Monday, April 16, 2012

Workboxes and Charlotte Mason

So, the first question I got from one of my friends when I said I had turned over to Charlotte Mason work for school was “So you don’t do workboxes anymore?”  And it took me a minute to answer… cuz for the first few weeks we were on this new kick, I didn’t use the workboxes.  As she asked that I was wondering if I could make them work with the new adjusted curriculum and I just wasn’t sure.

Over the next few days I read and researched on how I could keep my beloved workboxes while embracing a new way of learning… I mean really, I used workboxes often when we were doing Waldorf education (and those really DON’T match up for many many ways) so how hard could it be?


The biggest challenge I faced was time when all the kids could be with me to for nature study, in depth unit study, and read aloud time.  I set those up as my first boxes every day and it kind of fell together from there.  Logan’s boxes will be put in future posts like the rest of his curriculum this year, but I want to give you some idea of what I put in Cyan’s other 9 boxes.  (She is 10 years old.)

Math - of course, her lessons from her math curriculum go in this box, but when those start to slow her down I have been adding an extra box of math that has drills, times tables, flashcards, or other things that help her continue to improve and gain speed in her retention of math facts.

Nature drawings - very often I have her pick an item in her nature study to look up on her own.  This is a second item from the one that we study together.  She will find the technical name, draw a picture from a cutting or photo, and perhaps make up a little story about what it was doing that morning or somesuch.  This all goes into the same nature notebook as we work on together… her’s is just longer than Logan’s or mine and will (I believe) me more treasured because she has her own personal take on these bits of nature.


In this box last week I put in Sun Print paper.  The first day the sun was out in force and we were able to do some cool sun prints outside.  The second day it was really cloudy and so we did them under my grow lamps in the laundry room!  It was really fun and all of the sun prints went into our nature notebooks.

Handcrafts - working on her knitting, paper craft, painting, wet on wet water color, etc is often dropped into one of her boxes.  Her free time is often full with creating forts and other normal kid things outside. 

Cooking - We are very food-focused around here.  Cooking skills are wonderful to have and so I will drop a recipe in her boxes from time to time.  This is also the place where I put her recipes from other cultures if we are reading/learning about some place new.  It adds a whole other way to remember the lesson: Taste!

Memory Verse - In this box I use anything from a verse from the bible to a quip from a Robert Frost poem and sometimes even a Shel Silverstein limerick. She has to read, write, and say aloud to me her verse in this box.

Lapbooks - Although not really CM oriented, Cyan’s lapbooks or lap notebooks are a good way to have a visual review of facts.  I will put already completed lapbooks for her to review the facts inside, or sometimes incomplete lapbooks with materials to work on further from our unit studies.  These, of course, are more than what Logan does with us in the mornings. 

Games - These are super fun and I try to make it so we all play together by putting them in the last box, but sometimes she and I just have a little game date. 

Explode the Code - These are great extra work for grammar.  CM relies heavily on narration in the early grades but for 5th grade work, I am also interested in some of the technical aspects of Cyan’s work.  I want her to know where a comma goes and what type of punctuation to use if she wants to make a stronger sentence.  These types of things are often reviewed in ETC. 

Art Journal - Cyan LOVES to draw, this box is like a bonus for her.  I get a lot of sketch books at the start of the year and I will put them into her boxes when she has been doing really well, or getting all her work done early etc.  She sees this as a reward and looks forward to it when it’s in her boxes.

Music - Yet another way to remember a lesson.  I will drop a music device (CD, iPod, or even my phone with a Pandora playlist) to listen to while she is working on her lesson. 


Videos - This is usually just a post it with a pre-set up computer window that I have selected to go along with the lesson.  It can be a Brain Pop, You Tube video, or video from the Discovery Channel on Netflix… but it always has something to do with the unit study we are working on (currently Praying Mantis.)


Frannie said...

oh Val, thank you so much for all you post. Your ideas and insight are so helpful. I'm so grateful that I found you!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thanks Frannie! :) I love that I now have you on facebook too. :)