Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sue Patrick Workboxes

If you Google "workboxes", you'll discover that these are the new trend to hit the homeschool community. Many homeschoolers are using workboxes successfully in their homes and raving about how they simplify assigning their students independent work.

I had heard of this system a few months before receiving the Sue Patrick's Workbox System User's Guide for review and was quite excited about trying this in our home. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more I knew this was not going to work for my family and was not going to be something I felt comfortable recommending.

My philosophy of homeschooling is best described as relaxed/eclectic. I do not desire artificially produced school at home. My ideal would be to have a home where learning and school time is integrated into our day and is as natural as everything else. We do have structure- most days we wake up, dress, eat, do chores, and start our schoolwork. The children all know what they need to accomplish independently and I treasure our together time of reading aloud or working on lapbooks or singing along with Schoolhouse Rock. If we get distracted by talking and sharing together about everything going on in life, I consider that a success. One major appeal in homeschooling is knowing my children.

Sue Patrick's guide not only encourages an extremely structured, classroom like atmosphere but almost demands it. The tone is caustic towards anyone with a different viewpoint and I found that difficult to get past. Comments such as, "I find there is way too much talking going on in homeschools" concerned me. Workbox components such as "I Need Help" cards, restroom break cards, and "Quiet" cards were just unfathomable to me in a home situation. Allowing your children to only ask you for help three to four times a day seemed to undo all the good of the homeschool setting and the individualized attention it provides.

My husband attended a strict ACE school as a child. He worked in a small cubby and raised a flag when he needed help. He was expected to work quietly and independently throughout the day. He does not remember this fondly. As I was reading aloud from the guide, he commented that it sounded to him as though the author was advocating bringing something similar into the home. This was not an option for our family. Combined with my own reaction to the guide, we were unable to implement the system into our home.

Sue Patrick developed this system for her autistic child. This may have been the best solution for her family and her circumstances. I do not have an autistic child and so I will not pretend to know anything about how this type of structure would work for someone with a special needs student. I just know that for our family, this is not a good fit. Many homeschoolers are using this system or an adaptation of this system successfully but for us, the philosophy of the guide is too opposite of our own beliefs to recommend.

Sue Patrick's Workbox System Users Guide E-Book is available for $19.

*Disclosure: This product was provided at no cost for review purposes.*

1 comment:

Berry Patch said...

Thank you! I felt the exact same way about this book. Now I feel a bit better about what I had planned to say. ;-)

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