Sunday, April 25, 2010


We have been using workboxes nearly all of this school year, and they truly changed our school dynamics!! I am not sure how I schooled without them now! A woman named Sue Patrick invented the system and has book on it. She designed them for a child with ADD but I truly believe they are great for any child.
The basic idea is that each child has a number of drawers, file folders, boxes, bins, magazine holders...etc. (You can use what ever system you choose, however the principle behind it is a visual if you have a visual learner or ADD child you may not want to use the file folders).
We chose to use the Sterilite clear drawers (set of 6) for Carson (3rd) and Madelyn (1st)...I also purchased an extra set and I use that for Cam & Ann (ages 4). I bought mine at Staples and they were about $29 each...pricey but worth it!
So each day (or on occasion, the night before!) I stock the drawers with 6 things (sometimes less) that each child can complete on their own or with a bit of help from mom.
This sounds too simplistic...but it works. The children know what is expected of them, they know the order they need to go in, they can see their work at a glance so they realize what is expected of them to finish for the day etc. With multiple children they can all get started and work side by side on different things without the dreaded "What do I do next?" or "I'm all done" (when they are NOT!)!!

So what goes in them?

Well for my 3rd grader it is usually any of his "workbook" handwriting, copywork, reasoning, Wordly Wise, spelling (he brings that to me and I give him the test), Apologia review work or crosswords, math, pen pal letters (include envelope, stamp, paper) etc.
I like to throw in a card game with Maddie, a puzzle, 15 minutes of free time, build a lego structure etc. Just a little something to break up the day and add a little hands on activity.

For Madelyn (1st grade) I keep things a bit more spiced up, because she is a struggling learner and too many "workbooks" send her into a puddle of emotional breakdowns! So hers usually have 2 "fun" things each by fun I mean an art project, drawing project, pen pal letter, fun journaling page, preschool activity bag, art dobbers, etc.
Her other boxes would be spelling, phonics, math, handwriting etc.

For Annie & Cam (4 year olds) I keep it all hands on fun with maybe one handwriting page or themed activity. So if we are studying farm animals they might have a farm animal printable book, farm lacing cards, construction paper with farm stickers, a mini play-doh with a cookie cutter...etc. They can do the boxes in any order. Any many times I do not even switch theirs out daily..maybe weekly.

Our drawers fit under each childs desk. Attached are numbers 1-6 that are laminated and velcroed on do each the drawer is finished they remove the number and place it in a tray. This way at a glance they can see what is left to do!

A card game for an older child..

a preschool activity bag....

This is what I plan to implement next year. This will be laminated. The way this will work is that there will be picture discs for any number of these spots. #1 might be brush teeth, #2 might be make bed #3 might be get dressed then #4,5,6,7,8,9 will be the workboxes , #10 will be clean your jurisdiction, #11 etc...
I am adding this because the visual-ness of the workboxes work so well, so I figured adding in the daily chores would make sense.

An example of a preschoolers box...

What the box looks like after boxes 1 & 2 are completed.

Extra Tidbits!
-I switch up the order of the subjects each day.
-I split up things that require a lot of writing with math or puzzle etc
-It gives me an opportunity to print fun holiday activities
-It helps me use things that I normally will not build into a school day
Here are some of my FAVORITE workbox blogs/sites! Enjoy!

She uses the bin system!
Here is everything you need to know about workboxes!
Homeschoolshare has some great printable and activities!
She has some of my favorite resources out there! (poke around her site becuase she has lots of great preschool resources too!
That should keep you busy for awhile!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easter Day!

We had a great Easter morning...great Easter service and then out to my moms for lunch! After lunch we fished, hunted eggs, rode on the four-wheeler and enjoyed time together as a family! Several times throughout the day we reminded ourselves that these two precious little brown boys were sitting in an orphange last year. It is so hard to believe that they have not always been here, with full tummies, baskets of candy and lots of hugs and kisses! I think of all the children home this year with their forever families....and all of those still sitting in orphanages waiting for a mommy and daddys love. Our lives have forever been changed by these boys! What a wonder day to remember our King and how we are also adopted and loved by a ever-loving father!

My Maddie and cousin Maddie!! Yeap, My step-sister and I were pregnant at the same time...and we both picked out the name Madelyn...and they were both surprises and were both GIRLS! We don't seem them often enough but they get along SOO well once they are together! On you mark, get set go!!! Find those Easter eggs....!!

The boys safe from the doggies in daddys arms!!

Our sweet family! (that is my moms pond on her property..isn't it beautiful)

The sweet grandchildren...

My sweet kiddos and my two nieces!

Ready for church..

Our eggs including our fun tie-dyed eggs. We also made chocolate covered pretzels!!

Fun at Louisville Slugger

Paul grew up in Chicago, and is lucky enough to kept in touch with many of his childhood friends. One his friends married a really cool girl and if they lived closer I feel like it is safe to say we would be very close! Add to that, all of our kiddos get along great too! We get to Chicago about once or twice a year and they get down here about the same. They came down a few weeks ago for a long weekend.
We started off at Waffle House (evidently they do not have WH in Chicago, so that was a must for Pete!) then we headed to Louisville Slugger Museum. The kiddos all enjoyed the museum, the daddys hit some balls in the batting cages and we all went on the factory tour and received our little mini bats!

Next we headed to Waterfront park...whew that was so stressful to keep an eye on so many littles ones. So after awhile we decided Tumbleweed was calling our name! This was a pic of all of the kiddos on the hill prior to rolling down!
Not sure why this pic turned on me...but this is Maddie holding Mickey Mantles bat!

...some great words

Our friends who are adopting from ET are simply incredible with words. Nearly everytime I read their blog I am blown away...last night was yet another time! (And this time it is even a quest blogger!)
Please check out JT & Natalies blog so you can think about what might have been.....