Revamping Our Homeschool, Part Two – Life Skills Anyone?

I absolutely LOVE homeschooling blogging MOMS! Ya’ll rock!  I love that we can be a community of sharing, the good ideas and the bad ones, and I love it when I find one that is brilliant and I get to post about how I’m going to steal try it myself!

I’ve read several blogs that refrained from calling the housework “chores” and referred to them as “life skills”.  Brilliant!  I hate the word chores.  Not all yucky words sound yucky but this one certainly does.  “Life Skills” sounds like something I need to do so I can be a grown up one day.  I like it. 

I like it a LOT.

On Friday, after my little Chaos Makers left for Nanny’s house, I sat down and made a chart (I even added some clip art) listing some of our basic Life Skills.  Vacuum, Help with Dishes, Gather Laundry, Make Beds, Take out Trash, Dust, Clean Windows, Main Bathroom, Mom & Dad’s Bathroom, Sweep Kitchen, Put Books Away, Set the Table. I left out “Clean your Room” on purpose.  I want that to be something they just DO, everyday. 

Across the top are the days of the week and in the cells are the name or names of who is responsible for that skill that day.  Some, like dusting, are not done daily.  Others, such as Vacuuming, include both of their names since it involves picking up the toys and such off the floors first.

I also noticed that many moms choose to have their kids do their ‘chores’ before school.  Getting the house in order, making it a more comfortable learning environment.  I have to admit, I focus with them better if the house is picked up first.  There is also less fumbling and shifting in the table is clear before we start working.  I scheduled a short “life skills” section before our workboxes, and then another after school is done, but before any playtime with friends.

I laminated it and hung it next to our dry erase board in the kitchen (it’s off to the right). 

Next, I wrote up, on florescent note cards, the “How To” for each chore.  This is to ensure their is not confusion between their ideas of cleaning something and mine.  I got very specific on some of these.

“Put the books, upright, on the bottom bookshelf.”

“Empty trash can in bathroom and take it downstairs (tied shut). Then replace the bag.”

Somewhere on each card is a note from me. 

“I love you!”
“Your looking shiny!”
“Whistle while you work…”
and more.

I found groovy magnetic clear pouches at the Dollar Tree. Their are four at the bottom of our dry erase board.  To Do’s and Done’s for each girl. 

When they finish the skill they can move it to their other pocket.  When their to do’s are all done they’ll EARN a sticker.  I’ll visit the stickers more later, they are going to be a big thing here! 

Our final overhaul: the laundry routine.  I have given everyone a day.  Today, Monday, is my day to do MY laundry.  Tuesdays is Doodlebug’s Day and so on.  My problem with laundry is mostly in the putting it away.  I hate to fold a load to find the Mr. has two pairs of pants, the kids each of three items, I have a shirt and the baby has two onesies (but not pants).  Thats a trip into several different drawers and rooms. 

My hope is that by keeping it down to one person per day, the clothes will be easier to put away.  Not to mention the help from having the girls wash and dry their own. Doodlebug can almost do it on her own already.  Taderbug will be her helper.  I’ll set a timer so they know when the washer is done and they can move their clothes over.  Saturday is towel and linen day. 

To help with this, I purchased two mesh laundry bags (from the Dollar Tree), put their names across the colored bottoms and hung them on their towel hooks in the bathroom.  They can simply take their bags downstairs and get going.

This post has already become longer than I wanted… *grin*.  I’ll end by mentioning that after laminating the cards (so they don’t get wet in the bathroom) I punched holes in the corner.  I have little rings the girls can put their daily set of cards on to carry with them while they’re working.

What is YOUR chore/life skills routine?  How old were your kids when they started helping do chores?

I’d love to hear your ideas!