TOS Crew: Sue Patrick Workboxes

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.


3 responses to “TOS Crew: Sue Patrick Workboxes

  1. Very fair review-it is niche thing, in the essence that one has to like the approach and feel strong enough to expand out to make it work for their family-I had to do just that. It works, but it is a lot of forethought and planning before they ever walk into the room to see what is up for the day. Once I got into the groove, it became much easier. I do not follow it as written, but took what I know would work and dropped the rest. I even tried a few of the recommended things (clocking in and out for the day) and we simply forget to do it and so if we do, we do, if we don’t no biggie. I mostly tried it for the review-but I do love the process and orderliness to it. Some days we don’t workbox b/cuz i simply couldn’t get to getting the stuff set up-other days we sail thru the day b/cuz I did get the prework done. Crazy but true.

    Well anyhoo-glad you posted it and I think ya did good.

    • homesweethomeschool

      Thank you! I appreciate your taking the time to respond, and to mention how you’re making it work for your family. Hopefully those wanting to know more will go to the TOS Crew Reviews link to read more about how you and other Crew members put workboxing to use.

  2. I just recently learned about workboxes and have read the book. While I only have one child, the fact is I simply don’t have the room for not only the 12-15 workboxes and the stand, but I don’t have the space for the workstations either. I do, tho, love the idea and I AM going to implement my own version of it for January (better get on that then, huh?). Workstations will simply be placed in easy to reach shelves that he can get at for the day, and then the items put away. Our school room is only 9×12 and includes a desk area, the computer (which is already in the closet) and a fold away wall bed because it is also the spare bedroom for guests. Because of the small area, I will have to have Hubby install some sort of “wall system” so that we don’t lose any more floor space than necessary BUT if a person uses clear plastic type system on the wall and coloured folders, it can be just as visual as a shoe box and shelf. Can’t it??? lol

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