Monday, September 13, 2010

Work Bags

So with the never ending struggle that we are having with homeschooling I have decided to try something new with Jackson.  He has a hard time being motivated and although he is only 7 he still gets the concept of cause and effect and he knows his actions always have a consequence (good or bad).   I know that he is overwhelmed by the work load.  He is a lot like me in that aspect. If something is going to be really time consuming and even a bit challenging, I do not start it.  I wait. Sometimes I wait too long.  None the less I am a procrastinator and my son is starting, at a very young age, to show the same traits. So how can we fix this?  My friend, Emily, suggested that I let him work at his own pace.  Let him know what he has to get done by Friday and then let him work it out.  There is a system called the "work-box" system that, when it boils down to it, is your entire day planned out into little boxes, down to breaks, lunch and even nap time. 

Now I admit that I am obsessed with having things all organized.  I love to buy containers, baskets and boxes but really I do not have room for anymore in my school room.  So I decided to come up with work-bags that he can just put in his cubby everyday.  Also, instead of filling each bag daily I have decided to fill them for the week.  I apologize that I do not have photos yet, my batteries are dead in the camera (I will get some tonight).

Here is how I set them up for Week One:

SSRW book and Assessment Book
Book 9 Reader (SSRW)
Instructions for the week written as a check list so that he can mark off each assignment as he finishes them.  There are certain assignments that require my assistance and those assignments are indicated.

We are working on fast facts.  I noticed that he was struggling without a number line.  As his curriculum has been progressing he is beginning to really fall behind and his confidence in a subject that he is good at is dwindling.  So the beauty of homeschool is that we can stop and spend two weeks, or however long for that matter, on whatever he is struggling with.
So, 5 fast fact sheets
Flash Cards
Math Bingo game to be played with Mom.

With SSRW we have one spelling test per day with 3 dictation sentences.  I admit that we have not been doing this like we should and his spelling words are super easy. 
Obviously I give the tests.

Handwriting without Tears Workbook
Instruction for the pages that need to be done. (We normally do 2/day so that would be 10 pages for the week).

Bible, Science, and Five in a Row are not in work bags because we are doing them as a group.  Today he chose to do all of his spelling.  He got frustrated after the 3rd test and said he was tired of spelling.  I told him he could stop if he wanted.  He was a little shocked that I said that.  I had to explain the concept again.  He is getting it slowly.  The key is that he has to do something everyday (unless he has finished all assignments).  I only sit at the table until 11 am. That is a good 3 hours that he has my attention.  He should be done well before that.  After 11 I am off doing other things.  Now, I will stay and help if he has used his time wisely and truly needs my help.  The other thing is that he must get everything done by the end of the day on Friday or else he is having school on Saturday and Sunday (if need be).  He will also miss out on video games on the weekend. 

We will see if it works.  I know that today was a lot less stressful for me.  As soon as he started to complain I just looked at him and said, "I am sorry that you are having such a tough time with the assignment you chose.  Maybe you should pick something else." He was shocked that I didn't yell! And he chose to just finish!  Who knew?

I will post pics of our work-bag system as soon as I get batteries. 

1 comment:

Sterling said...

Maybe you have found what works. I will be praying for this and Jackson. You are a great mom and teacher! :o)