We had our first day of “summer school” today.
It went pretty well, but longer than I had anticipated.
I’m hoping as we go, we’ll get into a pattern and things will be streamlined. At this point the kids are still a little lost as we move from activity to activity. I still have a few things I need to set up too. I definitely overplanned though, and Gary warned me tonight of overdoing it too early on in the summer. I need to remember–it’s not the quantity of work that makes school worth it, it’s the quality and the retention.
Overall, I think they had fun. We did a “circle time,” read from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, began a science project, taste-tested different chocolates to graph our favorites, and did some worksheets. There were a few other things in there as well, but like I said, I overplanned. I need to keep it simple not just for the kids, but for the sake of myself. If I get overwhelmed then I’ll give up!
Another thing I’ve been working on for our family are chore charts. I firmly believe there is no such thing as the “perfect” chore chart. Eventually, the excitement fades–both for mom and kids. The housework isn’t done as often, so the rewards stop coming, so the housework stops all together, so mom goes back to yelling and nagging to clean the house. Enter new chore chart. (Click the image below to download!)
Our chore chart looks like this. Everyone has their own, and everyone has a certain routine they will be expected to follow. In the morning they will need to brush their teeth, make their beds, and do a bigger chore. In the afternoon it will be smaller chores such as helping with lunch, or vacuuming. The evening chores will generally be things like dinner clean up, and get-ready-for-bed type chores.
What I’m really excited about is that I plan to use little velcro “coins” to adhere the chores to the chart. There will be a hard (scratchy) velcro coin on the chore chart, and the soft velcro coins on the cards. I may even put the soft coins on both sides of the cards.
There are two advantages to the velcro. First, they can flip the cards over (or remove them) when they are done with the chores. It’s easy to flip them back for a new week. Second, I can easily update the system based on what needs to be done that week (or day!). For instance, if I had planned on giving Jordan the family room for his chore that morning, but it’s already fairly clean, I can switch his card to weeding or whatever needs to be done more than that. I’m not stuck having kids do chores that don’t really need to be done when there are plenty of chores that do need to be done!
I also made some card blanks, and a few extra “brush teeth” cards. Surely my children can’t be the only ones who need to remember that important part of the day, right? I left many blank so you could add some more that fit your family–and that’s another great part of this system.
Again, my disclaimer: there are no perfect chore charts, simply because chores suck and your kids know it. You know it too. But switching up your chore chart every few months will keep the kids excited.
And what about the rewards? I’ve done things from earning “tickets” towards prizes to cold hard cash change for chores. Either of those I didn’t keep up on well and two weeks later the kids say stuff like, “You still owe me because…” Hate that. So I haven’t really come up with a reward system at this point. Do they need rewards? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe if it’s just an expectation–you will do these chores, not if you do these chores–will it be easier to stick to?
I did leave a space on the chore chart for extra chores that are worth money. If they complete these chores–chores that will be beyond the typical morning chore–then they will get paid. I do like the idea of them earning money, because I think it promotes financial responsibility. However, I’m poor and I can’t break the bank paying them for what they need to do anyway, you know what I mean?
For those of you who don’t want to pay your kids to clean, I’ve also included a bonus chore chart that does not include the money spaces, just extra daily chores you can have them do!
So what do you think of the charts? Are they something you can see yourself implementing in your own home? Do you expect more from your children in the summer when they’re home, or do you let things slide since school is out?