Saturday, June 12, 2010

CHORES: Finding a solution that works !

I am very fortunate to belong to an awesome homeschooling support group.  I love that I have a deep well of knowledge and experience to draw from whenever I am stuck and need help!! 

My journey to find a solution began with scheduling our days and incorporating a chore chart.  We don't have uniformity in our daily schedule, so, most charts were inflexible to meet our needs. 

We tried:

A regular lined chore chart.....not flexible enough

An erasable chore chart....still not flexible enough


Chore board with movable magnets.....still not flexible enough


A white board with a full days listings of what each child needs to do.  They LOVED this and really enjoyed erasing each item when finished.  The problem was that it was totally Mom-powered.  If Mom didn't get it done the night before, it wasn't ready the next day and threw the whole day off.


I incorporate the likable ideas I received from my brain-picking session with my group and 'BAM'  this is what I came up with.  It's still Mom powered, but, can easily be put together in the morning if I don't get to it the night before.  This method really helps with the flow of the day.

Homemade Chore Chart and Chore System
Homemade Chore Chart and Chore System

Each child gets 3 hooks.  The first hook holds all the cards that they need for a given day (for example:  Make Bed, Eat Breakfast, Brush Teeth, Get Dressed, Unload dishwasher, School, Lunch, School, Room Rescue, Free, Dinner, Clean Up, Shower).  When each card is completed, they move it to the second hook.  On the third hook is a 'reward card'.  When each day is completed, the child gets a sticker.  25 stickers and they get to choose a special 'date' with Mom or Dad OR a day off from school.

To keep our house 'under control', we do a daily Room Rescue where one room of the house is cleaned thoroughly.  Monday= kitchen, Tuesday = dining room, Wednesday = bathroom, Thursday = living room and Friday = bedrooms.

While I don't have a perfectly clean house all at once, I have peace of mind knowing that each room will get cleaned every 7 days  AND my children are being trained in the ways of keeping house.

We also give our children allowance and follow a Dave Ramsey like model. Whatever the child's age is, we divide by 2. That's their total pay. From that, half goes into long-term saving, 10% of the total goes to the tithe and the remainder is theirs to spend. So, in our house, a ten year old would earn a total of $5/week. $2.50 would go right into the bank, $.50 for the tithe, leaving $2.00 to spend.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Paddle to the Sea and then some....

Monday was the start of our new school year.  We find it easy to school throughout our blistering hot summer for the simple fact that it is blistering hot!  We take an hour in the early morning to go to the pool, or run errands and then it's indoors until after supper.

Our newest endevour has been a geography study from Beautiful Feet with the books by Holling C. Holling.  I grew up in the Great Lakes area, and reading Paddle to the Sea was a yearly tradition.  So, I was very excited to find this study which utilizes 5 of Holling's wonderful books. 

After reading the first 3 chapters of Paddle to the Sea, we investigated Canadian Geese.  The kids were instructed to draw a picture of one.....My oldest (aka Mr. One Crayon Kid) actually drew a goose and colored it appropriately (Small miracle!), Mr. Art drew a goose on it's mound nest and my colorful little girl drew a plump goose with a pink bill.

She told me it was a girl and I said that I could tell by 'her' pink bill. She then told me, "No Mommy, that's her lipstick"! OF COURSE, I should have known that!

Then the following conversation ensued:

Me: What country do Canadian Geese come from?

Daughter: The United States...

Me: Well...yes, but, where else? Doesn't Canada and CANADIAN Geese sound alike?

Daughter: Well.....<face lights up> I got it! They come from Africa!!!!

Boys proceed to burst out laughing at the thought of African geese!

Note to extra work on geography of Western Hemisphere.....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Used books sales: Homeschoolers gone bad?

If you are looking for an x-rated video to follow, you've come to the wrong place.

But, like many music enthusiasts or Black Friday shoppers - homeschoolers are just as quick to sit outside in the wee hours of the morning awaiting the opening of doors.

What are we doing during the wait time, you ask?  We are scouring over our prepared lists and plotting our plan of attack with military precision.  We are memorizing the sellers' hall map so we will have both hands free to grab our desired goodies.  We are instructing our fellow comrades to keep a look out for this and that.

This concentrated effort can only be disrupted by the sound of metal clicking as a key turning in the door lock.  This sound can rally hundreds of moms straight out of their chairs sending tumblers of coffee sailing through the air.

And though we know love is patient and kind, there will be some nudging, grabbing and scowling.  There will be the victory of a long sought after book for a tenth of the price and the agony of realizing you've just bought doubles of the huge book series your child already owns.


At least the company was good!