Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Workboxes Revisted

When we rearranged our house this past summer we forwent our schoolroom because we found ourselves meeting at the kitchen table more times then not anyway. Thus, the schoolroom became the office/craft room again.

We've enjoyed the change, but have sorely missed our original workboxes. When we moved into the dinning area there just wasn't room for two metal shelves and all the boxes we kept on them. We did try it for a while, but they kept getting knocked around and that meant school papers, books, and whatnot scattered everywhere.

In the end I picked up a couple of baskets that we've used as our workboxes ever since. While they are awesome baskets and fit perfectly in their place and match the file box oh so nicely, they just weren't handling the job of workboxes very well at all.

A week or two ago I was at one of the local hardware stores picking up some supplies when I spotted 4 drawer carts. I knew they'd be perfect for workboxes in a small area because they went up instead of out, not to mention they were compact and would take up significantly less room. After much debating I returned to the hardware store this weekend and picked up a set of the drawers (and again today to pick up a second set.)

Both boxes fit snuggly in our dinning area and because they are on wheels the kids can easily move them to the table if they need to; all though I prefer that they don't. Because we only have four drawers to work with and we use to consistently use six workboxes we've revamped them a bit. Notice the four pieces of velcro on the exterior of each drawer?  They match the boys schedule strips.

Each strip is numbered as Box 1 - Box 4. Jayden's are a tad nicer because I had the foresight to type on his strips in an editing program before printing them out. Each strip contains 4 things to do. When they do the task they simply remove the dot from their schedule strip and put it on the front of the drawer to indicate that it's done. They are tickled pink there's some form of a break on each strip, you should have heard them informing the Principle on this one. It was highly amusing.

This is what it looks like when they mark them off as they go along. And no, we don't really do circle time, but it's what we've dubbed our morning time around the table where we read our daily page from Cheerio's Book Of Days & do our Memory Box.

Did you spot the hooks in the other photos? There's a white hook on the side of each boys workbox drawers! That's where we hang their schedule strips. In the past we didn't honestly use the schedule strips, but with the drawers this is quite essential. Plus, I'm honestly trying to encourage Morgan to do a bit of his stuff independently. There's not a whole lot he can do on his own as we tend to school together, but we have some upcoming school plans (a year or two) where I'd like to see him doing some independent stuff and I'm slowly setting the stage for that.

This is the inside of Jayden's 1st drawer. You can see his Bible Timeline with some funny and cute pictures on top there. Underneath that is his copywork book and he has the Memory Box in his drawer for tomorrow. Yes, I snapped photos after I had the drawers ready to go for the next day. I do not slip snacks in the drawers as our morning snack is often fresh fruit and yogurt if we need/have one. I'm not exactly into ants in workboxes!

You probably noticed Jayden's strips and tags are all bigger then Morgan's.. Jayden had a wicked cold this weekend and I concentrated on getting Morgan's boxes set up for Monday. When I printed out Morgan's tags and strips I wanted to be able to use my 1-inch scrapbook punch to I wouldn't have to cut out all the tedious circles. Only, even after reducing them to 75% they were just a smidge too big for my 1-inch punch! Which meant I got stuck cutting them out by hand.

When I made Jayden's, I decided to go get a bigger punch. So Jayden's are cut out with a 1 3/4-inch punch. It all worked out in the end, and both boys are happy with what they have. I, however, am sorely tempted to remake Morgan's! If it weren't for the waste of velcro I'd probably have all ready done it too. For now, we'll wait and see if his wear our any time soon or not.

I use a combination of tags and edited some of them in a viewing/editing program I had on my Mac. I used one of the blank circles to write Unit Study on, cropped here and there in order to get what I needed. You can find the tags at the following places: 
  • Mamma Jenn has the tags (and more) seen in the first picture. In fact, I used her number tags as well as many of her workbox tags. I especially love the Dad tags!  
  • Spell Out Loud has the middle tags (and more) and I really loved most of their tags, all though I didn't use all of them. I was grateful for all the different times on the break tags there. 
  • Keeping Up With The Johnson's has the final set of tags. I liked that she had them by subject, and found her's before I'd spotted Mamma Jen's
After two days of school with our workboxes back in action Morgan said, "Man I really love it when we use workboxes! I know where everything is and what to do. It takes so much less time!" About five minutes later he was looking for the glue which he'd accidentally kicked under the recliner in the lounge. There's irony for you folks!


carriejoy said...

Wonderful post, Kendra. Thanks for the links on the tags. They're wonderful little graphics. You really have a great way to format the 4 boxes. I think my kids would soooo love that. I may do something similar only with a pocket chart. We'll see... I REALLY like the idea of everything "at the ready" rather than needing to search it out. We'll see.

Kendra said...

CJ, I was actually going to do pocket charts or pockets that would hang on the back of their chairs, but then I saw the drawers at the local hardware store and figured I could squeeze them in. i'm glad we did, they have been really fun!

carriejoy said...

Hey, the link for the final set isn't coming up. help? I think that keeping up with the johnstons IS mama jen. eek? I REALLY like the subject tags. I went through all the posts on the blog and can't find anything??? no biggie, really.

Kendra said...

Okay, so I still have the dl from the website, but the link on it isn't working so if you want them I can email them to you! :D

carriejoy said...

purty please? that would be awesome! Thanks!!

Meredith said...

Could you also email me the final set of workbox tags? The Keeping Up With the Johnsons website is not up and I LOVE those workbox tags!

Amazetta said...

Hi! You wouldn't still happen to have the download from the last set of tags? I know I'm pushing my luck! Thanks so much!!!

Kendra said...

I still have ones from Mama Jenn's {which are still available on her blog} & I have the ones from Spell Out Loud {also still available I think..} The Keeping Up With The Johnson's version I don't seem to have & am not sure if I ended up using them over Mamma Jenns.. Hmm