After much contemplating I finally decided to do the workbox system with Margaret. I never wanted to do it before because it just seemed like a lot of work, and it is a LOT of work. But I think it'll end up being the type of work that is worth it.
It took me almost a whole month to get this ready for Margie. I researched and read about how others are doing this. I organized my materials by subject and I am keeping a binder with lists of the materials for easy reference. I am also keeping a weekly schedule that shows what was in the bins. My main objective is to have as many materials as possible that she can complete on her own.
So instead of buying some kind of expensive box system, I just picked up these plastic bins with lids at Walmart and stacked them on a low shelf. She does struggle a bit to get the bins and in and out, but she has it pretty well figured out. She has eight shallow bins and two deep ones. Fewer than they recommend, but plenty for Margaret.
So what am I filling these wonderful and inexpensive bins with? For starters, I downloaded the K4 curriculum over at Confessions of a Homeschooler. It is an amazing amount of material. I sent about a third of it to the copy place and had it color copied and then brought it home and laminated it. Please note that I am not following as a 34 week program. I went through and found items I thought would be good in the workboxes. Some of the items from this week included the Dot-to-Number wheels, Color Squares, and handwriting sheets. There is always one and sometimes two boxes with materials from Confessions of a Homeschooler.
Some boxes always have the same item. I have a box with a craft sheet from All About Reading~ Pre-Level, a Kuman Workbook cutting page, and the Handwriting without Tears Workbook for her level.
There are paints, markers, glitter glue, crayons, etc., all inside the bin with the activity. It make it so much easier to have her open it and everything is ready. When she is done she has learned to put everything back into the bin and place the bin back on the shelf.
I have also watched for sales for maniplulatives that would be good. JoAnn Fabrics has a wonderful little educational section now. Using a coupon you can get good quality wooden materials for low cost. In the picture above, Margaret is using a pattern set that is in a flower theme. I got it for just over $10 (reg $40) at JoAnn Fabrics.
I have also discovered that Homeschool Share has a Workbox section that is filled with links to print up workbook activities for free. I think I will be checking that out for next week.
I won't deny that there is a fair amount of extra work involved in this program. I am spending 20 to 30 minutes a night filling the boxes. I am hoping that as I get more used to it, I can fill them more quickly. Margaret has done really well with this so far, and it has bought me quite a bit of time with the older boys. I really like that she can complete the work by herself. I really don't like that I have to fill the bins every day.