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Using Workboxes to Support Individualized Learning


By Dawn Spence

I first learned about workboxes and visual supports when I taught a self-contained classroom for children with special needs. I saw how the organization and the predictability of workboxes and visual supports helped my students to become independent. 


Independence is important to all learners, but it is especially so for children with special needs. Now that I homeschool, I use a workbox system and visual supports for my own children. Even my older son who has no learning challenges thrives with his system. 

Workboxes for Older Students/Typical Learners
Here are some examples of how I have organized workboxes for two of my children.





You can download free tags from different sites to label the drawers. I found this on one of my favorite pages http://mamajenn.com/blog/2010/08/workbox-tags.html. I find my workboxes on Amazon, and there are many options to choose from.

My kids know that when the work in the drawers is done, then their regular school day is done. This way my children are responsible for checking and completing their own work. You can label each drawer of your workboxes with a number and they will complete each drawer in numeric order. 


Another way to label your workboxes is with the subject of what is inside. I even added a label that says, “work with mom ‘so they know that the task inside needs more direct instruction. 



Workboxes for Struggling Learners
My other daughter’s system is very different because I have tailored it to her needs. My daughter needs a more structured system. She knows that when she completes her boxes in order from 3 down to 1, that she then gets to pick a preferred activity for her reward. 




She can pick Play-Doh, puzzles, or her all-time favorite: bubbles. Knowing that something fun is coming helps her make it through the challenges. I found labels and visual supports I like on Teachers Pay Teachers, and I have included the link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Countdown-Stoplight-Boards-137565



As you can see in the picture, I use the same visuals on the wash tubs I bought at the Dollar Tree and on her desk. As she completes a bucket, she puts that number down until she is all done. When we started setting up this routine, I had to remind her of the end goal and the fun activity that awaited her, but now she knows and anticipates it on her own and will complete her work.



Workboxes are a tool to help you and your child organize your homeschool day and also provides expectations and independence. I was amazed when I used this system with my curriculum I was already using how it made our day flow better.




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