Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Daily Chores Update

Jess, one of my blog readers asked me for an update on my post declaring that I'd be starting daily chores with my kids.

The whole thing basically bombed out. I have no schedule for chores for the kids. I have no schedule for the family to do housecleaning, decluttering or laundry on certain days.

I do have the lessons laid out for the days when we do homeschooling. I basically try to do all the subjects on all the days we do our lessons. Some of our days are spent doing outside classes or doing other things in the real world.

My kids are helping out a lot more and not complaining when my husband or I asks them to do things. They are still helping empty the dishwasher, bringing dirty clothes to the laundry room, hauling clean clothes upstairs for me to fold, and putting away their own folded clothing. They are still helping me clean the house such as dusting, vaccuuming, using the Swiffer, and cleaning the bathrooms with non-harmful cleansers.

I have been pretty good about trying to stay on top of things and not letting the house get to a very over-cluttered state. I'm trying to have us do the cleaning and decluttering on a more frequent basis which actually makes the work takes less time to accomplish.

The last thing I'll say is that I had both kids and myself re-take the learning styles test in "Discover Your Child's Learning Style" and all three of us came out with a horriblly low score in the area of liking schedules and we all scored high with wanting and liking spontaneity. That result gave me a real laugh and made me feel better about what seems to be a failure on my part to make a schedule and keep to it.


JaneMarple said...

I don't have scheduled chores with my girls (11 and 7) either. We do have a system that works for us overall, though (with tweaks and tuneups as necessary). Each of them gets a "responsibility list" that has as many items as their age in years. For us, that includes their academic and music responsibilities as well as chores, but the list works with any set of responsibilities. If it were just household chores, you would simply make the chores the right size! For my 11yo, she gets three academic, one music (violin rehearsal) and seven household items, five days a week. (The other two days are our field trip day, and their grandparent day, when they aren't home enough to do many responsibilities.) The 7yo is still primarily unschooled, though she's doing daily math these days because she wants to get ready to receive an allowance.

Every morning I write up the lists for them, with input as they desire. There's flexibility to the system; this morning, for example, they are pretending they go to school, based on an American Girl "how to" book that has an entry on "how to get ready for school in ten minutes". They wanted only academic responsibilities on their lists and to do the chores free-form. We reviewed together that I expected the rooms to be in their usual post-chores state when they were done working, and they agreed. I'd say probably 90% of the time, though, we use the system as described.

One other part of the system is that the responsibility lists need to be completed, with the exception of violin and any chores that require a delay (like folding a laundry load or helping unpack groceries), before any play happens. I'm not a taskmaster and I only supervise or inspect those chores that are new and undeveloped, like my 7yo learning to vacuum properly. Some days they're getting hungry for lunch and still haven't finished! but they haven't started playing, either.

It's so smart to recognize what works for you and your kids!!

Jess said...

Thanks for sharing about this. That's kind of why I asked... because our family is definitely not good at rigidity. We can start it but we never keep it up... we're better at focusing on the overarching themes of life, teaching the kids to be helpful when it's needed, etc... than at laying down hard and fast rules/daily "to-dos", etc.

Thanks for sharing! I'm glad to see that someone else "bombs" at scheduled chores too! ;)

Jess @ Making Home

K said...

Another idea that works for a family that doesn't do lists and schedules really well. I found it on the internet and modified it a bit to fit our needs. We have a box of cards with chores on them. They're color coded (for us it's daily a.m., daily p.m. and weekly). I just took white index cards and used a highlighter across the top line and across the top of the cards.

Each card has a single chore on it. We get out the cards at the appropriate time, lay them out on the table. Each person picks one card and does that chore, then picks another card. Some chores take longer than others, but the overall amount of time evens out. No one gets stuck with chores they don't like to do all the time, and everyone gets a turn doing all of them with the way it works out.

In the past when we had a bigger group to deal with, we would rotate weekly who got to pick first, but at present, we don't seem to need to do that.

If I had enough chores that needed to be done a few days a week rather than a set of weekly chores, I might make a card stack for each day of the week.

If a chore doesn't need to be done for some reason on a particular day, we just pull it from first run and put it in the done pile.

SarahKate said...

I have two girls, ages 4 and 7, and we have a great schedule for chores. After every meal there are chores, and since the girls are so small, they are basic. The 7 yo washes, the 4 yo clears the table and dries. It takes about 15 to 30 minuets, depending on if they feel like playing while they work. While they do this chore together, we all sing, and I do the rest of the chores - wiping the counters, sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom, folding the laundry, etc.
The 7 yo enjoys cooking our dinner sometimes, because I have told her that whomever makes the meal does not have to do any dishes. She really likes to miss out on dishes, even if it means she spends an hour chopping and stirring.
Of course they have other chores that come up a few times a week, like putting away their clothes and toys.
Overall, I have found that whether you ask our kids to do a small amount of chores (5 min/day) or a large amount (1 hour/day) there is the same amount of fussing about it. Singing during the chores helps a lot, and I really appreciate that my girls are learning how to be helpful.
I have a really fond memory of feeling ill and needing to lay down on the couch for a while, and our 7 yo cleaned up the whole kitchen and did as good a job as I would do. I am really proud of my girls.