Tomorrow is our first day of school!

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I am so excited about some of the new things we are doing this year. I am determined to roll Mr. Man into the mix and get him working on some formal curriculum (but not much, I don’t expect him to sit still for long!) and in order to do that, I needed some serious organization.

I keep hearing about people using “Workboxes” to help keep the kids on task, working independently, and *hopefully* prevent some of the “Mooooommmmmm, what else do I have to DOOOOO” whining. In theory, it’s a great plan, but in practice, my family doesn’t use many workbooks, and we don’t have room for boxes.

So, I took the idea of workboxes, and I made us a workbox to-do list scheduler thing-a-ma-bob.

Here is what it looks like:

This is both kids binders, side by side- see how I have one doing an independent activity while I have a hands on lesson with the other?

Basically, the sheet has a column with a clock face, where the kids will write in the time they start that assignment, by drawing in clock hands, and then writing the digital time (whoo hoo for clock practice). The night before, I will get out my subject tags, and arrange them in the to-do boxes. Bonus tickets, for snacks, meals, playground trips and the like go in the done column.

Tomorrow morning when the kids sit down at the table with me for circle time, the first thing we will do is check our daily schedule. As the day goes along, they will move the tag from the “to-do” to the “done” column. If there is a bonus ticket in the done column, that means they get to use that ticket. (I am hoping this will prevent the “I’m hungry” whiny moments, because they will see when they are done with math, they will get a break to eat…. We’ll see if it works). When they use the bonus tickets, they put them in a pencil pouch that is in the binder.

At the end of the day, there is a checklist at the bottom of the sheet, reminding them to turn in any work that needs “graded” to mom’s box, clean up their mess, and meet with mom to collect their stickers.

In our family, we use sticker charts as a motivator for positive attitudes. They get a sticker per subject for doing it with a smile and their best effort. If they have to be corrected during a lesson, they lose the sticker for that subject, for that day. The last row on the sticker chart has superhero symbols- when they put a sticker on that spot, they get to pick a small prize from my collection (it is mostly candies, coloring books, leveled readers, and small toys). There is also a bonus row along the bottom of the page, so if I want to reward them for something, I can let them put a sticker on a bonus symbol and choose a treat. This reward chart goes in their binder too.

The binders also serve as an important part of our “circle time” (which I am SO excited to be starting new this year). I made a morning meeting board, based on Saxon’s morning math meeting, and we’ll be using that together to kick start our day. It has things like a pattern to complete each morning, a weather chart to graph the weather, a hundreds chart to practice counting together, a marker for yesterday, today and tomorrow, skip counting, and the date. I am also keeping our memory work for the week with the morning meeting board, because during this time we are doing First Language Lessons together, as well as memorizing our ancient history timeline cards (they are in the floral envelope on the wall- current poems, and timeline cards we have covered will hang up on the wire).

I am super excited to get started in the morning, and the kids are too…. Mostly I think because I decorated their binders with superheroes, therefor, they are something cool. I’ll let you know how our checklist and morning meeting works out! Wish me luck!

Printables for the binder “workbox” are my own creation and can be found here, along with the reward sticker charts.
Morning meeting board printables can be found at

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  1. Beautiful binders and schoolroom! I’m sure your kids are excited! I’ve been wanting to implement a reward box system with our kids this year, but haven’t exactly decided how we are going to do it. I bought the trinkets over the weekend. We start school next week, so I still have plenty of time, right? 😉

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