This is our first year using workboxes and so far, the kids love it, I love it, and even though it does take more planning and preparation for me, it is worth it! Knowing that when they are done their workboxes, their schoolwork is over and they can go and play cuts down on the complaining and gives the kids a sense of control over their own learning.
I have found that using workboxes is a great way to keep the kids on task, keep myself organized and most importantly, to infuse more hands-on activities into our homeschooling.
How we use workboxes in our homeschool:
Using workboxes helps us to stay organized, allows the kids to know when their schoolwork is done, and gives me the opportunity to build more hands-on learning into our day.
Each of the kids has a unit with ten drawers. I place one activity in each drawer for each of them at the end of the day so that they are ready for the following day. There are some things such as the sensory bin, auditory station, and unit study activities where only one child can participate each day, so I rotate those when I’m filling the bins each night.
To give you an example, this is a brief overview of some of what were in the workboxes this week as we worked on our Alphabet unit:
Granola Girl shaping her body into the letter “K”. I found some great printable squares of activities such as “shape your body into each letter of the Alphabet”, “jump on the trampoline for 15 minutes”, “run around the house flapping your wings like a bird”, and “ride your bike for 10 minutes”.
I found that adding in these active cards here and there in their workbox drawers boosted their energy level and gave them a bit of a break. You can read more about brain breaks and their importance (particularly for children with special needs or high energy) in the Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks.
Pom pom sort – all that is needed is pom poms in various colours, an empty egg carton or ice cube tray, and tweezers, tongs, or chopsticks – this is fun and can reinforce learning about colours, patterns, and sizes.
Dancing Queen working on her A Reason for Handwriting workbook.
Einstein working on Beginning Sounds, an Evan Moor Take it to Your Seat Phonics Center
Salt Writing – this is so easy to make. I just put a layer of salt in the bottom of a black Tupperware container (it’s important that the bottom of the container is dark so that there is a contrast) and the kids could use their finger to shape a letter, give the container a shake, and then create another letter. It’s a great reinforcement activity and a good sensory activity as well.
I loved this activity! It was perfect for our Alphabet theme! You can find this printable at www.playfulearning.com. I put it, along with a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and an old magazine in each of the kids’ workboxes. They then had to look through the magazines to try to find a match for each of the letters. There is one sheet for Uppercase letters and one for Lowercase letters.
Snuggle Puppy enjoyed Alphabet Stamping!
The Alphabet Train was another activity from Evan Moor. The kids had to line up the train and then match the lowercase letter wheel to the correct train car. There is also a correlating worksheet.
This Months of the Year activity enabled the kids to put the months in order and then add the corresponding number of days in the month.
Several types of Alphabet Stencils along with paper kept Dancing Queen occupied for a time.
One of the biggest successes was the auditory station I set up with a CD player and pair of headphones. I rotated three audios in the bins for this week, a Lion King book with CD, a CD with 3 Disney stories and corresponding books, and the Math U See Skip Counting CD. I can see that this will be a great addition to our homeschool classroom.
I made up a square on cardstock and wrote “Sensory Bin” on it and whichever child gets that card in one of their bins that day is able to go over and play in the sensory bin of the week for as long as they want to. That little card is a very coveted thing in our house at the moment! I am a bit surprised at how popular the sensory bins have been.
Einstein, working on his individual devotions.
Granola Girl working on an Alphabet Activity card.
Snuggle Puppy obviously really liked the Alphabet Dominoes! I found these here and Miss Optimism helped me colour them and cut them out.
Some of the other things in this week’s workboxes:
- penguin dot-to-dot
- 4 steps to drawing a cat
- Uppercase and Lowercase ABC Worksheet from www.ABCJesusLovesMe.com
- activity sheets (map pages, colouring sheets, etc.) for Story of the World
- my phone number is…worksheet from www.spelloutloud.com
- mini books
- Apologia notebooks
- Math U See workbooks
- magnetic daily calendar
The workboxes really help the kids stay on task. I find them especially effective with my special needs kids as they like to know what will be coming next. I’ve made a little visual below to show some of the activities that we have included in the workboxes.
Since I am homeschooling five of my kids and there are five days in a week, there are several activities such as the Sensory Bins card that rotate so that everyone gets them in their bin one day. Another example of rotating activities is the audio station. For the rotating activities, I also use a lot of learning centers for writing, reading, spelling, science, phonics, and math such as the Evan Moor ones and also file folder games.