After daily frustrations with assignments and missing supplies, a few months ago I decided to implement Sue Patrick's Workbox System. The concept is simple, I prepare the boxes the night before and my boys know that all of their assignments for the day are in their boxes. Not only has this system helped (forced) me to be more organized and prepared but it has cut down dramatically on the complaining, frustrations, and missing materials. Sue recommends 12 boxes but at this time I am only using 10 for my 3rd grader and 5 for my Kindergartner. This is the perfect amount of boxes for us at this time. I do not add "work with Mom" or group assignment items in their boxes. I strictly use the workbox system for independent assignments which is helping them tremendously with their independent work habits. Recently, I have started preparing my 3rd grader's boxes once per week. To accomplish this I write his assignments on sticky notes and put them in the appropriate drawers. Math, phonics, journal, spanish, and other subjects that generally require the same supplies each day are easiest for this method. This cuts down on my nightly prep work. Instead of 10 boxes each night, now I prepare most of them Sunday night and during the week only change the drawers that vary from day to day.
An added and unanticipated beauty to this system is that my Kindergartner can do "extra" work whenever his little heart pleases. Such a blessing!
For our workboxes I am using Sterilite 5 drawer systems. I love them because they are plenty wide and deep for books, folders, and any other items needed for an assignment. The front of the drawer is plenty big for the Velcro drawer numbers and subject cards. This drawer system can be stacked on top of each other if the need exists. I store our drawers under a desk which allows me more useable surface area in our small schoolroom area. On top of the desk is a simple basket for complete assignments, a container or construction paper, and our writing center. Thank you to Robyn at Heart of Wisdom for her free workbox tags. I also added a few of my own tags such as journal, spanish, and math.