November 14, 2011


If you think children should not learn to work and manage a house then stop reading now. And go watch Mary Poppins.  And sorry for such a wordy post... I prefer picture posts but some asked so I'll answer.

I think if I were the type to dedicate posts, I'd dedicate this one to a beautiful priest in Spain who I have met 2 or 3 times.  Each time he asked, "Can they cook?" "Can they change diapers?"  He knows and understands the value of training children.

I feel a little awkward, silly and embarassingly humbled talking about Chore Charts and what are applicable jobs for children to handle.  The only reason is that I could name a number of people who have done a much better job than I have in the organization and up-keep of their home.  I was simply not born organized. I thought I had achieved organization in college through my teaching years but I can still recall the giant pile of laundry in the middle of my bedroom floor that I had not tended to while I was lying sick all day on the couch with my first baby.  I never caught up... but am getting there. However, I have trained my children to be *able* to work.  Unfortunately children suffer the effects of the Fall of Man thanks to Original Sin, so it is always a Battle in the Army of the Lord. 

Incidentally the colors on my chore chart have no purpose or reason.  It's what I had the most colors of in my card stock piles (knowing me, I will re-do them all sometime with colors that have significance to me like red for the Sacred Heart, blue for the Blessed Mother, etc).  But I do have them color coordinated by time of day: after breakfast, after lunch, 2:00 jobs, dinner and miscellaneous extras.  That way I can just shuffle the pack and put them in and I'm done.  That said, it did NOT work to have the children do the job sorting-delegating:
1.  they miraculously always had the easiest jobs for themselves
2. the others would fight over the unfairness, how the other did it to be mean and nobody likes me
3. then there would be the sneaks who secretly rearrange.

On the other hand, Mom's got power.  All I have to do is say "I said so.", "Life is unfair", "Right away obedience", "offer it up". "take time off Purgatory now" ETC.  I can't avoid "sibling quibbling" but I can at least not go provoking it!

Because we all like to eat around here most of our prayers and our chores are settled around mealtimes. Prayers before meals, duties after meals. My ideal of kneeling as a family around our little family prayer altar never seems to happen often enough, but meals happen. I'm not sure I like the idea of "Will pray for food" but even Our Lord satisfied the desires of the body. (Prayer is another topic for another time)

The hardest part of the chore chart is being consistent, checking, making sure jobs are done, and never letting down. I say that as I see that no one but Galadriel, did their 2:00pm job...  (read:  the loft and bathrooms aren't done but 2pm will come around and we'll try again!)

Age 10 and up can do anything I can do from cook (follow a recipe) to diapers, to laundry, to cleaning. But they don't always do it *with joy* (or well). How does one train children to do everything for the love of God, how does one teach a child to love God with one's whole heart, to accept sacrifice? That is the real battle. For those who have no Faith... I don't know what your battles are or why you'd have them, except that God is calling you to the fullness of the truth.

Now I will start from the bottom up to 10.
Ages walking to 3 - Fetchers and Gophers (for example Poppy is 2 and goes to get Aragorn his Water Joe for the road, she can put something in the garbage can, she can do simple jobs that are 1 step, but she still isn't potty trained, argh)

Age 4+ - empty the little garbage cans into a big garbage can, dusting, make bed
Now that is kind of embarrassing as by 4 my oldest was cooking french toast, pancakes,  eggs and simple things in an electric skillet by himself.

If you have a dishwasher they can help put dishes away.

Age 5-6+ - dry and put away dishes, wash dishes (attended), sweep, prep simple food (wash fruit), wash the fresh eggs, feed and water animals, work alongside a bigger who can give them little jobs to do (if your children are all young, you get the be the "bigger" so train your children well when they are little!)

Age 7+ - Food prepping (cutting, mixing, etc...), clean a whole room, follow a whole series of instructions for cleaning (chore cards)

That said.... I am *not* Martha Stewart so if you ever come here be prepared to say, "Oh.... I thought you said you had a chore chart?"  We are the reality show around here. And I"m alright with you coming and putting your feet up on the furniture.

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