I am not a natural homemaker. You know how some people say they have a black thumb? I have whatever is equivalent to that in the home. Routines aren’t my strength, and I don’t notice messes until we invite someone over. Still, someone in my heart I know that learning and growing in these areas would be a benefit to me and my family, and so I sort of dragged my feet as I agreed to review The Everyday Family Chore System by Everyday Homemaking, hoping the whole process wouldn’t be too painful.
I received a PDF of The Everyday Family Chore System, and I was immediately impressed with the heart of the author Vicki Bentley. It is clear that her hope behind the chores system is that parents become equipped to teach their children how to serve the family as members of the family. It seems she loves Jesus and sees teaching children to contribute in their home is one way to disciple them–I really like that way of thinking.
The book provides a list of ideas based on age that children should be able to do. Goodness, this made me feel convicted! I happen to have one child who still struggles to get dressed–who is three years older than the Life Skills Checklist suggests they should be when they begin learning this skill! Yikes!
The Everyday Family Chores System suggests printing and cutting out her chore cards, and creating a chore board–I think that would be useful, but I wish it was something I could purchase pre-made. Reading several paragraphs in a row with crafty-sounding instructions was just too much for my brain.
I went ahead and printed the chore cards anyway, and figured we would shuffle through them. The reality was, however, that these chores were too advanced for my kids to learn now. We picked just the two most basic chores that I thought would have an immediate benefit on our family life: clearing the table after dinner and picking up toys once after quiet time and again at the end of the day.
The Everyday Family Chores System really explains that it is important to show your kids how it’s to be done, and have written reminders. It also reminds you that things need to be accessible to kids if they’re going to do them (ie, a coat rack within reach if you expect them to hang their coats).
As things are, my kids are immediately able to clear the table. They understood the instructions, and when I watch and remind them of the expectations, they can follow through.
They are struggling with picking up toys, and I’m realizing it’s because I haven’t internalized The Everyday Family Chore System idea of making it easy for them. In a few places, I’ve really streamlined containers and cut down on clutter, and I see my three-year-old successfully cleaning up there, while struggling in areas that frankly hold too many toys.
All in all, I think the Everyday Family Chore System is a great overview of how to teach your family to participate in household activities. I think it would work best for people with a decent routine in their homes already, that just needs some tweaking, but it offers good suggestions even for those of use who are more horrifically disorganized.
For more reviews on The Everyday Family Chore System, check out the Homeschool Review Crew post.