Sue Patricks Workbox System – One Year Review

Sue Patricks Workbox System Review

It’s our one year anniversary of using my modified version of Sue Patrick’s Workbox System and workboxes. So I thought I would tell you how it is going.

I must say that I still feel that this is a very worthy system.

The benefits of using Sue Patricks Workbox System include:

  • Happy Children—children see their work disappear and can see what they have accomplished.
  • Happy Mother—the day runs a lot more smoothly and children get more work done.
  • Adaptable—this system works with most curriculums, learning styles and educational method
  • Common Sense—boxes are filled with activities that make sense to the child. They can see what they have to do they don’t have to interpret a checklist and then find the resource.
  • It’s all there-no more rushing around looking for resources. It’s already collected.
  • Clear Goals—each student knows what they are to do and when they are finished.
  • Realistic Expectations—it encourages mother to set work that they know a child can achieve.
  • Fosters Independence—children understand what activities they are expected to do alone and what they can get help with.  You can also set up boxes for days when you need others to supervise.
  • Do More—This system shows you how to use all those  educational resources you have but haven’t worked out how to put them into your day.

It has:

  • helped us get more organised
  • shown me a way to get their independent work completed
  • given us a concrete system for doing our work
  • been a great training ground for our routine
  • helped me with my record keeping and has
  • made my children more accountable to their day.

As with most things that we incorporate into our family, we have stamped our style onto it.

After one year I am reflecting on how to make the system work better. Now that we have established a good routine and my kids find they can work independently; I am wanting to fiddle again with things and foster even more independence. That means taking some of the bells and whistles out of the system.

I am removing the folders and just sticking with the box/basket. I found packing the boxes tedious in the end, and  since I was using the same material most days, I have decided to go with a checklist.We also do a fair amount of our day together reading aloud and working on our unit study subjects, so I have removed any reference to those activities from the workbox.The group work is my responsibility to get done and I want them to feel the workboxes are theirs.

My hope this term, is to make them accountable for their “boxes”, without being able to “blame” me and say that the reason they have not done their work is because I haven’t packed them properly.

Let’s hope it works!



Here’s a video of my modified workbox system.

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  1. Deb  October 28, 2015

    Love this idea! My 2 older kids are fairly independent and should be able to work with this system easily. My younger 2 are too little to do this yet, but it’s a good system to set up to remind myself what needs to be done with them. Thanks for the video Michelle!

  2. K-tribe  July 30, 2010

    We did the workboxes and one workbox but then we ended up just doing binders. 🙂

  3. joyfulmum  July 19, 2010

    I remember you talking about these workboxes on one of the forums/ groups. Glad to have an update from you on it, though we don't need them here atm as I only have one child to keep track of:) but it sounds like it could be a good thing to foster independence in her, maybe in a year or two, I might come back to read more:)

  4. Butterfly  July 14, 2010

    I've also adapted the Workbox system to suit us, and although it doesn't much resemble the original I have enjoyed seeing the many ways other people have used them.

    Basically I put a few work books in the boxes with a post-it tab on the pages I'd like my kids to do, sometimes alone or sometimes with help. Sometimes they choose a different page or do extra pages. I may also include their journal, stencils in a plastic sleeve, or a game (eg. word bingo, dry erase sums, matching pairs clock faces)

    Mostly I use the boxes as a way of being prepared. Our structured times are short and sweet and rely on flow. I know if I hesitate whilst deciding what's next, the kids will have scampered away!

    Jasmine likes her 'school work', and if I'm distracted she'll often go and find something in her workbox to do until I'm ready to 'play schools'!!

  5. Renelle  July 14, 2010

    We started just using 2 boxes, a Work Box & a Finished Box. But now we just have a lined white cane basket on the bookshelves and basically do 3 R's in the morning followed by other subjects after that. I think the workbox system will work for him when he's a little bit older though for sure. Helps you feel organised and on track and like they've achieved something sometimes! Great idea


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