Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tips for Homeschoolers, Day 4: Chores

I am a moderate mom when it comes to kids and chores. I've known a mom with twelve children who saw her job to be caring for the babies, and her army of kids did the chores. I've seen kids who are required to do no chores, and they often grow into adults who do no chores.

When I was growing up, there were five kids in the family. Mom made a chore chart, and each child had to do their chores to get their allowance. The chores would rotate week to week. The fifth child was just a baby, so I won't include him. I think the oldest was already working outside the home when we did this, so the chart had three of us. It would have looked like this, where you checked the box when you were done for the day:


Wash Dishes
Empty Kitchen Trash
Sweep Kitchen Floor








Looking at that now, it looks pathetic, like, "That's all the chores you had to do?" But oh how we moaned and groaned. It was during the era when moms mostly stayed home. We each did our own laundry. We were required to have our rooms cleaned to pass "inspection" once a week on allowance day. Mostly we kids went to school, did homework and played. I "played" with my baby brother extensively (10-1/2 years younger than myself) to the point that my mom worried at times that there was something wrong with that. As an adult now, I see that as something mom should have seen as my chore: "babysitting"! What a help that is for a mom when an older focuses on the youngest so that Mom can make dinner!

As a parent, my discipline with chores with my kids has fits and starts. When the girls were young we did chores together. 4:00 - Clean up the Family Room time! I hated the show Barney, but I totally used the song, "Clean up! Clean up! Everybody everywhere... clean up! Clean up! Everybody do your share!" to get the girls to help me clean up the family room.

We had a huge bay window to the back yard in our dining room, where we did our homeschooling at the table. Though hubby didn't find it attractive, I found it a wonderful thing to be able to clear the table of home school materials each day by moving them to the 12" bay window cill whenever we were done.

As the girls got older I taught them to make their beds, clean their rooms, clean bathrooms, cook, sweep -- although my enforcement of a cleaning schedule was sketchy. I was often grateful to have the kids mow, rake, shovel, or do gardening work instead of inside chores. All the kids had times when their "scouting" or scouting-type group called for doing chores to earn a badge. This often enabled me to get a jump-start and get them going on good habits. There always seems to be an issue with teenagers, though, of dishes into the room that don't come back, and under-bed-stuffing of stuff.

We are currently top-heavy in my house with three adults and one child, so "Miner" doesn't necessarily do too many chores. He is kind of "on call" if I need something. He brings in the trash and recycling bins on trash day, and is responsible for his own room and laundry. (See above on those disappearing dishes...) Mostly I just want him to get his school work done.

Chores will function differently in each house. Please don't compare my house to yours. I will look better to some, but most may think I should be doing better. With health issues and aging, right now it is what it is.

Mostly I would just encourage you that each family needs to be able to function. I make sure menus get planned, meals get cooked. Dishes get done, the dishwasher run and unloaded daily. Shopping gets done weekly. Laundry gets done regularly. Sweeping and dusting get done, but there is always more dirt and dog hair. A major ongoing goal is decluttering. We like things better when they are neat and clean, but they often aren't.

Within your family you need to come to an understanding of how your own family will function, when it comes to chores. Talk with your hubby, and then have a gentle family meeting and discuss it. Explain what needs to be done. See if certain kids volunteer for certain jobs; assign the other stuff. Then lovingly, gently, teach and oversee. Enforce. Once the kids understand you really need their help, and they learn how to do the jobs and then do them, they will realize how important they each are to the functioning of the household. Be loving, though, or they will feel like you just "bred" so you would have family servants! Be flexible, too, and don't lose track of what is really important. People are more important than things. Always remember that poem, that I won't quote exactly, but to the effect that "those cobwebs can wait! I'm rocking my baby!"
So... working on this blog post has given me a strong urgency to attend to the laundry and go make dinner. Hope you enjoyed!

Now it is time to refresh your beverage and visit some more blogs participating in 5 Days of Tips for Homeschoolers:


  1. Chores are an integral part of our homeschool day. I look at it as though I am teaching my kids valuable life skills they will need in their future as adults!

    1. I came into parenthood lacking the discipline to do chores myself, so instituting daily chores was not something I ever became good at. Not saying it's right, it just is what it is.

  2. Giving the kids chores is a good thing. It teaches them responsibility. My kids have always had age appropriate chores and they will continue on until they leave the next.

    1. I found that in high school and in college it became difficult for the students to find time to keep their rooms clean. I step(ped) in periodically to give a little help when a student is trying desperately to juggle academics. I want them to consider school their first priority while in my home in school or college.