Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Workbox System

A friend emailed me today, asking about our workbox system. After I sung its praises to her, I thought it might be a good idea to write about it here too. Probably the best site I've found so far about it is here

In a nutshell - each thing your child does is put into a clear plastic shoe box (or plastic envelope, or magazine file box, or whatever) and the boxes are numbered. They do them in order BUT they can see everything they have to do and as they get done with one, they  stack it and the amount of boxes left gets smaller and smaller. It's great VISUAL feedback for them. PLUS, if there's something fun (like a game, or trampoline time, or something online) in box 9, there's a little more motivation to get through boxes 1-8.

For us, the work box system was nearly miraculous. The benefits were immediate and, with a little tweaking here and there, they lasted until we "relaxed" into our summer routine. Off the top of my head, here are some of the benefits:

  • the "can I go play now?" whine virtually disappeared
  • we got waaaaaay more accomplished in a day
  • I actually USED some of the fun stuff that I had been accumulating - like telling time bingo, geo boards, craft projects, etc.
  • I actually did educational things with Little Man (he has his own boxes) instead of trying to get him to occupy himself while I worked with Z-Man
  • Z-Man worked much more independently
  • Z-Man actually liked being more independent and being in control of his schedule
  • Little Man really, really loved doing his "chores" as he called them
I'll try to write another post soon to give you an idea of what kinds of things I put in their boxes.


  1. I have never heard of this system before, how do you update it? Daily, weekely? Is it high maintenance?
    BTW, great blog!!

  2. Hi! Welocme to the world of blog! I love it as you can tell. :)It is so fun to look back at all you have accomplished in the years past. Talk to you soon!


  3. Hi Wendy,

    I update the workboxes every night but some of the same things show up frequently, like math & language arts. It was more work at first, but once you get a list of potential items to put in the boxes, it goes very quickly.

  4. Ummmm, are there really BIG mom boxes: but the laundry in one, the dirty dishes in another, all the dust in another, and one with the newest homeschool mag and a hot cuppa and fresh baked cookies ready...