The holidays have been amazing. For the first time ever, we stayed home. We missed our family. But we didn’t miss the traveling, the traffic, the hustle and bustle, etc. And we greatly enjoyed having Christmas at home.
One night this past week I had the chance to finally put together workboxes for the children. I had seen this idea on many homeschooling website. The general idea is that you put assignments in the boxes for the child and they 1) know how much they have to do everyday and see an end in sight, and 2) can sense accomplishment as they complete each box. There really is a lot more behind it and I haven’t done extensive study on it – so if you want more information go view this blog entry by Confessions of a Homeschooler.
Since I am home away during the day I thought having workboxes set up for the children would help make the nanny’s job easier. And I could be sure they were completing certain activities each day, even though I was away at work. So about three months ago I snagged these 6 drawer rolling carts from JoAnn’s at 70% off – they were right at the front of the store a day it was at the top of my mind or I never would have remembered. This week I put their first initial on the drawer and labeled the drawers 1- 6.
I was hoping there would be a sense of excitement around the drawers. And there definitely was. The first day was like Christmas all over again. Both Petra and Jasper LOVED opening each drawer and wizzed through all the boxes in about 30 minutes. I hadn’t really planned on starting Jasper this early on such a formal system, but I knew he would want one if Petra had one. Sure enough Jasper spotted the letter “J” on one of them and knew it was his.
I filled each drawer with a different activity – but something similar for each child, just at different skill levels. There is definitely a desire between them to do similar activities at similar times. They ended up working through the boxes at the same speed. Here are some photos of what we did: (Yes they are still in their PJs – there was a lot of excitement about starting these boxes! I barely got their breakfast cleared out of the way.)
Petra worked on a Kumon Maze while Jasper did some freestyle drawing on a small whiteboard.
They both worked on puzzles.
Petra worked on early reading skills…she had to plug in the first letter of each word.
While Jasper spent some beloved moments with his tot cars book – which he enjoyed more than ever.
I hope that gives you an idea on some of the activities we did the first day. They was also cutting worksheets and a few other things. The excitement has contintued throughout the days, but there has been some issues that I have had to consider. 1) Should I require them to do the drawers in order from 1-6? 2) Should I allow them to get distracted with toys and leave their workboxes uncompleted? If you start something like this with young toddlers I would definitely suggest you think through these questions prior to starting them. I decided to make them take the hard route – they have to do them in order, and they have finish them before playing with other things. But I have left wiggle room in other places. For instance we might not start them until I know the children appear to be ready to start them. This morning they needed playtime outside first, so that’s what we did. And I might not fill all 6 boxes everyday. In addition, I will probably be adding more games, activities and snacks as I get better at assembling the boxes.
Also, I was very excited this week because Petra completed her first workbook – the Kumon book of Easy Mazes. She LOVES mazes and often asks to do them sometimes several times a day. Here is a picture of the last maze in this book. Sorry about the shine in the photo – I pulled these pages out of the book and inserted them into clear sheet protectors so they could be used with dry/erase markers. She enjoys doing them and will do them as many times as necessary to be sure they are perfect – without touching any walls. I was thrilled this week to go and buy her the next maze book.