From Workboxes to Study Binders—Streamlining the Large Family Homeschool

As a mom of six children, streamlining our home has become a habit.  I constantly look around and try to find ways to make everything flow smoother.  Our house is laid out in a way that is choppy, as in lots of walls, cutting up the “flow” of the floorspace.  I like wide open spaces, so this has been a bit of an issue.  However, I can’t fix it, but I can do things around the home to make it better.  Streamlining our home, whether in the kitchen, through chores, or in our homeschool has become a hobby.  Today I will show you how I have streamlined my large family workboxes to save me time during the week, take up even less space, and be easier to grade and record.

I spent many hours last summer trying to figure out how to set up workboxes for our large family.  We have loved them, and we are not completely getting rid of them, but I have found a better way to streamline it all for our family.  I only have to get in our boxes on Saturday, I can set up the whole week on Saturday, and my children are still learning independently without a lot of direction from me.  As in, I am not constantly telling them the next thing.  I interact with them and am involved, but they are able to move from subject to subject without my direction.

I have taken my page protector binder (see here too)  another step.


I have started loading the binders with five days of work on Saturday.  I insert my children’s workbox cards in page protectors, so they know when to do those items.  The page protectors with workbox cards, do not have other assignments in them, but further instructions for the workbox activity if needed.  All the actual workbox activities for the week are placed in a tub on Saturday.  When the children come to a workbox card, they get what they need from the tub.


All of their assignments for the entire week are in this binder in the page protectors.  It has streamlined our school immensely.  What used to take three to four hours now take two to maybe two an a half hours.

Each day’s work is behind it’s own divider.  When my children finish a worksheet or writing assignment that is not in a page protector, they put it in the page protector that had that assignment instructions written on it.


Finished work ready to be graded.

Then I can grade it and record it.  I then put it in their portfolios saving them for our records.


Our school is now ready to go by Sunday evening without me worrying over it.  I have an assignment log ready for them in a page protector, that they mark off on the page protector, when I grade the assignment, I pull it out and mark their grade in the appropriate box.  When the week is over, the grade/assignment record goes in the portfolio.

So, now you are wondering how I incorporate workbook assignment.  No, I don’t tear out all the workbook pages.  I put a sheet of paper in a page protector with the workbook assignment written on it, it also has any example or extra instructions on it.  I write all this in pencil, so that I can make any changes easily for the next week, in hopes of not wasting or using a ton of paper.  The student just marks on the assignment record/grade sheet that they completed that subject, so I know where to find it to grade it.  These still go in our completed work bin, as do their binders at the end of each day.  When I grade them, I place everything back on their desk for them.  They are now easily ready for the next day.  If I don’t get it graded, we just get the stuff out of the completed work bin and move on.  I will get it graded by the time I am ready to refill their binders.  I don’t like it to work that way, but you know how life goes.

Our homeschool, and house are running much smoother.  In the evening rather then trying to fill workboxes, I am able to spend time with everyone.  My husband is loving the extra forty-five minutes we have.  On the weekends, it is only taking me about and hour to fill four binders, plan the week, set all workbox materials in a tub for use through the week, and fill out the assignment/record sheets. Workbox activity tub.

For us, this has worked out better then I could have imagined.  I was somewhat panicked earlier this spring wondering how I was going to keep up the workboxes, garden, livestock, farm wife, meals, food preservation, and all that comes with my role as mom, wife, farm hand, livestock care taker and the many other responsibilities that would be for me to tend to.  This appears to be the answer.

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  1. I love the notebooks! I heard from a speaker one year – that the number one thing we can do for our middle school kids, especially with dyslexia, is to make them keep a neat notebook at home. He said middle school boys who are allowed to keep a messy backpack, will keep that through life – and it is a sign of the chaos of learning. He urged us (knowing we were homeschoolers) to make our kids use a trapper keeper for their subject – as his number one tip on helping our kids in future studies. Way To GO MOM!

  2. pre-k curriculum says:

    While we’re on the subject of From Workboxes to Study Binders– |, For those of us who have a personal experience with home schooling it has proved to be the best choice of education we could have made. The pros far outweigh the cons. In today’s world where personal transportation and the internet are pretty much available to everyone, outside stimulation is readily available.

  3. I’m going to reread this again when my brain is less mottled because I think this will work better then our current workboxes but I need to work it in with our new curriculum.

    I did ‘steal’ your page protector idea but I’m finding it frustrating going back and cleaning the sheet. Works great for our memory verse/penmanship pages… but I had started using it for almost everything and I was spending all afternoon cleaning pages! LOL

  4. This has given me some good ideas for next year. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Amy´s last blog – Time 4 Learning =-.

  5. I’ve begun doing things weekly as well, but haven’t figured out how to make the whole page protector thing work for us. I have your first page protector post bookmarked (for months now) because I keep thinking I’ll try this. Really enjoy seeing what you do in your homeschool. 🙂
    .-= Amy @ Raising Arrows´s last blog ..Color Coded Children =-.

  6. Great idea! I’m tucking this one away. I was homeschooled and hope to be able to have that privledge myself some day when I have a family. Great tip, thanks!


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