Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's talk CHORES..... {part 1}

Chores! This is a topic you hear all over the spectrum of Mommies!! Homeschoolers, Public/Private Schoolers, Working Mama's, Stay at home Mama's... all Mama's talk chores!!!

I have tried a few different routines/ideas but one thing always stays the same, all the A's work. Okay so A6 and A7 might not help so much, but they are always asked to help! I firmly believe everyone in the house must help out. Yes A6 and A7 are not always much of a help, but it's the principle we are teaching. I want them to understand if you make the mess you help clean it up. Our house only stays together through every ones contribution, and teamwork.
Each day A5 and A6 pick a buddy to help. We try to rotate who gets the helper, since it does add to your chore time. We also try to always work around our extra curricular schedule. That way if say A2 has a gymnastics class, she has less chore time than say A3 that day.
I also remind them to clean up and tidy toys and messes throughout the day. I ask them to pick up something, or even help with after meal chores. One of A5's favorite chores, is doing the dishes, she always asks to help.

Now for the HOW'S
Let's see when the older A's where younger we did a picture list, you know the ones a bed means make your bed, a broom means sweep the floor each morning, a toothbrush means brush your teeth! Simple chores, that's where we start. Then we bought some chickens and A1 started caring for them right off, Papa Bear taught him, and then he took it over.

After that we started delegating chores, such as it's chore time here's what needs to be done... that doesn't work so well. Mama Bears brain was always lost and confused!

Another thing we did was daily chore coupons. I liked this idea, but the A's didn't. {Yes I do listen to their advice, and concerns.... I take them into consideration, and then decide on what the decision will be!!} To make our coupons, I took a foam poster board and made envelope slots- 2 per child {in and out} Then I made a list of chores, all chores I could possibly think of. We had daily chores, {make bed, feed animals, personal hygiene, night time dishes, vacuum, learning room tidy after school time.} These are all things that must be done daily to keep the house running smoothly. Each house will have their own list of daily chores. Then I separated the house into days. Monday we cleaned the family room, Tuesday we cleaned bathrooms, Wednesday we cleaned the kitchen and dining area, Thursday was the toy room, Friday was the learning room and outside, and Saturday was bedrooms. I then took each room and divided it down into smaller chores for that room. So Monday-family room. I listed on each coupon, things like vacuum the couch (pull cushions) water flowers, dust bookcases, dust piano, shake rug, clean window, dust blind, clean out entry closet, etc. Then each Monday morning, I put the daily and Monday chores in the IN slots. Dividing out chores equal based on age and ability. During chore time, the kids took their chore coupons out of the in slot. Making sure their daily have been done, or do them now. Along with the day of the week chores. Most daily chores are done in the Morning, not all. Then as the kids finished they put the coupon in the out slot.
One reason the kids disliked this idea, is that some rooms get really crowded with everyone in that room. Also sometimes you could not accomplish your chores, because another A needed to do something. So say we are in the dining room and you are on swiffer mop the tile, but another A is on sweep the tile, and yet another A is on wash down the table and chairs.
One reason I dislike this, was it was more work to figure out who didn't accomplish their chore correctly!

Our new routine, is the same foam poster board, flipped over!! A new plan. I have 5 circle spinning charts on it. Divided by 4, except one is divided in half.
The one in half has tidy and clean on the top, and bedroom and bathroom on the bottom. So every other day the bathrooms or bedrooms are being cleaned, the other day tidied. The other charts....

One is divided into major rooms in the house, Playroom~learning room~ Swiffer/sweep~ Family room. And each of the older 4 A's names are on the bottom. That means each day that room, is completely cleaned. I will be adding to this reminders of what needs to be done in each room. So each day the entire room is cleaned, vacuumed and things put away. I like this because the main areas of the home are being cleaned daily, not perfectly, but as well as the A's ability is. Plus whatever the younger {sometimes lazier} A's don't do, the older A's will catch.

Another one says, front door~ slider door~ front entry~ and basement entry each of those are cleaned each day

Another one says, front porch~ outside duty~ stairs~ dust.. each of these are done daily
for outside duty, and dust the A in charge asks where/what

Another one says, cat duty~ monthly chore list~ weekly chore list (twice)
Cat duty is feed and litter, Monthly and Weekly chore lists, are lists (currently in my head!!!) that needs to be done occasionally. Things like wipe down the light switches on the main level or basement, Wash the inside garbage can lid and sides, wash the wall by the table (you know the one with all the finger prints) wash the door to the bathroom that everyone touches on the way to wash their hands after meals!! Things like that.
Daily chores, are make bed, personal hygiene, animals duties.

So now when do we do all these???
We make beds and do personal hygiene every morning before school begins and before breakfast. Once all school work is finished the A's are free. The younger A's are not usually free until after lunch and naps (if needed) The older A's are usually done around 2-3pm. This gives them around 1 hour of play time together, and 1 hour with the neighbor kids after school. We typically begin chores at 5pm. Unless someone has an after school activity, and then they need to accomplish their chores before we go, and finish any unfinished work after we get home. While the A's do chores, I usually finish any dishes that need to be done, and begin dinner duties. We are all finished with chores between 6-6:30, yes that is 1- 1.5 hrs of chores each day. Then it's usually dinner time, and preparing for bed.

It works great for us, most of the time. The A's like the spinning charts, it's clear and they are doing the same chores weekly, which means they know how to do them, there are no questions. All A's must account for their chores, before they are free, again. We talk through the list, then I hold them accountable. If the chores are not done to my expectations, they are grounded the next day. They usually do school work, chores and extra chores. I have to be very strict with these, no EXCEPTIONS!!! If I give them alittle they will take it all and then some. Each and every A tries to get away with unacceptable chores from time to time, and I have to keep up on them. It makes it easier to just look at the chart, and see who needs grounded and teaching.

When we began doing our dishes by hand. I was very upset about the way dishes were being done. A's 1-4 had a 2 hour class with...ME about how we do the dishes. I walked them through each and every step. They sat and watched me do the dishes, and I discussed everything I did, while they sat and watched. Let's just say anytime the dishes start looking not so clean... I simply remind them of their dish lesson!!!

Since this post is already way too long, and probably really confusing already :p I will wait to finish up my chore talk for another post. To be continued... I will discuss our new Mom Store/ Mommy Money Reward System, daily chores/routines, along with any other tidbits I feel will be helpful.
Please leave me a comment if this is too confusing or if I need to clarify something.

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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6