review – Sue Patrick’s Workbox System


Note: I am doing a two-part review on this system. Shortly after receiving it to review, the company that employs my husband hit financial rocky water. I temporarily do not have the funds to set up the system the way Sue Patrick prefers, and I don’t want to give my opinion of how it works for us until I try it her way. I will review the e-book now & will update with our results!

Workboxes were all the rage this summer on the homeschool forums. I was immediately drawn to the idea for my two younger students. It would allow them to get some of their school work done without constantly asking Mommy what to do next. It seemed like a simple idea, and there were blogs aplenty with set-up info, so was there any reason to read the book? Well, after receiving a free copy to review, my answer would be YES!

Sue Patrick developed the Workbox System after her son was diagnosed with Autism. She has spent years fine-tuning her system and teaching  it to other families. (It works for all children, not just one with learning struggles.) The idea is simple: a shoe rack and twelve clear boxes are used to order a child’s daily work. The child works through the boxes in order and can see at a glance how much work is left.

Information abounds about how to set up workboxes, but Sue Patrick’s book contains so much more than that. She walks you through, step-by-step, the why & how of workboxes (with pics). I am a visual learner and this is a big deal to me. My favorite part of the book is when she shows how to customize different items for your children. She shows you how to set up learning centers using posters, and how to take a common worksheet and make it more interesting (again, with pics!). We are a non-textbook family and this was a big help to me.

I do feel the need to pass along the fact that Sue Patrick and I do not see eye to eye about a few things. (Not that we need to see things the same for me to benefit from her book, but she has very strong opinions about them.)

  • She seems to be a “school at home” person – very structured and classroom-y. We do half of our work on the couch all together.
  • She thinks you should focus on school, & only school, during school hours. I have 5 kids and things like switching out the laundry between subjects are a necessity around here.
  • She thinks there is too much talking going on in homeschools. Not really gonna comment on this one, except to say we’ll have to agree to disagree :-)
  • She does not like people to “tweak” her system. I will be using the box system for my two younger ones, but a folder system for the older kids. Five students x 12 boxes = no room! I don’t think is it reasonable to expect big families to find that kind of money or space.

Having said all that, I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bath water just because we disagree on a few things. I just didn’t want you to be surprised. You can view sample pages HERE.

The Nitty Gritty:

The e-book is $19.95. It includes a link to some basic forms to download. You can view her catalog HERE for more products that go along with the Workbox system.

Things I Like:

  • The book has several ideas for creating learning centers and customized worksheets.
  • This system gives my kids more control over their day and frees me up a little to help the ones who need one-on-one instruction.
  • This is probably my favorite thing – it is easy to add in all those little fun educational projects that we never really get around to. I’m not a naturally organized person and this is a good fit for me.

Value: I think this is a reasonable price for the manual, the helpful photos, and the downloads. Like I stated before, I really benefit from the visuals.

See what my TOS Crew Mates have to say about Sue Patrick’s Workbox system!


  1. says

    SO sorry to hear about your husband’s company-seems too many are experiencing that and it isn’t good.

    I think you did a very nice job expressing the pros and cons and kept it very fair! Good job. Any time someone says “always” “every” “only” I get a bit squimish-no need to assume it can solve everyone’s issues and problems. But it can be a great way to streamline, organize and reduce mommy stress! We love them.

    Best wishes-
    FM Sheri

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