Organizing mountains of school assignments . . . ugh. Take a peek at how I learned how to organize school work –
Weeks and weeks ago my husband acquired some plastic bins with locking lids–six of them, one for each kid. He thought they’d be perfect to keep their school work in. I said, “yeah, yeah” and stuck the bins in the basement for safe keeping. I already had a no-work system wherein we just stuck all workbooks and text books in a single bin and set that bin out on the table and I told them each day what they needed to do. It has worked for us for nearly ten years, right?
The Workbox System
Then I came across the homeschool organization system by Sue Patrick called the Workbox System. I wanted it. But I did not want 72 boxes (12 boxes for each of six kids) sitting, I knew not where. So I improvised with my six already-in-my-possession boxes.
I purchased colorful paper file folders, eight for each child. In Sue’s system she uses twelve subjects per child per day, many of those subjects fun or very short, but I chose to keep it down to eight.
The kids are told to do the assignments in order, beginning with with file folder #1 and proceeding to folder #8. In each file folder are all the materials they need to complete the assignment, saving them time and keeping us from scrambling all over the house looking for scissors or glue when we should be getting down to our work.
Each of the boxes has a permanent supply of pencils, crayons or colored pencils, calculators for the older boys and scissors and glue for my pre-schooler.
I put math (including manipulatives, rulers, calculators, etc), spelling, phonics, journals, science, multiplication flash cards, and stuff like that into the files.
But I also put in a 15 min break, a snack, a math game, and fun stuff like that scattered through the harder work.
When the kids are done with the contents of their file they put their completed work, their text book, their reading book, whatever into a milk crate we have sitting out for that purpose. Everybody’s stuff into one crate.
When they are done with their day, their files are empty and my crate(s) is full. They line their work boxes up on our big chest freezer which resides in the schoolroom.
Now I go through the contents of the crate one by one, checking work and reloading the files for the next day. It takes me about half an hour a day to check through six kids work and reload their boxes. Learning how to organize school work has taught me how to help them organize our whole day.
- I can control the order in which my kids do their subjects, mostly making sure math is done early.
- I can control my own workload somewhat by attempting to schedule mom-intensive assignments at different times for different kids.
- My kids have never had a planned recess break before and they love it.
- The eight files remind me to keep their workload reasonable and also remind me to stick fun stuff in there, since they don’t actually have eight academic subjects each day.
- The kids know exactly how much work they have to complete and how much more they have left.
- The kids are staying on task mostly on their own. They move smoothly from one assignment to the next.
- It’s made me pay attention to my pre-schooler who was being neglected because of course he wants a box too and I must fill it and complete it with him.
- I have to plan ahead and be prepared, which means we have science experiments with all the stuff and aren’t scrambling or skipping it because now I’m too stressed to deal.
- I’m keeping up with checking their work daily, which I have always struggled to do. Having it all in one crate at the end of the day means I can can just go through things one-by-one and not have to dig it out of so-and-so’s desk or remember that Mr. Lazy was supposed to be doing his Latin exercises.
- We’re actually getting more done earlier, even my dawdling boy, just because of organization.