Friday, February 3, 2012

"Our Workbox system...."
A few years back a sweet friend of mine Ami (over at: introduced me to the Sue Patricks workbox
system....( )knowing that I was a very relaxed homeschool mom and not much into textbook teaching I was intrigued! This system consisted of a cart and boxes for each child...which were filled with their to-do's and subjects for the day. Having the freedom to fill those with many things pertaining to our school days and embrace the gifts God has given in my style of teaching
was enough to win me over.

Over the last three years the workbox system has taken many forms...(see I am a what-can-I-use-that-I-already-have-so-I-can-save-money type of gal) we have used a giant bookshelf and the plastic shoe boxes (which I seemed to have in abundance for the kids toys, and school supplies and usually found them at dollar sotre), then we converted to three old wooden bookcases so they each would have their own space, and now we use three tall plastic dressers that can be used for crafts or closet organization. I have to confess I did splurge on these but considering I tend to homeschool my children for almost free I considered it a huge investment! .....And it did take me two years to convince myself I should by them :) This seems to be the best system for us.

With the workbox system I found many ideas and ended up creating ours from what I already had. (I even have a friend that uses large manilia envelopes in a file box!) we found a place to keep them for each child. A way to number them so they know what order to go in and a endless list of what to put in the boxes on what days. You can even make a place where the kids take their number off when finished with the box and place it on a done sheet. (A Special Note: Any child from a toddler can have their own workboxes. It is OK to fill them with learning toys and books to read!! A great tip to help you track their learning!)

(Here is what ours looks like)

Each child only has seven boxes and that seems to be plenty for us.

I have numbered each one (which is taped on...I used to have them velcroed and it seemed I would find them in odd places ...My youngest even made up a matching game with them one day on the floor. So for my sanity I decided to use tape!)

There are many possibilities that you could use for your tags. You can find some printables and wonderful ideas over at

Here is a break down of what my kids' drawers look like:

Workbox #1: Bible Box *clip art of a bible

(includes their prayer journal and bible verse card)

Workbox #2: Missions Moment *Clip art of a globe

(includes the picture card of the missionary we are praying for and encouarging. A notebook to write letters to them. And a lapbook based on the country/culture/and people the missionaries are living with.)

Workbox #3: Delight-Directed subject box *Clip art of their interest ex: knitting, art, boats, etc

(includes info on what they are interested in learning about. Whether books, lapbooks, or a hands-on activity. )

Workbox #4: History/Geography *clip art of globe

(includes our family study...which is the Priarie Primer about Little House books. We have a lapbook, activities, and such to go with our lesson plans in the primer. This is one of the only 'textbooks' we follow but love that its mostly hands-on.

Workbox #5 & #6: Math and English *These are what we call "Mailbox Time" boxes. Where mommy works with them one on one. There is a clip art of mommy and a girl or boy plus the math or english clip art.

Workbox#7: Is our fun family unit study box. We love to find fun things to study as a family. We recently did a chocolate study (which was mommy's favorite school day!) Right now the boys are working on "The Year of the Pizza" and my daughter is working on "The year of the Pie" a geography based unit study I made up which consists of studying the different ingredients used, the history of certian Pies and pizzas and each week they make a different pie or pizza recipe. This will be an on-going study. As a new shcool year begins I am trying to add "weekend" unit studies where we pick a unit study/ lapbook and work on it solely on fridays and saturdays.

*I also use clip art tags (with the hope of upgrading to personal photos of the kids) of them paired off because for some boxes we have "Buddy-up" time. Where they work together on what is in that box. This is fun for both me and the kids. It creates in them a chance to make memories together and gives me time to take good pictures....of them working together :)

On top of their workboxes are their reading baskets.

Books they are enjoying reading and can easily grab during

"Quiet Hour"

One of my sons' Delight-Directed box. He wants to learn about Mexico!

My daughters Delight-Directed box...canvas sewing

My youngest sons' Mailbox Time Box...we do phonics together.

And he loves earning a M&M for attentiveness!!

Workboxing can be a wonderful way to bring more joy back into your school days. Feel free to check out the following blogs that I have found encouarging as I skip along my workbox journey!

*And join me tomorrow when I post about our "Schedule"*

(wonderful workbox ideas for preschoolers!)

(LOTS of FREE Lapbooks, Unit studies and WORKBOX ideas and printables!

(I just love her ideas!)

(don't you just love her pop of color!!)

I hope no matter how you homeschool or where your childs to-do's for the day are placed that you will never grow weary in teaching them new things!

Many Blessings,



  1. Dawn you've given me some GREAT ideas for how to set up our homeschool in Nicaragua, especially as I add Abel as he will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Every year that has gone by I'm more and more relaxed. Good books and "doing life together" through, prayer, baking, and family hikes goes a long way! Thanks for the inspiring post! - Sarah Schmitz

  2. Oh your welcome! I am excited about my series on "Our Little School House". And guess who is in our Missions Moment box??? Your family of course!!! and I am on the hunt for Nicauragua studies :) I thought you also might know my kids are counting down untill Feb 20th. :) Love you guys and praying for you daily!!

  3. Hi Dawn,
    It's nice to meet you! I use the AO curriculum, but we use workboxes, too. It's so helpful for ME and the Littles. I like how you have yours set up. We use magazine holders on bookshelves, and like you, don't use as many boxes as recommended. Eight works well for us, though there are times I have to double up.

    Thanks for sharing the links, too! Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. I am so glad you stopped by... *hello*! I hope you and your family enjoy your weekend too! I feel so blessed by all the wonderful new web friends God has brought into my life!

  5. Great ideas!Thanks for sharing w/ Healthy 2Day Wednesday! Hope to see you back next week!

  6. Thank you so much for letting me share! Will definitly see me next week. Hope you have a good day full of many blessings!

  7. These are very helpful ideas! I love your big plastic file with the removable 'workboxes' ~ hopefully this can jump start lots of new home-school moms :)

  8. Thank you Jacqueline! I too hope this can be a blessing to others !!