I have seen from a lot of mommas say that the time it takes to plan and fill the boxes can be overwhelming. I felt the same way the first few weeks we used them, and I am pretty sure most workbox mommas would agree that's the norm! But as you determine to stick with it (because your kids are enjoying school and getting tings finished in record time) you will find that you develop your own system of filling the boxes and getting ready for your school day.
A few weeks after implementing the workbox system into our day, I decided to change up our curriculum. You can read more about that whole process here.
Now that we are using Tapestry of Grace, and several other classical resources, planning kinda took a quantum leap for me. Instead of just planning out lessons by numbers and pages, now I found I had to dig a little deeper and think a little harder about what each day of our week would look like. So, I developed my own little system, using my own version of TOG's daily assignment grid. Yes, I made yet another custom planning form, but we can talk about my paperwork and forms obsession another time. Any how, I made a custom form for each boy, as they are doing different levels of work (Drew is doing UG, and Isaiah is doing LG) and different types of subjects. I would love to share with you, but I can't get them to upload correctly to scribd.
Anyhow, I plan two weeks out at a time. There is a good reason for this other than the fact that I am killing two birds with one stone. Since we are doing TOG at half pace, what the curriculum lists for one week of work, we actually do in two! It's much easier to just split it up and plan the two weeks at the same time than it would be to plan each week separately. Anyhow, that's my first step, filling out those assignment grids.
The second step is to make a to-do list as I am going through my lesson planning. I list all the copies I need to make, resources I need to find/get, craft and projects preparations, and anything else I want done ahead of time. After I am all done with my planning, I go through my to-do list and complete each task, placing any of the weeks necessary paperwork in my TOG binder in the correct week's pocket.
Now comes the third step, which to many seems like a daunting task, but if you plan ahead and prepare, it will be a breeze! Now it is the night or morning before school and you have to get those workboxes filled and ready to go! This is what I do:
First, I do only one child's boxes at a time. I take all the boxes and spread them out on the table in numerical order. I get out my TOG planning binder and open it up to my assignment grids, which are freshly printed and in the front of the binder. Then I get my stack of papers for the week, and I go through my page and place each subjects work into it's box. I also have in a nearby rolling cart for easy access: glue, scissors, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, etc. That way I can just grab whatever I need for each box as I am filling them. Then I put the filled workboxes back onto the cart and start over with the other child's boxes! It takes me about 10 minutes per child to do this UNLESS I have forgotten to make a copy or I have to find extra goodies to fill empty boxes. That usually doesn't slow me down too much though.
So you see, it's all about your method! It's all about planning ahead! Want proof? Go ahead and do this with your curriculum, tweak what you need to, and see if it makes a difference in your day-to-day prep time. YES, it takes a little more planning and attention to detail ahead of time. YES, things don't always go along with "the plan". BUT it is worth the extra effort! Your daily prep time will decrease and so will your stress level! GOOD LUCK!
PS - If you tried this, or do something different that helps you, please share in a comment!