Family Workboxes

I have been a fan of workboxes, since the very beginning, and we have tried them in a variety of different ways in our homeschool. This year we are trying something new: Family Workboxes.

When Jonah and I were discussing how we were going to do school for the rest of this term, we hit upon the idea of everyone doing the same subject at the same time. We created a big plastic bucket for each subject and filled it with everything needed to complete that subject. Some things we do together and some things we just do at the same time.

So our basic day goes like this: Bible, Math, English (Spelling, Grammar, Writing, etc), Social Studies/Science (alternating weekly). We still need to add in a few more subjects, but for now this is a really great start and has been going very well for us. The kids know what to expect and it is easy to know when we are done with the subject for the day (and done for the day).


During our Bible time today we read and discussed Philippians 2:14.
Download a pdf of the memory verse poster here – – > View on Store

lightbulbs memory verse pages-04


We went to Khan Academy again today to watch our math video.

1Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 6.58.47 PM

We watched Addition 4 in the Khan Academy Arithmetic Playlist in case you are following along.


English is the subject that gets the most complaints around our house, so I am doing my best to make it as interesting as possible. Right now that means covering the topic in the book, but not always in the way the author set out for us to do it.

We are still working through these books:

PicMonkey Collage

Left Book – No Boring Practice, Please! Spelling
Right Book – Comic-Strip Grammar

In No Boring Practice, Please! Spelling we are still working on Syllables. Today instead of doing a written crossword, I wrote the syllables of the words on cards and gave them clues verbally and had them build the words as a group on the floor. They seemed to have fun with this approach. I didn’t get any photos today, but we are doing the next crossword (tomorrow) in the same way, so hopefully I will remember to pull out the camera.

Since our topic today in (Comic-Strip Grammar) was pronouns, we watched the Schoolhouse Rock video about pronouns on YouTube as a little refresher. This video is so cool.

We read the comic strip from our book and wrote out pronouns on a piece of paper. The boys were not thrilled that I only had pink paper to offer them.


We did social studies last week, so this is our science week. We are starting a new science book Machines & Motion that will most likely take us to the end of the year to complete.


Since we are starting new materials and a new topic, I decided to approach the new topic with some experiment videos from InquisiKids (Sonlight). The kids love these videos.



After we watched the experiments, we ventured on to YouTube to have a look at some real life examples:



Water Wheel

A Few Questions For You

  1. Do you alternate your Science and Social Studies subjects?
  2. Do your kids enjoy science experiments?
  3. Where do you get the ideas for your science experiments?

Planning Our Next Term

After a long break (from our formal curriculum) for the holidays, I feel ready to take on the next ten weeks of school (sort of). To be honest I am actually pretty excited about starting up again. I feel much more prepared and organized. I have to say that I even feel more rested. I have taken the last week or so to work on my planning for this coming term. I have purchased a planner, typed out a schedule, and begun to photocopy materials needed. I will be doing the photocopying weekly because that seems way less stressful and not so overwhelming to me. To me it makes much more sense to set aside a couple of hours a week to print out and gather everything needed for the week to come rather than to photocopy like crazy to get ten weeks of stuff prepared. I also think that I might lose excitement and momentum that way (or burn out rather quickly!). Having to take a new look at our materials every weekend will keep me inspired and being creative in our homeschool planning (at least that is the goal).

We are going to step back from workboxes for a week or more and get reacquainted with Sonlight and the rest of our curriculum after our break. This is how we approached school in the summer and it worked for us. We took the month of August to get used to our curriculum and then we added in the workboxes. We will be weaving the workboxes back in shortly (after we establish some routines and structure again). Don’t you just love holidays? You take all this time to relax and then you have to rebuild all the routines and structure again.

Can I take a brief moment to share how impressed I was with my kids today? They were helpful and did some wonderful housecleaning jobs. I always wonder if they are capable of more and they clearly showed me today that I need to stretch them a bit outside of their comfort zones. Elisha (9) cleaned the upstairs hall and helped to clean the living room. Malachi (6) and Zion (18 months) vacuumed the kitchen floor together.  I was very impressed.

My homeschool planning for this term involved taking all the scattered (and annoying) teacher’s manuals and merging them into one binder. I made a document in Open Office and filled in each subject for ten weeks. (Noreen, you can see this when you come on Friday). I put the subjects in the binder in the order we do them. Bible, Language Arts (Malachi, Moses, Elisha), Math (Malachi, Moses, Elisha), History, Science, Art, and Read Alouds . Behind each schedule I put everything we need for one week of work including any notes from the Teacher’s Manuals, any worksheets, and anything else. I also created two baskets on our shelf. Basket one includes everything needed for group work – Bible, History, Science, Art, Read Alouds, and everything related. Basket two includes everything needed for individual work (this will take the place of the workboxes and be the work with mom box for now).

Last night I spent time photocopying and organizing and made great progress. I was quite proud of my productivity and then… the printer ran out of ink. I panicked. All of my plans… I calmed myself. If we can’t get ink before I start school on Monday it will be okay, I will do what I can. Do you hear that encouraging self talk there?  It’s okay if the plans fall apart… you just do what you can. We were able to get our ink refilled today… long story short…. thanks mom for helping out… so tonight, I am back to printing and preparing.

Just a note here – the printer ink didn’t work! It printed 4 pages and then stopped. So weird! So back to the self talk… it will be okay. We can still do school this week even if everything didn’t get prepared the way that I wanted it to. A few deep breaths. Look and see what we are really missing. Change things up a little bit. Work on being flexible and adaptable (both good character traits – some character building going on here!).

I thought I would pop in here for a quick visit and let you all know where our homeschool is headed this term. I haven’t talked about our school for a bit because with the server crash and then the great disappearance there have been many other things to write about and focus on. I can’t wait to get back to sharing more about our everyday school bits and pieces and focusing on what I love – spending time with and homeschooling my children.

The goal is to run hard for the next ten weeks and then take a few weeks break to garden, study poetry, and spend some time on a unit study about Canada.

Do you have any homeschooling goals for this new year? Have you done any planning, tweaking, rearranging, organizing of your homeschool or workboxes? I would love to hear about it. Please share a link to your relevant blog posts or leave your thoughts in the comments.

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