Sunday, April 1, 2012

Workplans (instead of workboxes)

If you click on the page link above and take a peek at our schoolroom, you'll likely see photos of some drawer/boxes that I originally planned to use like "workboxes".  To be honest, this system did not last long.  I have kept the boxes because it's nice for each boy to have his own shelf with a dedicated place to keep the materials for various subjects.  However, I have never ended up filling the boxes with work to be completed individually by the boys.  Instead, what I have done up until very recently is write out a list of work to be done for the day on an index card.  Each boy has their own card and they can check off each item once it's completed.  This system has worked very well, especially for my oldest son.  He has become much more responsible about getting his work done and can move from one activity to the next without interrupting me when I'm working with my younger son.  One downside to the cards (especially for my oldest son) is that because they are small, they tend to get lost during the day.  Perhaps that seems surprising since we are only using them right in our own home!!  Still, they often get placed under things or taken into another room and "forgotten".

When I decided to move to a more Montessori-based approach to our homeschool, I made some changes to our system.  Now, instead of writing up a list for each day, I type up a workplan that shows what work needs to be done in each subject for the whole week.  I require that they do at least one "work" in reading, language, and math each day.  Otherwise, they can work at their own pace and do the subjects in any order they want.  If they want to work ahead, that's okay.  In fact, I told them that if they finish everything by Thursday, they can have Friday off!!  We'll see how that works.  I'm hoping they will make it their goal to get almost everything done during Mon-Thur each week so we can be more relaxed on Fridays.  Maybe we'll plan field trips then, or maybe I'll let them look through my back issues of Family Fun magazine to choose a fun activity to do on Fridays.

To prevent our workplans from getting lost, I clip each boy's plan onto a clipboard.  My oldest son's board is shown below.


  1. I love it!

    When I was in a Montessori school I remember making a contract with the teacher each week (this would have been 4th and 5th grade). Every student would sit down with the teacher at the start of the week and together we would decide what would be a reasonable amount of work to be done. Then we were responsible for doing it. I'm guessing we were involved as students to give us more ownership over it.

  2. I've been doing a similar approach since the beginning of the year. It's the first "schedule" that's works for us. I lay out a plan for my 12 yr old for the week. He chooses what to do and when each day, but needing to work to completion. As for my 6yr old. If I let him choose to be responsible, very little would get done, if any. I watch for "signals" with my 6 yr old, and not push him to complete scheduled/planned things. Still allowing some "choice" in his plan.

    Mo @ Lives We Are Given
    Charlotte Mason Eclectic
    Currently HSing 2 boys (12&6)