If you read my book Joyful and Successful Homeschooling, you know about the "Curtis Cleaning Machine." I talk about how we did our family weekly chores together on Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning, we dusted, vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, mopped, and straightened the house.
Yes, we all worked together at the same time. Everyone had their own job, but we were all working. This set a tone in the house and everyone knew that there would be aggressive cleaning in progress. If my children's friends made the mistake of being at our house Saturday morning, they helped, too.
We set a time that the family gathered together in the family room. I made sure everyone knew what tasks they were responsible for.
Sometimes we set a timer to see who would finish first.
And the children or adults who finished first got to help out someone else.
You might imagine that everyone moped around. Nope. We had fun. We laughed. We joked around. It was actually pleasant. What?
Let's talk a minute about how to make work fun, rather than like pulling teeth.
Mom's Attitude Sets the Tone
Moms, our attitude sets the tone about work. Do we complain about our own chores or do we talk about them with a grateful heart.
I always loved washing dishes. When the children were little, Mike would bathe them and put them to bed, reading them a story, praying over them, and singing a song with them. I used the washing dishes time to decompress after a full day of schooling and mommy-ing. Washing dishes relaxed me and gave me time to think and discuss things with the Lord. I refused to give up this chore until I hurt my back when my youngest was in high school. At this point, I had to divide up washing dishes to the rest of my family who took up the mantle cheerfully.
I enjoyed a chore and my children knew it. Chores are a blessing, not a burden. Hard work is a gift from the Lord. Before Adam sinned, his job was to care for the Garden of Eden and subdue the earth. Eve was created to be his helper. I view my job as homemaker as a privilege and blessing. It's not always fun to clean my house, do laundry, and fix dinner, but I consider it a privilege to have my job.
Our attitude toward work is reflected in our children's attitude. So start by examining your own heart.
Next, work with your children, rather than dictating to them. Working together is much more fun.
And speaking of fun, hard work can be fun if everyone is lighthearted and kind to one another while they work.
There are times I would be so frustrated with the state of our home that I would stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell, "This hours is a pit! Everyone down here, now!" We would clean, but no one had fun and I had to end up apologizing for my meanness and bad attitude. How different when we set time to clean and everyone was working, lighthearted, and joking around.
Praise goes a long way to motivating children. Appreciation makes hard work sweeter.
I try to thank my children for taking out the trash, unloading the dishwasher, and cleaning their room. Yes, I know it's their job, but I'm grateful they do it.
When my kids do their job without being asked, I throw a party! Just kidding. But, I do praise them over and over.
When work is valued, all people work harder. Your children are no exception.
Chores We Do Together
Everyone in our family has chores they do alone like make their beds, unload the dishwasher, or straighten their rooms. But, we do many things together.
Everyone clears their own plate from the table and everyone helps clear the table together.
During family cleaning time, everyone has their own job (dusting, vacuuming, sweeping), but we do it at the same time and help others if we finish first.
We straighten living areas together.
Everyone brings down their hampers and I sort the laundry for washing. When it's clean, we all sort the laundry together and everyone folds their own laundry and puts it away. We are together sorting and folding.
We make food for parties or special occasions together and clean up afterward together.
Working together has bonded us and given my children a enjoyment of hard work and one another's company. I am grateful.
As you balance homeschooling and homemaking, remember you can't do it alone. You need your children to help and they need to help for their character and life preparation. Just because something is necessary, doesn't mean it can't be pleasant.
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