Ever Have One of those Weeks?

Posted On June 3, 2009

Filed under Typical Day, Work Boxes

Comments Dropped one response

Last week was a bit of a disaster educationally. In retrospect it probably wasn’t all that bad but the week before (our first week on work boxes) had gone SO perfectly, I was discouraged about not doing it right. The kids were getting distracted from schoolwork and not finishing their boxes. It all felt a little out of control and that was what I was trying to avoid by doing boxes.

So what do you do when life tastes like lemons? You figure out why you forgot the sugar. So, what went wrong and how can I avoid future occurrences?

Problem 1:
First of all, after only 4 days of workboxes, we took a 6 day break. Thursday was a museum. Friday was our Story of the World coop. Saturday and Sunday. Then Monday was a holiday and normally I would have still done school but we had my friend’s teenager staying with us. So by the time we got back to schoolwork on Tuesday the kids had realized how easy it was to do NOTHING.

Lesson 1:
Unintended breaks will happen but the kids didn’t necessarily understand why there was such a long break. I should have explained to them on Thursday that taking a day off was not a vacation but another learning opportunity and talked to them about when we would hit the books again and my expectations when that happened.

Problem 2:
Work boxes allow me so much autonomy that I can occasionally slip in a little of my own work while they are working. I took advantage of this and turned “occasionally” into “frequently” and turned “own work” into “free time”.

Lesson 2:
Washing 3 dishes, clearing a counter, even filling a Mary Kay order are acceptable 3 minute jobs I can do while the kids are working. These tasks leave me close enough to direct, intervene, and assist. Laundry, cleaning the basement and (dare I admit it?) getting snagged on the computer are NOT acceptable uses of my free moments. Today we were done with school before lunch and while they played the rest of the afternoon I was able to finish a LOT more of those big tasks than I was able to last week when I tried to sandwich it in between school.

Problem 3:
Last week the kids skipped around to different boxes and left some unfinished.

Lesson 3:
Mostly due to problem #2, I let them get away with too much. Today I insisted the boxes be done in order. The ONLY exception is if mom is busy and you have to skip to a box that doesn’t require mom’s help. I also monitored more closely which box they were doing, where they put their boxes when finished (NO leaving boxes lying around), and making sure they finished them all. Workboxes should make school streamlined and leave the responsibility on the kids’ shoulders. Which means a strict mom at the beginning to help good habits form.


One Response to “Ever Have One of those Weeks?”

  1. Kelley

    I am one of the moms on the homeschoolsisters forum, and I'm intrigued with this idea of workboxes. We're on an extended vacation right now, but I'm just itching to get home so we can get started. Thank you for posting these problems and lessons learned because it will definitely help me when I get home and we get started on our school year.

    I look forward to getting to know you better on the forum.