Monday, 15 August 2011

Working with...... Workboxes!

I can not remember how I came across this, as I didn't go searching to find anything to do with organising and planning, however Alhamdulillah I some how stumbled across this video on youtube...

....which then led me to watch this video.....

....which then led me to google and trailing blog after blog after blog......reading and understanding "Workboxes"!!!!

So what are workboxes?

I have to admit, I am really quite excited about this as I am going to put this into action after E'id inshallah as I begin my KS1 work with K (and I'm also going to start working with Z as she is starting to show signs of learning interest alhamdulillah so I think she is ready for a little "formal" work - well as formal as "formal" can be with a soon to be 3 year old inshallah!).

Enough rambling and back to the actual topic of the post!

This is Sue Patricks workbox system, and to summarise it is a revolutionary and innovative method of putting organised structure into the home school learning day inshallah.

What is the workbox?

  • The system consists of 12 "workboxes" which are plastic clear shoe boxes placed on a rack / shelf. Each box is numbered 1 - 12.
  • In each box you put the days lessons and activities for the child.
  •  Also each box should include everything they will need in order to complete the work - so for example text book, scissors, glue, paper, calculator, felt pens etc etc etc....whatever is needed should be there ready!

The child works through the boxes in order, taking each box to their desk / work area to complete.
If the work in the box contains a lesson in which requires parental instruction / teaching, then you would place a "work with mum" card in there too so the child knows to grab your attention. Otherwise, if there is no "work with mum card" then the child knows they can get on and work independently.

The benefit in this is that the child can see at the beginning of the day what to expect, they know what is coming next...and they know when work for the day is finished inshallah!
It also helps to encourage the child to work independently - they are not having to wait for us to have a free moment to start them off in between all the juggling we are tasking! They can take their box and get to work, everything is there ready for them!
And maybe most importantly of keeps us organised! We have to make sure we have the work prepared before the day begins ....otherwise there will be no work!

This is just a simple summery of what workboxes are, and if you search google images you will see so many families have tweaked the system to suit their own families needs - for example rather than using shoe boxes, some have used tray drawers, some box files and some even used gift-paper decorated cereal boxes(to save space) !

I personaly like the shoe box concept as my girls are young, I think they would benefit being able to see everything for the day.

12 boxes seems like allot of boxes to fill with school work!

When I began reading about workboxes, I thought 12 boxes seems crazy! I don't do 12 separate lessons with K each one does!!!!!
However, you don't put 12 separate lessons in the boxes.....

firstly, you can put some fun educational toys, puzzles, games or crafts in a few of the for example maybe box 1, 2 and 3 will have school work you want them to complete, then box 4 will have a world map puzzle (you know the one you never pull down off the shelf!), and then a couple more boxes of school work, then box 7 could have a craft etc etc.
The child can see the fun boxes that they will get to after they complete their work inshallah.

Secondly, as Sue Patrick discusses in her book (yes I bought the ebook!!!!...I'll get to that later!) children often learn better when material / lessons are presented in smaller chunks. So you can divide your lessons over 2 or 3 boxes and even spread them out....thus making it more digestible to your little youngster inshallah!

Google " Sue Patricks workbox system" and you will find literally hundreds of homeschooling blogs all talking about this (although most are all American Christan home schoolers!).
All the blogs out there explain the system much better than I have....they all include photos too which makes it easier to understand.

If you go direct to Sue Patricks site here - there is a little information about the system here, however I found reading blogs who were using the system at home provided allot more information and understanding of how the concept works.

Sue Patricks Book

You can buy Sue Patricks book or ebook on her site....
 .... after trailing tens of blogs I didn't think I needed to buy the book to be able to implement the system, as like I said, many of the blogs include detailed explanations, pictures and even printables to label your boxes and schedule strips to get you started.

However, after a couple of days of debating what type of workbox would work best for us (the shoe boxes or drawers) I decided to take the plunge and purchase the ebook. I'm glad I did! I found it quite valuable reading alhamdulillah. (I will just stress that although Sue Patrick is a Christian and occasionally talks about Bible Study, the workbox system is completely secular as is what she writes in her book about the other educational points she discusses).

She has some good educational ideas and understanding of how children best learn....well I thought so anyway although I didn't agree with completely everything! She has some great teaching / learning ideas to impliment which she disscusses to help children digest and retain information.....thus understanding!

After reading her book, I am really excited about implementing this system in our home school inshallah. I feel my eyes have been opened to children's learning processes and I can't wait to start inshallah.

Inshallah it should keep me on my toes and be prepared and planned .....I have to fill the workboxes ready for each new day so I will have to be planned and organised....exactly what I needed!!!!#

Once I've completed my set up I'll post some pics inshallah and update as we start implementing the system inshallah.......I just hope this isn't going to be one of those things I "give up on" because I really do see allot of potential in working this way!

Search google and read more experienced reviews......I found quick way to filter out all the junk from the actual home schooling blogs was to google image, and click into the blogs through the images. (most of the images were from blogs).


  1. Assalamo alaikum Ukhti,
    Just came across your blog Mashallah! I can see you have a beneficial blog going Mashallah. I will add you to my blog archive Inshallah. I am also planning to try out the workbox system this year but I will be tweaking it quite a bit to fit our homeschool style and room :). I already had a similar system going but were doing it very informally. I am still working on the changes and am quite excited about seeing how it works. Will keep you posted :)

  2. wa'alaikum asalaam! Jazaki Allahu khayr ukhti! Inshallah I will be cheaking out your blog to see your workbox updates! A couple of other sisters I know are also planning to use the system too! Looks like we are all hooked!

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  4. Wa'alaikum asalaam ukhti!
    Jazaki Allah khayr for your comments sis...the workbox system seems to slowly be making its way through the "home edding ummis" community I think! lol.

  5. jazakAllah for this, I found your explanation of workbox system is very simple and informative.

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    1. wa'alaikum asalaam wa rahmatullah uktee Ameenah Bint Samuel
      I've deleated the above comment as well as the new comment you just left- hope that helps!??

      I know the blog gets a lot of spammers which automatically is filtered out however I believe it still goes out to everyone subscribed to receive comments!
      I will look into this to see if there is a way to stop it inshaAllah.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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