"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chores For Children {part 2}

Hi friends,

Last week, I posted about chores for children. You can read that post here.

Today is part 2  - which chores for children?

I realize that each family is different...different ages, different home environment, and each child is different. It's up to you to decide which chores are to be done and which chores are age-appropriate for your children.

 I'd like to give you a look at how my children help out around the house, and maybe it will be a help to any of my readers who have a similar family situation and might need some ideas about which chores to assign to their children.

Each of the children has 1 house-cleaning chore per day. I have a list of these chores on the fridge so the children know exactly what's expected of them. However, they all have it memorized now, and the list is mainly for this forgetful Mama, who sometimes can't remember who's doing what.  ;)

Here's what the daily chore list looks like:
                        Mimi (age 5)  -  Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: Windex upstairs bathrooms mirrors, sinks
 Tuesdays and Thursdays: mop upstairs hall

Natty (age 9) - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: mop upstairs and downstairs halls
Tuesdays and Thursdays: Windex upstairs bathrooms mirrors and sinks

Asher (age 10) - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: sweep den and shake den rugs
Tuesdays and Thursdays: mop family room

Aaron (age 12) - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: vacuum kitchen and dining room
Tuesdays, Thursdays: shake den rugs

Ian (age 14) - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays: vacuum and dust family room
Tuesdays, Thursdays: sweep den
(Notice there is a lot of cleaning going on in the den. That's where the wood stove is located, and it's really hard to keep that room clean. But I wouldn't give up wood heat for anything. Love it!)

The children are also responsible for making their beds, and they do what I call a "5-minute pick-up" of their bedrooms every morning before school starts.
Also, the children take turns unloading the dishwasher every morning. 
They clear the dinner table, rinse their plates, and load them into the dishwasher.
They take out the trash and give table scraps to the hens.

The boys are responsible for the daily care of our flock of turkeys and laying hens, and it's Natty and Mimi's responsibility to gather the eggs. Ian feeds the birds; Aaron and Asher take care of the watering. And they work together when the time comes to clean out the hen house or turkey coop, which is usually about once a year.

On Saturdays, the children vacuum and dust their bedrooms and help me clean the rest of the house.

They have seasonal chores, too.
In the winter, they all carry wood into the den.

And the boys go with hubby to cut/chop wood.
Sometimes, the girls and I go too, and help load the wood on the truck.

During the growing season, they help me in the garden: planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting.
(They love to hull peas.)

The boys help their dad with mowing, string trimming, etc.

Sounds like a ton of work, doesn't it? It's exhausting just reading it! But most of the time, they do it all without complaining or grumbling. Occasionally there's "speed bump", and they have to be  reminded that they're helping me and their dad, and ultimately, honoring the Lord.  :)

And there are many other things that my children help with...cooking meals, laundry, etc. Sometimes hubby gets the boys to help with some carpentry projects around the house, and girls are getting old enough to help me with simple sewing projects.

All of the children are such a big help in keeping our household running smoothly and I so enjoy having them work alongside me. It's a great time of fellowship, and having responsibility helps them realize how important they are to our family. And Lord willing, doing chores is instilling a good work ethic in them.

So there you have  it - a look at chore time at our house.

I hope it wasn't too exhausting for you.  ;)

Hope your week is blessing-filled!

"...If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat."  ~  2 Thessalonians 3:10

sharing on Wednesday this week with
 Deep Roots at Home

Friday, January 25, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chores for Children {part 1}

People often ask me how I "do it all". I assume that the person is referring to homeschooling and homemaking.

Well, I will be honest: there is a lot of work to do in our home. And with a family of seven (5 children still at home), I do not do it all  myself, because I should not do all of the work.

So instead of doing it all, I delegate some of the work to my children. But with all the chores that need to be done around here, my children could easily become overwhelmed...if I didn't delegate in the right way. And I could easily become exasperated by their not wanting to do their part.

When I was a little girl, I hated doing chores; I griped and complained to my Mom about every little thing she asked me to do. I don't know how should stood it!  But I don't want my children to hate helping out around the house.  I want to instill in them a good work ethic.

 And I want my children to have a servant's heart...to love helping others. And to do it without grumbling and complaining. 

 I  also believe that it is a priceless lesson in responsibility and life skills for a child  to be required to do daily chores. If handled properly, chores can be an excellent opportunity to teach the joy of serving.

One mom said that she exchanged the word "chore" for "service", because "chore" had too many negative connotations associated with it. That wouldn't work at our house. Our children know that chores are just that - chores. And some of those chores are exactly what the word implies - work. 

However, how I ask my children to do their chores can be done in such a way as to make them realize they are doing it for someone else. For example, if the hen house needs to cleaned out, instead of, "Clean out the hen house", I tell the boys, "It would be a great help to Dad if you would clean out the hen house for him. That way, he won't have to do it when he gets home from work." The mere mention of helping Dad motivates the boys to do their very best, and not only do they clean out the manure, they are eager to do some little extras:  sweep down cobwebs, clean out the drinkers and feeders, etc. And with that attitude, they are actually joyful about cleaning out the hen house...all because they know are helping out their Dad.

As for the girls, if I say, "Dry and put away the dishes", they won't want to do it. But if I say, "It would be a huge help to me if you would dry and put away the dishes while I fold laundry."  They jump right on it and most importantly, do it with joy, knowing they're helping me out.

Also, if I ask my children work with me, they are very eager to help out. I love having them work alongside me. It's a great opportunity to fellowship with them.

And I always remind them that whatever they do, whether it's a chore, or school lesson, or whatever it is, they should do it as unto the Lord. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

When children have an attitude of serving others, the task takes on less meaning, and the giving of themselves in service becomes more important. This is so critical in the way we all should respond to what the Lord would have us do. How beneficial  for our children to learn to serve the Lord (by serving others) through working in the home.

What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to involve children throughout the day in ways that serve others in the context of daily work in the home!

How about you, friends? How do you handle chore time at your house?

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..." ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10

(Stay tuned for part 2, when I will discuss exactly which chores my children are responsible for.)

Have a blessed week, everyone!

sharing with  Deep Roots At Home

Monday, January 14, 2013

Queen of the Home {15}

Good Monday morning, friends!

Are you ready for another week of  raising the future leaders of our country?

May you be encouraged in the high and noble calling of the greatest career in the world - raising your children.  :)

"Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others.
It means standing beside your husband, following him,
and investing in the lives of children
whom you hope will both survive you and surpass you.
It means forgoing present satisfaction for eternal reward.
It means investing in the lives of others who may
never fully appreciate your sacrifice
or comprehend the depth of your love.
And it means doing all these things, 
not because you will receive the praise of man - 
for you will not - 
but because God made you to be a woman and a mother,
and there is great contentment
in that Biblical calling."
~ Doug Phillips


Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Funnies {3}

I hope this gives you a smile as you end your week.  :)

Have a blessed week-end!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Looking Back on Term 1

We did it; we completed Term 1 of the Ambleside Online Curriculum !

So how did we fare?  Well, let me tell you all about it...

I'll start with Mimi, my youngest. She is in yr0 of AO. She spent her days "eavesdropping" on the lessons of the older children and has learned so much. She casually talks  about Shakespeare, Plutarch, and other classics as if they're old friends. She is also reading in an advanced 2nd grade reading book and working with lots of Math manipulatives, and an occasional worksheet. She loved sketching in her Nature journal, too.

Next is Natty, who is in yr3 of AO. Her favorite things about Term 1 were reading American Tall Tales, Shakespeare's Cymbelline, The Princess and the Goblin, Pilgrim's Progress (as with all AO literature books, she's reading the unabridged version - *gulp*), and A Child's History of the World. She also enjoyed folk songs, poetry, and Nature study.

Asher, (who is in yr4), was constantly telling me, "I love school! All of it! I can't name one single thing that I don't like." He will never know how much those words thrilled this home school Mama's heart.  :)  He "loved" (his word) reading Minn of the Mississippi,  Shakespeare, Robinson Crusoe,  and The Story Book of Science. He also enjoyed written narrations, poetry, Nature study, and Nature journals.

Aaron's (also in yr 4) enjoyed reading Shakespeare, The Story Book of Science, Poor Richard, Robinson Crusoe, and poetry (especially Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Lady of Shallot). He also liked folks songs, picture study (particularly Renoir), and Nature journaling.

Ian's favorites from Term 1 were reading Mere Christianity ( by C.S. Lewis, and now one of Ian's all-time favorite books),  Watership Down, Lay of the Land, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Once and Future King, and The Brendan Voyage. He also enjoyed poetry, Nature journaling, and Biology (Apologia).

And now, it's my turn. My favorite things about the AO curriculum so far (I'm sure I will add to this list as the year progresses) are....

...first of all, AO is a challenging curriculum. (And the levels do not correspond with the grade levels of a typical school.) My children are challenged in their readings and in what's expected of them, which has developed a better work ethic in them. They work harder, but they love what they're doing.

...doing away with the dry, boring textbooks, and watching my children devour the wonderful, living books. My children are loving them, in spite of the sometimes-challenging vocabulary words.

...the exposure to great artists and composers. It's so exciting to see my children get excited over listening to a Bach selection or studying a picture by Pieter de Hooch.

I have to admit that I did have initial reservations about whether or not the narration aspect would really work when we got to the end of Term 1 and had our exams.  But I can honestly say that I was amazed by
how much my children remembered...just by using narration. They remembered details from the first week of school! Narration works. My children have proven that.

We are now beginning week 17 (the 5th week of Term 2) and loving it more and more. The children were so excited to get back to their lessons after 2-week break for the holidays. Natty was jumping up and down last saying how excited she was to get back to reading one of her favorites of this term, The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat. In all my years of homeschooling, I've never seen my children get this excited about school.  :)

We are so thankful for the Lord's leading us to the AO curriculum; it's a perfect fit for our family.

So, my friends, how is your year going so far?  Have you found a curriculum that fits your family well?  Do tell!  :)

Happy homeschooling!

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.."  ~  Psalm 107:1

sharing with The Modest Mom 
                   Deep Roots at Home