Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rethinking Workboxes

We've been doing Workboxes for about three months now. I've done hanging files and boxes. We've tried everything from 5 to 12 boxes. I've tried having subjects and then supplements boxes. I've tried having everything together for a subject. And although it works OK, I am finding that we feel tied down. School isn't a free-flowing fun learning experience. It is about getting the boxes done.

I do like the boxes for organization because I am able to put everything we need for a subject in the box and I don't have to hunt for items that we need. So I am thinking about the boxes. And I am thinking about the order that we do school. And I am even thinking about the location of school.

If we changed the order, I would do something like this:

read aloud
anything else (science, geography, biomes, lapbooks, 4-H, art, music, etc.)

Sometimes, I wonder about going to a more free-flowing system. Like one used in the Montessori schools where the children pick and choose what they want to do. They have to do the list but they can choose what order to do things in.

I've also thought about the Waldorf block scheduling. Where we would concentrate on a topic for 2-4 weeks for the bulk of the school day but they would have a little time each day to read and do math.

I guess I want to see them want to learn and to take charge of their learning rather than me being the one to push things along. I've always admired the unschooling movement and really wished that I could do that but I have control issues.

Have you tried any sort of different way of teaching or encouraging independent learning and how did it work for you?

I'm going to think about things some more and get back to you when I have next week pulled together.


Christie said...

We use the workbox system with hanging folders. For my oldest (who will be 12 soon), I have him set up his workbox for the week instead of each day. He keeps track of his own work with the majority of it just doing the *next lesson* every day. I don't hound him about his work. He knows when he has moved all 12 numbers from the folders to the grid that he is done...and he knows no play time until then. He does have breaks but the real fun doesn't come until after he finishes his work for the day. When he comes to English, math, or a problem, he brings his work to me and we work together. If I'm busy with another child, he sets it aside and moves on until I'm ready for him. It keeps him pretty independent and on track without me hovering over him all day long.

jennybell said...

I was going to say something similar to Christie in that you could do the schedule by the week and let each child decide what to do each day, but they have to finish a certain number of lessons for the could be all the science for the week one day. You don't have to have that many boxes, just if they finish the math box one day for instance and they want to do another math box, they bring it back to you to fill up. It's a little more work on your part because you have to think a week ahead, but my guess already do! Or you could do 2 days at a time and just let them determine the order.


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