I was tempted to spend my free time cleaning baseboards or the fridge but then I realized....in a mom's life free time doesn't grow on trees. I decided to have a little ME time instead. After all, dishes and mopping will always be there.
I have gotten to tackle a stack of encouraging magazines I've been hoarding since last year, and made it through three in an evening.
I've also had time to work on some creative organizing for our upcoming school year (I am hoping since I am taking the time to make this year's system pretty, that alone will encourage me to stick with it longer than my record of two weeks). I am very organized on paper but in reality, well...we just won't go there. I'm on a euphoric high right now of being prepared for next year. I choose to remain on my cloud as long as I can.
Okay, now for some updates and pictures for those who may be trying one the variations of work boxes.
I am using the Sterilite clear boxes for my system, one per child. I just can't add in all the shoe boxes and racks needed for this system as the author wrote it. I am using this one-box method from Jessica's ideas at her blog, Color Me Orange. You'll find the link to it in another of my work box posts.
Each child used scrap booking papers and a grid I printed from the work box files to make their own chart. They enjoyed personalizing their charts and picking their papers.
This is kind of how the sheets will look when laminated and attached to the box front. I haven't gotten that far yet. The numbers on the grid will correspond to the numbers I will put on 12 different Manila envelopes using velcro. The grid will eventually have velcro on it too. As the child completes the work inside folder #1, she will take the no. off and place it on her grid. This way all the days work is contained in the box in small, manageable bits, and she can track her progress by seeing how many numbers are done. My son, very visual and easily distractable, will enjoy using it and I hope, will help him stay focused more.
For items too big to fit in an envelope to put in the box, the envelope will contain a note to "play Monopoly Jr. with sis" or a photo card of that item. Timers can even be added to the box. As long as kids know where the items are and have easy access to them so as to not interrupt the flow of the day asking where things are, I don't see why this can't work.
Let me make a correction on an earlier post: the author and developer of the workbox system, Sue Patrick, does not recommend variations on her method without first trying her method as it is written. Then make changes if needed. She is very adamant about using the shoe boxes/racks and filling each box with everything the child needs for the day, down to pencils and crayons. I believe this method works just as she says. But for a large family to buy separate shoe racks and 12 shoe boxes per child might not be feasible for the budget. Likewise, many have space restrictions. Rather than be discouraged because you feel you can't implement this wonderful system down to the "t", take what you can, tweak it, and go with it. If a family can pull just one idea from this that makes their lives and home school year go more smoothly, then in my opinion, what Sue has set out to do, which is to help families work better and more efficiently, has been successful).
My oldest son is pretty focused and self-sufficient, and won't be using the work box system unless we see he needs it.
Instead he'll have this work strip. It is a simple strip made from cardstock with a library card pocket at the bottom. The yellow and blue squares are just index cards cut in half. I plan to laminate the whole thing and use dry erase markers to write the day's schoolwork on the cards. Velcro dots on both the strip and the backs of the laminated cards will help them stay in place, until the work is completed. Then Nick will move them off, one by one, and place in the pocket.
Now, an updated photo of the homemade (revamped Dollar Tree) Antonyms matching games from yesterday. These are the ones that I plan on using the Bendaroos with, in place of drawing lines from card to card to match. For the photo, I've laid pieces of ribbon from card to card, just to give you a better image of what I am talking about:
Not pretty in its current state but I still think my kids will like it. One could tape ribbon or yarn down instead of Bendaroos or glue onto lighter paper, laminate, and use dry erase markers to draw connecting lines.
All this creating has been so much fun I decided to make pretty chore charts as well. I used Microsoft Works to create a table and insert clip art into each one. These too, will be laminated and small pieces of velcro will be added to each box.
I have made chore cards in the same manner, using Microsoft works tables and inserting clip art.
After cutting them out, laminating, and adding velcro, these cards can be affixed each day to the children's charts, rotating chores as needed. As the work is complete and the chore cards come off the grid, the child will see a checkmark, heart, etc, showing. This is an instant "good job!" visual praise. The cards that are completed will be placed in a box or baggie or envelope. Each morning I'll refill the charts according to the needs and schedules of the day.
Fun, games, outdoor play, and spiritual development are also worked into the cards.
I also added in Mystery Job cards.
This will go on our Do It Door, which I also borrowed from another blogging mom.
This chore system might be an item I eventually add for sale in my Etsy store, with the option to personalize names and change some of the chore cards. All components would come laminated and have velcro already applied. I have to check the clip art and make sure none of it is copyrighted first. :)