A Simplified Life: Chores

Simplified_LifeThe first ministry I have been given is to be a Keeper of my home. The Lord has shown me this must come first. If my home is not in order, I might want to reconsider participating in outside activities until they are.

To help me with this, and to better teach our children how to properly care for their own homes, a chore routine has been established:

Our routine is as follows:

Mondays: adult laundry and bathrooms (thorough cleaning)
Tuesdays: children’s laundry, floors, and dusting (blinds/furniture/ceiling fans)                                                     Wednesdays: linens and bathrooms (thorough cleaning)
Thursdays: kitchen cupboards/hallway walls (whichever needs it most), grocery shopping
Fridays: library and errands
Weekends: surface cleaning of any areas in need

Considering it is currently summer time, now is my opportunity to put this schedule to the
test. Is this working for me? Perhaps I need to change some days around to make things work better. I also want to start taking notice of when is the best time to do my chores. I don’t necessarily set a specific time, but setting up blocks of time gives me a general idea of where I might have “free time”.

Chores being designated and set in place, I now want to start having the kiddos get in on the game. Even my youngest helps out. Each of my kiddos is given a task and we all work until the job is done. Our kids need to learn the value of a job well done, working together, and being responsible. Mommy handles the washing of the laundry, but the kiddos help fold and put their own laundry away. Mommy cleans the basins, but the kiddos do the mirrors, floors, and counters in the bathrooms. We have the joy of working side by side and encouraging each other in doing a good job. They will often hear me saying, “Good job, little man! Keep it up honey, you are going to be a pro at keeping your home when you are a mommy, T!” The kids learn to enjoy their chores, have fun working together, and take pride in their work. To help keep track of everyone’s chores, we have created THIS fun chore chart.

Two things I should point out. One, while the kids are young, they are going to make mistakes. Try not to clean up their messes in front of them. Wait until they are out of sight and preoccupied, then straighten things up. This will prevent them from getting discouraged, but still keep your house to the level of clean you might like. The second is this, be prepared that the kids will complain from time to time. Let’s be honest; work is work! Don’t give in and do the chores yourself! You are only making your job harder in the long run and robbing them of the joy of responsibility.

With a routine set in place and a fun chore chart printed, we are taking yet another step towards simplifying life.

“For each will have to bear his own load.”
Galatians 6:5

🔔Time to Chime In: How do you keep track of your children’s chores? We’d love to hear about it!

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March Parenting Weekends – Honey, Can We Hire Someone To Pick Up After Our Kids?

March Parenting WeekendsJoin us in sharing March Parenting Weekends! Come read, be encouraged, and share your thoughts relating to all things parent. Today’s topic: Honey, Can We Hire Someone to Pick Up After Our Kids?

Sometimes I just want to give up and pay someone to follow my kids around all day and pick up their stuff. But I don’t, I want my kids to be responsible and do it themselves. It takes practice and self-realization to be responsible. It’s my job as a parent to guide my children through life showing them and providing them opportunities that will challenge them to make good choices and do great things.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill   It’s in the everyday things we do that teach us who we are.   We learn what motivates us, what we are good at, what we need to work on, and what we inspire to change.

“Character provides the foundation of spiritual and moral strength that rule our decisions, commitments, and faithfulness.” Sally Clarkson from Own Your Life pg. 163

Justin, my six year old son doesn’t like chores but, he does it anyway because we don’t let him move on to what he wants to do until he does.  He will find the least resistant way to accomplish a task. He is too busy creating adventures in his head. Not a bad thing. Quit admirable to be an inventor with great imagination. The problem Justin runs into is that he never knows where anything is… 

Continue to read at Community Moms

Parenting can be a bit rough at times. With a little encouragement, we can all become better parents to the glory of God!

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: Part Five

Fail-to-planI love it when a plan comes together. That is how I feel when I set about planning my routines. Once we put them into place and they start working for us, it is a beautiful thing.

Now that I have my chores, events, and schooling organized; I need to put them all together and get moving. Once the school year starts, I will need to put all of my organizing together and make these separate schedules work together smoothly. This will help me, once again, see where I might need to do some last-minute rearranging and restructuring. It will also help to see where I have some flexible hours, in case anything should come up.

The first things I want to combine are my chores and my schooling. As I mentioned in Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: Part One; my first ministry is to be a keeper of my home. If the house and my kids’ education cannot be merged smoothly, events need to wait. My weekly schedule with both chores and schooling combined usually looks like this:

Monday:

  • Start load of my laundry right before Bible
  • Do Bible lesson and start kids on core curriculum
  • Change loads of laundry at breaks or between subjects
  • Finish Core Subjects and begin History & Science
  • Lunch Time and Finish Laundry
  • Family Chores
  • “Rotations”
  • Remainder of the Day Free

Tuesday:

  • Start load of kids’ laundry right before Bible
  • Do Bible lesson and start kids on core curriculum
  • Change loads of laundry at breaks or between subjects
  • Finish Core Subjects and begin History & Science
  • Lunch Time and Finish Laundry
  • Family Chores
  • “Rotations”
  • Remainder of the Day Free

Wednesday:

  • Start load of linens right before Bible
  • Do Bible lesson and start kids on core curriculum
  • Change loads of laundry at breaks or between subjects
  • Finish Core Subjects and begin History & Science
  • Lunch Time and Finish Laundry
  • Family Chores
  • “Rotations”
  • Remainder of the Day Free

Thursday:

  • Do Bible lesson and start kids on core curriculum
  • Finish Core Subjects and begin History & Science
  • Lunch Time
  • Mommy does grocery list and menus
  • “Rotations”
  • Remainder of the Day Free for kids
  • Grocery Shopping for Mom

Friday:

  • Testing on all core subjects (All of our testing is done Fri.)
  • Collect Library Books and Straighten up House
  • Library
  • Errands
  • Lunch
  • Homeschool Co-op or other Homeschooling Event
  • Remainder of the Day Free for kids

Normally we are finished with school anywhere from 2-3pm each day, with the exception of Friday. Friday is quite a bit shorter, but I plan it that way on purpose; counting our library time and our homeschooling events as part of their education.

Once this list of chores and schooling as been combined onto one master schedule; I can now add my events. Knowing that I am pretty busy Monday through Thursday, I usually avoid planning events on those days. Should the need arise though, I am free after 3pm and know I am available. Fridays are usually the days that I try to plan anything special or extra.

With life more organized, we are free to have fun events like this one… Renaissance Night with the homeschool group!

As with most things in life, this schedule isn’t perfect. There are days when we take longer to school or there is an unexpected event which causes us to rearrange our schedule; field trips during the week can cause a temporary change for example. This schedule isn’t meant to be concrete and final, simply a structure that I put into place; one that I am free to move around and fit to my family’s needs.

1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “But all things should be done decently and in order.” I pray that the Lord would find me faithful in having obeyed His Word; that my family would be a living example of what He has commanded us to do; that He would be glorified and honored through the keeping of my home, the education of my children, and the ministry we accomplish in our free time. It is not for our own name that we do these things, but His.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: Part Two

Fail-to-planOut of all the chores I have, creating a grocery list and figuring out what to put on next week’s menu, is the hardest. For whatever reason, food just isn’t a priority for me. That doesn’t mean, however, that my family doesn’t need to be fed and taken care of. In order to make this job more pleasant, I have implemented a couple of steps to make things easier for myself.

The first thing that I have done is post an ongoing grocery list to the inside of one kitchen cupboard (conveniently placed above the pencil drawer).This allows me to place things on the list immediately instead of having to remember everything I need on grocery day. The morning I go shopping, I take the list out of the cupboard and do a quick house check to make sure nothing has been forgotten.

The second thing I have done is to create a list of meals my family enjoys seeing on the menu. I then sit down with THIS weekly menu, which my husband created, and start adding in meals for the following week.  As I go along I continue to add items to my grocery list, as needed. The finished menu is then posted in the kitchen, and I finalize my grocery list.

With my list and calculator in hand, I want to do a quick “budget check” to make sure that I am on track with my spending. Our family has a monthly budget for groceries and I need to make sure that I stick to the allotted amount for the week. If I am well in the black, then I feel free to add a couple of extras like cookies and chips. I will also make sure to check my coupon folder and grab any that pertain to my list. Now that my list is complete and checks out with my budget, I am ready to go

The third thing I have done is organize my grocery list to make my shopping faster and easier. When shopping, especially if the kids are tagging along, I prefer to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. To accomplish this, my grocery list is organized according to the aisles at my grocery store. As I am shopping, I simply walk aisle by aisle grabbing the items listed for each. No need to go back to an aisle for something forgotten, or hidden further down the list; everything is organized and simplified.

With these the help of a few printable lists we’ve made one area of our lives a little simpler, leaving time for more important activities like spending quality time with our kids.

“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Psalm 107:9

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: Part One

Fail-to-planRecently a friend who is fairly new to homeschooling gave me a call. She had a lot of questions regarding homeschooling, but mainly her problem seemed to be this, “How do I do it all? How do I clean my house, do my laundry, school my kids, do a million other things, and still remain sane?” My one resounding answer was this: organization! As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Now, let me be very clear. I am not perfect, nor do I always plan perfectly. There are many times that I have had to restructure my plan. Things change and so do my family’s needs, but the saying still stands true; I will not accomplish anything if I don’t at least have the building blocks set in place.

That being said, how do we go about setting up our schedules? First things first, know what your priorities are! Being a Christian wife and mom, my priorities are thus: Being a Godly woman, being a Godly wife, and then being a Godly mother. Taking this into account, the first thing I want to do is sit down with a calendar (daily and monthly) and start putting things in place.

The first thing I want to schedule in is my time with God. Some women prefer to do this at the beginning of their day. Great! Some of us prefer lunchtime or when the kiddos are finally in bed. No matter when you decide to do it, make a point of putting it down. Your relationship with God must be firmly in place; from Him will you gain the wisdom and peace to proceed with the rest.

The next thing I might want to schedule in, is chores. The first ministry that I have been given is to be a Keeper of the Home. The Lord has shown me this must come first. If my home is not in order, I have no business being outside of my home doing other things. My chore schedule is as follows (I use this as an example, by all means do what fits your lifestyle, not mine!):

Monday: adult laundry/bathrooms                                                                           Tuesday: children’s laundry/floors and dusting                                                      Wednesday: linens/bathrooms                                                                                  Thursday: grocery list finalized/menu                                                                            Friday: library/errands

Being that it is currently summer time, now is my opportunity to put this schedule to the Fail to Plan: Part Onetest. Is this working for me? Perhaps I need to change some days around to make things work better. I also want to start taking notice of when is the best time to do my chores. I don’t necessarily set a specific time, but setting up blocks of time gives me a general idea of where I might have “free time”.

Chores being designated and set in place, I now want to start having the kiddos get in on the game. Even my youngest who is only five helps out the family. Each of my kiddos is given a task and we all work until the job is done. Our kids need to learn the value of a job well done, working together, and being responsible. Mommy handles the washing of the laundry, but the kiddos help fold and put their own laundry away. Mommy cleans the basins, but the kiddos do the mirrors, floors, and counters in the bathrooms. We have the joy of working side by side and encouraging each other in doing a good job. They will often hear me saying, “Good job, Joseph! Keep it up honey, you are going to be a pro at keeping your home when you are a mommy, Trinity!” The kids will learn to enjoy their chores, have fun working together, and take pride in their work.

Two things I should point out though. One; while the kids are young, they are going to make mistakes. Try not to clean up their messes in front of them. Wait until they are out of sight and preoccupied, then straighten things up. This will prevent them from getting discouraged, but still keep your house to the level of clean you might like. The second is this, be prepared that the kids will complain from time to time. Let’s be honest; work is work! Don’t give in and do the chores yourself! You are only making your job harder in the long run and robbing them of the joy of responsibility.

Once I have my chores pretty much down, then I will be free to start adding other events onto my calendar; slowly and with much prayer.