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Updated Workbox Activity Cards

Just to let you know…I’ve updated the Workbox Activity Cards and added a few new tags after you all requested them. There are now a total 72 activity cards and 16 minute time cards and 12 blank cards.

 Workbox Picture Cards 2  Workbox Picture Cards 3    Workbox Picture Cards 4  Workbox Picture Cards 5   

Workbox Cards 4

Here are some of the additions:

  • Foreign languages ~ French, Spanish, German, Latin, and Greek
  • Subject cards ~ Bible, math, language, history, nature study, music appreciation, circle time
  • Sports ~ volleyball, soccer, trampoline, swimming, baseball, softball, basketball, karate and running
  • Extras ~ chores, video games, music practice, chess, violin, audiobook, clean-up, church, file folders, guitar and field trip and more…

If you need a good laugh, go check out Jodi’s post on her laminating adventures over at Granola Mom for God…I’m apparently an enabler ~ but you can thank her for the ‘potty’ card that was added to the mix! :)

Additional Workbox Resources

~ Workbox Weekly Grid ~ pdf download of the pages I put together for our kids including pink, purple, blue, green and white pages for Monday through Friday.

~ Preschool Number Cards ~ Number cards with some fun characters {if you are using the traditional workbox system}

~ Workbox system using number strips and workfolders {our system last year}

~ Velcro in BULK. I purchased the 3/8” velcro dots from Textol Systems but have also found larger coins at even better prices from Feiner Supply {and they have free shipping this month!}

~ Lots of great workbox links, ideas and ways to adjust the workbox system.

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The Weekly Grid Workbox System


Last year we first started using workboxes and for the most part, we followed along the way it was supposed to go ~ except we used workfolders rather than workboxes. This year, after talking to the girls a bit, we revamped our system to make it work better for us. Ginger-Snap-Shots did this very thing last year with her girls with a little bit of a different twist.

This year, instead of using numbers for both the girls and Zachary, we’re switching to a more visual system. This way the kids can see what is expected of them each day. We also ditched the number strips because it was getting plain ol’ tedious for me to pull, switch, and sort the numbers everyday.

The Workbox Weekly Grid Layout

Our new workbox system will have the entire week laid out ahead of time. I have planned out what days we’ll be covering certain subjects and can lay out each child’s week in a short amount of time. Their new card system is closer to the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and each day has it’s own sheet.

Here’s a peek at Laurianna’s Weekly Workbox Grid so you can get a visual of what I am describing:

Workbook Weekly Grid

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the velcro that attaches the workbox activity card is actually on the corner of the card {I used 3/8” sized velcro coins}. The front of each of the cards has another 3/8’” velcro dot in the top right corner. When the kids are done with that subject/activity, they can simply flip the card over {see the picture below}.

Workbox Weekly Grid example

Here’s a look at the entire week laid out as individual days. It is a lot of tags, BUT I don’t have to keep resticking them since they get flipped over. :) Friday is always skimpy since that’s the day that we have co-op and end up playing with friends.

Workbox Weekly Grid Cards

The cards for each day have all been put together on a jump ring and they hang on the wall from that ring. Each child has their own special color of the Weekly Workbox Grid {because you all know that I color-code my kids}. The first page of the workbox weekly grid is actually their chore and daily ‘to do’ list ~ click here to see our chore system. :)

Workbox Weekly Grid Storage

Using the Workfolders

We are still using the workfolders this year, and they will hold the worksheets and books that the kids are using for the entire week. Instead of having numbers on each folder this year, each page will have a subject card showing what should be in that pocket.

Here’s a little peek inside a folder to show you how we’re tying the workfolders into this system.

Workbox Workfolders

In the left pocket are Laurianna’s math cd-roms along with some scratch paper to do her math work. In the right hand pocket is her spelling progress chart. You can see a ‘Mom’s help’ tag on the pocket too ~ showing that she is going to need my help with this subject. Our folders have a total of 12 pockets, so the remaining pockets have subject tags for language, writing, history, science, Bible, handwriting, reading, etc…

Laurianna has been excited about this because she can actually work ahead in her school week if she would like to! If she wants to do three math lessons in one day, she can do that and then flip over those cards on the upcoming days.


Big and Bulky Items

Larger Workbox items

We’re still using the same system for ‘big and bulky’ items that we did last year. Each kiddo has their own special big bin on the bottom of Kaleb’s workbox station. He’ll use the top 8 bins and the bottom four are for bigger items like puzzles, leapsters, games, etc… I’ll explain more about Kaleb’s workboxes later in a preschool post.

Yes, it’s a lot of laminating on my part. And lots of tiny velcro dots. BUT in the long run, this is the system that the kids and I have talked about and will work best for us. Sometimes keeping my sanity is more important {grins}. Having the cards all in one place and not scattered over our table or everyone’s cards in a bucket helps me out immensely. Since our schedule doesn’t change much from week to week, I’m able to quickly flip cards and re-stock their workfolders in one sitting.

I’ve included some additional links for you all below to help you out if you are using workboxes or want to use a system similar to mine. :) If you have a question, please feel free to leave a comment with your email address so that I can answer you!! I’m sure I’ll be posting updates about our system to further answer questions, but this is it in a nutshell!

Workbox Resources

~ Workbox Weekly Grid ~ pdf download of the pages I put together for our kids including pink, purple, blue, green and white pages for Monday through Friday.

~ Jump rings – essentially these are key rings that open up easily so you can add to them. We use them in the top corner of our Weekly Grid so we can flip through the days easily.

~ Workbox Picture Activity Cards ~ Overall, there are a total of 32 picture cards, 24 minute cards, and 4 blank cards for you.

~ Preschool Number Cards ~ Number cards with some fun characters {if you are using the traditional workbox system}

~ Scotch laminator ~ this is the laminator I use and until July 31, 2010 there is a $20 rebate when you buy the laminator and a 50 pack of laminating pouches. I love mine so much I bought a spare {sad, but true}.

~ Workbox system using number strips and workfolders {our system last year}

~ Velcro in BULK. I purchased the 3/8” velcro dots from Textol Systems but have also found larger coins at even better prices from Feiner Supply {and they have free shipping this month!}

~ Lots of great workbox links, ideas and ways to adjust the workbox system.

Note: You might notice that some of our activity cards differ from the ones that are in my Workbox Picture Activity Cards pdf file because they are specific to our family ~ and are images that are not from Microsoft clip art. I have not included them because although we are using them for our family, they are not copyright free {First Language Lessons, Teaching Textbooks, Complete Writer, Awana, etc…}.

Workbox Tags & Cards

Updated: We’ve altered how we use the cards and the workbox system since starting. We now are using a weekly grid along with the cards. See how we’re using the workbox system along with pictures here: https://www.homeschoolcreations.net/?p=1378


Now that you’ve heard about the Workbox System and read how we use workboxes in our house, it’s time to share some printables with you. I’m all about making stuff visually appealing ~ not just for the kids either! It helps me to get excited about what we are doing!

Click on the thumbnail to download the pdf.

The workbox activity cards include a variety of subjects and activities from general subjects, outdoor actvities, and special trips. There are also ‘help’ cards {for when your child needs help from you} and minute cards for timed activities such as computer or reading. I also left a few squares blank in case you want to add some of your own stuff. Overall, there are a total of 32 picture cards, 24 minute cards, and 4 blank cards for you.

Enjoy them! If you have any problems downloading them, please let me know! Don’t forget the fun preschool workbox number cards for your little ones!


* The workbox number strips were removed per Sue Patrick’s request. *

How We’re Using Workboxes

Note: For those of you who have asked about how this worked for us during the year ~ it went well, but we did do some tweaking! See the post Our New Workbox System: Weekly Workbox Grid to read more about our updated system!

While I love the Workbox System and understand why Sue Patrick set it up the way she did {and why it works that way}, we seriously do not have room for 48 boxes, 4 shelving systems and to implement it the way she recommends. Kaleb’s workboxes are very similar to Sue’s system, but for our other three we modified the system to fit our family and it is working great for us.

Want to see some pictures?

Our workbox number strips and tags hang over near our school shelves in our dining room. Each of our kids is color-coded {trust me, it helps keep track of all those different school supplies}.

The strips are laminated and I punched them with a hole punch and hooked them onto a book ring. We hang them on one of the 3M adhesive hooks and the kids can take them down to put in their ‘work space’ when it’s time for school.

Next to where our tags hang we have a set of four drawers. The drawers all hold the kids school supplies: markers, pencil boxes, our ‘workfolders‘, mini office folders, journals, and books that are specific just to them.

Our workboxes are actually more like ‘workfolders‘. I saw a similar idea on one of the yahoo groups and walked into Walmart a few days later and found folders that were all our kids color codes. Each of the folders originally only had 8 pockets, so I bought a few extra folders, took the comb binding off, and added a few extra pages so they all had 12 pockets. The inside folders are clear. If something that we are doing doesn’t fit into one of the folders {a puzzle, a manipulative, or a ‘hands-on lesson’} the kids have a special tag on their folder that lets them know what they should be doing.

Most of the folder pages have their worksheets, journals or papers they need slid into the folder itself. When they finish the page, they remove the number from their number strip and put it next to the number on their folder. If there is another tag on that page already {see the picture tagged ‘folder page for spelling’ above} we have a basket in the middle of our table where the kids return the ‘extra’ activity cards for me to sort and store later.

Those big and bulky items need a place to be stored for the kids to find. Kaleb’s shelf has 12 boxes, and 4 of the boxes are oversized. Kaleb’s school things are in the top 8 boxes and if there is a puzzle or special game the older kids are going to work on, they find them in the bottom 4 boxes.

I have quite a few activity and subject cards for things that we do during our school day that don’t have worksheets to go along with them {spelling, geography, language} ~ all things that the kids work 1:1 with Mommy. Kari from The Snails Trail mentioned that she had found a pocket chart in the dollar section at Target, so I ran over there quickly to grab one for myself. I have the chart stuck on the inside of my spice cabinet {yeah, my husband was thrilled to see that}. I used the removable adhesive hooks and tabs from 3M to keep it hanging up on the cabinet door.

There are cards we use daily {located on the bottom rows}, subjects and activities we only do one or two days a week (alphabetized in the top few rows}, and special cards for activities out of the house {museum, library, and outside activities}. I have them sorted so I can grab them quickly.

That is our system in a very LARGE nutshell. :) If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

You can view and download all my workbox printables that go along with our workboxes, in my post titled Workbox Tags & Cards. Also, don’t forget the fun preschool workbox number cards for your little ones!.


The Workbox System {Sue Patrick}

“Learning how to learn is one of the most important things we can teach our children.”

~ Sue Patrick
p. 14, Workbox System
User’s Guide

If you’ve been reading blogs or visiting homeschool forums lately, I’m sure that you’ve heard the term ‘workboxes’ buzzing around. Sue Patrick’s Workbox SystemSM is one of the newest ways to organize your homeschool day, helping you structure your time more efficiently and present curriculum in a way that helps children learn more independently.

If you know me at all, I’m sure you realize that I thrive on order. Love it. When I first heard about the Workbox SystemSM, I was immediately intrigued. Finding out I had the chance to review it for the Homeschool Crew was icing on the cake. Sue Patrick was at my local homeschool convention and I was able to see the workboxes set up as she recommends, hear her story, and gain an understanding of how {and why} the system works.

How did the Workbox SystemSM start?

Sue Patrick developed the system to help her son with special needs grow and develop academically. Her success in teaching her son encouraged her to help other families with children of ALL abilities achieve success in their homeschooling.

How does the system work?

This quick slideshow, put together by Sue, does a GREAT job summarizing how the system is set up and works in a homeschool setting.

The system is set up with 12 workboxes {or an amount that works for your child’s age} that are filled with your core subjects as well as fun manipulatives: file folder games, puzzles, or other learning games. Your child works through the boxes in numerical order, with help as needed. There are other cards added in throughout their day for things like snack, lunch, or different activities {exercise, centers, etc…}.

The system encourages your child to work more independently on their schoolwork, although your child is given several ‘help’ cards to use as needed throughout their day. Some boxes may have a ‘work with mom’ card, letting your child know that they need to do that subject with your assistance. Everything that your child needs for the activities is contained in the workbox, so that they do not need to wander off in search of the activity…and forget to wander back!

Are workboxes for me {and you}?

While I already have a fairly organized school day, I knew that this would help our school day in several ways:

  • I would be more accountable to actually plan and use curriculum on our shelves {i.e. many of my ‘unused’ manipulatives would finally see the light of our homeschool day}. The boxes need to be filled with activities and it helps me chunk out our school time.
  • It would encourage me to be more consistent in our school days. While I already have an overall idea of how I want our day to go, this gives me a bit more consistency in working through the day {read ~ I am easily distracted…}
  • Our kids would be able to literally ‘see’ what was happening each school day, because there is a definite order to each day. This doesn’t only apply to the kids either – I can also see what they have finished and still need to do!
  • My kids would be encouraged to work more independently ~ and work towards definite goals during their school day. The kids have fun things to look forward too, encouraging them to work toward those goals.
  • It would encourage me to add more ‘fun’ into our school day: learning games, nature walks, learning centers, trips to the museum…
  • It has given me a renewed excitement for our school time {and our kids too}. I’ve gone through our supplies and on-hand activities and have lists of all the things that we have on hand to do. Each day their boxes have fun ‘new’ things in them to do and they look forward to seeing what is planned!

If you are not {by nature} a structured or organized person and need help in this area for your schoolday, the Workbox SystemSM would be a great addition to your day. Sue’s book offers step-by-step instructions and suggestions on how to better plan your school day. In addition to explaining the physical structure of the Workbox SystemSM, she also shares her tips and tricks and philosophy of education.

If you already are structured and organized, well….let’s just say that it didn’t stop me! :) I have been so excited about the Workbox SystemSM and couldn’t wait to share more about it with you all! Putting the system together for our family has been a lot of fun for me and our kids love how it has come together and enjoy using it!

Setting up Your System

You will need to purchase more than the book to set up your workboxes at home, but you can find the supplies at your local Walmart or Target {Sue shows an example of her system set-up in slides 5 & 6 above}. Additional supplies include a wire shelving system, clear shoe boxes, velcro, number cards and strips, and other optional supplies.

Note: Sue does not recommend altering the system until you have tried her method as it is written and then alter it to fit your needs. It is important that you read through her book to fully understand her thoughts and the heart behind the system.

We had a wooden shelf that was similar to the one Sue Patrick recommends in her book and that is working great with Kaleb. He only has 6 boxes a day and they are filled with fun and educational toys for him {lacing beads, stacking blocks, color matching bears}, coloring sheets, and other fun age-appropriate toys.

I was worried about all the velcro and finding numbers all over the house with Kaleb, but he has been great with it. Zachary recently turned all of the numbers upside-down on Kaleb’s boxes and when Kaleb noticed it, he carefully turned all the numbers right-side-up {the velcro numbers themselves can be educational!}.

Because we started in the summer, we haven’t done it in full force yet {using all 12}, but it has already made a difference in how the kids approach what we are doing for the day because they can see what is planned right up front. We have limited space in our house, so the three oldest kids are still using the number/sequencing format and a similar set-up, but I have altered how we implement the workboxes a little bit. At this point it is much more efficient for us and works well for our family.

Depending on the size of your family, an alternative to the racks and boxes might be necessary. For us, four kids means 48 boxes which take up a lot of room. The more children you have, the space they take up increases. There are families that have come up with alternatives {ours included} to using the racks and boxes. In essence, that is a great benefit to homeschooling ~ finding great tools like the Workbox SystemSM and being able to adjust them to meet your family’s needs.

How can I find out more?

All of the workbox products are offered through Sue Patrick’s Workbox SystemSM site, and her book is available with several different options:

  • E-book download ($19)
  • Book purchase ($19.95 plus s/h ~ also available through Amazon)
  • Book & consulting package ($119.95 plus s/h) – includes 4 months of email consultation with Sue regarding the system

Once you have purchased the book, Sue offers resources on her website for download, as well as starter packages that include centers, log books, and a typing program {these packages are not necessary to use the program}. Sue also offers velcro dots in sets of 300 at a great price too.

The book is a wonderful resource to keep on hand and be able to refer back to when you have questions or need a quick ‘refresher’. In addition to walking you through the Workbox SystemSM, there are suggestions for hands on resources, storage ideas and learning centers. Sue is also updating her site to add additional online resources for those who purchase her book and register with her site.

For me, this was also a wonderful excuse to buy the laminator that I had been eyeing for awhile. Now, not only is our homeschool day more consistent, everything also comes with a nice shiny finish. It’s pure heaven!

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.
As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given this product to review,
and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post.
All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


Preschool Corner: Workbox Number Cards

I had every intention of posting a different printable this week, but I’ve been so wrapped up in getting our workboxes pulled together that my focus was a little swayed.

Some of you may be wondering what workboxes are {I’ll soon be posting about the system and how we’re using it this year} and some of you have already been sucked into the workbox realm. Making the workboxes fun and appealing to both me and the kids is important, so I asked both boys what they wanted on their number cards. The answers were ‘Chicken Little’ and ‘Nemo’. And then Zachary saw the Chicken Little ones and decided he wanted Monsters, Inc. instead. Since I can fit two sets on a page, I had to throw in a Bug’s Life too.

Click on the graphic to download and print the document.

The printable has two pages of number cards with the four different character sets above. I’ll be printing off two copies – one for the boxes and one for their number strips. Stay tuned to see how we’re all piecing it together!

If you are wondering about the different colors, we color code our kids. Yes, I’m serious. Each one has their own color – makes it a whole lot easier to figure out what belongs to who. Blue is for Zachary and green is for Kaleb.

While I’m in the midst of planning and re-organizing our upcoming school year, the world around me hasn’t stopped. So share, share, share!! What all have you been doing this last week?

About the Preschool Corner:

The Preschool Corner is a place for us to share the ideas we are using during our “preschool time” with our kids. You can join in the fun and record what you are doing in your house. Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below (if you have questions feel free to ask). Be sure to link back to this blog post so that your readers can find some other great ideas too!

The guidelines can be found here if you need them.

Share what you’ve been doing in your house this week!