Homeschool Creations

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Our New Workbox System ~ Workbook Weekly Grid

Last year we first started using workboxes and for the most part, we followed along the way it was supposed to go ~ except we used workfolders rather than workboxes. This year, after talking to the girls a bit, we revamped our system to make it work better for us. Ginger-Snap-Shots did this very thing last year with her girls with a little bit of a different twist.

This year, instead of using numbers for both the girls and Zachary, we’re switching to a more visual system. This way the kids can see what is expected of them each day. We also ditched the number strips because it was getting plain ol’ tedious for me to pull, switch, and sort the numbers everyday.

The Workbox Weekly Grid Layout

Our new workbox system will have the entire week laid out ahead of time. I have planned out what days we’ll be covering certain subjects and can lay out each child’s week in a short amount of time. Their new card system is closer to the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and each day has it’s own sheet.

Here’s a peek at Laurianna’s Weekly Grid so you can get a visual of what I am describing:

Workbook Weekly Grid

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the velcro that attaches the activity card is actually on the corner of the card {I used 3/8” sized velcro coins}. The front of each of the cards has another 3/8'” velcro dot in the top right corner. When the kids are done with that subject/activity, they can simply flip the card over {see the picture below}.

Workbox Weekly Grid example

Here’s a look at the entire week laid out as individual days. It is a lot of tags, BUT I don’t have to keep resticking them since they get flipped over. :) Friday is always skimpy since that’s the day that we have co-op and end up playing with friends.

Workbox Weekly Grid Cards

The cards for each day have all been put together on a jump ring and they hang on the wall from that ring. Each child has their own special color of the Weekly Workbox Grid {because you all know that I color-code my kids}. The first page of the workbox weekly grid is actually their chore and daily ‘to do’ list ~ I’ll be sharing more about our new chore system later. :)

Workbox Weekly Grid Storage

Using the Workfolders

We are still using the workfolders this year, and they will hold the worksheets and books that the kids are using for the entire week. Instead of having numbers on each folder this year, each page will have a subject card showing what should be in that pocket.

Here’s a little peek inside a folder to show you how we’re tying the workfolders into this system.

Workbox Workfolders

In the left pocket are Laurianna’s math cd-roms along with some scratch paper to do her math work. In the right hand pocket is her spelling progress chart. You can see a ‘Mom’s help’ tag on the pocket too ~ showing that she is going to need my help with this subject. Our folders have a total of 12 pockets, so the remaining pockets have subject tags for language, writing, history, science, Bible, handwriting, reading, etc…

Laurianna has been excited about this because she can actually work ahead in her school week if she would like to! If she wants to do three math lessons in one day, she can do that and then flip over those cards on the upcoming days.

Big and Bulky Items

Larger Workbox items

We’re still using the same system for ‘big and bulky’ items that we did last year. Each kiddo has their own special big bin on the bottom of Kaleb’s workbox station. He’ll use the top 8 bins and the bottom four are for bigger items like puzzles, leapsters, games, etc… I’ll explain more about Kaleb’s workboxes later in a preschool post.

Yes, it’s a lot of laminating on my part. And lots of tiny velcro dots. BUT in the long run, this is the system that the kids and I have talked about and will work best for us. Sometimes keeping my sanity is more important {grins}. Having the cards all in one place and not scattered over our table or everyone’s cards in a bucket helps me out immensely. Since our schedule doesn’t change much from week to week, I’m able to quickly flip cards and re-stock their workfolders in one sitting.

I’ve included some additional links for you all below to help you out if you are using workboxes or want to use a system similar to mine. :) If you have a question, please feel free to leave a comment with your email address so that I can answer you!! I’m sure I’ll be posting updates about our system to further answer questions, but this is it in a nutshell!

Workbox Resources

~ Workbox Weekly Grid ~ pdf download of the pages I put together for our kids including pink, purple, blue, green and white pages for Monday through Friday.

~ Workbox Picture Activity Cards ~ Overall, there are a total of 32 picture cards, 24 minute cards, and 4 blank cards for you.

~ Preschool Number Cards ~ Number cards with some fun characters {if you are using the traditional workbox system}

~ Scotch laminator ~ this is the laminator I use and until July 31, 2010 there is a $20 rebate when you buy the laminator and a 50 pack of laminating pouches. I love mine so much I bought a spare {sad, but true}.

~ Workbox system using number strips and workfolders {our system last year}

~ Velcro in BULK. I purchased the 3/8” velcro dots from Textol Systems but have also found larger coins at even better prices from Feiner Supply {and they have free shipping this month!}

~ Lots of great workbox links, ideas and ways to adjust the workbox system.


Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Note: You might notice that some of our activity cards differ from the ones that are in my Workbox Picture Activity Cards pdf file because they are specific to our family ~ and are images that are not from Microsoft clip art. I have not included them because although we are using them for our family, they are not copyright free {First Language Lessons, Teaching Textbooks, Complete Writer, Awana, etc…}.

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  • Jolanthe,

    Thank you so much for sharing your new system. I have been trying to tweak the workbox system to fit our family and these modifications sound like what I have been trying to iron out. I look forward to hearing more about your chores and preschool planning. Thanks again!


    Karen H

    By Blogger Mrs. Hewett, At July 8, 2010 at 7:16 AM  

  • I'm going to work on our system in the next few weeks and will be sharing what I came up with too. With 6 children homeschooling and to in Pre-K I need to be seriously organized for my sanity too!

    Your idea is great :-) Thanks for sharing!
    Love you,

    By Blogger Unknown, At July 8, 2010 at 7:25 AM  

  • Thank you so much for sharing. I bought my 12"x12" scrapbooking drawers to use as boxes and I was waiting on your new cards to finalize the details. Thanks for keeping me organized!

    By Blogger Monica, At July 8, 2010 at 8:39 AM  

  • Thanks, as always, for sharing your wisdom and experiences. I am re-working our workboxes and these are some great thoughts on changing things around. Many blessings to you and your family for all you do!

    By Blogger Heather Mac, At July 8, 2010 at 8:47 AM  

  • What an awesome post! You are so organized and it is wonderful that you are willing to share these resources:)) I still love the artwork I got from you last year...guess we should upgrade!

    By Anonymous Heather, At July 8, 2010 at 9:04 AM  

  • Hi,
    Thank you for your blog, its awesome.
    I have a award for you @

    By Blogger OurHopeIsInTheLord, At July 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM  

  • Thank you for this post. I have the workbox system as well but wanted to revamp it some and your ideas are just up our alley! I do want to know if you could post a link to your redone tags. I see you have a link to your old one but there are some subjects you have on your big cards now that are not on your old tags. That would be a great help since we do some similar curriculum. Thank you so much for always sharing your ideas! It makes my life more fun since I don't have to do all the brainstorming... since you do! :)

    By Blogger Missouri Mommy, At July 8, 2010 at 9:30 AM  

  • Thanks for sharing this. I have been trying to figure out a way to make workboxes work for our family. This seems like a great system. I'm going to be working on getting our next school year organized over the next few weeks.

    By Anonymous Monica, At July 8, 2010 at 9:36 AM  

  • Hi from a crew member. I've actually been following your blog for about a year and love it! We used the workbox system last year and enjoyed it. I like how you have personalized it to fit what you what to do.

    By Blogger Our Homeschool Reviews, At July 8, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

  • Sorry. I just read the note below your signature. It makes sense about copyright. Can you explain how you make them yourself?

    By Blogger Missouri Mommy, At July 8, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

  • we love workboxes here too! I am going to have to take a closer look at your changes. lol, I color code our 4 kids here too. =0)

    By Blogger cooperkelly4, At July 8, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

  • WOW! I use a thin drawer, and folders just like yours. I found them at WalMart months ago. I color code my kids too, and not just for homeschool!

    By Blogger Sam, At July 8, 2010 at 10:34 AM  

  • These are awesome ideas. Thanks a bunch for sharing. Organization is my biggest challenge!

    By Blogger Insightful Brain, At July 8, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

  • Very cute! I love how they kids just flip the cards right over. Genius!

    By Blogger Stefanie, At July 8, 2010 at 2:46 PM  

  • I can't wait to start homeschooling. I believe you gave us a few links of how others use the workboxes system and I found one that will work great for us. We live in a small apartment so actual boxes may be a problem lol.

    Here's a link to the one I'm following.

    A lot of the stuff that I will be putting in each folder are things for the boys to fill out and then put into a lapbook. That's another thing I just learned about....lapbooks....can't wait to do those too!! I joined

    I had a "plan" on how I was going to do it for about 3 years now. I start this fall and this summer everything has changed. Talk about last minute!! lol

    By Blogger Angell, At July 8, 2010 at 3:02 PM  

  • I love your ideas. I was perfectly satisfied with my schedule strips this year until my 5-year-old kept misplacing hers, and now she's lost 2 of her numbers as well. Plus my 2-year-old likes to pull off the numbers and bend them. I like the idea of the weekly schedules... looks like I'm going to have to rethink our workbox system for next year.

    By Blogger Debbie, At July 8, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

  • Hi!

    It is so similar to what I created! I guess I am a good student of yours. I saw your Morning Board post and created one for our family. I thought it would be good to have a schedule as well for each child (ages 6 and 3). So I created a Schedule Board. The board is divided in two (one side per child). It has their picture, and a laminated schedule that has velcro squares ready to accept daily activities. I too created squares depicting activities. I did not think of turning them as they are done :-( Instead, I created a little box (one for each child) which holds their activity squares. It is attached to the board with an oversize clip. Every morning, I have the children put up their activities on the board. I also created a Good Job medal where I place a Good Job Coin (I used pirate loot money that is cute and colorful - it is held up there with velcro). The kids get the coin only if they have done all their work for the day. They collect the coins in a transparent box with lid that is attached with velcro to the board. I created Good Job rewards boxes where they get a prize when they for 5 or 10 coins. Small trinkets are in the boxes - its a way to keep the little one motivated and the older one gets to learn about saving money.

    I cannot thank you enough for all the information you have provided. I feel so inspired by all your work! You are a blessing!


    By Blogger Anne, At July 8, 2010 at 3:50 PM  

  • Thanks so much for sharing all your stuff. I am wondering what program you used as I want to add some additional stuff relevant to our family. Thanks, Tonya

    BTW - are you a pea as well. I think I recognize your kids.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 8, 2010 at 3:54 PM  

  • Hi! I'm working on our system now too. We're definitely going with some kind of work binder because we don't have the space for work boxes. I created my own schedule cards, but now I just need to decide how I want to present and maintain them. I'm leaning toward getting a tabletop pocket chart so all we have to do is flip over the cards each day.

    By Blogger Catherine, At July 8, 2010 at 4:17 PM  

  • Jolanthe,
    We are planning on using this system this year with the work folders as well! Would you mind emailing me the Picture Activity Card file as an attachment as I cannot download such a large file on our dial-up? Thanks so much!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 8, 2010 at 4:41 PM  

  • Jolanthe!

    Thank you so much for this!!! We love our workboxes but I needed a bit of refinement. I am totally stealing the weekly grid!!

    As always, I appreciate your great stewardship of your gifts & time, and your energy for educating with excellence (both things I could work on!).

    Thanks again,

    By Blogger Karen, At July 8, 2010 at 5:19 PM  

  • Tonya ~

    I create most of my files using Publisher and then convert them to PDFs.

    By Blogger Jolanthe, At July 8, 2010 at 5:37 PM  

  • Sorry if this is a duplicate. I love your site. Thank you so much. I am just joining the workbox party. A couple of questions - what program did you use for your activity cards. I want to add a few that are specific for our family but want them to match! Also, how many velcro tabs do you think you use. I have 2 kids so it will be less.

    Finally, are you a pea because I feel I recogonize your kids from somewhere. :)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 8, 2010 at 9:06 PM  

  • Is it possible to convert back from pdf to publisher to edit them? Tonya

    By Anonymous Tonya, At July 8, 2010 at 9:07 PM  

  • I like your folders and working so hard this summer to plan for the year. I've read how you do your weekly folders. Where do start? Do you just follow your curriculum or look at learning objectives? Also, if you put the entire week in one folder, how do they know what to do each day? I love your blog and wonder how you get it all done!

    By Blogger Tonya Lee, At July 9, 2010 at 6:07 PM  

  • Hi Jolanthe,
    I have been reading your blog for awhile and benefited greatly from it. Thank you for your kindness to post all your ideas. I am doing something similar to your current workboxes card activity. How do you put front book cover of the book you are using on the activity card? what program do you use? Thank you

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 9, 2010 at 6:58 PM  

  • GREAT post. It is very helpful. I love all of the details. :)

    By Blogger The Attached Mama, At July 9, 2010 at 10:37 PM  

  • I love it! Great looking system!

    By Blogger April, At July 13, 2010 at 10:00 AM  

  • I just asked a bunch of questions on your workfolder post from last year, and now I see that this post answers a lot of them. However, I have one that wasn't answered here.

    Did you move to the grid system because you wanted something you set up once a week instead of once a day, or was there a problem with the workfolder system? My little ones do better if they see the actual work rather than a picture, so I am hoping a workfolder system with their work in the pockets will solve my problems. I don't mind setting up daily.

    By Blogger Robin E., At July 14, 2010 at 6:26 PM  

  • I just wanted to say thanks for the posts on the workbox system! I started the system in Feb and school was SO MUCH EASIER! We were able to finish work quickly and head out to play in the nice Spring weather (a commodity here in N. Texas).

    I came across your post today and headed over to your website, where I ended up purchasing the laminator on Amazon! They should pay you a referral fee. ;) I will really appreciate not having to take so many trips to Mardel... only for posters now!

    Anyway, great site! Thanks for sharing!

    By Anonymous Candice, At July 14, 2010 at 11:40 PM  

  • Looks like a great set-up! I enjoy seeing your ideas!

    By Blogger Brenna, At July 15, 2010 at 3:41 PM  

  • Do you have a file for your chore charts? They look wonderful! :) Thanks!

    By Blogger Ladybug, At July 16, 2010 at 7:02 PM  

  • Your system sounds great! It sounds like it would work especially well with older kids! I will definitely have to keep this in mind for the future!

    By Blogger Chic Mama, At July 20, 2010 at 2:56 AM  

  • I can't seem to get any of the PDFs. Anytime I click the thumbnails, I get a blogger page that tells me they don't exist. Is there any way you would consider emailing them???

    By Blogger zekesmom10, At July 23, 2010 at 11:14 AM  

  • Great minds think alike...even down to the velcro flip cards! Sadly, my oldest has grown tired of this system and doesn't want to use it this year so I think I am back to a daily sheet that she will simply check off. I just had a conversation with my husband and am about burnt out with spending the time and energy coming up with these "systems" that seem to fizzle. I guess you win some you lose some! Anyway, it looks wonderful and I hope it works great for you. You may want to check out my method for storing additional tags (see links below).


    Daily cards...

    Tag storage...

    By Blogger Ginger, At July 29, 2010 at 10:17 PM  

  • Can you please tell me where you got your workfolders from? I have looked and looked online and I can't seem to find them anywhere. I really would like to buy some and we start school in 1 1/2 weeks so I need to get cracking. Any suggestions?

    By Blogger Missouri Mommy, At July 30, 2010 at 10:32 AM  

  • I have to ask- for all of those little activity cards- do you have to laminate each one and cut out around them, or can you laminate the whole page and then cut out the cards. I'm really hoping it's the latter so I don't have to cut out 3,000 cards twice, LOL.

    By Blogger Mama Foxx (Jenn), At September 8, 2010 at 2:45 PM  

  • Sorry if this is a duplicate. I love your site. Thank you so much. I am just joining the workbox party. A couple of questions - what program did you use for your activity cards. I want to add a few that are specific for our family but want them to match! Also, how many velcro tabs do you think you use. I have 2 kids so it will be less.

    Finally, are you a pea because I feel I recogonize your kids from somewhere. :)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 15, 2010 at 1:01 PM  

  • Thanks so much for sharing all your stuff. I am wondering what program you used as I want to add some additional stuff relevant to our family. Thanks, Tonya

    BTW - are you a pea as well. I think I recognize your kids.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 15, 2010 at 1:01 PM  

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