Sunday, November 20, 2011

Workboxes? Will they work?

A friend of mine from our Classical Conversations group told me about workbox systems. Originally she was letting me know about them since I was struggling homeschooling my 5 year old. Since I decided to send her to private school, I never researched this system. Just this past week I decided to re-evaluate our homeschool and I thought of my friend and her workboxes. She sent me some great links and I headed off to the store. I ran around town to find the best deals but I started off at Target of course. I bought a white shoe rack and I went to the Dollar Tree for plastic bins. I could not find the right bins! I loved the bins my friend had but they were nowhere. So I bought a bin similar to a litter box (not very pretty). After getting home I finally asked my daughter what she would like to have and she liked the bin idea. I went back to Target to see if I can find some clear shoeboxes and I found another bin that caught my eye. It has 3 drawers but if I buy 3... It was a little expensive so I ran around town again looking for similar cheaper options. Target was by far the cheapest. Plus Cameron, my daughter, loved the drawer system idea. Left the store with 3 new bins!
Now when I want something I get a little obsessed over it. So I didn't go to the gym for a few days and decided to stay home and clean out my entire homeschool room. So glad my husband wasn't home because if he would have seen the process he would have freaked out! Cameron and I got to work, purging, organizing, separating curriculum int subjects like U.S history, general history books, english grammar, vocab, spelling, writing, math, animal studies, nature studies, foreign language, science, Classical Conversations and Essentials plus one are for my 5 year old to have. I searched through websites and found some free workbox printables' my favorite were There was a lot of information and they were not to babyish for my 9 year old. I started laminating everything and I finished pretty quickly. To be honest I was so excited to do this I was a little sad I was all finished. I wanted to find something else to start. bUt instead I sat in the office and enjoyed how clean it was. Yes, that may be a little weird but it was originally a mess! So here is our workbox system. Each box has a number on it with velcro. On the right of the picture there is a laminated key ring with boxes to hold the numbers and velcro tabs I printed up. The concept is Cameron starts with box 1 finishes all her work in that box and takes off the velcro 1, takes her key ring and pulls the velcro "done" tab and replaces the 1 with it. She then moves on to box 2 and repeats the same process until all the drawers are "done". We sat home Saturday and tested our system and I realized after about 3 drawers she was ready for a break so I added a "snack" tab so she knew where to go to next. At first Cameron thought that she only had to do one box a day! That made me laugh considering her #1 box only had her Saxon math in it and nothing else. But I decided to sit with her and work with her through the boxes just this one time. I also added a need help tab so she knows she will need me for that subject. So far so good! I will update you on how it goes as the weeks go by. I am very excited about it! It can tell its going to bring us structure and accountability!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Curriculum woes

I haven't written about our homeschool in a long time. So let me catch you up. I decided pretty quickly to put Emma in private school. I know all my die hard homeschool friends are surprised. Well actually I love home schooling my 9 year old so much that I presumed I would love teaching Emma. I started having a rough time with discipline and I was worn out from her behavior. I know private school won't help with this but I needed my space for a while. Well she is doing great! Loves her friends, adores her teachers and I am amazed at her learning progress!
As for Cameron I am not well organized this year but I had a few plans I knew we needed to do. Plan a: catch her up on math, my goal was to backtrack and figure out where math got away from her. Plan b: have a stronger science curriculum and not just follow Classical Conversations science. Plan c: history organized and read a lot of books based on the United States and fill in the history gaps from Classical Conversations.
Well plan a was and is a success. I had to take her all the way from 4th grade math to 2nd grade math. I am finding the areas she either forgot or got left behind in when she was in private school. Plan b science- going great! Using Apologia and having her use the notebook t comes with. We are studying the body but not in the exact cc order. Plan c history- yeah not going great :( I have had her wat h documentaries and we have tried to follow cc and fill in those gaps like studying native Americans. But I am not finding a lot in Story of the World and she doesn't care for reading too much so history has become more hands on from me. still sear hing for a better plan overall.
Classical Conversations Essentials is hard this year! But we are learn g. Yes I said we! Wow am I learning a lot!!
I was also leaning forward Saxon math any thoughts?