Thursday, March 19, 2009


Recently on the Five in the Row boards and Homeschoolshare boards, moms have been talking about a new way to organize the school day using Sue Patrick's Workbox System. She developed this system to help her son who has autism, but it can help any child or parent who is looking for more structure or organization in their school day. Her book ( either spiral bound or ebook) explains the system in detail and gives lots of ideas. With purchase of the book, you will be able to download forms and cards to get started. For convenience, these are also available for purchase on her website--already printed and laminated. The cards use Boardmaker pictures which is helpful since A17 is familar with it. One of the cards is a work with Mom card. This is used to tell students which activities are to be done with Mom and which are to be done independently.

Very simplified, the system has you use 6-12 plastic shoeboxes on a rack and put one piece of work into each box. The idea is to promote independence, focus, and attention in a structured learning environment. The student sees what work is expected and as the number of boxes is emptied, can see progress being made. In addition he can anticipate a fun activity by looking ahead at the boxes. Hopefully this will promote motivation. It helps the mom with organization--no more hunting for supplies at the last minute and losing the student's attention. It also helps to add more "fun" educational activities into the day. If you're like me you have lots of cool stuff packed away in the closet or a tote that you mean to pull out or forgot you had! The workbox system helps you get those items out and into the boxes. Learning centers, file folder games, unit studies can all work well with this system. The book includes lots of ideas for the workboxes.

With A17's special needs, we needed to change the system a bit. We are starting with 6 boxes for now. Since he can't physically get to the box, I will bring it to him. My goal in implementing this system is to become better organized for our school work and to think very carefully about which activities A17 can do on his own or with very little help. We have used a visual schedule in the past. This is just taking that a step further. In box 1 is Touchmath, box 2 is magnetic counters and pattern cards, box 3 are books to read for our oceans unit study, box 4 has lapbook materials, box 5 has a craft, and box 6 has a chalkboard book plus chalk.

If you would like to see how some other moms have implemented this system, check out these blogs.
Our Lifesong
Joyful Mother of 6 Children
Walking By the Way
Teaching 2 in TX

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