By Guest Writer Amanda at Better is Little
A few years ago when I went from 2 homeschoolers to 4 (we have a set of twins) I found that I needed to be a bit more organized and deliberate about our school and household chores. I would easily lose track of chores and school assignments leaving me frustrated and overwhelmed at the end of the day because I didn’t really know where we stood.
I utilized the chore packs from Titus2.com for a long while until the plastic holders became tattered and worn. About that time we were expecting our 5th baby and I desperately needed a streamlined method to keep up with the children’s chores, school assignments, and attendance records. While I liked the Chore Cards, it only kept up with their chores, not school. I wanted it all on a check list of sorts, so I could see at a glance whether or not if they were free for the afternoon.
After many tweaks we have come up with method that we’ve had for over 3 years. The format has pretty much stayed the same, with changes only made when I rotate their chores or change school assignments. Thankfully, the curriculum we use is pretty straightforward and they are expected to do the same assignments every day. Extra-curricular activities are often noted in the margin, but we feel that life should always be a learning experience so as long as their core subjects are covered I do not stress over recording everything they ever do that could be considered academic.
Each child has their own clipboard with a weeks worth of sheets. The sheet is filled out with the date, and chores are completed in the order I’ve listed them, and then checked off. Then, school assignments are completed in order, unless permission was given to change it up. At the end of the day, after the sheet has been approved and signed off by Mom (or Dad), that sheet is put in the back and a new sheet will be ready for the next day. At the end of the week, the sheets can be reviewed and make-up work can be assigned or the child can be rewarded for a job well done.
I then put each child’s sheets in their own 3 ring binder and have a record of what days they “attended” school, what was done in each subject, who had what chores when, and even what their grades were.
While I understand that this method will not work perfectly for everyone, it is perfect for the concerns we had and made it so much simpler for me and the children to keep up with their duties and responsibilities. This idea is fully customizable; tweak it to make it work for your family.
To make it fun for the children, have them choose their font, get their pencils or pens personalized , have them pick the verses, or customize their sheet to their personality. If your children are new to chores perhaps have a family meeting and discuss what their preferences are and what they do and don’t like to do. While as parents, we make the final decisions in what is best for our children, there is certainly nothing wrong with listening to them, making them feel that their voice counts. If you include them, I promise you they will be much more willing to go along with the plan!
I am sure some of you would like a few details so here is an example of my 8th grader’s sheet:
Her name is at the top with a place to write the date and what she read in devotions that day.
Then her school schedule is laid out simply. Beside each subject is a check box to be checked off only when completed. I also have a checkbox for 45 minutes of piano practice, Scripture memorization, Spanish, blogging, and home economics. She is usually required to write a book report after every book read so there is also a checkbox for Book Reports and a couple of blank lines for the title.
Believing that committing Scripture to memory is so very important, I include Scripture verses pertinent to working and doing our best in the empty spaces of their sheets. I have been pleasantly surprised that they do actually memorize this Scripture!
Her school schedule is on one side of the paper and her chores are on the other.
I include a brief thumbnail of our daily schedule:
- Wake @ 7
- School @ 8:30
- Lunch @ 12
- Afternoon Chores @ 4pm
Next, I list each chore with a check box. She has morning chores, afternoon chores, and weekly chores.
Finally, I have a signed off and approved line for me to sign when all work is completed satisfactorily. Comes in really handy if you’re asked for a few minutes of computer time.
Obviously, this system does not take the place of my supervision, nor involvement in the children’s school work. I still need to oversee, encourage, grade, and double-check, but this allows me to relax and see at a glance that the subjects, chores, and expectations that my husband and I put much thought into, planned, and agreed upon are being carried out. It is easy as moms to get overwhelmed and begin to doubt what we’re doing, what our goals are for our children, and what we would like to accomplish every day. With 6 children, I have found that this method is the best way for me to keep track of our duties easily and keeps the children in a routine and hopefully teaches them responsibility. They know what is expected of them every day. Occasionally, they will decide to get up earlier than usual to get started on their duties as to be done earlier in the day. And they know that when the list is completed, checked off, and signed off they have earned some free time!
Would you like a copy of this template? Click here to download the PDF for these weekly chore charts for kids.