Friday, July 17, 2009


Another thing I've been thinking a lot about besides curriculum choices is setting a more structured schedule. I shared in another post that we are going to use Sue Patrick's Workbox System ( I still plan to post pictures of our system, but I'm not totally done organizing it yet, so that will have to wait. But, if you know anything about her system, you can predict what the pictures will look like, because I pretty much followed her advice to a T. ;)

In the workbox system, each child is given a set of numbered boxes (we are using about 8 per child). In each box are all the materials the child needs to complete one portion of their schoolwork for the day. Some boxes are work with mom boxes and others are meant for the child to complete alone. Interspersed between the more difficult boxes should be educational, fun, activities to kind of break up the monotony and provide the child with motivation to finish his work in order to get to the "fun stuff". There's more to it, but that's the gist of it.

In order to figure out our schedule, I used a grid showing the days of the week along the top and the numbers representing each workbox down the side. I filled out one grid per child and did this simultaneously so that I could plan for one child to be working alone while I was working one on one with the other child. Interspersed between that were activities that the three of us would participate in together. Here is what their days will look like:

Little Bean's boxes:
1. HWT Tears, Pre-K--all together
2. 100 Lessons--work with mom
3. A color/cut/paste activity or craft OR free reading--work alone
4. Right Start Math
5. Game or Puzzle OR circle time/bible/social studies work--all together
6. Handwriting Without Tears, Kindergarten workbook--this would sometimes be work with mom and other times be alone
7. Science OR BOB book OR Explode the Code--work with mom
8. Sentence School--work with mom

Miss O's boxes:
1. Handwriting Without Tears, Pre-K--all together
2. Color/Cut/Paste/Craft OR free reading--alone
3. Handwriting Without Tears workbook OR Explode the Code Workbook--work with mom
4. 10 to 15 minute Tot School activity
5. Game/Puzzle OR circle time/bible/social studies work--together
6. Free Reading OR Tactile activity--alone
7. Tactile OR fine motor activity--alone

--We will have a four day school week because our Wednesdays are filled with playgroup and Gymboree drop off, both of which are really important to me in terms of developing their socialization, gross motor, and independence skills.

--When you see OR on the list it doesn't mean they get to choose between activities, it indicates that on the weekly schedule it will alternate (ie. we will have circle time every other day, and on the alternate day we will play a game together).

Also, for both math and 100 Lessons I plan to do half of one lesson per day, so two full lessons of each per week for a four day week.

I anticipate about 10 to 20 minutes per box, and have organized them so that Miss O will be working on more lengthy activities when I am trying to work with Little Bean on more than one box in a row, so that is why she has one less box than he does. I'm hoping that having plenty of interesting work for her to do will give me more uninterrupted time to work with him on some of the work with mom boxes.

--I anticipate spending about 1.5 to 2.5 hours a day doing school work, however, I am not a hyper-structured person (I prefer some flexibility), so I won't be scheduling to the hour or allocating certain amounts of time per box/subject. Also, we have Gymboree on Monday mornings as well, so on that day our school time would be in the afternoon, while on Tues, Thurs, and Fri it would ideally be in the morning.

So, that's my plan in a nutshell. I'll definitely be updating how things are going once we start (which will be in early September).


Crystal said...

Thanks for sharing your schedule and curriculum choices. It is so helpful! I don't own the Workbox book yet, but I can see how great it would be to implement that. I like how you have everything set up! Thanks for your help and insight! I love your blog!!!:)

Miller Moments said...

This post was so helpful to me! I am just getting ready to purchase curriculum for my pre K kiddo and was really interested in the Handwriting Without Tears....I'm may just have to order that too!

And if it makes you feel any better, I am an ex-kindergarten teacher and I am going to purchase curriculum. I need the structure that it provides and am fearful that if I do online free curriculum type stuff, I'll slack off! :)

Too Many Hats said...

I think the workbox system sounds splendid, especially for younger children. It helps them develop independence.

SANDRA said...

Great schedule. I like your idea of having some of the workboxes for activities that the child can do alone and some that you work with your child. We use HWT and I found it to be a great handwriting curriculum. We use both purchased curriculum and online free resources and it works for me.

Lea said...

Wow, this is great. I need to get more organized with our day but still have not decided how much I want to structure them yet. They are three and will be four in the fall (one at end of September and one in early/mid Nov.). If they were going to public school, they would not start Pre-K until 2010.

Up until now, I have taken the approach of learning through play and have followed their lead on most things. It has worked well for us and they have learned a lot but I need to start something a little more structured for them this year. Must get to work on that:).

Thanks for sharing!

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