Last year we jumped on board with the work box craze. It worked! We accomplished more than ever before and in a shorter amount of time. Of course we made modifications to fit our family.
The 1st modification was that we used large manilla folders labeled 1 - 12 instead of plastic workboxes. These were kept in a file box, which took up less space than 12 plastic tubes would. We had one box for each child. The benenfit was that we really accomplished more work. I could get the whole weeks worth of papers and activities together and just fill the envelopes daily. I placed laminated sheets in the folders to acknowledge things like computer time, board games, snack time etc. The down-side was that it was really a hassel to take things in and out of the folders. Another con was that the folders often got out of order and I had to open them to see if they had completed what was inside. At one point I actually cut off the top flaps to make it easier. All things considering this did work for us.
The beginning of a new school year brought additional adjustments. Our 2nd modification was changing from envelopes to file folders. I purchased some with the metal clasps at the top to hold in papers. I use those folders in particular for subjects with worksheets. I can prepare all our math worksheets for the week and put them in the folder and not have to "refill" it again until the next weekend. This proved to be a great step up for us. One of the things I love about using the clasped folders is that you can have work on each side. We often have more than one activity for a subject. So both assignments are front and center in the file folder each day. For example: In the Math folder, on the right side I have MathUSee workbook pages, on the left side I have other math activites like graphing, beat the timer charts, etc. The down side here was that the files didn't stay in order, we just picked what was next and I was constantly obsessing over the file folders not hanging right in the box.
A picture of the 3rd modification is posted below. We LOVE this! The benefits are so many! First, this system takes only a small section of wall or can be hung behind a closed closet door to keep curious toddling siblings at bay. This system stays totally neat, I don't have to be restacking or rearranging to keep it looking neat. Another nice thing is that I can still use my laminated sheets that I mentioned above for things like games, snack time etc. I also still use the clasped file folders and they work wonderfully. Now here is a really great part - when we are finished with a subject, the folder or laminated sheet is turned backward so it is easy to see at a glance exactly where we have been and where we are without keeping up with cards or tabs. We are just loving this. You can purchase these at a variety of places for $14 to 18$ each. They are very affordable.