Review: Workbox System

Having trouble organizing your day? Children complaining and mom and kids are fighting too much? You might want to check out Sue Patrick’s Workbox System.  Sue has come up with a simple solution to ending those fights, especially if you are juggling homeschooling more than one child.  I asked my friend Paula, who has implemented a variation of this system in her home, to share with you just how it works. Here is her review:


"Work boxes" or in this case "work files" have resulted in a much more relaxed homeschooling day for us. I am no longer telling the children what to do next, they are telling me. Also, I no longer have to say "You need to focus on your work it has to be finished before you can go play."

So what are work files you may be asking? They are just a file box with hanging file folders and a timer for each child.

What do you need?

For each child you need:

-a file box with hanging files

-numbers for each file

-paperclips to clip the numbers to the files

-velcro for the back of the numbers

-a grid with velcro on the front of the file box

-a timer

How do they work?

After we have completed our together school work each child goes to their file box and does whatever is in the first file folder. This may be something like "math lesson with mom 30 minutes."  They will come to me with their timer and tell me it’s time for their math lesson.  They set the timer for the 30 minutes and we do their lesson.  If the lesson is finished before the time goes off we sometimes move on to the next lesson, or they have free time until the timer bings.  If the lesson is not finished when the timer goes off we stop and start at that point the next day.  Number 1 file is completed and the child removes the number from the file and places it on the grid on the front of the box. We have 12 files, but we do not use all 12 every day.

The student move on to file 2, this may be a worksheet to reinforce the math lesson, it will have a time at the top for the timer. Most work sheets I give 30 minutes to complete and if they get done before the timer goes off they bring it to me to check.  If there are problems they correct those and if there is time left they have free time.  They have learned that it is better to take their time and get it correct the first time so that they will have extra free time.

Other things that I put in the files are "go outside and play for 15 minutes", "play on the computer for 15 minutes".  For the computer we have a file under favorites labeled school games.  They can play any of these games during school and cannot play any other computer games until all school work is completed.

Sometimes I put craft supplies in a zipper bag into a folder, and occasionally I will put "this is a day off" into the their first folder.

This has really worked wonders for our family. They are excited to see what is in each folder each day. Also, they are managing their time much better. We are actually  doing more and finishing earlier. The children seem to really enjoy being in control of their day with their timers and telling me when it’s lesson time.