People often ask me if I homeschool all of my children. I find this quite comical due to the fact that two are under school age. They are almost 2 and 4 years old. I think what they really mean to ask is, “What do you do with the little ones while you are homeschooling the others?” I just giggle inside and think to myself, “What don’t I do with the little ones while trying to juggle 3 other grade levels?”
The fact of the matter is that our school day tends to run much more smoothly when I have the Workbox System in place. This system was developed by Sue Patrick and is called The Workbox System. You can find out more about it at www.workboxsystem.com. Anyways, the premise was designed to keep school aged children on task with their homeschool work assignments. She mentions in her book that she starts children out at around 18 months on a modified workbox system. I was so excited to find something that would keep my younger children occupied, while not turning my house into looking like a tornado hit it at the same time!
The idea is to fill clear shoeboxes with activities you would like your preschooler to do during the school day THAT THEY CAN DO WITHOUT YOUR HELP! This is the key, do not fill them with things that require you to read or sit with them to do. Listed below are some of the things I have filled the workboxes with. Also, I have found to use a timer for about how long you think your child can work on an activity without losing interest. That may be 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Make sure that you don’t let your child move on until the timer goes off and they CLEAN UP everything in the box and put it away. (This is key!!!) Then they can move onto another box. Depending on your child you may need to spend a few minutes in the evening switching up what is in the boxes. Trust me, 10 minutes at night is worth plenty the next day without interruptions. You will have a much smoother day and find you have more time for other school work or free time!
SOME PRESCHOOL WORKBOX IDEAS:
Coloring book and crayons
Bingo type paints with pages to paint
Simple school worksheets with pencil
Straws and paper clips. They can open paper clip up to 90* angle etc and straws slip on ends to build abstract designs
Playdoh with cookie cutters and rolling pin. (working on an animal or letter of the day or week, you could include a cookie cutter of it for fun!)
Activity bags I put together from a book called Preschool Activity Bags.
Leapster with cartridges
DVD that they can go watch
CD player with CD music or story to listen to
Book or 2 to look at
Small chalk board or dry erase board to draw or practice letters
Wiki sticki with alphabet cards
Rubber Stamps, washable inkpad and paper
Snack or little treat
Beads and yarn
Perler beads and peg boards to make a design (obviously a choking hazard if you have a child who puts things in their mouths)
Stickers and paper
Colored and dried noodles with either plastic lacing to make necklaces or paper and glue. Depends on shape of noodles.
Color wonder finger paints
Gallon ziplock bag with shaving cream. Just enough so you can seal the bag and they can practice writing letters on it from the outside. Watch so they don’t open it!
File Folder Games: These are sometimes sold at the Dollar Stores, but teacher stores sell them too. I bought a book of them one summer, cut and laminted the ones I wanted and stored them in bags. Now I just pull the bag down I want to put in the box for the day.
I hope this helps some of you out in your homeschool. Please leave a comment as to any other ideas you might have to put in your preschool workboxes. Another day I will post about my school aged workboxes!
I suppose my reply really must be, “Yes, I do homeschool ALL of my children!”