Chore Time!

choresaNNa’S NoTe:  All of my pre-scheduled posts for this week got bumped back to make room for homeschool posts (that I *hoped* I wouldn’t be here to write).  But I don’t want to drag out the Back-to School posts more than this week, so this evening is the chore post that I wrote Sunday… to get ’em all done and over with… so’s Ican let the blog auto-post the stuff that got bumped.

This being a back-to-it kind of a week, we’re talking about a lot of things and how they work in our house.  In the middle of it all, someone I follow on Facebook asked their readers if they believe in chores.  And I have STRONG feelings about chores.  I believe chores make the child.  Frankly, if a child isn’t taught to do their part, their parent has failed them.  They won’t be a productive member of society.  And that’s a good part of why the kids today are such little brats, if I can be blunt for a moment.  They’ve never had to DO anything, they don’t contribute, and they have always still gotten what they wanted/needed, so they have come to expect to get what they want/need without any effort.

And yes… it’s easier just to do it ourselves.  It’s quicker, it’s neater, and it turns out the way we want it to.  But frankly, it’s doing a great disservice to the next generation, which needs to understand that NOTHING comes at no cost and with no effort.  This is something of a hot-topic, for me.

Should a child be paid to do chores?  I’m probably in a minority for this, but I DO NOT think a child should be paid for doing chores.  Do YOU get paid to do your laundry, clear your table, or make your bed?  Then why on earth would you teach your child that they’ll be paid for it?  You’re setting yourself up for trouble.  Brian took Isaac to work with him one Saturday because he thought he’d be in the shop alone, and he wanted to be sure someone else was there, in case there was a problem.  Turned out that another guy did the same thing – thought he’d be there alone, so he brought his son in, too.  He grinned at Brian and said, “So how much did you pay your boy?”  Brian said, “What?!  They fight over who gets to come with me!”    His co-worker gaped.  “I have to bribe my kid to do anything!”  Well… gee.  I wonder why.  It’s a bad ‘habit’ and nearly impossible to break.

chores2Now I’m not saying NOT to give your children an allowance.  We wholly believe in giving allowances, but as a way to teach the child financial responsibility.  We developed our own way of doing things:  We start at age 11 (age 10 plus $1)… so they get a dollar a week.   When they’re twelve (age ten plus $2), it’s two dollars a week, and so on until they’re old enough to get a job and have an income of their own.  The only thing they have to do to get their allowance is to keep a leger of their deposits, just like grown-ups do with their money.  And they are responsible for their allowance money – if you lose it, it’s gone.  If I find stray money, it’s mine.  They’re amazingly good with this, and keep better track of it than I’ve ever seen kids do.

As for chores, we have a TON, around my house.  There’s a Bible verse someplace that says, ‘If you don’t help, you don’t eat’.   ((Oh, you’re gonna make me look it up, aren’t you?  Fine, hang on… 2 Thessalonians 3:10.))  We believe in this strongly.   And since nobody wants to miss out on a meal, we haven’t had any trouble.  In fact, everyone has at least one job, and they ALL know what they’re supposed to do.   And we ALL work together.

Setting the table:
–14: gets beverages & pours drinks
–11: napkins and sauces
—9: cups and (a.m.: vitamins)
—7: silverware and extras
—5: spreads out plates
(Mama cooks and mans the kitchen tasks)

Clearing the table:
— 14: dishes to sink
— 11: clears trash
— 9: cups & condiments
— 7: sauces and fridge stuff
—5:  tupperware to fridge
(Mama stacks and puts away food into containers)

We have critters.  And every day, the call goes up in our house, “CRITTER TIME!!”  Nobody complains.  Everything is dropped, kids running from all corners to get their mud boots and work coats.  We all have our jobs, and as a result, it only takes about ten minutes to take care of our critters.

Critter Tending:
–14: water buckets/bottles; compost bin
–11: feeds dog and cats, fills birdfeeders
—9: chicken feed and eggs
—7: rabbit waters and fetches goat dishes
—5: fills rabbit feeders, recycling
(Mama does goat feed & hay)

Even doing dishes is a family job.  Each person knows what they’re in charge of taking care of when the dishwasher cycle is done.  As scores of women before me have said in generations past, “Many hands make light work”.  ((grins))

Kitchen Duty:
–14: puts soap in and starts dishwasher
–11: puts away tupperware
—9: puts away pans and large bowls
—7: puts away silverware
—5: hangs up big spoons
(Mama rinses, loads, and puts away dishes)

I do laundry once every two weeks.  Considering there are seven of us, that might seem like a long time between loads, but frankly we just don’t go thru the clothes.  Being homeschoolers, we don’t have to impress anyone.  Nobody cares if we wear the same shirt three days in a row.  We change when things get dirty or ripe.  So the laundry isn’t out of control.  And it goes pretty quickly, too – everything gets dumped on my bed until all is washed and piled up, and then…

–14: towels
–11: sorts/matches socks
—9: washcloths and dishtowels
—7: underwear into drawers
—5: puts socks away
(Mama folds and puts clothes away)

All children also participate in “5-minute Toy Scrambles” daily (sometimes twice), and that pretty much consists of me setting the timer on the microwave for five minutes, and they have that much time to clear all public rooms of the toys.  This does not include their room, although I require a path thru their room to give goodnight kisses… and once a week or so I’ll send them in to do some picking up.  Mostly the 5-minute toy scramble just makes the place liveable on a daily basis.  Now if it gets REALLY out of hand, I’ll pull out the vaccuum.  You should SEE people jump into action, then!  From a young age, they (weirdly) believed that the vacuum could suck up any object in the world – even things the size of a basketball.  So they HAD to rescue everything from the path of the vacuum.  It’s still my “Okay, this place needs INTENSIVE HELP” way of getting things under control.  And it happens at least once a week.

And nobody complains.  When they know what’s expected, it gets done easily and efficiently.  It’s not a big deal.  And with six of us working together, it gets done in hardly any time at all.  And the best thing?  My kids are learning to take care of their things, keep a house in working order, and pitch in to get jobs done.  They have a sense of responsibility, and take pride in getting their part done.  It’s a win-win!

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