But even after wading though the plethora of ideas out there, we realized none of them would work just right for us. We were at a loss. Then I remembered this storage system from Ikea and we were inspired! Just one problem though...it wasn't the right size and was WAAAY out of our price range. $223.95! And that didn't even include the boxes!! YIKES!
So my sweet hubby, being the talented carpenter he is, drew up the plans for what we needed and built it! It's so awesome and I absolutely LOVE it!! The boxes from Ikea are the perfect size for holding our schoolbooks and notebooks. So far nothing has been too big!
We decided to have 12 boxes for each of our school-aged children. To label the boxes, we printed numbers on colored cardstock, laminated them and stuck them on with sticky tack.
Each box holds a different book, workbook, or activity. When they are done with a box, they simply put it in backwards with the "Done" sign showing.
On Monday, Caleb's first box was Language Arts. He had copywork to do and the worksheet was in the binder along with his writing paper. (Don't you love how he decorated his notebook? I sure do!)
Time for spelling! I was introducing his spelling words for the week and had him spell them with letter cards as I called them out. He LOVED it!
Next up....Explode the Code!!
Okay, so I'm not going to bore you with a rundown of the contents of each of their boxes, but these were just some examples. Having everything ready and organized in the workbox system has made a HUGE difference in our school days. One big plus is that nobody has to wait on Mom to move on. While they often need my instruction or help, they are not distracted while having to wait for me to tell them what's next, get out their book, remember what we have to do, etc. I am so much more relaxed and able to really enjoy homeschooling!
Oh, and I have not heard "When am I going to be done???" Not one single time...it's a miracle!! =)
It's also been easier to include fun things for school. In past years we did not do a lot of fun stuff. I hate to admit it, but it's true! I simply forgot! But now, seeing an empty box triggers my brain to think of something extra and fun! On Monday, for Lydia's last box, I put in a math game card, a time limit card, a timer and our Rainbow Rock computer game. She was thrilled! (I printed my cards here.)
Here's something else "fun" that they find in their box....the "snack time" card! =) The moans and groans from math have been practically non-existent since they know what is awaiting them when they are finished!
One of my concerns when considering the workbox system was whether or not it would be a pain to fill them every day. Although I have only used this system for a short while, I can wholeheartedly say that it's not hard! Each week, (usually Saturday evening) I go through my Instructor's Guides and see what's coming up. Most books are used everyday so I don't have to worry about them, they just stay in the boxes. But for single worksheets, manipulatives and other books not used everyday, I put them in folders in a filing crate, labeled by subject . Then, when I fill our boxes in the evenings, all I have to do is glance at the IG (instructor's guide), grab what I need out of the filing crate, and put it in their box. This way, you are not digging through your notebooks or bookshelf every.single.night. trying to fill their boxes. That would be exhausting!
For example, this book, "Missionary Stories with The Miller's" was only used on Tuesday for Caleb. Since it wasn't going to be used everyday, I put it in his folder labeled "History." That way when I was filling the boxes Monday evening, I just had move it from the folder to his box. No searching the bookshelf required. Yay!
Same type of example...Lydia didn't start this book until mid-week so into her History folder it went! Taking the time to do this on a weekly basis has really stream-lined the process!
There's nothing else I can say other than I LOVE this system. It's simple, efficient and has made my life easier!
A great, big "Thank you!" goes to my husband for creating this...you are amazing! (And I love you bunches!!)
And do you know what's really awesome??? My husband has created a super-simple tutorial so that you can build one too. (I told you he's amazing!)
Update: The tutorial is finished and can be viewed here!