Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year Changes

When we returned from our Christmas travels, we cleaned house and then I cleaned my brain:)  I spent a whole day prepping for the upcoming semester.  And I learned a painful lesson about myself.  We lament Jack's lack of diligence on an almost daily basis around here.  It has worn me down as his mom and teacher more times than I care to admit.  However, as I was looking back over our fall semester it became clear how little we had accomplished! And how that meant our spring would be so full and rather crowded with academics - squeezing out some of the fun things I had hoped to do.  Alas, it is all moi.  In my own sin, my own laziness, lack of diligence, I had allowed the kids to not complete work, to push it off til tomorrow, or a handful of tomorrows.  An eye-opener for sure!  Thank goodness for grace and mercy, because after spending some time in prayer about the whole matter, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a "system" that we have now implemented.  The Workbox system, originated by Sue Patrick, was meant to keep children who had troubles staying focused, on task.  I had briefly discussed this with Jeff in the late summer, but dismissed it because the original plan calls for a lot of space, space that we simply don't have to use with shelving and shoeboxes.  So I decided to modify it, and after looking at many others' modifications, came up with our own Workboxes.  Simply put the assignments/daily work is put, in order needed to be completed, in a tub/box.  I print of a weekly schedule, from an Excel spreadsheet original, and put that on a clipboard which goes in the front of the tub.  Each student can then grab their own weekly work agenda and begin working independently.  Of course there are times/courses which require my assistance, but that's built into the schedule.  When an assignment is completed, the child removes that subject/binder from the tub and places it on our homeschool bookshelf, thus emptying the tub one task at a time.  It is a great visual cue that work is indeed being completed and they can see and "end in sight."
                                                   Here are our super fancy workboxes:)

                   The bookshelf where completed work is deposited, albeit, not very neatly!
I have used a planner for myself and the kids' work, but transferring it on Sunday night to the spreadsheet keeps it all rather neat and orderly.  It also gives them ownership of their assignments.  Our first day back was not great, but I really think it was a much due to the fact that we had taken such a long break, as it was the work itself.  More importantly, it was the first time in forever that we completed all of our assignments!  Every single one of them!  Today was much better and Jack completed much of his work in a timely manner and without complaint.  Yeah!!!  Time will of course tell how it really plays out, but I'm hopeful:)

1 comment:

Aunt LaLa said...

Wow...sounds like my school year! I can be very lazy myself. And it goes without saying, my students ARE also! If I am NOT diligent, it all falls apart. I HATE that I have to be sooooo military in my demands! That just is NOT me! I do not like that ALL of their disorganiztion/lack of discipline falls back on me somehow. But I realize after 25 years of teaching, that disciplined kids are the EXCEPTION! Most kids are lazy and uninterested. I am pretty sure I was too. Don't feel guilty...