Saturday, April 6, 2013

I'm SOO excited!!  This is a little out of order perhaps in my homeschooling posts, but I can't help myself. SUPER EXCITED!

A number of months ago I ran across this homeschooling organizing method called workboxes.  I think there's a lady that has actually patented the name.

Up until now, we were using plain old baskets--the ones you can actually see on top of the organizers here.  I snapped this shot yesterday after getting the boxes into place--I haven't actually completed the organizational aspect of it all yet, so as you can see, our baskets are still full.
The baskets had had their day.  It was fine when the kiddies were little and all they were doing was 2-3 subjects.  But now that Honour is up into grade 4-6 work and the others are slowly increasing their subjects, the baskets, on one hand breaking down due to a few years of use, were also just not cuttin' it.

Enter in, the workboxes!  As I said, I came upon this idea, have no recollection how exactly, but I thought it sounded fabulous.  And so I started pining for organizers to do the job.  These things do not come cheap!  It was also hard to find ones that were the right dimensions.
One of the bloggers I read said that they used this type (pictured above) which were actually scrapbooking organizers.  Each drawer is a unit unto itself and has a latching lid.  This is apparently handy so that if your child doesn't get their math done before heading off for the dentist appointment, they can grab their math box and take it with them--it even provides a 'desk' to work on.  I was a little hesitant about that aspect actually, as I had visions of the boxes going hither and yon and never making it back into its' cart.  However, after scouring every store in the area that would carry this kind of organizer, I began to realize that the scrapbooking one was the only unit with drawers the right size.  We use alot of binders so each drawer had to be 12X12 at least.  And I didn't want a unit with some shallow drawers and some deep ones, as you often see--I wanted them all the same size.  Tall expectations!
I found what I wanted at Solutions, the organizing store, in Burlington.  They were $60 each! (hmmm, times four....) This was going to have to be a project we waited and/or saved for.  Well, due to a change in finances recently (which I'll blog a bit about soon), we happened to have some money we could use on this.  For a week now I've been mentally raking through my schedule, trying to figure out when I could get out to Solutions.

And then I got a flat tire.
(Blessing in disguise, lol)

On Thursday as I dropped Verity off at the gym, some kind stranger knocked on my window and told me my tire was flat.  Our van runs so rough these days that I had had no idea!  Once I got the donut on (yes, ME, I got the tire changed :-) I made it home and called James to tell him we were going to need a new tire.  We always buy used at Good To Go Tires on the east mountain so I arranged to meet him there and we would trade off vehicles so I could go to my teaching job.

I knew I needed to hit Michaels before that though, as I needed to pick up a few supplies for the scrapbooking class I was teaching at church later that evening.  I had planned to go to the Ancaster store, but instead rerouted for the Winterberry store as it was closer to Good To Go.
As I walked into that particular Michaels, lo and behold, what was on sale, 40% off in the foyer!?!?  Indeed, my long-dreamed-about workboxes, 50% cheaper than the Solutions store had been selling them for.

I found my supplies and stood at the check-out desk.  As the lady rang in my stuff, I asked how long the organizers would be on sale.  After some confusion of terms (This week.  This week? Thursday.  Today?  Next Thursday. Wait, which organizers?) she followed me over and I pointed out exactly which ones.  She fingered one of the half a dozen bright orange sale tags proclaiming them to be 40% off and said dispassionately,

"Oh, that sale is expired".

[Sound of my organized homeschooling dream crashing into pieces].

{OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic.  I was crestfallen}

The tag she pointed to declared that the sale had ended on March 23. Nearly two weeks earlier.  Wait, what, 2 weeks ago?  What's up with that???

"It's not still for sale?", I asked, earnestly.  "Are you sure?".

One look at my face and the sound of my (rather calm, really) voice behooved her to recall her "the customer is always right" training and her shoulders dropped a fraction.

"If you take it right now, I'll let you have it on sale", she acquiesced.
"But I need FOUR!", I protested.  But I had her.  She knew she couldn't back out now. Muahahaha....

The kids and I struggled our four organizers out to the van (which also held a flat tire in the back) and for a brief moment I wondered how I would ever fit them in my Oddy.  But where there's a will, there's a way!

So now, back to the boxes and how we will use them.  I'll admit, this is actually going to require a bit more of me in terms of preparation.  The majority of my curriculum is completely prepared for me and rarely requires more than a quick scan before I go through a lesson with a child.  I'm up for it though--I'm keen to bring our homeschool to a new level of cohesiveness and depth.

I will tonight (likely) be creating some labels that I will have laminated.  Each box will have a label (labelabelable). (sorry, Mr. Scrooge takes over sometimes), and I'll attach these to the front of each box with a velcro dot.  Also, each box will have a check mark or a star or some other happy symbol which will likewise attach with a velcro dot.

The evening or morning before our school day begins, I will go through the boxes and prepare the assignment for each subject.  For some subjects, this will be fairly easy, because as I said, I use curriculum that flows easily from day to day with little prep. (Math-u-see, for instance, Explode the Code or reading).  But others I've been finding really need more than a few moments of prep and I've accepted that that's the way it goes with homeschooling as the kids get older.
When the kids go up for lesson time in the mornings, the boxes are all ready for them to go through one at a time and complete their work.  As they finish, the velcro checkmark is pulled off and put in one of the molded separators on the top.  I'll put the checks back when I reset the boxes.
Some resources recommend that you also have labels that say "to do with mom" or something like that.  I may do that, although it'll be sorta moot on Jairus' boxes. {shrug}.  Another good idea is to have a pic symbol strip (just like they used to use for Jairus in school, or in some of his past therapies) that he/they can follow along and remove the pics from the strip instead of the checkmarks from the boxes.

Either way, I'm WAY excited that we were finally able to get our boxes!

A few links on workboxes: