?
  5. How a Day Works
  6. Curriculum and Materials
  7. Breaking Down Curriculum for Success
  8. Life Skill Foundations
  9. Discipline and the Workbox System
  10. Problem Solving and Specializing Your Child's Education
  11. Family Dynamics and Homeschooling
  12. Tips, Tricks, and Problem Solving
The two main components to the Workbox System are:
  1. The Physical Structure (A metal cart and 12 workboxes)
  2. The Educational Phiolosphy
If you would like to see more about these components, how the workbox system is set up and how it can work for you, please watch this short video.
"This book will teach you how to organize and structure your homeschool in a way that optimizes time, space, effort, planning and independence." ~ Sue Patrick
With the Workbox System, your student will always know:
  • What is expected of them for that day
  • How much work there is left to complete at any given time
  • When they are done for the day
"This structure provides both teacher and student an air of organization, clear expectations, and even a level of peace and calm, all of which creates a better learning environment." ~ Sue Patrick
Our experience: Many who read my blog, know I am a planner and a doer but not a scheduler. When I first heard about Sue Patrick's Workbox System I asked myself a few questions. Would my children like a schedule? Do they need one? It turns out I have children who may benefit from a more structured environment. So I knew I had to give it a try, for them. It was my all around user-friendly way to add order (and a schedule) to our homeschool day without going out of my comfort zone. Little did I know, it would be for me too. I love it for all of the reasons I mention above. However, we went through a love-hate period with the system when I was given the job to review it. I know how much Sue wants us to try this system her way - first. So, after already using it for several months, I decided I would try it her way to see if it works for our family. This involved rearranging where we do school and how we empty the cart. But, after just a short time, I was so unhappy that I was ready to ditch the whole system (even though I spent a hundred dollars to set up my 4 systems). Then I decided to do some more rearranging (that always motivates me) and I realized that was our problem. We went back to how we were using it and I am so happy we did. To be honest, Sue puts so much emphasis on doing it her way that I felt like a Workbox dropout. But, I decided that what works for one homeschool family will not work for all homeschool families. I am glad I accepted this, because I am back to loving those boxes. The beauty part of this system is that it holds me accountable. If I am on the ball, our day goes much smoother. However, I found that the WBS took away some of their independence - at first. If I didn't get the boxes filled for some reason, then the boys would not do their daily independent work. I decided to handle this by asking them to fill their own boxes for the next day with their daily subjects. Then I can change or add things as necessary. One thing that I appreciate about this system is that I am more creative and offer them a lot more variety in their day. I am putting things in their boxes that I never would have thought to give them for school. It can be tough coming up with creative ideas to fill the boxes, though. 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 5 children (the youngest two share a cart), so that task can be difficult at times (240 boxes a week). Often our boxes are just our daily stuff, but the system is still beneficial. What do they think? The kids love it. They love having school laid out before their eyes (they are visual like me). They like knowing what they have to do and it motivates them to keep working. It gives them a sense of order and direction to their day, and with the use of time cards on each box, we also have some sort of "schedule." The system works well for all ages. I am using it with a 2, 4, 9, almost 11 and 13 year old. I especially love it for my little ones. If you are wondering how you can use the system for a 2 year old, see my posts Tot School in the Box 1 and Tot School in the Box 2. I also share more about the system in other posts. I think this system works, but there is more than one way to make it work. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can try them all until we find a way that works for us. With the Workbox System, you are sure to find a way that works for you.
I thought I would also mention that when I first received the book I purchased, I was so excited I skipped right to the part about how to apply the workbox method. Sue says in the introduction that if you are not a manual reader, at least read chapter 4. So, that is what I did. I later went back and skimmed through the book. When I received the e-book to review, I went back and read the whole book and I am so glad I did. It was good to read the philosophy behind what makes it work. Sue also has a lot of other great info and ideas that are presented in the book.
See what my crew mates think of the Workbox system, or click on the banner below to visit the Crew blog.
As a member of TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this e-book free of charge in exchange for my review and no further compensation was received. I offer my honest opinion of the product.


  1. Im so glad you wrote this review! I really take anything you say to heart and ive been very interested in using the WBS and planned to use it either next year or the year after with my son. But i wasnt planning on reading the book because i knew id want to do it my own way. Im glad to see you felt that way too and that you still love it!

  2. Also, id love to see what is in your older kids work boxes. Have you written a post about that at all?

  3. Excellent post. You made it clear how it works for you and your family-and that is the genius of this program-tweaking is good and so very glad it is working for ya!

    FM Sheri

  4. Thank you so much for your review! I have been wanting more information on this system!

  5. I loved this system when we used is last year. This year, things are a bit different. I did not know about the active duty getting it for free when I ordered mine.

  6. A Great "real" Review Chel!