Why I Loved Workboxes and Why They Didn’t Work for Me!

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Workboxes in your homeschool. Do they work for you?

{Disclosure: Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.} 

Homeschool Workboxes

I am writing this with the assumption that you are already familiar with what workboxes are. 

I think the idea of workboxes is genius. The thought of those bright, beautiful, rainbow colored drawers, the Velcro tags, and all that organization…..Oooh, be still my beating heart.

All that organization just makes my soul happy.

Who wouldn’t want such beautiful eye candy for their homeschool? Again, can I say organization!

The fact that the kids don’t have to continually ask “what’s next?” That thrilled me!

So, I set out on my internet searching journey and researched just about everything I could on them. I started a Pinterest Board for just workbox information. I was set and on my way. Can I just mention that I tend to overthink, over research things. Do any of you have that problem?

I discussed the world changing idea with my husband and he said “whatever you want to do Babe.” See, that’s his general answer for all my hair-brained ideas.


Because I am on the {thrifty} side, I didn’t just run out and buy those expensive, colorful, ever so inviting drawer sets for our three kids.

Oh, I wanted to, but resisted.

I wanted to see how the system worked first before investing in all the prettiness. I decided to use a portable plastic file. (like the one pictured below) I used some hanging files and labeled them with each of the subjects that we do.

There are lots of different styles of workboxes out there.

Off we went on yet another homeschool adventure. Always trying to improve.
Portable File Workbox

{I need to add that the picture above is just a reference of the style of portable file system box that we used.
No, I don’t make my kids do 45 subjects a day. This picture is actually of the phonics curriculum I put together.}

It went well for about……………oh……………..2 days!

I really did try to make it work.

I really wanted it to work.

I really wanted those beautiful drawers.

I could NOT keep up with filling them nightly. I found myself scrambling in the morning to try and fill 3 workboxes with the right content. I create most of our curriculum using free resources. I don’t often have the same workbooks that can be plugged in daily. If we did workbooks than it probably would have been much easier. All you have to do is keep the same books in the same drawers daily.

Because we don’t school that way. This wasn’t as feasible.

Homeschool moms and moms in general are super busy. I found that I couldn’t fill the boxes quickly and efficiently. If something is taking too long it causes too much stress and pressure. This was setting us back. Our mornings were already getting behind before we ever got started.

Enter……..frustration, confusion, and “Mom….what do I do?……Mom….I’m ready….Mom…Mommm”………………..

I’m working on it”….. Urgghhh…………

I have to be honest here, I tried them numerous times and in numerous ways but they really never worked for us.

Let me reiterate that I am not against workboxes. I do think they are a great idea. I can so totally see the benefit of them. If they work for you and not against you. We all have our own quirks personalities and styles. We have to use what works for our strengths. Sometimes we see an idea that others are doing and think we can change who we are and make them work for us. That is not always possible. That way of thinking can lead to stress and burn out in a hurry.

A combination that is not good for a productive homeschool.


Almost giving in to temptation.

Our family was in Sam’s Club a few years ago and there they were. In all their glory…….the colorful drawers! I wanted them.

I spotted them and my husband saw my face light up…&…they were the cheapest price I had ever found them. So, we loaded three of them in our cart and headed for the checkout. I was bound to make workboxes work for us this time. Their color and beauty was mesmorizing!

Just before we got to the checkout line there was one of the drawer sets, out of it’s box, all set up. I started to examine it and it seemed so flimsy. I went and got a few books from the book isle, opened the drawers…and…the books seems too heavy. The drawers didn’t work very well.

How was it going to handle our school books, puzzles, games, etc.? Better yet, How in the world is it going to take the wear and tear of three children everyday? I know my family and there is NO WAY these were going to hold up to them!

Thankfully we didn’t buy them that day. I really dislike wasting money.

Bottom line is, I really wanted this system to work but for us it just wasn’t a good fit.

{These cuties can be used for other storage options in your home though. If you are interested in them, you can purchase by clicking the picture above}


I’m thrilled I held out that day and didn’t force something to work that most likely wouldn’t have.

You know the saying – Good things come to those who wait.

Cubby system

We now use cubbies. This was one of my {thrifty} finds. This shelf was free. It was a lonely, unwanted, unloved piece, waiting for the trash.

I turned it on it’s side and put it on top of our shelf and it is now our cubby space.

Using a binder system in cubbies is a similar concept to workboxes. I can fill the binders with a weeks worth of work or more. Rather than daily. This saves me a ton of time in my daily routine. This is a more manageable regimen for me.

We have been doing this now for about 2 years and it is working great!
The kids use their daily checklist cards and mark off what subjects they are supposed to do that day. All they have to do is grab what they need from their cubby and they are on their way.

Daily Homeschool Task Cards

{Product Information: colored index cards & contact paper}

So if you are fortunate enough to be able to use workboxes……..Kudos to you!

But if you’re like me and it just doesn’t seem to be a good fit. I urge you to find what works for you. It doesn’t have to be a complicated system, by any means. As I said above, I love all the beautiful colors and organization of the workbox system. I was not willing to become a crazy mama acting like a lunatic just to make workboxes work for us.

And if you have been a homeschooler for more than a minute you know that a lunatic mom and frustrated kids don’t make for a happy-go-lucky day!

[this post contains affiliate links]

Do you use workboxes?
Have you tried workboxes and they didn’t work?

Leave me a comment below!





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  1. I’ve thought about workboxes, but I can just imagine the cluttered mess my kids would end up making with it. Ha! We use a binder and we love that so far! Thanks for linking up this week 🙂
    Jenn recently posted…Amazing Art History Resources plus Link-Up #7My Profile

  2. I see your point with regards to workboxes but like you pointed out they are good for other organization completely. In fact we have been using a similar system at home for all our home paperwork needs. It is serving us pretty well. It’s good to hear of another perspective of-course.
    Found you on GF Friday. Great blog.
    ps: your new system of course organization is pretty similar to what I had made for my school homework.
    Shreyashi Ganguly recently posted…Spicy Garlic Miso Glazed ChickenMy Profile

  3. I tried them too. Turns out we just do not have the space for them. Maybe one day I will write about our system, but it pretty much is a velcro picture schedule for each kid. They are able to see at a glance what is needed to be done for the day and go to town. They know where their supplies are in our living room so the workboxes weren’t needed anyway. So glad you stuck to what works for you!
    Catherine recently posted…Giveaway – Home Art Studio Holiday DVDMy Profile

  4. Yes, I adore the thought of using those colorful drawers. That is fantastic that you found a use for them. I’m sure I would have found a use for them as well but I never did purchase them. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment, Shreyashi!

  5. That is great that you found a simple system that works. I am all for not over complicating things in our home and homeschool. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I always love to hear what others say and what works for them.

  6. Oh my I loved this post and your transparency and (refreshing) honesty! I too have been tempted by the workboxes but sometimes the simplest solution is what’s best. We are currently using one hanging file folder bin for each kid and I put their books and worksheet packets in them that they’re currently working through. That’s worked great for now and I’ll be steering clear of the pinterest workbox temptation! 🙂
    Christy recently posted…12 Fun Games With Flash CardsMy Profile

  7. Christy, I am glad you found what works for you, as well. Thank you for your kind words. I am stoked you stopped by and left a comment. Thank you!

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