How We Workbox ~ Part 4 (A New Framework Finally Emerges)

If you missed Part 1 of this series you can find it here.

Don’t know what workboxes are?  Check out this link.

Please don’t misunderstand the title of my last post.  “Ditching the Plan” does not imply having no plan at all. I am well aware of the “he who fails to plan, plans to fail” concept and all that.  “Ditching the Plan” means that I am comfortable and willing to deviate from the plan when the situation calls for it because I haven’t wasted time putting my heart and soul into the creation of every detail and because I am trusting that God is much better at mapping out the nuances of my days that I am.  What I am proposing is a plan that is flexible enough to absorb exceptions with ease.  Indeed such a plan will invite exception and the learning experience will be all the richer for it.

Having developed and embraced this new (to me) philosophy, I finally began to choose my curriculum for the year and create what I call my “Skeleton Plan” ~ a framework upon which I could hang ANYthing.

Here’s how the process played out.

First, I decided what material I wanted to cover and what “subject” that material was best categorized as.  Then I assigned a box to each of those subjects.  The boxes are tagged to help the kiddos keep track of what they are working on. We have boxes for Bible, Writing, PE, Math, Reading, History, Spelling/Phonics, Art, Geography, Science and Oklahoma History.

Next, I decided how often I could truly touch each of those subjects and scheduled them accordingly.  The resources I chose for Art, Geography and Science all require a significant amount of preparation and/or project time so I knew that realistically I could not do all of those every week.  Even two in a week would be a stretch so I put those boxes on a three week rotation.  Bible time is very important to us so that box gets filled every day.  Our writing curriculum had a natural 5 day schedule as did the one Will chose for PE. We use Sonlight for our History and Reading and though in the past I’ve tried the 5 day schedule, this year I recognized that for us the 4 day plan would work better.  The Oklahoma History book I have really works best if approached in spurts so I didn’t schedule it at all instead we will pull it out when interest in the other subjects wanes and we need a different kind of week to get us motivated again.  That left me with one empty box.  I had several “fun” books I’d been wanting to incorporate somehow so I picked one, assigned it to the last box and made it completely optional.

This is my skeleton plan for the year.

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(It hangs on a ring in my supply closet for easy reference and since you can’t read the picture, here’s what it says.)

Box Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Bible Personal Devotion / Bible Reading Time / Memory Verses Personal Devotion / Bible Reading Time / Memory Verses Personal Devotion / Bible Reading Time / Memory Verses Personal Devotion / Bible Reading Time / Memory Verses Personal Devotion / Bible Reading Time / Memory Verses
Writing A Reason For Handwriting
Practice 1
A Reason For Handwriting
Practice 2
A Reason For Handwriting
Practice 3
A Reason For Handwriting
Practice 4: Entire Verse
Write out entire verse and share with someone
PE Learn A New Challenge Choose a Movement Card Learn About a Team Sport Play a Fun Game Heritage PE 2nd Friday & Zumba 3rd Friday

All Other Fridays: Do a Health Research Project

Math Sadie: Math U See (practice current lesson, test when ready)

Riley: Horizons Math

Sadie: Math U See (practice current lesson, test when ready)

Riley: Horizons Math

Sadie: Math U See (practice curent lesson, test when ready)

Riley: Critical Thinking book (1pg)

Sadie: Math U See (practice current lesson, test when ready)

Riley: Horizons Math

Sadie: empty

Riley: Critical Thinking Book (1pg)

Reading Sonlight Readers Sonlight Readers Sonlight Readers Sonlight Readers empty
History Sonlight History Sonlight History Sonlight History Sonlight History empty
Spelling Sadie: Sequential Spelling (nxt lesson)

Riley: Explode the Code (avg 2 pages/day)

Sadie: Creative Thinking Book (1pg)

Riley: Explode the Code (avg 2 pages/day)

Sadie: Sequential Spelling (nxt lesson)

Riley: Explode the Code (avg 2 pages/day)

Sadie: Sequential Spelling (nxt lesson)

Riley: Explode the Code (avg 2 pages/day)

Sadie: Creative Thinking Book (1pg)

Riley: empty

Art

Week 1

Study the Artist Gather Supplies

Sadie: Draw and Write History
(occasional)

Art Project Etiquette & Manners also Tea Party Prep Tea Party in the afternoon
Geography

Week2

Read “A Childs Geography: Explore His Earth” Lesson Write Home About It Reaching Out Too-Fun-To-Resist Excursion empty
Science

Week3

Nature Notebook Activity Real Science 4 Kids Lesson Day (Biology) Real Science 4 Kids Science Experiment Day (Biology) Review Lesson using Study Folder (Biology) Science Lesson Follow-up (as necessary)

Or Nature Notebook Activity

Bank Current Earn My Keep Task (completely optional, does not have to come from the book, 0-2 tasks per week) Current Earn My Keep Task (completely optional, does not have to come from the book, 0-2 tasks per week) Current Earn My Keep Task (completely optional, does not have to come from the book, 0-2 tasks per week) Current Earn My Keep Task (completely optional, does not have to come from the book, 0-2 tasks per week) Last Friday of the Month ~ Mom’s Earn My Keep Store Opens
OK History Occasional
but at least a few days each quarter
Occasional
but at least a few days each quarter
Occasional
but at least a few days each quarter
Occasional
but at least a few days each quarter
Occasional
but at least a few days each quarter

I know it still looks kind of complicated but you should know that it took several drafts to reach this point.  The hardest part was not the arranging or scheduling but LEAVING ideas OUT.  Each time I finished a draft I would go back and closely examine every item.  Did I really think this was an activity that I could maintain (or would it be worth the effort required to maintain it) ??  If not, then out it went.  I kept cutting in this way until I was satisfied that the remaining plan was quite general, flexible and sustainable.  Even so, after the first week I still ended up tweaking it two times more.

Then I made tags for each of the boxes.  This was completely unnecessary but it was fun.  It looks cool and the tags help the kids (and me) keep track of what they are working on.

These are Brother’s tags – some of Sister’s look slightly different.

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Bible

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Spelling

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Writing

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History

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PE Class

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Geography

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Reading

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Bank

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Math

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Art

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OK History

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Science

Next time: a step by step through our day.

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3 thoughts on “How We Workbox ~ Part 4 (A New Framework Finally Emerges)

  1. Pingback: This Simple Life » Blog Archive » How We Workbox Part 5 ~ (Stepping Through)

  2. I’m just getting my feet wet with the idea of workboxes and I LOVE all your information. Thanks for sharing! What resource are you using in your skeleton plan for P.E.?

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