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.

Benefits
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 all....it 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 day....no 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 boxes.....so 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).




Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Bath time fun with craft foam!

I would love to claim innovative credit for this idea, but alas the spark of genius did not come from me! I found this bath time picture game on handmade beginnings, you can see the post here 

All you need is the cheap craft foam and a pair of scissors! Cut up shapes to use in the bath - when the foam is wet it sticks to the tiles.
I made these using left over foam I had from a previous activity, so hope to buy some more at the weekend so I can make some more creative shapes inshallah!

I did draw onto the foam using permanent marker to write some words I thought K could use to make up sentences, however as soon as the foam was up on the tiles and the water started running off the foam....the pen ink came along with it- leaving not so lovely grey lines running down into the bath....quickly got the bleach out!
Maybe it was just the type of pen I used.....there must be water resistant pens around surely????

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Good Deed Tree


Last year we made a small A3 size "Good Deed Tree", but after seeing friends efforts with their own trees MashAllah I thought this year we'd go up to A2. (one friend made one using 2x A2 sheets taped together....so that's A1 right? and another friend made a huge tree running up her wall MashAllah!).

Each time they perform a "good deed" they get a leaf to stick on the tree...sometimes I write what they have done on the leaf (if it is something extra-special) or for the other general and common good actions I will just leave it blank. They stick the leaves up themselves, which they really enjoy doing MashAllah.

I really have found the tree to be of great value to the kids....and myself to be honest! We are quick to point out, correct and discipline them when they misbehave, but are a bit less "alert" when it comes to the small good things which they do, the little deeds which tend to go un-noticed.....like picking something up without having to be asked ten times, or remembering to say a dua'a in a situation without a reminder and even playing nicely together without any squabbling!

The girls are noticing that I am praising them more in recognition for the "good" behaviour and actions they are exerting, rather than just gaining recognition for the misbehaviour's! And I have to admit, its encouraging them to avoid behaving in a non-pleasing manner and act with more goodness and kindness ta barak Allah, alhamdulillah!

I think this is a lesson to me....although we won't continue with the tree after Ramadan, I should make more effort to show appreciation and give them due credit for the good which they do inshallah.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Home made Ramadan banner

A "Ramadan" banner, again just to help the girls appriciate the Ramadan mood (they are young, 2 and 5). We glittered the letters yesterday and cut out, before sticking onto the moon / star sheets today. Taping string at the back ready to hang.

I tried to get as close to the banner as I can without clipping the letters .....most of this picture seems to be our kitchen table!!!!

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