Monday, November 20, 2006

In all labor there is profit...Prov. 14:23

Last month I mentioned our chore chart/laundry system. Considering it was used one week, we went on vacation, we used it one or two more weeks, we went on vacation, and we're starting our 2nd uninterrupted week (which includes a holiday), we're still fine-tuning it all. Before I show you the photo I will say that I had an idea in my mind what it would look like. I was wrong. It wasn't until I was taping up the pockets that I realized how h-u-g-e this monstrosity was going to be. And...colorful...blindingly so. I had ordered 4 packages of the library pockets from a homeschool supply company that will here remain nameless since I'm very aggravated at them right now for this and various other reasons. I received 2 packages of one color scheme and 2 packages of a slightly different color scheme.It is in a handy place, on the side of a kitchen cupboard, that is only visible if you're coming from the computer or the utility room. It consists of 4 sets of cards (one for each child) with 3 cards each for Sunday through Friday. The card for Sabbath mornings is something quick such as making sure the previously-cleaned entry or bathroom is straightened before we leave for church.

What I like about it:
1) It is flexible. When vacations are coming up or I can see that the trash will
really need to be taken out tomorrow instead of Wednesday, it is easy to switch a laundry or trash card to the day it actually needs to be done instead of what was scheduled on Sunday night.

2) It doesn't get lost. Previous chore charts have been too portable, which meant they were prone to being buried in a pile of paper.

3) It has been helpful to me that the chores (such as laundry) are spread out over the entire week instead of me doing marathon sorting/washing/drying/sorting/ folding/putting away laundry all day on Friday. Each child has his or her own hamper and on his laundry day he removes the sheets from his bed and those along with his clothing make a good-sized load. He adds the clothes to the machine and is able to fill the cup with detergent. I help the younger two turn on the machine, but they stay and enjoy watching the water fill the machine. Mid-morning I'll remind him to switch the laundry to the dryer (I switch A's) and before supper he puts the clean clothes back in his rolling hamper and takes it to his room where he will fold and put away the laundry and make his bed.

I've adjusted some things to make it as easy as possible for the kids to take care of their own laundry.
As they were outgrown or got holey I phased out all white socks for the boys. With the way S & J tend to "lose" their boots outside it was impossible, even with bleach, to keep them white. I have bought a bunch of dark colored socks for the boys so we don't deal with bleach. J and M both have a dozen pairs of identical black socks. The most "unmatched" from any load is one sock. It is simply thrown back in the hamper and will hopefully find a mate the next go-around.

The chart is a lot "fuller" now than it was when I first put it up. I purposely didn't fill in every slot because I knew I would think of other jobs that the kids were capable of that needed to be done on a regular basis. Now the dog gets brushed (almost) every day and mouse traps in the garage are checked 2x a week. Before it was just whenever I happened to think about it.

It is hard to see in the photo, but just to the left of each child's set of cards there is a plain 3x5 card taped up with daily morning activities such as get dressed, put away pjs, brush teeth, make bed, etc. Then, each child has up to three jobs that day. There are other things that I'll ask them to do or help me with, but these are things that need to be done on a regular basis and assigning them here just keeps me from having to remember to tell someone to do it later.

We're still working on a regular "chore time," but for now, whenever a child seems to have too much time on their hands they can be reminded to check their chore list for the day and that usually keeps them appropriately occupied.

That's all for now. I may think of more once we've actually had a chance to use it for more that 2 weeks straight...and I just had a shocking thought...could it be that we've never had more than 2 "normal" weeks here? Off to ponder...

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