We Are Family: Child Chore Training, Pt. 1

Before my husband and I had children, I worked in a private fine arts preschool. The school used several different methods from a variety of early childhood education philosophies, one of which was the Montessori method. The children were taught from the day they started at our preschool how to take care of several self-care and classroom needs, like tidying up after their own messes and helping with classroom chores. Even though the children did not always do a very good job of sweeping up crumbs or wiping up spills, they were learning and being trained in these important habits. They knew that at school, at least, everything has a place, and it was everyone’s job to help keep our school looking neat and tidy.

Years later when we had a child of our own, it became important to me and my husband to train him to learn to help do the same here at home. We are both naturally pretty organized people and do not like clutter. From the time my son was old enough to put his own toys away, we began teaching him to help clean up his playthings at the end of the day before getting ready for bed. As he grew older, we added more responsibilities to his daily self-care and family job routine.

Last year, on his 6th birthday, we started paying our son weekly for helping with things around the house. This was in part because we felt it was time for him to start learning first hand about managing money, and partly as an incentive to be more a more helpful contributor to the family. I will admit we have not been as consistent or as proactive in teaching new skills as a lot of families may be. But I am not a Type A mom, and this is what works for our family right now. A lot of moms say they start teaching new chores over the summer when they don’t have a busy school schedule, and if we were not getting ready to move, we would probably do that now, too. But I am not starting any new routines until we get settled into a new house!

We have done the same with our 2 year old daughter, teaching her to do as many things for herself as she can. Unlike her big brother, however, she is highly motivated and independent, so she actually wants to do more than she is able to at this point! I guess that is a good problem to have, though, most of the time!

I have a few specific examples of what we do around here for kids’ chores, but I will share those in another post. I will also share how we do payment and divide up my son’s earnings each week. I hope you will come back for the next post in the series soon!

So, talk to to me about chore training in your house. Do your kids help with housework? If so, what are their responsibilites? If not, do you wish they did?

You Have to Start Somewhere

Writer's block. 

Usually when I think about having writer's block I associate it with the feeling that you have no idea what to write. But I guess that is not really quite accurate. Maybe more often it is the case that you have so many ideas that you don't know where to start. At least that is how I feel right now. I have so many subjects I could write about that choosing one for the very first post on a brand new blog is difficult, to say the least! But I really do have to start somewhere, so I suppose the most logical thing to do would be to write a bit of an intro to me and my blog here.

I actually already have a little bio of me and my family on my About page, so if you want to read that, click on over there. I feel like being a bit more informal in this post, though. This is not my first blog, but it is the first I have started with a real purpose and direction in mind. I have previously blogged mostly about my hobbies, especially knitting and crochet, and for several years I owned an Etsy shop where I sold handmade goods and patterns I designed. Once I started homeschooling my son, the same year I also gave birth to our daughter, I found I simply did not have the drive nor the time to continue that business. I still do some crafting for my own pleasure, but not anywhere near to what I did when I was filling orders on a regular basis. Since most of my blogging was centered around those pursuits, when I closed my shop, I pretty much quit writing, too. And I never really missed it until recently.

When I discovered the classical Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, I simultaneously regained a lost love of reading. I also started finding a wealth of helpful information online via homeschooling and classical education blogs. After a while, I started to wish I had a format where I could share what I was learning and reading and thinking, not just about home education, but about life in general. I do post quite a bit on Instagram, but that format has its limitations. I realized that maybe it was time to return to the blogosphere as an author, not just as a reader. I hesitated for a long time because I wasn't sure I had much wisdom or anything new to say that hasn't already been said a hundred times. But even in the mundane, average, realness of my life, there are things that are unique to me and my family. I have had a unique set of experiences that have shaped me to be who I am today, and perhaps sharing some of those things here will help or encourage someone else along the way. 

So that is a little different take on why I am writing here in the first place. Just for fun, here are 7 random bits of trivia about me:

  • I have a major sweet tooth. Don't hand me a bag of jelly beans unless you don't ever want to see it again!
  • My parents will either tell you they made up my name by mixing up the letters in "Kelli," or based it on a TV character's name, depending on who or when you ask!
  • I have been on 4 continents and in 7 countries, but never Canada.
  • I could eat pizza, Mexican food, and Thai food on an endless rotation and be perfectly happy.
  • I cut my own hair. Yes, I really do. It is naturally curly and hides mistakes really well! 
  • I cannot read distopian fiction. I get extremely depressed if I do. The Lord of the Flies horrified me (as it was supposed to, I am sure!), and I put down 1984 without ever finishing it. 
  • One of my childhood hobbies was recording myself reading books on a cassette tape recorder. I still kind of think it would be fun to be an audio book narrator!

So, that's it! There. . . I started! I am so glad you are along for the ride!