There’s a joke we like to tell in our family about my nephew. When he was about 5 years old his mom asked him to do some chore and, of course, he complained. Someone asked him if there was anything he disliked more than doing chores. My nephew answered, “Yes . . .jobs!” Jobs were extra chores he had to do as a consequence for misbehavior.
We laugh about it because no matter how old you are in our family you contribute to the family work whether you call it chores, jobs, jurisdictions, stewardships, etc. Everyone contributes to make sure the household runs more smoothly (eventually) and to learn that work is necessary but can also be enjoyable.
Now about that eventually up there. When there is a house full of little ones it is often much easier to do the work yourself. You know how to do it and can do it much more quickly than when the little ones “help.” Their ‘help’ seems to be a hindrance rather than real help! However it does children a great disservice if they are not allowed to help or even expected to help. Working together with my children is one of my greatest joys. It provides wonderful opportunities to talk, laugh, and sing with them. Even if it does take twice as long to get things done.
Each family is unique so what works for one may not work for another. I’m sharing what our family does because I have been asked so many times. Here is our chore chart (with children’s names smudged out). The left column is the weekly zone that the four oldest are in charge of. The three younger ones that are old enough rotate daily as their helpers.
The right column is a weekly chore that each child has on top of the weekly zone. These weekly chores are actually daily chores that have to be done throughout the day not just once or twice but they have them for the whole week. I work with the younger ones on their weekly chore teaching them how to do it correctly, while the older girls teach them how to clean properly as they help with the weekly zones. The one who doesn’t have a helper gets me as the helper for that day. Ten years is the magical age when they become responsible for a weekly zone and have daily helpers.
There are three times throughout the day when everyone is required to work on their chores. Morning, mid-day, and evening. Morning chores are quick pick ups if the evening chores had been done properly the night before. Mid-day chores are the same. Evening chores take the longest because that’s when it is the messiest. Our afternoons are free time for everyone. The younger ones mostly play, inside and outside, while the older ones work on projects, developing their talents, or exploring an interest such as painting or sewing. In other words we are all involved in making messes!
This is what our house looked like yesterday at 4:30pm.
Dining Room: Brownie was working on a duck picture for the Junior Duck Stamp Contest. While I was taking the picture Special Dark was running around and around the table pretending to ride a horse.
Kitchen: Pretty self-explanatory.
Living Room: Usually the only messes in here are made by the baby. Except for the mess on the piano – that’s strictly the older three! It’s too hard to walk 12 feet to the armoire you see there to put the piano music away. 😀
Laundry Room: Again self-explanatory. The diapers are in the washer which is why the pail is in there instead of the bathroom.
Hallway/Coat Closet: We definitely need a bigger coat closet! (sorry for the blurry photo)
Stairs/Front Door: At least they took off their shoes and didn’t track mud up the steps!
Craft/Sewing Room: This is where I spend most of my free time. And it is the messiest of them all! Hmm… In my defense, the baby spends her time down here too having free reign on all the lower cabinets. The baby locks do NOT keep the baby out.
Evening chores being when it starts to get dark. Each room has a daily checklist of what needs to be done. There is also a more detailed once a week deeper cleaning checklist that usually gets done Saturday mornings.
|Special Dark has dishwasher duty this week – loading and unloading.|
As you can see I’m not too concerned about making sure our house is spic and span the whole day. There are things we are working on to make it cleaner i.e. putting things away after we are done using them (piano music girls!). We work on them one or two at a time. If we try to do more than that I end up scolding all day long. I don’t want to do that! I want to be more like Tacy’s mother in the book Betsy and Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace:
“Mrs. Kelly was stout and gentle. She was like a large, anxious dove. She was different from Betsy’s mother who was slim and red-headed and gay. Betsy’s mother knew how to scold as well as to laugh and sing. But Tacy’s mother never scolded.
“If I try to scold eleven [children] I’d be scolding all the time,” she explained to Betsy one day.”
Tomorrow’s post . . . Finding Time To Recharge and Refresh as a Homeschooling Mother
Heart of the Matter has partnered with 16 of the most inspiring, lovely, and just plain awesome bloggers in the homeschool community to bring you 10 days, 160 posts full of resources for those starting out, burned out or need new ideas.
Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th! We love these ladies and we know you do too.
10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori | Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool | Delightful Learning