Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sue Patrick's Workbox System

I have come across something that I think will revolutionize the way you do school, Sue Patrick's Workbox System. Sue has been working on this system for many years. She started using it with her autistic son many years ago and has now made it available to all families with children of all abilities. This system will help you to organize your child's work, make him more independent and be able to focus better, complete more work than you ever imagined, incorporate fun activities that have been laying around on the shelves, and enjoy school so much more, all at the same time. Where else can you find that?

There are some materials required to set this system up, but once it's in place, it's just a matter of filling the boxes each week.

This is a picture of how I have chosen to set up our system. Sue recommends a shoe rack, but I couldn't find one that fit our plastic boxes correctly. Many families have modified this system to work with their style and space. Some even using big manila envelopes in a big plastic container.

The ideas is to set up 12 workboxes (or a number that works best for your child). You first fill them with your core subjects and then the remaining boxes are filled with review materials and fun materials you never get to. These could be anything from file folder games to puzzles (really anything that would be fun and educational).

You will notice on my boxes that there are Velcro dots and some little cards attached to them. Sue suggests using a schedule strip to help your child work independently through the boxes each day. This strip will have Velcro with number cards 1-12 attached, as well as other cards mixed in for other things the child will do during the day like centers, lunch, PE, etc. The child takes the first number off and goes to the workboxes and matches the number on the card to the number on the box. He sticks it on the dot and takes the box to his seat. If the box has a "work with mom" card on it, he will know he is not to do it independently. Everything the child needs to complete the assignment should be included in the box. This saves time and attention problems by not having to search for materials.

This system has really sparked some enthusiasm in me for preparing for school again. There are so many fun things my son will be doing next year! I am actually excited for school to begin next year at the end of this school year. That has never happened before! Yes, I am usually excited by the time school rolls around again but never at the end of the year. I am going to spend this summer planning and making fun activities to include in the boxes next year. The newness of this system never wears off because each day the child gets up and looks into his boxes to see what exciting things you have filled them with. It's like preparing a surprise for them each day.

I would highly recommend buying Sue's book. I have summed up the general idea of the system but there are more specifics in her book as well as other helpful information. You can find her book at She also sells kits with materials that are already done for you so you don't have to spend time making them.

Heidi Miller-Ford

Monday, May 11, 2009

End of Year Congratulations

Congratulations on making it through the school year. If I recorded every high and low I encountered and felt, I would have a virtual theme park full of roller coasters. These all translate into "lessons learned". I remind myself of my personal goals for homeschooling:
- to create a strong family unit
- to develop strong character in my children
- to inspire a love of learning that will last beyond 12th grade
When I review my year and review this list, my heart is balanced out and I rejoice!
To be totally honest, I must admit others could teach my children some subjects better than me. I am not science and math inclined. I hate science experiments. I would rather devote time to history! But education is not my highest goal- GASP- did I say that? The three things I mentioned previously are my goals. I constantly remind myself of these goals. My children have had a wonderful education and
are intelligent. It is the idea of education that can make us doubt and make us devalue the year we just invested in.
For those of us who have chosen homeschooling as a way of life, make sure you focus on your goals when the doubt sets in.