This has been one of those challenging reviews, and I’m afraid I’ve procrastinated badly on putting it up. It’s been sitting on my desk on paper for a long time now, waiting to be typed in and uploaded.
Sue Patrick’s idea for setting up workboxes, as detailed in her Workbox System, has its good points. It is true, as she claims, that people who set up an organized homeschool plan will accomplish much more in a day than if they didn’t. I’ve seen that in my own life, when I set up a schedule following the advice found in Managers of their Homes. I have a lot of trouble sticking with a rigid schedule, but with a schedule I accomplish a lot more in just the first two hours than I would accomplish all day without a schedule.
If you do an Internet search on “homeschool workbox” you’ll find oodles of people blogging about how they’ve made the system work for their families. There’s a lot of good here!
I understand that the Workbox System is especially valuable to families with autistic and other special needs children, for whom structure and predictability are essential. The System promotes individual, independent learning while accommodating group learning. The author developed her System by pulling together the things that worked for her son, and found it worked so well that she wrote a book and teaches workshops on implementing the system the way she uses it.
That, by the way, is the problem I have with the Workbox System. I have trouble sticking to anything that is rigid and does not allow for tweaking. The author insists that you use the system as written, and that it will work for any homeschool family.
It will work very well, provided…
– You have enough self-discipline to set up the program and to put in the daily organizational effort necessary to keep it going
– You’re willing to make the initial investment of money and space (about a dozen plastic shoeboxes and a rack to hold them, for each child using the system)
– You are contented with a homeschooling approach that resembles school-at-home
That said, I think there’s good to be gleaned from the system as presented by the author. Though I’m not sure she’d be pleased to hear me say this, I’d like to encourage you, if you’re struggling with homeschool organization, or if your children need structure that you’re at a loss to provide, to check out the Workbox System, try it as written and then tweak it to fit your family’s needs.
You can get Sue Patrick’s Workbox System e-book for $19 at her website, or the printed book for $19.95. Various starter kits are also available for purchase. On the website you’ll find a number of links, including an informative video introducing the system, with photos that will give you an idea of how it works. There are also downloads free with book registration, and consulting is available if you need extra help implementing the system.
To see more TOS Crew reviews, please click here.
An informative discussion of workboxes sponsored by The Old Schoolhouse’s Homeschooling with Heart is available here.
Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Homeschool Crew were provided a free copy of Sue Patrick’s Workbox System User’s Guide Ebook for review purposes, along with several weeks’ access to the free downloads available with book registration. Opinions expressed here are those of this reviewer. Your results may vary.